CTS 053: 3 Simple Tips for Passing the CWAP Exam

These 3 simple tips for passing the CWAP exam may seem easier said than done. Listen to the podcast to hear more details about each tip and how I used them to pass the CWAP exam.

Certified Wireless Analysis Professional In September 2016 I sat and passed CWNP’s CWAP-402 exam. The exam costs about $225 as of this episode. It’s a multiple choice exam consisting of 60 questions which you need to complete in 120 minutes. The CWAP is the analysis portion of CWNP’s set of certifications.

So let’s go into my 3 tips for passing the CWAP exam:

1. Read The Book Twice

I’ve opted to read the Kindle version of this book. For over a year now I’ve gone completely digital with my books. It works well with my workflow and I hate carrying around heavy books.

The content is very technical so it helps to read through it multiple times in order for the topic to sink in.

My schedule consisted of reading one chapter a week. That was my goal. Some chapters can get very long so it helped to break them out over a couple of days. Pace yourself with each chapter and don’t rush it.

Take advantage of the chapter quizzes. If you score 80% or better, move on to the next chapter. Scored less? Then you need to review. Don’t read the answers for the quizzes. Doing so will make you memorize the answer for the chapter quiz.

2. Take Good Notes

I use Evernote to capture all my notes. You can use other similar apps such as OneNote, Google Keep, or even paper and pencil.

Review each of your notes every day. This will keep the content fresh in your mind. Key things you’ll want to note down are various frame exchanges such as associations and security. Knowing what’s inside of these frames is crucial too, such as what’s inside a beacon frame.

Note down the differences between each PHY and you’ll start to see why that is important.

Another topic I highly recommend knowing is QoS parameters and their priorities.

These little details are good to note down and will be beneficial in your passing.

3. Lab Up Scenarios

A big part of my success if being able to see a lot of Wi-Fi in action. Protocol and Spectrum analysis is a big part of the exam.

I started off by installing Wireshark and using Airtool (Mac app) to capture frames. I got familiar with frame exchanges and what was contained in those frames. I looked at various beacons, associations, and security frame exchanges.

For spectrum analysis I used Metageek’s Chanalyzer. The CWAP book uses Air Magnet. The interfaces differ between Chanalyzer and Air Magnet.

It will be important to spot the different characteristics of interference such as microwave, video transmitters, Bluetooth, and other 802.11 traffic.

Aside from those three tips, experience is a big plus. Having come across many of these topics will help you pass the exam. One such example is troubleshooting wired side issues.

The CWAP exam actually puts some emphasis on the wired side of things because they often mask themselves as Wi-Fi issues. So you have to know how to troubleshoot an issue using the CWAP methodology.

Things I did not take in preparation for this exam:

  • Practice exam
  • Bootcamp

I felt I prepared enough that I didn’t have to take either the practice exam or bootcamp. I’m not even a fan of doing either. For my CWNA I did take a bootcamp and found it beneficial. I guess at the point I was studying (for both old and new exam) I just got tired of studying and decided to jump into the exam.

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About the Author
Rowell, CWNE #210, is a network engineer in Higher-Ed. He enjoys working with wireless networking technologies and loves to share and engage with the community. You can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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