I haven’t given this a shot yet, but I probably will in the next couple of weeks. IPexpert offers rack rentals (via Proctor Labs). One of the new features that Proctor Labs is touting is the ability to have your IPexpert Workbook Volume 3 labs graded (called Verified Labs). You can check out a couple of videos detailing this feature here. Basically, you will be able to load the initial configurations for a Volume III lab (only labs 1 – 5 presently) then choose to have the lab timed and graded.
IPexpert has made the first of the Volume III labs available for free (sans solutions). So…in theory you could rent a rack at Proctor Labs ($35 for 7 hours and 45 minutes), load the configurations for Volume III lab 1, and chose to have your lab graded. Voila! $35 mock lab.
Proctor Labs now offers FREE detailed grading reports when you complete the first 5 Mock Labs in Workbook Volume 3, described above…
You can measure your successes, failures and focus on improving your weak areas!
Test drive the system yourself. Just use our FREE SAMPLE MOCK LAB (Volume 3, Lab 1) during a regular Proctor Labs R&S vRack session and receive a free graded assessment of your preparedness.
This a a very cost effective way for a CCIE candidate to either get a feel for where he is in his preparation or for a candidate using one vendor’s mock labs to get a feel for a different topology and style of questions. I fall into the second category and will definitely give this a try.
The only caveat is that the Proctor Labs site has this warning on their page detailing the graded lab process:
NOTE: These videos make reference to another new feature that will allow you to Save and Load configurations for IPexpert labs. This feature is not yet live, but will be very soon! (You can see it in action in the longer video above.)
It might be worth shooting off an email to Proctor Labs to make sure that you will be able to load the initial configurations prior to booking this.
***Updated 21 July***
I sent an email to Proctor Labs to get clarification about ability to load and save configurations. They got back to me very quickly (in a minute – seriously):
Currently the saving and loading of configurations is available for the R&S pods only; which you are an R&S candidate correct?
This means that you can use the free Volume III lab 1 as a graded mock lab for just the cost of a rack rental.
While on Proctor Labs’ site I saw that they offer a workbook of 5 mock labs for $199. I asked if these are the first five labs of the Volume III workbook (those are the ones that are currently compatible with Verified Labs grading) and the answer is “yes” “no”:
***Updated 21 July***
Oops! I misread this response to mean that the CCIE Routing and Switching Lab Preparation eBook contained the first 5 labs of Volume III:
The gradable labs are the first 5 labs in the IPexpert R&S volume 3 workbook. I do believe we also offer packages that include just the gradable labs with rack time included; if you’d like details on pricing of either products, I would be more than happy to forward your inquires onto our sales department.
IPexpert contacted me to clear this up:
The Proctor Labs eBook is a TOTALLY different group of labs than the first 5 in Workbook Volume 3. These labs were made exclusively for Proctor Labs and released last September. Just an extra 5 full mock lab scenario’s people could use and we marketed directly on the Proctor Labs website. These are not gradable either…
The gradable labs (which you could buy as a bundle) is the first 5 in Volume 3 of the R&S workbook (which consists of 10 full labs, the other 5 labs should be gradable sometime). You could purchase 5 vRack sessions along with the first 5 of Volume 3 for $500 (or the whole BLS for $999.)
Hopefully this clarifies things a bit — Don’t wanna get people too confused!!!
Sorry for the confusion. Disregard the following:
So you can get 5 graded mock labs for $374 ($199 + $175 (5 rack sessions at $35 each)). That works out to $74.80 per mock lab. PLUS you might be able to get this even cheaper by contacting Proctor Labs’ sales department and inquiring about a bundle.
I think I have it clear now. You can use the free lab 1 with a rack session for $35. You can purchase the 5 gradable labs with rack time for $500. That works out to $100 per mock lab.
Thank you to Glenn and Mike at IPexpert for responding in an insanely quick manner.
Reader ahenning left a comment confirming the $35 mock lab as well as a review of his experience:
I did this mock lab just a few days ago. At the price its a give away. It is quite a hard lab. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give it a 8. What is great about the grading is that they actually show you the output of the verification on your devices. I had two questions that worked when I verfied them but did not when the script did. Normally I would argue the point, but because of the output, I had to think a bit. One changed because I rebooted the device and the multicast failed when the script checked because I made a change to the unicast table right at the end. So in short, the grading was correct, if it wasnt for the output I would probably have said that the script needs more work.
Im not sure how long the sample will run, but anyone within a few months of a lab date will be silly to not take advantage of it. It is basicly a free mock lab thrown in with a rack rental. Hopefully we will see more of this.