TSHOOT – Attempt #1 – I have found one of the 10,000 ways NOT to pass it! :)


Today the TSHOOT exam cleaned my clock pretty well, and though I’d much rather be posting a Pass grade printout, I’d like to share what I’ve learned from this experience!

I never realized it until I took the TSHOOT exam, but I am “Shoot from the Hip” guy

Sitting the TSHOOT exam today has revealed this ugly truth!

It is not something I think I could have learned about myself until I hit absolutely maximum pressure mentally that I literally could not think, and I had no process to follow when my brain fails to produce ideas of what may be the issue, and found myself blindly issuing “sh ip route” and “sh ip int brief” hoping to find an easy answer.

It was not pretty, but a necessary failure in learning how to troubleshoot properly!

Now generally I could eventually get on the right track to finding an answer, however I would get there in a non-methodical way, for example if PC1 is not getting an IP Address I would jump immediately to the Access Switch it connects to and check the following:

  1. “sh ip int brief” – To verify the PC1 interface is Up/Up
  2. “sh int vlan brief – To verify PC1 is in the correct VLAN
  3. “sh int trunk” – To verify the VLAN is being allowed over Trunks
  4. “sh etherchannel summ” – To verify EtherChannels are Up / Active
  5. “ping x.x.x.x” – Test connectivity to the DHCP Server

As an example lets take a look at the Layer 2 Topology published by Cisco:


This is not the same Topology I had in front of me for my exam today, but very similar.

Consider the following issue and the troubleshooting blackhole it can lead you into:

  1. Client 1 can ping up to the Routed Interfaces of DSW1 and DSW2, but not R4
  2. DSW1 and DSW2 can ping out to the internet server, and ASW1
  3. R4 is able to ping the DSW Switches HSRP IP Address, but not ASW1

The curve ball – R4 has a route to (Data VLAN in this Topology) to that subnet via a DSW switch that can ping the devices in that network – Where do you start?

There is IP Connectivity between ASW1 and DSW1, R4 knows to get to ASW1 it needs to send traffic to DSW1 or DSW2 which is able to ping ASW1, what is the hold up???

This is just a made up a scenario, but it was abstract scenarios like this that I was running into during the last hour that just blanked out my mind, I was mentally spent and I didn’t have a step by step process of things to check that could push me over the finish line – And this is exactly what I need to improve on to pass the TSHOOT.

There were outside factors that was mentally congesting me as well, however I won’t make excuses for not having a troubleshooting plan, I was just missing a troubleshooting plan to execute when my brain was failing to abstractly troubleshoot and that is that.

Will be retaking in two weeks so I can post the Pass grade printout!

I will be taking a much needed breather over the weekend here, then hitting the studies hard over the next week to bring down my ticket resolution time, and I fully expect to see some repeat trouble tickets which should help give me some breathing room on the ones I take longer on.

Will be back with a Pass grade in the next couple weeks here, until then! 🙂

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