Why Some People Pass Security+ and Others Fail

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People send me notes almost every day telling me that they’ve passed the Security+ exam using materials I’ve created. These are always a joy to read.

Every now and then I hear from people telling me that they dropped the exam.

What’s the difference between the two?  Recently, a simple message has emerged. Preparation.

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For example, people that are prepared can answer questions such as this one that we recently added to our online quiz banks.

Q. Your organization recently updated an online application employees use to log in when working from home. Employees enter their username and password into the application from their smartphone and the application logs their location using GPS. What type of authentication is being used?

A. One-factor

B. Dual-factor

C. Something you are

D. Somewhere you are

Can you answer it? Check out the answer and explanation at the end of this post.

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Preparation

People that pass are prepared. That should be obvious to just about anyone.

What may not be obvious is how to prepare. The following steps show one path many people take when preparing for the Security+ exam.

  • Review the objectives. You can download the objectives from the CompTIA site or look at the beginning of a study guide such as the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide.
  • Learn the material related to the objectives. The best way to do this is to get a study guide that covers all the objectives and read it. When looking for a study guide, it’s often valuable to see what others are saying about it, such as on Amazon reviews.  Some people are able to learn the objectives on their own with website searches, but this isn’t as common.
  • Take practice questions. A key step when preparing for any certification exam is to make sure you can answer the exam questions. Yes, you need the knowledge but you also need the ability to read a question and select the correct answer. This often takes practice. When using practice test questions, ensure they have explanations.
  • Read and understand the explanations. When preparing, you should ensure you know why the correct answers are correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. This will help you accurately interpret the questions on the live exam, and answer them correctly. The explanations provide this information and are worded to help you answer similar questions correctly.

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide (SY0-401)

The 401 Version of the Study Guide is Now Available

SY0-401 Study GuideThe CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide is an update to the top-selling SY0-201 and SY0-301 study guides, which have helped thousands of readers pass the exam the first time they took it.

CompTIA Authorized Quality Content (CAQC)After a comprehensive review by ProCert Labs, the SY0-401 version has been certified as CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) and covers every aspect of the SY0-401 exam.

It includes the same elements readers raved about in the previous two versions.

Each of the eleven chapters presents topics in an easy to understand manner and includes real-world examples of security principles in action.

You’ll understand the important and relevant security topics for the Security+ exam, without being overloaded with unnecessary details. Additionally, each chapter includes a comprehensive review section to help you focus on what’s important.


Click for Free Preview


Over 400 realistic practice test questions with in-depth explanations will help you test your comprehension and readiness for the exam. The book includes:

  • A 100 question pre-test
  • A 100 question post-test
  • Practice test questions at the end of every chapter.

Each practice test question includes a detailed explanation to help you understand the content and the reasoning behind the question. You’ll be ready to take and pass the exam the first time you take it.

If you plan to pursue any of the advanced security certifications, this guide will also help you lay a solid foundation of security knowledge. Learn this material, and you’ll be a step ahead for other exams. This SY0-401 study guide is for any IT or security professional interested in advancing in their field, and a must read for anyone striving to master the basics of IT security.

Kindle edition also available.

Use All of the Materials

It’s also important to use all the materials you have available to you.

People that fail often haven’t taken the time to ensure they are prepared. Sometimes, they simply don’t study the materials they have.

As an example, I recently received the following email.

“I took the test this morning. I was scoring 90% on your online test but only scored a 730 on the test. Not sure when the last time you updated the questions but it was only about 40% close the the actual questions on he test. I’m gonna study for another month and try it again… :-(“

On the surface, it sounds like this person did take the steps to prepare. However, looking at his online scores, here’s what I saw:

scores

Note that the quiz history only recorded three quizzes, each taken only once, and not a single one had a passing score.

Admittedly, some of the legacy online quizzes aren’t recorded so he might have been getting over 90% on some of the quizzes. However, he didn’t take all of the quizzes, missing the 32 performance-based questions in Set 10, and the 40 multiple-choice questions in the Extras quiz bank.

In my feedback, I encouraged him to check out this FAQ:

“Am I Ready?”

Among other things, the FAQ encourages people to use all the materials so that they see questions such as the following question that we recently added.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

SYO-401 Practice Test Questions Now Available

Over 440 realistic Security+ practice test questions

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

Pass the Security+ Exam

the First Time You Take It

Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Learn mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. Use this if you want to make sure that you see all of the questions. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Test mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - 100 random questions. View 100 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 100 multiple choice questions. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

 SYO-401 Practice Test Questions Now Available


INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions


So, can you answer this question?

Q. Your organization recently updated an online application employees use to log in when working from home. Employees enter their username and password into the application from their smartphone and the application logs their location using GPS. What type of authentication is being used?

A. One-factor

B. Dual-factor

C. Something you are

D. Somewhere you are

If you weren’t prepared, you might jump on GPS and think this has something to do with somewhere you are or dual-factor authentication. However, if you are prepared, you know how to dissect the question and get the correct answer.

A is correct. This is using one-factor authentication – something you know. The application uses your username for identification and your password for authentication. Note that even though the application is logging your location using Global Positioning System (GPS), there isn’t any indication that it is using this information for authentication. It could simply be using it for auditing purposes.

B is incorrect. Dual-factor authentication requires another factor of authentication. If the application verified you were logging in from a specific GPS location, it would be dual-factor authentication (something you know and somewhere you are).

C is incorrect. Something you are refers to biometric authentication methods.

D is incorrect. The somewhere you are authentication method verifies you are somewhere such as in a specific GPS location, using an IP address from a specific location, or using a specific computer.

See Chapter 1 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on authentication.

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CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

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