Practice test vs exam
Last Post: December 30, 2021:
Hey everyone, quick (and possible stupid) question. How close are the practice exams purchased here compared to the actual exam? I hover around the 78-80% range right now. Is it reasonable to expect about the same results when I sit the actual exam or should I expect something different?
To put it simply, NOPE.
You should download a copy of the Official Exam Objectives, and study to them. Which means finding all of the resources you can on the topics in the objectives. You'll find that NOT all of them are in the study materials. There is just too much to cover in one book .
Then when you are getting high 90's consistently on the practice exams you'll probably make it.
It only takes failing a couple topics not covered in a practice exam to fail the real thing.
I cannot confirm for the CWNA-108 but for previous exams the style of the Practice questions was very similar to the exam. But you will not get the same questions.
So take care that you are not just learning the practice questions.
From the Practice tests that you have completed, review the results to identify your areas of weakness and restudy the whole subject/objective not just that question. Also do this for any questions that you were unsure of even if you did get them correct.
Take time to read the question, and all the answers. Its very easy to make a mistake by miss reading a question or the answers.
You should not need to rush to complete the exam in the 90 minutes. If you are struggling with time, that is another indication you are not ready.
As Howard said, spend some time with the Exam Objectives. They will show you where to focus your efforts. And as the practice test pool is limited you need to be in the high 90's as you are repeating the same questions all the time.
It's also important to learn CWNP language. Troubleshooting for example, I use different terms, so have to relearn their process steps and terminology just for the exam.
Good luck when you do come to sit your exam.
Howard- I had been studying for about a year and then had to take about a year off for various reasons. I'm just jumping back in so I am focusing on the areas that I am not as comfortable with. I have been hitting the QOTD for about 2 years now and usually average about 70%. I know that the QOTD could be for ANY written exam so I don't think that's too bad. I grabbed the practice tests but have only taken each 1 once as of right now. I don't want to start memorizing the questions. Definitely not my first IT cert exam to say the least. I also don't expect to get a 90 or 100. I always seem to under preform on exams. I think it's the environment. I also know IT in general and more specifically any topic is a life long learning process to always try to be better than yesterday. My goal right now it is pass the exam in the proper, professional, honest way. I know when i hit the CWxP material that my knowledge with jump exponentially.... because that's what always happens with me. Just trying to get a feel for where I might be presently. I also started a new job beginning of the year with an MSP (first time and not ideal) and have already become the 'wireless guy' for our team. That's not saying much since I have no wireless certs to back up what I do know lol. I have noticed that with that I have learned so far, my uneducated knowledge wasn't as far off or wrong as I would have thought though, so that is a relief.
Also which is funny is I was talking to one of the more seasoned people on another team and they told me "Don't bother with wireless certs, we only work with XXX". Ummm, hate to tell you buddy but that vendor isn't the end all be all and from what I have seen so far, whoever is doing the wireless designs seems to not have a grasp on RF at all. Oh what the hell do I know though.
Thanks for the input. If you have any other advice that would be great.
The people who only work with a single manufacturer, and aren't interested in certs, are definitely missing out in the knowledge arena. Knowing how to configure your own, say Cisco, network and PC's does not educate you about Wi-Fi and whats really going on "under the hood".
In a homogeneous environment, where there is a uniform operating environment that YOU have control of, truly understanding the technology may not be as important. But add in client devices created by others, or God forbid add in three neighboring businesses that don't give a damn about your issues, and you'll have issues.
Before I retired, we had a new neighbor move into the building about every two years. Usually some amount of havoc was created for six months before things settled down. Much of that "confusion" was caused by our IT own department, brainwashed by Cisco, trying to imagine other ways of doing things. As a large client device manufacturer ourselves, our own IT guys "just didn't get it".
Even in a home or apartment building, understanding the mindset (or lack thereof) in the local cable installer can really help to improve or maintain your own network's performance.
When you have a mix of hand held scanners, printers, phones, computers and a dozen other devices as in a large hospital environment, no one philosophy or set of operating parameters, is going to work. To effectively troubleshoot problems here, you really need to understand the various possibilities. The CWNP program exposes you to those factors.
Good luck in your studies, and on the exam.
One recommendation I have is to not take too long to get your CWNE, if that is your goal. Once the three year re-certification periods start piling up on you, you may find it hard or impossible to keep up. I had been studying for the Original CWAP exam for a year when they discontinued it. Even though I later got the newer CWAP and the CWSP, my plans never did get back on track.
That is exactly my thoughts. Hell I asked "who does the site surveys for clients?" and the answer I got was "I really don't know. Or if one is done". They just have a cookie cutter setup that they put into place for clients. I bet nobody is going on site and even checking the noise floor so semi proper wireless designs can be made. It makes me a little sick to be honest.
I don't have an issue with Cisco but they are far from the only player in the game. I have worked with Cisco in general for years.
I do plan on going for my CWNE but I have to work my way through though and that will take a while. I'm starting to get more experience with wireless though so that will help but it's not large environments so will only learn so much from smaller companies.
You might be surprised how much you can learn, even in a smaller niche. I learned a lot even though my specialty was at L1 & L2 testing.
Try to volunteer at work for different tasks, and you'll be amazed at what you learn.. Eventually I became the wireless SME at my location, which got me involved in just about every aspect of wireless, and even earned appointment as our west coast representative to the WFA.
Back when my wireless career was starting, I briefly had a chance to join a (proper) site survey team for a VERY large, brand new, hospital. I always heard it was THE the most difficult survey to perform. Sadly, that contract fell through but I always wished I had gotten the chance. If you ever get such an opportunity, I would consider taking it - even if you have to take a leave of absence to do it.
Again, best of luck.
Howard- I'm not saying I'm not going to learn anything BUT I have learned that I know a bit more than I though which was surprising. I think I mentioned before that people are already considering my the wireless guy and asking me questions. I would volunteer for different tasks but we are understaffed as it is and don't have the time right now.
I also have done a bunch of smaller wireless deployments over the years so I do get some experience in different environments. Usually things the size of 2-5 AP deployments. I'm also moving from general networking to wireless probably later than many. It's nothing that is enterprise level but it still helps develop/maintain basic skills at the least. I'm probably going to be setting up a radius/etc server(s) to lab things up in my home.
I still have a long way to go before I am at a point where I think I am a decent wireless/RF engineer. I will probably think that even when I have a CWNE and considered by my peers to be the best wireless engineer around. Always trying to be better than yesterday. Always have been, always will be just an average guy trying to be better. Nothing special to write home about there.
PS: If I get a chance to work strictly in wireless then I'm going to jump all over that like flies on sh*t.
So a little update since I'm the one that started this thread... and it's been long overdue to be honest. I passed my CWNA on 4MAY21. Passed CWSP on 23MAY21. Passed CWDP on 7JUN21 and CWISA on 13JUL21. I passed them ALL at instructor level also which made me happy. I found all of them to be fairly easy but I'm sure CWAP is going to humble me. While waiting for the CWAP to be refreshed I started the ITIL foundation exam as it will look good as i'm riding the line to management. As soon as I pass that I will tackle the CWAP and finish up my blog and the papers for my CWNE. Depending on my job at the time I get my CWNE will depend on if I go to tackle the CWISE or CCNP/CCIE wireless next.