IT Certification and Training Blog


Jul 18, 2013 11:50:00 AM / by Kelson Lawrence

By Michael Aldridge

tshoot treeI've taken dozens of certification exams over the past 15 years, and I've created practice exams for most of them. But if I had to choose the one that was the most interesting to take and to create, I would have to choose Cisco's 642-832 TSHOOT exam, part of the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Routing and Switching track.

TSHOOT is probably more like the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) lab exam than the other two CCNP exams, ROUTE and SWITCH. In addition to traditional questions, such as multiple choice and drag-and-drop questions, you will also receive several troubleshooting labs to diagnose by using a unique trouble ticket system not found in any of Cisco's other exams.

As I stated in an earlier blog post, the TSHOOT trouble tickets will test your ability to systematically troubleshoot a complex network topology. Although the topology remains the same for each trouble ticket, the configurations on the routers and switches will change from ticket to ticket. For example, an interface might be shut down on one trouble ticket, OSPF might be misconfigured on a second, and IPv6 might be misconfigured on a third. However, the troubleshooting scenario might look the same on all three tickets.

Each ticket will ask you the same three questions. According to the Cisco Certifications and Confidentiality Agreement I signed when I took the exam, I can't disclose what I saw on the live exam. But Cisco's TSHOOT exam demo asks the following three questions on each ticket:

  • On which device is the fault condition located?
  • The fault condition is related to which technology?
  • What is the solution to the fault condition?

The interesting thing about these questions is that they are arranged in a tree-like structure. What I mean is this: your answer to the first question will change what choices are available for the second question, and your answer to the second question will change what choices are available for the third question. Pretty cool, huh? So, for example, if you answer that the problem exists on R1, the second question will contain choices that relate to technologies that exist on R1. And if you answer that the problem is related to Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), the third question will contain choices that relate to solving EIGRP problems.

Here's an example from our ExSim-Max for Cisco 642-832 TSHOOT practice exam. On each trouble ticket, the first question is always, "Which of the following devices is the source of the problem?" If you choose R1, the second question looks like this:

Which of the following technologies is the source of the problem?

  A.  NTP
  B.  NAT
  C.  BGP
  D.  OSPFv3
  F.  redistribution
  G.  Layer 3 security
  H.  Layer 3 addressing
  I.   interface

But if you go back to the first question and change your answer to DS1, the choices for the second question change:

Which of the following technologies is the source of the problem?

  A.  NTP
  B.  HSRP
  C.  OSPFv2
  D.  DHCP
  E.  Layer 3 addressing
  F.  STP
  G.  Etherchannel
  H.  VLAN configuration
  I.   interface

One of the most common bug reports I receive on our ExSim-Max for TSHOOT practice exam product is that the correct choice is not listed. For example, consider two devices that will not establish an EIGRP adjacency. Each device is configured with secondary IP addresses. Well, EIGRP will not use a secondary IP address to form a neighbor relationship. So is the problem related to EIGRP or Layer 3 addressing? If the two devices can communicate over IP, the technology that is the source of the problem is EIGRP, not Layer 3 addressing. So, when you're taking the live exam, if you don't see what you think should be the correct answer listed as one of the choices, go back to the previous question and choose a different device or technology that might be related to your answer. Chances are, it might be listed there.

If you want to see the TSHOOT tree in action, check out our ExSim-Max for TSHOOT practice exams, where you'll find 36 trouble tickets that you can troubleshoot. And if you need hands-on practice with the IOS, you can't go wrong with NetSim for CCNP, with dozens of labs for you to tackle.

I've got at least one more TSHOOT blog post in me, so keep your eyes open for it!


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Tree photo: NeilsPhotography

Topics: TSHOOT Tree, TSHOOT trouble tickets

Kelson Lawrence

Written by Kelson Lawrence

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