Failed Again – How Can I Pass

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I recently received an email from Moe* complaining about the CompTIA Security+ exam. He closed with “I am honestly heartbroken… what do I do?”

Six Steps To Pass Security+

Jaena, one of my assistants, answered. She gave some advice that I’ve provided in the past for people using the online materials.


When people tell Darril that they’ve failed after using the materials on the site, he typically sees one (or more) of the following issues:
– They didn’t use all the materials.
– They didn’t get the recommended scores of 90% on all the materials.
– They memorized the questions and answers.

Darril encourages you to check out the “How to Pass” section on the Member Home page (the landing page after you log on) for key steps to take when studying.

It includes six steps and Darril encourages you to read it (and follow the advice).

Step 1 is to Use all the materials.

Step 2 aims to Get scores of at least 90% on all the quizzes.

Step 3 is highly relevant.
Memorizing questions and answers is not a path to success.

Step 4 is Read the explanations.

Step 5 tells you why this is so important.
Ideally, you should be able to look at any practice test question and not only know why the correct answers are correct but also why the incorrect answers are incorrect. This gives you the best chance of accurately interpreting the questions on the live exam no matter how CompTIA words them.

Step 6 gives you a way to evaluate your progress and see if you are ready.


Many people have told me that they passed the exam by following those six steps.

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide

The 501 Version of the Study Guide

The CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide is an update to the top-selling SY0-201, SY0-301, and SY0-401 study guides, which have helped thousands of readers pass the exam the first time they took it.  It includes the same elements readers raved about in the previous three 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.



Over 300 realistic practice test questions with in-depth explanations will help you test your comprehension and readiness for the exam. The book includes:

  • A 75 question pre-test
  • A 75 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 SY0-501 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.

If I Fail Your Practice Tests, Will I Pass the Live Exam

Because Moe sounded so distraught, I looked at his quiz history to see if there was anything else we could point out to him.

The answer was obvious.

– He didn’t use all the materials.

As an example, we have five sets of extra questions in the package he bought. However, he only took one set which included only 20 of the extra questions.

– He didn’t get the recommended scores of 90% on all the materials.

As one of many examples, he took the Test Your Readiness quiz (a random set of 75 questions) once, scoring only 62%.

This reminded me of the fictitious question I wrote about in this post:

If I fail all of your practice tests,
will I still be able to pass the Security+ exam?

– He likely memorized the questions and answers.

As an example, he took one quiz twice in the same day. His first score was 67%. He immediately took the quiz again, finishing 15 questions in six minutes. This equates to about 24 seconds per question.

That’s enough time for someone to pick the correct answer for questions they just saw. However, 24 seconds isn’t enough time for most people to review all the answers and remind themselves why the correct answers are correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

Full Security+ Course

SY0-501 Full Security+ Course

Helping you Pass the First Time

Online access includes all of the content from the

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including information on the number of questions, test duration, passing score, types of questions and more. Also includes a listing of the exam objectives)
  • 75 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Identity and Access Management (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Network Technologies and Tools (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Comparing Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Common Attacks (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Protecting Against Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Using Risk Management Tools (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Controls to Protect Assets (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography and PKI (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Policies to Mitigate Risks (full content from Chapter 11 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • 75 question post-assessment exam
  • Glossary

Get the SY0-501 Full Security+ Course Here


Test your readiness with these quality materials

Random 75-question tests

Random practice tests from the all of the practice test questions in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

3 sets Performance-based Questions

Three new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 30 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

Flashcard Set

  • 494 Online Security+ Glossary Flashcards
  • 222 Online Security+ Acronyms Flashcards
  • 223 Online Security+ Remember This Slide from the popular CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

Audio - SY0-501 Security+ Remember This Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over one hour and 20 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Audio - SY0-501 Security+ Question and Answer Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over two hours hour and 53 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Bonus #1

Audio from the end of chapter reviews from each of the chapters in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. Over one hour and 40 minutes of additional audio.

Bonus #2

Access to all of the online content that is available for free to anyone that purchases the CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. This includes labs, extra practice test questions, and supplementary materials

Bonus #3 

Access the study materials for a total of 60 days because sometimes life happens.

Get the SY0-501 Full Security+ Course Here

Additionally, his quiz history showed that he only took quizzes on five days, and only over eight days total. For most people, this isn’t enough time to absorb the material.

 You can’t hire someone to do your pushups. 

– Jim Rohn

Failed Again - How Can I Pass Pushups Picture

Self Evaluation

With this in mind, I tried to get Moe to do some self-evaluation. I asked him to honestly answer the following questions for himself:

  • Did you use all the materials?
  • Did you get the recommended scores of 90% on all the materials?
  • Did you use study practices that encourage a healthy mind to memorize the questions and answers?

Unfortunately, Moe chose not to address these questions. Instead, he  wrote:

Again I am not asking for help with the information I need help in understanding how to comprehend what CompTia questions are asking bc overall this is my 5th CompTia test My 5th failure.

My attempt to encourage self-evaluation failed.

I’ve been here before. It’s apparent to me what Moe can do to increase his score and pass the exam. However, it’s not necessarily easy to get Moe to hear this. Maybe he’ll read this blog post.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

SY0-501 Practice Test Questions 

Over 300 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 - 75 random questions. View 75 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 75 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 SY0-501 Practice Test Questions Here

 SY0-501 Practice Test Questions


INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Three sets of performance-based questions including over 30 questions. These questions show you what you can expect in the live exam. They include drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions. See a demo here.

Bonus - Extra Practice Test Questions

New multiple-choice questions in the extra test bank. Questions are added occasionally. You can see what has been added recently here.

Get the full bank of Security+ (SYO-501) Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Click here if you're looking for SY0-501 Full Study Package

Three Habits of Success

Successful people typically develop the following three habits:

  • Figure out what works and keep doing it.
  • Figure out what doesn’t work and stop.
  • Try new things.

Unfortunately, some people are unable to recognize what isn’t working and they are unwilling to try new things.

Here are some additional blog posts that Moe might like to read:

English Comprehension and Security+


How to Fail the Security+ Exam


How to Pass a Certification Exam


Why Some People Pass Security and Others Fail

* Moe isn’t the actual name of this person.

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CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

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