Well …. I finally did it! I finally got my CompTIA Security+ certification. I have been studying for this test for quite some time off and on. The test was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I watched a ton of videos on Youtube of people that passed the test and then I watched some that didn’t pass it the first or even the second time. It made me really nervous when I saw that people had failed the test. The materials that I used were the CompTIA Security+ Study Guide by Emmett Dulaney and Chuck Easttom, a Udemy Security+ course with a guy in a cowboy hat that sounded like he was from Texas, Professor Messer videos, and practice testing that was offered with the Sybex book. There were a lot of people with their recommendations for books and those will be fine as well, but what I really liked about the Sybex books is the practice tests and flash cards that will help you memorize port numbers and other important information.
The first thing I did was read the book from cover to cover and take the quizzes at the end of each chapter. If I got a question wrong I would go back and read that part of the chapter. Any question I got wrong I would write on a Google Doc along with the answer. Then I started taking the practice tests and do the same thing with those questions that I did on the chapter review questions. Any night that I studied I would sit down at my computer watch the Udemy course videos and the Professor Messer videos and then take a practice test. The Sybex book came with 12 chapter practice tests and 2 practice tests. I kept track of my scores on a Google sheet and waited until I averaged 98% on all the tests until I felt I was ready to take the test.
When I felt that I was ready to take the test I scheduled it 2 weeks out because I have to give my work 2 weeks notice when I want to take time off. During this time I continued to study and ended up getting 100% on all of the practice tests.
Before I took the test I had a cold brew coffee and a Redbull. I recommend drinking either your favorite energy drink or a coffee before you take the test. This way you can be sure that all your brain cells are awake and ready to think.
When I took the test I did not feel that it was too difficult. It was 72 questions and they gave me 90 minutes to take the test. The first two questions were what they call “hands-on”. It was not very difficult, but it was more matching then it was “hands-on”. The next 70 questions were multiple choice. I felt that I was doing very well on the test until the last 10 questions. The test was going way to fast for me. I was on track to finish about 20 to 25 minutes early. When I got to the end of the test I had 20 minutes left and I had not flagged any questions for review. It asked me to confirm that I had finished the exam and I did. Normally, if you have that much time left you want to go back and review some of your answers so that you can get a better score, but I was impatient. After that I had to take a survey and at this point I was thinking, “Dang it. I failed this test.”
I didn’t fail, but I didn’t pass with flying colors either. I scored a 753. Passing is 750. While people will tell you a pass is a pass, which is true, you still want to strive to do your best on these exams. The best advice I can give someone before you take this exam is be prepared and wait until you feel comfortable taking the test. Make sure you know each deliverable like the back of your hand. $300 is far too much money, at least for me, to spend on something that is not a sure thing. Good luck with your exam and I hope this helped any of you out there that are studying for the CompTIA Security+ Exam.