As part of a promotion for this website and my CCNA exercises, I held a contest and giveaway when I first launched the site a month and a half or so ago. I gave away a few vRack sessions from IPexpert (that I had “sitting around”), a copy of Todd Lammle’s Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide (that I paid for myself), and a copy of uCertify’s Cisco CCNA Prep Kit (graciously donated by uCertify).
The promotion was mildly successful. A few hundred people learned about the website and several of them posted helpful advice. And, of course, let’s not forget the five people who walked away with something of not-insignificant value to help them in their certification studies — absolutely free!
Unfortunately, since that time I’ve been fairly tied up working on several projects and haven’t been able to devote as much time to Free CCNA Labs as I would have liked. I do have several “drafts” written up and am hopeful that I’ll be able to publish those soon.
The only stipulation I made on the winner of the “grand prize” was that he or she write an honest review of the product that would be posted here. Stuart Dyckhoff was the winner and has done just that. His review appears on his blog, churchTechy, and below:
A few weeks back – courtesy of Free CCNA Labs and uCertify — I won a competition which was a copy of uCertify’s prep tool for CCNA. The only pre-commitment I had to make was agree to write a blog post reviewing the product.
So let’s start off with their own words:
Passing exams required towards getting your CCNA certification is easy, using uCertify’s top rated test Prepkits. Here’s how:
- Full coverage of exam objectives (updated 2011) including Hardware, Security, Networking, and Operating Systems
- Practice questions that follow the exam pattern
- Comprehensive practice questions modeled on real world scenarios
- Detailed answer explanations for both correct and incorrect answer options
- Chapter by chapter study guide and study notes for exam 640-802, 640-816, and 640-822 not only helps you pass the exam, you actually learn the stuff you are supposed to know!
- Interactive Quizzes
They also state you get a years worth of updates for the price and one other ‘unique’ feature is the ability to ask / interact with other students and / or UCertify staff.
Whilst all this is laudable the reality is that the price is cheap and there is a probably a good reason for this.
Let me clarify by saying that the package could well help you become CCNA certified, but you’re going to need to put in some effort outside of this tool to do so. It is at best a dis-jointed affair that doesn’t guide one through from the basics to the end result. You have to navigate an interface that is not intuitive and doesn’t lead you — as I believe it should.
On top of this, the ‘extras’ I mentioned maybe of some value or not.
I couldn’t find anywhere that stated how often you get updates, just that you are entitled to a year of them. Secondly, in my usage I could see some questions from other users of the prep kit but nowhere did I see any answers from uCertify staff. If that’s to be the case, then they should just remove this feature.
One feature that does appear to work well is their exams and the method of tracking the results and what you need to brush up on. However, even this has a shortcoming in that it doesn’t have any simulation type questions which (it seems to me) are one of the biggest stumbling blocks most examinees face.
Ultimately I can’t recommend this product to anybody who is coming at the CCNA cold — and by that I mean with no knowledge or prior experience of the subject. If however, like me, you want to brush up on or take some tests because you need to re-sit the exam (as it’s changed out of all recognition in 3 years) then this may be worth the $150.
That’s got to be your call.