There are many things you should know about if you're thinking about taking the CompTIA Security+ exam. This exam covers everything from network security to authentication, and knowing what you can expect on the test will better prepare you to pass it with flying colors! Here are 10 things you should know to prepare for the CompTIA Security+ exam and what resources are available to help you get ready.
1) There are two versions of the CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 exam
The standard exam (90 questions) and an advanced exam (130 questions). Both exams include two distinct multiple-choice formats: Performance-based Questions require a candidate to perform tasks within a simulated environment and then answer questions based on those actions. Multichoice Questions present three options, one of which is correct, and ask candidates to identify which one. There are no scenario-based questions on either version of the SY0-601 exam. The entire CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 test takes about 90 minutes, though you'll only be required to answer 85 of those questions to pass.
2) The CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 exam structure
There are 90 questions in total, and each question is worth 1 point. There are 8 blocks of 10 questions, which appear in random order within two exam formats: multiple choice/multiple answer and performance-based. Each block is separated by a short, unscored section known as an optional break. The maximum score is 900 points (900 is only possible when all 90 questions are answered correctly). The passing grade is 720 points out of 900.
3) Look into CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 practice tests
If you're looking for a way to prepare for the CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 exam truly, look into online CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 practice tests. They are a useful tool that can help you identify your weaknesses and strengths, but they aren't foolproof. You could have some information down pat but still not have that A-ha! The moment when answering questions—and that will certainly hurt your score. If you don't feel ready after taking them, try other resources and return later. Use these as a benchmark of how well prepared you are—not an indicator of how well prepared you will be in four weeks (or even four months).
4) Study CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 exam objectives
Completing your study of each exam objective is a key component of exam preparation. Most of us know that we should spend time reviewing these objectives before an exam, but many don't do it consistently enough. A great way to prepare is by creating a list of objectives you have studied and highlighting those you have completed studying. Then, when you review your material, you can cross off each one, so you are left with only incomplete objectives.
5) Watch your time!
The most important thing you can do on exam day brings enough time with you. Most testing centers start sittings one hour before they're scheduled to begin. This means if your exam is scheduled at 10 a.m., make sure you get there no later than 9 a.m. Also, make sure that when you're done with your test, there's still enough time remaining for you to collect your belongings and get out of the testing center so that other students may take their tests after yours (this means it's possible your testing will be extended beyond its original end time). Plan accordingly and prepare! And never forget: Time management is key!
6) Read through CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 practice questions at least once before taking an exam
There are 50 questions in total in all, and that should be more than enough practice material for you. Note down your mistakes: Doing so will help you identify areas where you need to focus more on improving your knowledge of security fundamentals, which is an important skill if you plan on becoming a qualified security professional. Also, get a good night's sleep before taking a big exam like SY0-601: You can have full confidence in yourself by knowing that you are as well prepared as possible, which also means being well-rested. The CompTIA certification exams don't require much time to complete, but even so, it's always better to be safe than sorry!
7) Understand performance-based questions
Performance-based questions are a key focus of the Security+ exam. These questions use a scenario and ask you to determine what steps should be taken next. While these seem easier than multiple-choice, they require a greater depth of knowledge, including a strong grasp of core concepts. Review each chapter in your study guide and look at how each is explained using common networking scenarios. Understanding performance-based questions will give you experience with similar kinds of questions on test days. If possible, take practice exams with performance-based questions until you're very comfortable answering them correctly.
8) Practice using multiple-choice questions
The most difficult part of an exam such as SY0-601 is that you must recognize what is and isn't relevant. The exam will show you a list of topics or tasks, and then it will ask you questions based on that topic. That can be a lot of information to remember while under pressure. Your best bet is to practice:
- Go through every question on your chosen resource until you can answer them all in 15 minutes or less.
- Don't worry about accuracy (although it helps if it's high); worry about speed.
- As soon as you feel comfortable answering all of these questions, write down how long it took you so that next time around, you can aim for faster.
9) Research various topics and read definitions
There's a wide range of material available on exam objectives and an even wider range of terms, acronyms, and other topics you need to master. What do these mean? What are their relative merits? To improve your odds at exam time, you must keep up with current events related to networking and security in general. The more you know about your topic before taking your exams, the easier it will be to remember key concepts on test day. Also, note that all practice tests should have their study guides; if they don't, use other resources (such as free flashcards) or ask a professional trainer or teacher if any additional resources they can share with you.
10) Familiarize yourself with common commands, terms, and acronyms
To study for any IT certification, you should first familiarize yourself with common commands, terms, and acronyms. For example, looking at the basic command-line interface (CLI) commands is good to start. The most common Linux-based CLI utilities include ls (list), cd (change directory), cat (concatenate files), PWD (print working directory), cp (copy file/dir), and more. There are also some handy macOS CLI tips if you're using OS X instead of Linux. Beyond that, tons of security-related acronyms may come up on your exam; make sure you're familiar with them ahead of time.
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