Most Cisco security exams are about understanding Cisco's viewpoint on security and how its sales, marketing and products fit within the network. The Securing Networks Using Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) security exam is no exception: It's all about Cisco's IPS and Intrusion Detection System (IDS) security products. On my 642-532 exam, the questions quizzed my knowledge on how to configure Cisco IPS and IDS devices and how to use them to identify, mitigate and secure a Cisco network.
I received 63 questions and was given 90 minutes to complete the IPS exam, which included a traditional simulation question and a new question type. This new one presented the IPS console, a network topology, four to five questions, and a simulated attack scenario – I'll have more on this later. The passing score was 825 on a scale of 300 to 1,000 points possible. Like all Cisco exams that I've ever taken, I couldn't move back through the question set, mark a question for later review or change my answer, like you can on most other vendors' certification exams. I find Cisco exams easier overall, with many of the questions in the form of one or two sentences with only one correct answer.