5 Performance-based Questions Tips

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If you’re getting ready to take an exam (such as the Security+ exam) that has performance-based questions, these 5 performance-based question tips might help you. They are:5 Tips for Performance-based Questions

  • Tip 1 – Don’t sweat them
  • Tip 2 – Skip them
  • Tip 3 – Understand them
  • Tip 4 – Reset them
  • Tip 5 – Prepare for them

Tip 1 – Don’t Sweat Them

It’s common for people to be nervous when thinking about these performance-based test questions. However, the majority of people who take the test say that these questions really aren’t that difficult. As long as you understand the concepts from the exam objectives, you won’t have any problem.

I do recommend you check out the posts on performance-based questions that I’ve posted here: Security+ Performance Based Questions. It’s worth your time to read comments from other readers too.

Also, you’ll see these questions first when you take the exam. However, you don’t necessarily have to answer them first. See Performance-based Question Tip #2.

Tip 2 – Skip Them

You’ll see the performance-based questions first and they take much longer than typical multiple-choice questions. If the answer is clear to you, then by all means, take the time to answer it.

However, if the question isn’t clear, mark the question and skip it. You can come back to it later. It’s entirely possible that the question is a poorly worded beta question that doesn’t even count. If you spend 45 minutes on it, you might run out of time before you finish the multiple choice questions.

I hear from many people that these questions don’t stump them, simply because they expected them, and understood them. See Performance-based Question Tip #3.

Tip 3 – Understand Them

These really aren’t mysterious. Instead, they’re just a different way to test your knowledge. Some of the questions you see might be one of the following:

  • Matching
  • Drag and Drop
  • Data Entry

Matching – Performance Based Questions

In a matching performance-based question, you will see two lists and need to match them.

As a simple example, one list might include several protocols and the other list might include several protocol numbers as shown in the following graphic.

Matching Items Security+ Performance Based Question

You would need to match the correct protocol numbers with each protocol.

If you know the protocols and ports listed in Table 3.1 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide 401 Performance Based Questions, this becomes trivial. Then again, if you don’t know which ports go with which protocols, this can be quite difficult.

Drag and Drop – Performance Based Questions

In some questions, you might need to drag items from one location on the screen to another location to answer a question. You can think of these as multiple-choice questions with multiple answers that are correct. However, instead of selecting the check boxes to indicate a correct answer, you drag it to somewhere else on the screen.

Here are examples from the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide 401 Performance Based Questions:

Chapter 2 provides a scenario with several locations and devices, and lists several security controls used to secure the locations. You’re asked to drag and drop the appropriate controls to the appropriate location or device.

Chapter 11 presents a scenario related to forensics, and then asks you to arrange an out-of-order list of data based on volatility.

Data Entry – Performance Based Questions

Some performance-based questions might ask you to analyze a scenario and then enter appropriate data. For example, Chapter 4 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide 401 Performance Based Questions discusses the configuration of wireless access points and wireless routers. A related question might ask you to configure an access point to work with WPA2 Enterprise mode. The Configuring a Wireless Router Lab mentioned in Chapter 4 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide and available online shows you the steps to do this. Similarly, I wrote a series of blog articles on creating rules for routers and firewalls. The second post showed an example of a performance-based question and the last post provided the solution.

You can read the posts here:

Tip 4 – Reset Them

Performance-based questions have occasionally caused problems for the testing computers. A common problem is that instead of displaying the question, the screen is mostly blank.

If this happens, you can often just use the reset button for the question. This allows you to move past the problem and continue with the test. However, resetting the question erases any answer you’ve entered. So make sure you come back to the question at some point.

Also, if this type of problem prevents you from answering the question at all, make sure you let the proctor know, but only after you’ve answered all the other questions.

Tip 5 – Prepare for Them

Some online practice test questions provide examples that help you prepare. For example, the Get Certified Get Ahead premium site includes seven sets of simulated performance-based questions, specifically designed to help people prepare for these questions. If you want to see a sample, check out this page.

Want to know what to do on your Security+ exam day? Read these 5 Success Tips for Security+.

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