Passing the CompTIA Exams

This entry is part 46 of 47 in the series [ Security+ SY0-601 ]

Final Day of Class


Review of Objectives

Test hints: How to pass CompTIA exams

Mike Meyers, author of several of the books I’ve used in my CompTIA courses, has a good article on LinkedIn, “These 7 Secrets Will Help You Pass the CompTIA A+ Exams”:

You should certainly look at Reddit before any CompTIA test:

Cybersecurity Meg has some good tips:

Practical suggestions from ACI Learning:

Before the Test

  1. You should be marking up your textbook (at least) two ways.
    • Highlight critical terms that fit within the Objectives.
    • Put a Post-it or dog-ear every page that contains a critical list, table or discussion for the certification. Typically you’ll end up with about a dozen markers of this kind.
  2. Then, the night before the test, walk through the book page by page and trigger your memory of important items that you’ve highlighted.
  3. The morning of the test, walk just the critical markers of the book, and make sure you’ve got the information memorized.
  4. During the week before your real exam, take at least one full practice exam (ideally 90 questions) every day. You should be scoring well above 80% by the time you’re ready to test.
  5. If there’s a critical item or list you need to remember, but you have to drill yourself to keep it in your head, put short notes on a piece of paper. When you go in and surrender your belongings (if you’re testing at an exam center), while they generate your test, step out into the hall and drill yourself from your notes. Then throw the paper in the trash; you can’t bring it in.
  6. If you take the exam at an exam center, they will give you one dry-erase board and one marker. If you ask, they will give you two of each. Ask for them!
  7. As soon as you’re seated, dump your notes onto one of the dry-erase boards.

During the Test

  1. Don’t panic. Many failed tests are the results of freezing, or beating your head against one tough question. All you need is 80%! (Check your specific exam.)
  2. Your first few questions will be Performance Based Questions (PBQs). These things can devour all your time.
    Skip these.
    Check the box to “Review this question” and move on.
  3. Work quickly but carefully through the test. It is more important to answer all the questions than it is to avoid wrong answers.
    You do not lose points for wrong answers. A guess is better than no answer.
  4. Read carefully for words like “not” or “don’t”, which reverse the meaning of the question. It’s very easy to confuse this:
    Which of the following belongs on the list
    Which of the following don’t belong on the list
  5. Multiple-checkbox questions are designed to waste your time. You won’t get credit unless you choose the right number of right answer.
    Look at the end of the question, and the bottom of the question page, for “Select three” or “Select all that apply”.
  6. Don’t let any one question stall you beyond the 60-second mark. Mark it for review and move on.
  7. Once you’ve made one pass through the test, come back and tackle the PBQs. By now you may have seen things that make the answers more obvious. Do the best you can, but remember to answer every question, even if you’re guessing.