As I blogged earlier, Internetwork Expert is offering (unproctored) mock labs for $99 (normally $249) so I went ahead and booked one. At $99 it was too good of a deal to pass up. I booked for the end of January. I fully expect to fail, but it should give me a good indication of where I am at in my studies.
Once you pay for and schedule your lab you’ll see a “Graded Mock Labs” section appear on your Internetwork Expert subscriptions page.
Below are your graded mock lab reports. Your lab, topology, physical topology, and configs will appear 1 hour prior to your mock lab, and your mock lab number will be locked in. Your mock lab will be graded within 48 hours of its completion.
Click “View” to open a pop-up window displaying your graded mock lab. Click “Overdue” to automatically send a support ticket about not receiving your graded mock lab.
Take some time and look at the information there. It turns out that you have a choice of 7 different mock labs (mine was defaulted to lab 3, you can change this with the drop-down menu and ‘update’ link).
Mock Lab 1 – 6
Mock Lab 2 – 7
Mock Lab 3 – 7
Mock Lab 4 – 9
Mock Lab 5 – 8
Mock Lab 6 – 8
Mock Lab 7 – 10
A 7 is equal to the difficulty CCIE exam. A 6 is easier, and levels 8 to 10 are harder than the actual CCIE exam. If you can score above 80 on lab 7 then you are most likely going to do very well on your actual CCIE lab.
You can preview the labs by selecting a lab and clicking the ‘preview’ link. The preview list the lab difficulty rating as well as section summaries and topic summaries (I did not look at these as I don’t want any hints as to what I might encounter in the lab). You may want to choose a lab based on your weaknesses. For instance, say that you are weak in Bridging and Switching. Lab 3 has 20 points of Bridging and Switching while lab 2 only has 10 points in that section so you would want to go with lab 3.
You don’t receive your lab documents (test and topologies) or initial configurations until 1 hour prior to the lab. I’m not sure if IE preloads the configurations on the rack for you or if you need to copy them in. I would take a look at the configurations and make sure that the IP addresses are correct for your rack. For instance, I am scheduled to use rack 4 so if the configurations are not preloaded, then I’ll make sure that the IPs are correct for rack 4.
Ethan Banks recently took an IE mock lab. As always, he did a great job blogging about the experience:
From his description, it sounds like an actual human being completes (at least some of) your scoring report.
The $99 special runs through 31 December. When I booked my mock lab you were allowed to book it through the end of January. While the special may still end on 31 December, it looks like you are allowed to schedule your mock labs past the end of January. If that is the case, then I will probably purchase at least 3 more mock labs and schedule them prior to my actual lab attempt. This information is just my speculation based on mucking about with IE’s site. You will want to verify with IE that this is correct.
IE runs two weeks of Mock Lab Workshops. Each week includes 4 mock labs. I am going to try to get my employer to pay for one of these workshops this year. If you are planning on booking one of the workshops as well as some of the $99 mock labs, you may want to check with IE to see if they use the same labs in the workshop(s) so that you don’t end up repeating labs. I’ll fire off an email to IE and post their response later.