First and foremost congratulations on what is most likely your starting journey into Information Security (Infosec). There is no time like the present to join the ever growing field of professionals and improve the landscape of IT.
To pass the Comptia Security+, focus on these areas:
I cannot stress this enough but keeping a positive mental attitude is key to passing this test. Fears of not doing well or failing only leads to anxiety and mistakes you normally wouldn’t have made.
It goes without saying that if you want to pass this test, you have got to do the work. Studying is essential, don’t try to wing it.
The advantage you have in this digital age is that most of the material is freely available online and you can tag team those resources with some cheap options.
One of my favorite resources to use was Professor Messer. I cannot thank him enough for his time and dedication. He provides a plethora of videos where he breaks down concepts and gives great tips on passing the test. Plus, you can participate in quizzes and forum discussions.
Another great resource is Cybrary. Much like Messer, Cybrary provides free video training for the Security+ exam. Excellent instructors and a fantastic community that you can network with.
Lastly and this may be a ninja tip, Amazon has great e-books available on the subject matter. One of my favorite books to study was CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: Study Guide by Darril Gibson. Since I have an Amazon Echo, I would have Alexa read the book while I followed along and took notes. This was a life saver.
When studying, don’t rely on just one tool to do the job. Use a layered approach and be sure to use flash cards. They help.
Use Practice Tests
After you have completed your first wave of studying, it is time to put your knowledge to the test. Practice exams are a must.
At the time of my testing, Quizlet was my tool of choice. I will caution you though, if you use this tool, some of the phraseology is not quite perfect and confusing at times. If something seems out of place, question it or use your best judgement.
Cybrary also has a great testing platform if you are a paid member of the Pro Plan. It comes equipped with a full simulation of the test, a testing calendar and tracks your strengths and weaknesses by categories. If you have an opportunity to invest in this platform, I would recommend it.
With whatever route you decide, it is important to take note of the type of questions you are getting incorrect. This will be an important learning tool that I will outline in the next section.
Identify Your Opportunities
It’s not just good to know where you excel at when taking this test. It is often quoted that the best learning mechanism is failure. I couldn’t agree more. As you evaluate the results of your practice or mock tests, categorize all of the ones you answered incorrectly. Set those aside and place them on flashcards and practice until you cannot get them wrong.
I remember going into this test, I struggled profusely on port numbers and protocols. There were just so many of them it would frustrate me to no end. I took that frustration and plugged them into Quizlets and tested on them 2 hours everyday for 2 weeks straight. This helped me commit them to memory. You will find a method that works for you, just be sure you stick to it.
Schedule The Test
When you consistently score 80% or better on your simulation tests, you are now ready to take the Comptia Security+ exam. Head over to the Comptia Website and select the Buy Exam button to start the process.
It is easy to get distracted and put this part off but don’t. Procrastination is the killer of all progress. The sooner you have this on your calendar, the more confidence you will build as you lead up to Exam Day.
Remember the first step. Stay positive and tell yourself everyday that you got this and you will eventually pass the test. I look forward to hearing your success down in the comments below. Good Luck!