Last week I took the Securing Networks with ASA Foundation (642-524) exam and passed with a score of 954/1000. It has been 3 years since the last time I took a Cisco exam because I had to renew my CCNA/CCNP/CCSP certifications which were going to expire this coming March. The good thing about recertification is that you can pass any current 642-XXX professional level exam in order to renew ALL of your Professional Level certifications, no matter if the exam is related with security or routing and switching. Therefore by passing the 642-524 exam I have renewed both my CCNP and CCSP for 3 more years. This particular exam will be offered up to 4/8/11 and then will be replaced by the new 642-617 FIREWALL v1.0 exam.
I have noticed that the exam was more difficult from the past and that Cisco has taken measures for more accurate evaluation of the knowledge possessed by the exam takers. There were some “real world” scenarios in the exam which showed an ASDM Graphical User Interface which you could click on it and navigate inside the ASDM just like a real one. There were several questions related with each ASDM scenario, so you had to go inside the ASDM and see all the configuration screens and settings in order to answer that group of questions. You had to be very careful with that type of questions because there were tricks. You had to verify if some traffic flows were being inspected by an embedded AIP-SSM or CSC-SSM modules or if they were being limited by service policies. You also had to check the policy rules, NAT rules, security levels etc in order to accurately answer each question. Anyhow, it was time consuming but if you were focused and careful it was ok.
Anyway, I’m glad that my next Cisco exam recertification is after 3 years!!!