To earn the CCNP Routing and Switching certification you need to pass 3 exams. My goal was to earn this certification but I really just didn’t have enough time to get all 3 exams done before the Cisco certification re-structure begins on Feb. 24 2020. So, I decided to just go for the TSHOOT exam as I felt this would be the most fun and applicable. This isn’t the most conventional way to do it (TSHOOT is usually taken last of the three exams) but figured it’s worth a shot.
Before using the resources below, I went through Kevin Wallace’s 300-101 Route and 300-115 Switch video courses.
Here’s what I used to help me pass the TSHOOT exam:
Boson is an incredible resource. I was able to get a really good deal many months back. The complete kit — Curriculum, Lab Guide, NetSim for CCNP, Lab Pack for NetSim, and ExSim-Max) — was going for about 40% off IIRC. Not only was it a huge discount, it included a free upgrade to the new CCNP ENCOR Courseware as well.
I went through the Troubleshoot tickets in NetSim after cherry-picking some topics in Kevin Wallace’s TSHOOT video course (fourth bullet point). There are 15 Troubleshooting Tickets in NetSim that you can do. I did all of them once through and then again a second time. After that I jumped right into ExSim and took all the available tests a couple times each. After failing and passing these tests each time I made sure to read the explanations since it points you directly to the Cisco documentation. There were a couple of times where I would try to lab the question in GNS3 just so I can create and see the output. Extremely helpful.
The Boson TSHOOT Coureware (digital) was another great Boson resource as it covered some troubleshooting topics for switch, multilayer switch, router, and routing protocols.
This was an outstanding resource. Unfortunately, I didn’t bother to go through this until 1-2 weeks before I sat for the real exam.
Keith Barker has an image with GNS3 ready to go so I was able to open VMware Workstation and load the image and open his tickets. I ended up going through all the tickets at least twice – some more than twice. He has an explanation video for each ticket once you complete it. His lab is configured almost exactly like the real exam topology that Cisco provides. This helped immensely because I was able to know all the IPs, links, RPs, etc. like second nature when it came time for the exam.
I didn’t go through his whole course. Instead, I cherry-picked topics that I felt I needed more work in. I also went over some of the more common topics just to make sure I had all the requirements down so I don’t overlook them – (ex: OSPF, EIGRP, VTP, DTP, etc.).
I pretty much did the same with this course as I did with Jeremy Cioara’s…just did some cherry-picking.
Some other things I did was purposefully break the labs/tickets that Keith created so I can see what the outcome would be, such as how the routing tables change, how everything up/downstream reacts…then fix it so I get used to making configuration changes. I’d also practice building GRE tunnels, then mess them up and fix them.
I also wrote down the IPv4/v6 Layer 3 Topology a couple of times by hand to make sure I could build out the topology without having to look at it. If you’re trying to ping the inside interface of R1 from PC1 or DSW1 having 10.1.1.1 ingrained in your brain saves you valuable time on exam day.
Overall, I actually enjoyed studying for this exam. I hate that I won’t have enough time to get both the Route and Switch exams done before Feb 24th. The new ENCOR exam to finish off the NP will be a challenge but I’d rather take my time with it than rush 2 exams before the deadline ends.