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    CCNA Wireless exam experience

    Florian Szabo

      Hi everyone,

       

      Today I had my chance to pass this exam and I would like to share my experience and my feelings after failing with 810 points.

      This was my preparation method:

      - I read and studied the OCG thoroughly.

      - I watched the CBT nuggets series on this exam from Keith.

      - I also watched two Livelessons materials (1 longer and 1 shorted series of videos) from Jerome.

      - I also spent a fair amount of time reading other online materials, even the CWNA vendor neutral book trying to prepare for this exam

      - I also took advantage of the 4 practice exams included with the premium ebook from Ciscopress (passed them all on the first try)

      ... and I still failed the real Cisco exam.

       

      As a matter of fact, I was only half-way through the exam questions and I already had this feeling inside me that this exam is not going well, because by that point I have already encountered too many bull****t questions that really made me frustrated.

       

      To give an example: I think it is utterly unfair to put a question on PCF algorithm in the exam, when your OCG does not even mention the acronym. I mean, I know that the OCG is not supposed to cover 100%, but testing on anything more than what this acronym stands for is disappointing. This is an ASSOCIATE level exam, have you forgotten what that is supposed to be, Cisco?

       

      One thing I learned though, is that it is perhaps not so shameful to fail on an exam put together so terribly by a company so disconnected from reality. For this lesson, I am grateful, because it opened my eyes to the reality, and when you have open eyes you might discover something new...   Perhaps a CWNA? You never know, but definitely not another Cisco cert...

      Thanks/Bye

        • 1. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
          George

           

          Hi Florian,

           

          Thank you very much for your post.

          My name is George Koukis and I am the APS Exam Program Manager for the Wireless and IoT Exams.

           

          It seems that you did a very good preparation for the CCNA Wireless and I am very sorry to hear that you failed.

          Based on your score, it sounds like you were very close to the passing mark. I would suggest to give it another go.

           

          The Cisco books/trainings and the Certifications are developed by different teams but they do share exactly the same blueprint.

          The reason for that is to give exactly the same chances of passing the exam to all the candidates. Plus, we want the candidates to have in depth knowledge of the technology and not just read a book and pass the exam.

           

          As for the PCF, I cannot give out any questions/answers, but I can reassure you that this is part of the wireless fundamentals.

          The CCNA Wireless is an Associate level Certification, but the candidate will require to have the knowledge and skills required in order to get certified.

           

          From the exam report, try to find out the areas you need improvement, cover the “black spots” and go for it again!

          Go through the Study Guide and try and read between the lines. Also, hands-on experience is very important.

          I am pretty sure that you will be successful on your next go!

           

          Regards,

          George Koukis.

           

          • 2. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
            Daniel

            Hi Florian,

             

            Sorry to hear that you failed your exam . You seem to have been covering the important parts during your studies.

            I want to also highlight what George already said above about the Algorithms.

             

            If you have a look at the exam objectives, there is no specific mentioning about those type of things.

            But if you know a thing or two about wireless networks and how it all ties together, then it makes sense to understand PCF and DCF.

            Having a look at the exam-objectives, there is no hint at all about this.

             

            It does however contains this information:

             

            2.3 Describe 802.11 fundamentals

            • 2.3.a Modulation techniques
            • 2.3.b Channel width
            • 2.3.c MIMO / MU-MIMO
              • 2.3.c MRC
              • 2.3.c (ii) Beam forming
              • 2.3.c (iii) Spatial streams
            • 2.3.d Wireless topologies
              • 2.3.d IBSS
              • 2.3.d (ii) BSS
              • 2.3.d (iii) ESS
            • 2.3.e Frame types
              • 2.3.e Management
              • 2.3.e (ii) Control
              • 2.3.e (iii) Data

             

            Which is where it makes sense to learn about that. Having a look in the OCG by David Hucaby, there is no mentioning at all about PCF. In fact, when they go over the Distributed Coordination Function - they even specifically tell you to ignore any other interframe space periods other then:


            -RIFS

            -SIFS

            -DIFS

            -EIFS

             

            I actually agree with Florian here that when a Official Certification Guide informs you that you can ignore everything but those 4 time-periods, then we should actually be able to trust that information. At least that's my two cents!

             

            Then it doesn't make any sense to be tested on PIFS - when Cisco officially tells you these exact words (quote):

             

            The 802.11 standard defines a few different interframe space periods that provide a safety cushion between frames. These periods of silence give the channel enough time for signals to dampen out -- especially when multipath is involved and some reflected copies take longer to propagate than others.


            Several different interframe space periods are used, according to the type and priority of the frame being transmitted:


            -RIFS

            -SIFS

            -DIFS

            -EIFS


            There is no PIFS there, in fact there is not even a single example in the entire book from the AP's point of view (PIFS) - only from the clients.

             

            From an exam perspective however, i see the importance of knowing about it how the AP handles these things as well.

             

            But this is just one of those times for which Cisco is extremely (in)famous for doing - leaving out important information in OCG's and then become tested on the information that was left out. (Cisco has always had this issue and it's like that over all their certification tracks).

             

            I know that I and plenty of other engineers have proposed multiple times that whoever is writing the book, should know more then the exam blueprints so that students just won't feel like they're tricked/robbed (since the exam costs now are not in pair with other vendors at all).

             

            AT least from my perspective, it's just a bad way of doing things to let the authors of the book just see the exam-blueprints a couple of months earlier then the rest of us - but not giving them enough detail about the content to actually include everything in a Certification book.

             

            To be fair with Florian, Cisco is actually the only vendor where I see Official Books over and over again not containing enough information to pass their exam. If you go to other vendors you don't see that problem (at least other big vendors that i've done exams for) - I think it's definitely something that votes against a fair test.

             

            ...at the end of the day however, it's a Cisco exam and they are free to do as they like. 810 is actually a very nice score and i would also suggest that you give it another go .

             

            As you probably know, Cisco exams are really tough even at Associates levels, it's not like many other vendors where you need to go rather high in their certification track to go as deep as Cisco goes. They're meant to be tough, and I also don't believe that you will fail or pass this exam based on whether or not you know about PCF.

             

            So give it another go and you'll pass :)!

             

            -Daniel

             

            Ps - If you google around, you'll see tons of similar discussions where people will complain about the OCG's. And also many creative responses by Cisco officials. Check it out to broaden your perspective!

            • 3. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
              George

              Hey Daniel,

               

              Thank you very much for your feedback!

              Your message covers all bases!

               

              I will take some of your points internally and see if we can do anything about them.

               

              Regards,

              George Koukis.

              • 4. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                Daniel

                George,

                 

                You're welcome. I hope you took it for what it was, not a rant or complaint.

                Just wanted to say a few words to Florian about how the things are.

                 

                Overall I think most of us will agree that the Cisco exams are fair, tough and challenging. And most of the time what people will feel is unfair is that he OCG's don't cover all topics that's included in the Exam! (whether intentional or not by Cisco is an ongoing discussion between Students & Cisco Officials)

                 

                It usually takes the OCG+FLG+a third book to cover all the contents, except for the CCNA-books. (ICND1+ICND2). That's something to consider for Cisco why it is the way it is. Many of us feel that we should be able to purchase a OCG and at least have them include all the topics tested on.

                 

                We can also agree that it's in our own best interest (the students) to always dig deep and explore the concepts based on the Exam blueprints.

                But as it is now - The OCG is more of a general guideline, where if you want to know more it's up to you to research this. The problem? Well...we only have some vaguely printed blueprints to learn about what we will be tested on. So even if we want to dig deep outside the OCG - Cisco is not making it easy for us to know what we should focus on .

                 

                In either case - I believe all of you involved in preparing the exams are doing a great job! I know how much hard work lies behind them!

                 

                -Daniel

                • 5. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                  George

                  Hi Daniel,

                   

                  All comments (even complaints) are more than welcome.

                  I do understand that we are on the same page.

                   

                  Behind the Cisco exams there is a huge team that constantly works towards the best result.

                   

                  Believe me, I really appreciate your comments/recommendations and I will try and  see what can be done to address most if not all the points you raised.

                   

                  Regards,

                  George Koukis.

                  • 6. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                    Ed

                    @daniel, I've gotta say, that's pretty disconcerting. I've been spending all of my free time studying the book, watching videos and going through countless hours worth of practice exams for this test tomorrow. From what I've read in other threads, they echo your comments... i.e. the book and videos are useless. I guess I'll find out first hand tomorrow.

                    • 7. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                      Daniel

                      Ed,

                       

                      From what I've read in other threads, they echo your comments... i.e. the book and videos are useless. I guess I'll find out first hand tomorrow.

                      I just wanted to drop by and say that i strongly disagree with that statement. The books are not useless, in fact the Ciscopress books are my prefered books to use when studying for Cisco-exams.

                       

                      I've read a lot of books, not only about networking but IT in general, and some of them are just bad at explaining things. While some other books do a really good job. And then there are those books in between that ties it all together.

                       

                      It's my professional opinion that the Ciscopress books are of very high quality in general. I believe the OCG does a very good job at explaining how things work. Since this is a discussion about WIFUND exam - i can honestly say that I personally believe that David Hucaby books are among the best at explaining things simple!

                       

                      At the end of the day, it will not cover all the things you will be tested on - but I strongly believe that if you understand all the concepts presented in the OCG you should pass the exam. You will not fail or pass based on the few questions that might not be covered by the OCG.

                       

                      Just beware that the OCG usually don't cover everything you are tested on simply because Cisco just gives out the Exam blueprints to the book authors instead of letting them know in more detail what they will include in the test. So the authors have the same guidelines as the students have while writing their books.

                       

                      Which is why sometimes concepts are not included in the OCG that Cisco included in the Exam.

                       

                      Based on my own experience though, I believe that this will not make you fail or pass an exam. Nevertheless even a single question based on a concept not included in the Exam-blueprints or in the OCG is a frustrating, and in my own humble opinion, an unfair experience.

                       

                      -Daniel

                      • 8. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                        Ed

                        FWIW, i don't disagree that the books are typically fine. This will be my fourth Cisco certification (if successful) using the Cisco press books. My previous history in using them has shown them to be pretty reliable.

                         

                        The only thing I was saying is that this is not the only thread that I've seen people posting issues about what's in the book vs what's in the test. It can be quite disconcerting when you see those posts, and your test is the following day (as is the case for me).

                        • 9. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                          Daniel

                          Ed,

                           

                          I understand.

                           

                          How did the test go ?

                          Nailed it i suppose?

                           

                          -Daniel

                          • 10. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                            Ed

                            I start my test in about 3 hours. I'm doing one more run through the practice test questions on the CD before I go test.

                            • 11. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                              Matt Saunders - Community Manager

                              Best of luck to you Ed... We hope it goes your way.

                              • 12. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                                Ali

                                Well I have my exam scheduled and been studying for it.  Also I have been doing wireless work for a while lots on the Cisco side.  But reading this is making me a bit nervous now.  I do study outside the book and try to understand details in depth but I guess I should expect questions to be from anywhere and I can just hope and pray that the questions I will get will not be so border less

                                • 13. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                                  George

                                  Hi Ali,

                                  Since you have covered the blueprint topics and you have hands-on experience, I think that you will be fine with the exam!

                                  Best of luck! Let us know how it goes.

                                  Regards,

                                  George Koukis.

                                  • 14. Re: CCNA Wireless exam experience
                                    Daniel

                                    Ali,

                                     

                                    I would give the advice to you....

                                     

                                    Do not worry too much about it. As long as you have studied the concepts available on the blueprint, you will do fine as long as you understand those concepts.

                                     

                                    That said - based on my own personal experience on Cisco exams...there will always be 2-3 vaguely asked questions that you will feel like that they're not part of the available blue-prints. Those questions are not taken out of thin air, so if you are taking the wireless exam you will not be getting VoIP questions (except for perhaps VoIP via WiFi).

                                     

                                    At the end of the day - you will probably not fail or pass an exam based on those questions. AND - most exams contains test-questions/evaluation questions that does not affect your final scoring. You will not know which questions are a test-question or a real question.

                                     

                                    So my advice is, don't worry too much about it - it won't be the dealbreaker to if you pass or fail your exam!

                                     

                                    Good luck to your exam !

                                     

                                    Ed:

                                     

                                    -How was your exam experience and how did it go?

                                     

                                    -HTH

                                    Daniel

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