Passing the CCIE Router and Switching lab exam in the first attempt isn't that difficult as many individuals find it. However, the passing ratio in the first attempt is really very low but it does not mean that you cannot pass the exam in your first try. It is all about how you take your course preparation. Your planning, dedication, and commitment to work will lead you to success in passing the lab exam even in your first try. But if your hand on practice is very poor then passing the lab in the first attempt will be more likely finding a needle in the haystack.
Unlike CCIE other tracks, CCIE Router and Switching lab exam are easier than the rest. In order to start preparing for a lab exam, the better option for such an individual is to find a lab and start practicing his hands on the required skills. This is because a full-fledged practice is needed and if you missed it, I am afraid you won't be able to pass it in any of your attempts. There are many individuals who appeared in their first attempt failed miserably. So the same can come up to you if you don't pay attention to the basic rules.
The eight hours lab exam requires mental as well as physical patience where every second of your performance counts in your success or vice versa. Keep in mind that if you fail, you will not only blow your exam fee but all the other expenses which you have incurred on your lab exam. So better not to go for lab exam till you find yourself enough confident about passing it. Don't set expectations for yourself, be very realistic with your own self.
Try using Cisco 360 and INE resources in the start. Plan for at least twelve hours a day for lab every day with a focus on practicing and repeating things again and again. There are many online vendors which provide practice exams. Trying buying some of them too but don't scrap them because they can build your skills secretly. Make a habit of practicing one of these practice exams per week and learn by reviewing your mistakes. Don't get frustrated by repeating this because you are supplementing your subconscious to memorize them with such exercise.
Once you have prepared for the lab exam and you are quite confident in your skills, now is the time to book your lab exam which can be purchased from Cisco website by paying directly through credit card. They will provide you with the details of your exam like date, venue etc. Try to reach the lab exam venue earlier on the exam date so that you will find ample time to settle yourself according to the lab environment. You will find out that the lab itself topology size does not exceed the size of the enterprise where you have been working. So relax and pay attention to your surroundings. This will help you boost more confidence in delivering your best in your upcoming lab exam.
Once the exam is started, here is a professional tip: Don't waste your time doing irrelevant things. Just focus on your tasks and try fixing each problem within ten to twelve minutes and not more than that. Try to read all the tasks in the beginning and then start working out one by one. Match the outputs accordingly or you will lose points.
You will have access to a notepad and help files too, so use copy-pasting the commands and do not access help files unnecessarily till it becomes very urgent. This is a piece of advice which can be added as a supplement towards your success in becoming a CCIE certified, so good luck with your exam.