I did my CWSP re-cert today and am pleased to report I passed with a score of 81%.
This was a re-cert for me, but I still found it extremely tough - things have moved on quite a bit in the 3 years since I last did it, with quite a few new areas being added.
I'm quite lucky in that I am familiar with many of the concepts around security as designing and installing WLANs is my main job, so I get plenty of exposure on a day-to-day basis. I've also done quite a bit of work with the Cisco wireless certifications recently which also helps with my knowledge.
The exam itself is not just a case of learning discrete facts - many questions require actual application of real-world techniques and approaches which makes it extremely tough in my opinion.
For my study I read the CWSP study guide, most of the suggested white papers, used the accompanying practice questions on the CD and also used the practice questions on the CWNP.com web site.
I bought the access to the CWSP practice questions on CWNP.com 3 years ago when I did my original exam. It was a good investment as I still have access now, and I think they probably provided the best prepartion in terms of simulating the types of actual exam question. If you are going to maintain your certification it's well worth the investment (you'll thank yourself in 3 years time, trust me).
I know folks like to understand how long it takes to study for the exam (in addition to knowing which study materials to use), but it's hard to put a figure on it for me. I've been doing other wireless certs since the start of the year, and I only realised my CWSP re-cert was due about 3 weeks ago. Needless to say I've been cramming pretty solidly since then, but it's not something I'd recommend - if this wasn't for the fact that this was a re-cert (i.e. I'd covered a lot of the material before), is part of my job anyhow and I'd recently been doing a lot of related study for other exams, I'd never have been able to do it. I'll certainly be having a break from studying before moving on to the next exam!
Overall, I think the exam is extremely challenging and that you really have to 'know your stuff' to pass it. Cramming the study guide & white papers isn't enough, you need to be able to apply the information to real world examples.
I am the type of person who learns best by actually doing stuff 'hands-on'. Luckily I get to work with wireless kit on a day-to-day basis, so I get to learn as part of my job. I think if I was studying for this exam from scratch I'd have to be looking at several months of study and finding some way to get some hands-on exposure (I don't mean to discourage anyone, but it's best to have realistic expectations if you're going to have a go at the exam...).
I've now got my sights on a couple more Cisco exams and the CWDP. I'm thinking I'll save the CWAP until last as it looks the most challenging, but it also looks the most interesting - it really appeals to the engineer in me :)
Good luck to anyone undertaking the CWSP - give yourself plenty of time and try to get your hands dirty...
Well done wifinigel, and thank you for sharing your prep and your experience with the exam itself. Best of luck on the Cisco track and CWDP!
Hey, congrats!! And thanks for the tips. Taking mine in a couple weeks...yikes!