I just have passed my PCNSE exam and would like to share my fresh experience on how to study for it.
Your preparation period for the exam may depend on your technical knowledge, previous Firewall experience, familiarity with routing and networking concepts. Even if you are familiar with those, I highly suggest that you prepare for at least 2 weeks. (If you do not feel safe with those concepts, should spend more time)
- Understand how NGFW processing traffic
- Learn how to use PAN-OS CLI
- GlobalProtect is important
- Have hands-on experience with UI of PAN-OS
- Understand ways to deploy PAN-OS
You must read to Study Guide that prepared by Palo Alto which you find in this link: https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/content/dam/pan/en_US/assets/pdf/datasheets/education/pcnse-study-guide.pdf
Also, I highly suggest you read each documentation referred in the study guide.
I read study guide once, every documentation referred to, and solved every sample question.
After that, I watched recordings of training uploaded by Palo Alto Networks.
I carefully read and tried to understood Packet Flow Sequence in PAN-OS:
After that, I felt ready to hop to the exam and set an appointment for 27th of February, and passed at the first attempt.
The exam itself was moderately hard for me and I had a lot of fun. (usually, it is not expected for exams but this one was)
In conclusion, even if you are not working with Palo Alto Networks’ NGFW on a daily basis, I recommend you to hop into this certification program since it covers core concepts and features of other NGFW’s.