Whether you’re starting your career in the IT industry or it’s a requirement to continue in your position, you’re suddenly faced with taking the CompTIA Security+ exam. The exam covers 90 questions, and you can earn a certificate with a passing grade. 

Employers often require this certificate as proof you have the skills to perform basic security functions. Navigating the CompTIA S,mnnecurity Plus exam can seem daunting, but the following tips can make it a little easier to score a passing grade.

What’s On The CompTIA Security+ Plus Exam?

Remember everything you learned in school? Guess what? It’s back on the CompTIA Security+ Plus exam. The exam is broken up into six sections. This should make it a little easier to navigate. Here’s a look at what you can expect in the sections:

  1. Threats, Attacks, and Vulnerabilities (21%)
  2. Technologies and Tools (22%)
  3. Architecture and Design (15%)
  4. Identity and Access Management (16%)
  5. Risk Management (14%)
  6. Cryptography and PKI (12%)

Knowing which sections the exam focuses the most on can help you streamline your study sessions. Yes, you’re going to want to break out your old textbooks. Even recent IT grads benefit from studying the information they recently learned.

Create A Study Plan

Okay, which of the six sections are you a little shaky on? Maybe you’re an ace when it comes to staying up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity technologies and tools but architecture and design aren’t your strong suits. Instead of spending hours reviewing information you know and are comfortable with, tackle the topics that are giving you trouble.

While you’re reviewing the information, don’t just stick with stuff you learned in school. Expand your knowledge. The global exam is continuously being updated. If you’re not following the latest risk management strategies, for example, you may end up failing the exam. 

Yes, you can retake the CompTIA Security+ exam, but there’s a fee and repeatedly failing can put your job at risk. You may even have difficulty landing a job in the IT field if potential employers learn you’re struggling to pass the 90-question exam.

A few tips on creating a study plan include:

  • Set aside time each day
  • Join a study group, either with your peers or online
  • Devote a little more time to sections you’re not as familiar with
  • Continuously review the information every day until exam time

Something else to consider is when you schedule the exam. If it’s coming up in a few days, you may need to put time aside for an extensive cram session.

Test-Taking Strategies

When test day arrives, take a deep breath. Yes, taking exams is stressful and even nerve-racking. Don’t focus on the importance of the exam. For example, don’t think about how a failing grade can negatively impact your career. 

Instead, concentrate on how a passing grade can benefit your role as an IT professional. Eat a healthy breakfast, get plenty of sleep the night before, and go ahead, and review your notes before heading out the door.

Yes, you must take the CompTIA Security+ exam at an authorized testing center. You shouldn’t have any trouble locating a testing center close by. There are hundreds of testing sites across the country.

Skip Questions When You Don’t Know The Answer

There’s a good chance you’ll run across at least one or two questions you don’t know the answer to. Don’t panic, just skip over the question. You have 90 minutes to take the exam and you can always come back to the question later.

You’ll see a handy tab labeled Flag for Review. Click on this and you can go back for a final review.

Read Each Question Carefully

Some questions will have capitalized words like MOST, LEAST, and BEST. Pay attention to these words when they pop up. You’ll select the answer that best fits with the capitalized word.

For example, a question may read which is the BEST security protocol. Obviously, you’ll select the answer describing the best security protocol. Skipping over the capitalized word is an easy way to get a question wrong.

Be Ready For Performance-Based Questions

Most performance-based questions are at the start of the test, so this does help save some time. Remember, you only have 90 minutes to complete the exam. There aren’t any exceptions.

If you’re not familiar with performance-based questions, think of it as a type of role-playing. You’re given a scenario and the answer is the best solution to the pretend problem. If you’ve ever been through a performance-based interview, you already have an advantage. The question style is similar in interviews and on the exam.

Dealing With Multiple Choice Questions

There are pros and cons to multiple-choice questions. On the bright side, if you don’t have a clue what the answer is you at least have a shot at getting it right. The downside is the answers can be extremely similar. One word in the answer sentence can make it the right or wrong solution.

  • To help eliminate or at least reduce some confusion,
  • Try to come up with the right solution before looking at the supplied possible answers
  • Eliminate all answers you know are wrong, sometimes you get lucky and there’s only one left
  • Don’t ignore negative words like NOT in the question. This also applies to the potential answers
  • Some questions on the exam have a double negative. Pay attention to how this affects the possible answers

You may be tempted to start second-guessing yourself. Try to avoid this behavior. Remember the Flag for Review tab? Use it. This is a better option than changing your original answer. Keep moving on to the next questions. Sometimes, all you need is a little time to consider your answer. If you’re absolutely convinced it’s the wrong answer, go ahead, and change it.

You Can Pass The CompTIA Security Plus Exam On Your First Try

While taking tests may not be universally enjoyable, with targeted preparation and strategic test-taking approaches, success in the CompTIA Security Plus exam is well within reach. Dedicating time to focused study sessions and covering all relevant topics in the exam syllabus is essential to success. 

Additionally, employing common-sense test-taking strategies such as understanding the format of the exam, practicing with sample questions, managing your time efficiently during the test, and reading each question carefully can make a significant difference.

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