CompTIA online testing has been available for awhile now. This allows you take CompTIA exams from the comfort of your home. I recently took the SY0-601 exam and found the experience rather seamless. If you’re planning to take a CompTIA online exam, here are some things you can expect.
You can schedule your exam on the Pearson Vue site here. Careful though. Pearson Vue has changed some policies and you may be delayed.
I tried to schedule the exam about a month and a half ago but after going through all the steps, it gave an error message. Apparently, I had two profiles. I knew about one, which I logged on to, but I didn’t know the details of the other one. I asked for help and was repeatedly asked to give the details of both profiles so that they could be merged.
Even after the profile issue was fixed, the only available appointment times that fit my schedule was about two weeks away. This may have been due to backlog from the holidays.
When scheduling the exam, you’ll need to test your system. You’re prompted to download the testing engine and start it.
You’ll need to have your web cam and mic connected and enabled. The test engine will verify you have a fast enough Internet connection, the mic is enabled, and the web cam is enabled.
Next, it verifies that you don’t have any other apps running. While I already closed all running applications, it notified me that it couldn’t start because of a couple of background processes. However, even after giving it permission to stop them, it reported it was unable to do so. I launched Task Manager and closed them manually.
After checking the system, you can then pick an available day and time for the exam. You can pay full price for the exam, or buy a voucher with a 10% discount. This page shows how to get the discount.
What to Expect on Test Day
You’re asked to check-in about 30 minutes before your appointment by logging into your Pearson Vue account and clicking Check In. When you start the check-in process, you’re led through the system checks again. As long as you use the same system on test day that you used when scheduling the exam, this should be easy.
It’s best to have a smartphone that can take pictures. The app sent a text message with a link that led me through the next steps, such as taking a picture of me, my identification, and the testing environment. Without a smartphone, these steps may be a little more challenging.
After completing this, I refreshed the browser. A message indicated someone was checking everything and it may take as long as 15 minutes. It also said I must stay in the webcam view or the test would be revoked.
During the Exam
During the exam, there are some very specific rules you need to follow. If you violate any of the rules, the proctor can stop the exam, and your voucher will be spent. Some of the rules are:
- No bathroom breaks. If you leave the webcam view, the test is over.
- No note taking. You’re not allowed to take notes for any reason.
- No one can talk to you. If anyone is heard, the proctor can end the exam.
- You can’t talk to anyone. One person told me he was warned by the proctor that he needed to stop putting his hand over his mouth.
It was seamless for me. The proctor never spoke or chatted to me at all.
After the exam
After completing the exam, it prompts you to complete a survey. It’s only after you complete the survey that you’ll see your score.
It showed me that I passed and gave me my score. However, it didn’t display an exam score report.
After some digging, I found that it is available by logging onto your Pearson Vue account and clicking on View Score Reports from the Dashboard. It’s on the right side under My Account.
A Little About SY0-601
You can expect a maximum of 90 questions on the exam. I had 82 with 3 performance-based questions.
I took my own advice and skipped the performance-based questions. After completing the multiple-choice questions, I had plenty of time to go back to them and review about a dozen of multiple-choice questions that I flagged.
Know the Acronyms
One thing that stood out as I was taking the exam was the number of acronyms used in the questions and answers. If you know what the acronyms mean, answering these questions is trivial. If you don’t know what the acronyms means, the questions will likely be quite challenging.
When taking practice test questions, I encourage you to say the words instead of the acronym. As an example, if an answer is CASB, don’t read it as CASB. Instead, read it as Cloud Access Security Broker.
In all of the SY0-601 practice test questions I’ve created, you’ll find these acronyms spelled out and explained.