CWAP-402 Exam Prep – Part 2

One of the things I hear often regarding the taking of CWNP exams is “Yeah, I just never seem to find the time…” Well, preparing to take exams requires commitment. As I write this it’s 6:30 am on a cold and grey Scottish September morning. I have allocated 90 mins to review the learning objectives and plan a timeline.

Finding extra time is easy. You just have to get up earlier. First thing in the morning generally means you are more alert, and it’s a good time to prime your brain for action.

So, let’s get straight into it with the CWAP-402 exam objectives.

The soft glow of a Scottish morning hits the pages…

The first thing to note is the exam weighting – how much of each subject will make up the exam.

  • 5% – Troubleshooting Processes
  • 25% – 802.11 Communications
  • 15% – WLAN Hardware
  • 35% – Protocol and Spectrum Analysis
  • 20% – Troubleshooting Common Problems

So, the heavy lifting is in last two items on the list, and as you would expect, in the areas most appropriate to WLAN analysis.

I tweeted the following:


So let’s take a look at the learning/exam objectives, beginning with the descriptions of each category.  I’m not a fan of how this is laid out. The descriptions are too vague and don’t  adequately direct you on what you actually need to know.  The CWAP terms, beginning on page 3, offer more guidance as it’s a list you can use to test your own knowledge. So, I grabbed a highlighter….

Yellow = Study !

If I highlight something it means I am going to study it a bit further. Some of these things I am rusty on and some I want to refresh. CWNP exam questions can sometimes be “awkward” and I want to cover my bases by looking for alternative ways to think about something.

The next step is to take the CWAP study guide. The general consensus on the new CWAP 402 study guide is that it’s not fit for purpose. In my tweet above, point 2 is that course material should be written to deliver the learning objectives.

Sorry CWNP, but this is about preparing for an exam – and the new study guide, class PowerPoints and student workbook simply don’t deliver the learning objectives.

I’m still using the PW0-270 guide, written by 4 expert CWNE’s with impeccable field experience. At nearly 600 pages, there’s enough there to cover what I need.

Here is the method:

  1. Take the first highlighted item from the learning objectives.
  2. Find the chapter in the study guide that references the item.
  3. Read, study and understand the WHOLE chapter.
  4. If need be, fire up some equipment to test your understanding – spectrum and frame capture especially as that’s 55% of the exam.
  5. Complete the review questions at the end of the chapter.
  6. Repeat for the other highlighted items (though if you have already covered something then skip to the next).
  7. Redo this until you feel you have a good understanding of every item on the list.

It’s important to set time aside to allow for this. I’m not a naturally early riser, but I know my best chance to study without interruption is first thing in the morning. So for the next few days I’ll be getting up to start studying from 6:30 am until 8 am. I reckon that in two or three days I’ll have a good idea as to where I am and I will start to think about exam preparation, which will be my next post.


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