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How to Prepare for the CCNP TSHOOT Exam

I attended the TSHOOT prep session today at Cisco Live. Here are the notes I took and some snippets from the presentation. Sorry if this is a bit disjointed, that was the nature of the presentation.

What does the TSHOOT exam cover?

  • Routing: EIGRP, OSPF, RIP, BGP
  • Switching
  • A lot of hands on
Note: TSHOOT does not focus on wireless, voice, security products, or specific WAN protocols (MPLS, advanced BGP)

Training Options:

Troubleshooting methods that can be used on the exam:

  • Shoot from the hip - "Ready, Fire, Aim" - come up with your best, educated guess and give it a try
  • Top down - Follow the ISO model from the Application layer and work your way down. For example, a website doesn't load when you go to, then try pinging or traceroute.
  • Bottom up - Opposite top down. If layer 1 is there, check for mac addresses in the table, then check layer 3 with a ping.
  • Divide and Conquer - start in the middle. If connectivity doesn't work, start with a ping. If it works, then you can start troubleshooting toward the top at the application layer. If it doesn't work, check layer 2 or layer 1.
  • Follow the path - using a traceroute, you can sometimes find the device having a problem, or a device adjacent to the device having a problem. Follow the path hop by hop until you find the problem.
  • Spot the difference - similar to using diff to compare configurations, compare a working device configuration to a non-working device configuration to see if there are differences in the setup

Commands to use for verifying layer 3

  • show ip route - view the routing table
  • show ip route <IP address> - view a specific entry in the routing table for the provided address. If an entry doesn't match, it will say network not in table.
  • show ip cef <IP address> - displays the best match for the address in the FIB
  • show ip cef exact-route <src-ip> <dst-ip>  - use this command when the routing table and FIB list multiple entries

Exam Taking TIps

  • Eliminate options - look for subtleties
  • Look for best answer
  • Budget time
  • Make an intelligent guess
  • Provide feedback during exam
The topology is available ahead of time so you can study it and become familiar with it. I posted about this a while back.

Some additional resources to look for include:

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Lab and GNS3

Learn the topology. Build a lab in real hardware and GNS3 to the degree you can. You will get a basic review of the protocols used. Use some examples out of the book for things to break so you can see what happens.

If you use GNS3 you can wireshark to see what's going on too, neat stuff!

Ebay is your friend... having this in real hardware was one of the best things I could have ever done to prepare for this exam. And yes it took a lot of personal sacrifices to afford the gear.

Real Cisco Lab and GNS3

Hi, I have read so many blogs and as per Jeremy's recommendation to practice with real devices so I have got some routers (4 x R2800) and switches ( 2 x SW2950, 2 x SW3550) but I need to move always my console cable from one to another devices during the lab. As in CBT Nuggets, Jeremy uses SecureCRT and use some IP Addresses, so I am just wondering if some one can help to setup this sort of lab.

I am preparing for TSHOOT so I would be glad if I can have really good solution for it.


BadKarma's picture

TShoot Lab in GNS3

I agree with the above comment. Get familiar with the topology. Cisco provides that so you don't have to spend the majority of your test time getting used to the environment. Take advantage of that. It only makes sense to make use of what Cisco will provide you.

I built a lab with 4 3500 series switches and tied them into GNS3. The more familiar you are with the topology, the easier it is to find the problems.

I took the Tshoot exam (to re-certify)the first part of January. Half of the trouble tickets can be device focused just by:

1)pinging R1. If you can reach R1 then that is where the problem resides.

2) run ipconfig on the client. It that produces a 169.254.x.x address then you're probably looking at the layer 2(most likely)/3 between the client and R4 (worst case)

The rest is easy if you understand the topology. Anyway, that was the basic technique I used to get through the exam. Of all the Cisco exams I've taken, TSHOOT was the most enjoyable. I actually had fun on this one.

I guess the old saying still applies -> remember the 7 Ps ?
Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance!

I hope you found this informative ... :)


I actually just passed the TShoot exam today, and this advice is spot on. Really, it's all about narrowing the focus. It can be overwhelming when you get so many trouble tickets with the same problem. The important thing is just to eliminate stuff and focus your attention on specific devices.

Sho ip Route is your friend, take notice of routing protocols that aren't coming through.

Also, don't forget to use the Abort feature if you need to in order to gather your thoughts and look at another issue.

I was prepped for a nasty test, but it was surprisingly relaxed and almost fun.

Just want to say thanks

Just passed TSHOOT few days ago. It was the toughest one so far (besides CCIE) compared to other Cisco exams I had been taking (currently hold CCSP for couple years already). For those 2hrs 35min, I almost ran out of time but luckily I completed it on time until last minute and did get 90 percentile :)

Most important, I had learned a lot from Jeremy's CBT videos and I would like to leave this comment here to say a sincere "Thank You". Hopefully, I will complete my CCNP soon as well as CCIE.

Tshoot preparation requirements

Hey all , I'm ordering two switches for the CCNP SWITCH exam preparation " just like Jermey said "

but I'm wondering do I "have to " get real routers and switches to prepare for the Tshoot exam ? is it a MUST ?

thank you all

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