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Overall, I found this exam was moderately hard for me. I don’t have any background in either networking or in security but I can confirm that neither is pre-requisite for this exam even though ComTIA says show. I started my preparation since December 2015 with Professor Messer’s video. I spent about an hour daily for over a month. Then someone suggested me to purchase Darril Gibson’s study guide. I spent 2 weeks on Darril’s book which enormously helped me to understand CIA and overall Security +. I took all chapter exams and assessment from Darril’s book and got over 97% then I felt like I’m now ready take the exam. But then one of my friend suggested to spend some time to study David Prowse cert guide to well prepare. I purchased David’s book and started taking exam and assessment but I could not get over 60%. But after few weeks of preparation I was able to pull it over 85% on David as well. I purchased Darril’s Practice Test Questions book as well which I got 99% in every chapter in first attempt. Darril’s book is one of the easiest book to understand, Thanks Darril for making your book’s content such a nice and simple to understand for student like me and many others. I registered for the exam few weeks ago for April 23rd. I then started researching on lesson learned from others. Many people were talking about Brain Dumps, I also went ahead and gave a try, but sad enough it was waste of time. Because, first, the answers are not 100% accurate (I only tried 7 questions from unknown brain dump) and there is no guarantee that they will show up in the real exam. I moved on from brain dumps crap, absolute useless and waste of time, seriously. I had few days left for the exam, I researched more for preparation. I downloaded CompTIA security + objectives and went through each of the topic. I was absolutely comfortable with all the objectives. I started reading people experiences about the exam. Several of them highly recommended Darril’s premium site for performance based questions. I was like how much money I’m gonna spend on Darril I already have two of his books and got 99%. But I went ahead and spent another $39.99 anyway , I paid gcgapremium online access 24 hours before the exam. In a few attempts, I was able to get 90% in PB questions. I was confident that I could get 100% next time but I did not bother to retake it as I wanted to have little relax time before the exam. I went to the exam location 2 hours earlier to make sure that I’ve everything they need and no issue to sit in the exam. I then went to Walmart and purchased $5 ear plugs just in case. I’m one of those who easily get distracted But it really worth during the exam. My heart started pounding like I’m gonna have a heart attack , I could even hear my heart beat. I logged in for the exam, time started kicked in (top right corner), and that was a big distractor . I completely avoided looking at the timer and started my exam. I was welcomed with 6 PB questions, and guess what? 4 of them were nearly identical as gcga premium site. I answered 4 of the PB questions, but flagged the 2 of them. I continued with the other questions. I was like what the hell is this? where are the questions that I prepared for the exam? I do not remember how many questions were there but I can tell you 90% of questions required your understanding on the subject. I used educated guess on those questions, but, still, I flagged 4 of them, very hard. When I finished the last question, I continued clicking Next, rather than checking the flagged questions, oops… shit happens I know. I was done 15 minutes early and had 2 PB questions 4 other questions to complete. I called for assistance, the guy looked at it and he told me that my exam is over he can’t do anything. I was like there is no way I’ll let my money go without completing the exam because I had no hope that I could pass. I had some hope on those flagged questions. The guy asked me to complete the survey (which comes after you complete the exam) and notify him so he can call Pearson VUE and CompTIA to troubleshoot my issue. I completed the survey and welcomed new screen with CONGRATULATION you have passed the exam. I immediately told the guy not to call anyone and thanked him for his assistance. I got 89%, I was like OMG… I’m so happy it’s now over. Here are my suggestions for those who are as worried as I was: 1. Highly recommend of studying Darril Gibson’s “Security + Get Certified Get Ahead SY0-401 Study Guide”. One of the well written and well organized Security + book. 2. Recommend to study David Prowse Cert Guide for additional resource. David explains topics very differently than Darril does. It helps you to have broader understanding on security topics. 3. Optional, Darril Gibson’s Practice Test Questions book, Contains over 300 question. 4. Highly recommend of buying GCGAPremium site for performance based questions, and other practice questions. 5. Don’t spend your valuable time on brain dump. You know and I know that the answers are not 100% correct, and there is no guarantee that you will get those questions in exam. 6. Download CompTIA Security + objectives and go over each topic until you feel comfortable. 7. Keep in mind that what works is your understanding on the subject, but not how much questions you answered correctly from the book or from online. Learn it until you feel comfortable, if you don’t understand it search Youtube video. 8. Spend your time reading book but not watching videos. What I regret is the time that I spent watching professor messer video without reading any books or comptia security + objectives. I wasted one and half month watching those videos. His video really works once you have an idea of CIA, use his site for additional resource, great guy. I could not use his video in right time. 9. If I’m able to pass it without any network or security experience you can do it too. Don’t stop reading, practice every day.
Btw, other than 6 PB questions, most of the other questions were scenario based. There were maybe one or two questions with one line, rests were 6-7 line stories with A – F answers list (I mean A-F, not A-D). Few related to ports (Kerberos, DNS, and LDAPS), lots of questions on Malware (PHISHING, RootKit, Pharming), several questions on Risk management, and cryptography. I did not get any questions on quantitive risk management (ALE or ARO stuff), private or public IP, and subnetting, which I was well prepared for. I can’t remember the exact questions, like I said I was having heart attack during the exam. I was so scared, don’t know why. But again there were 0 questions that were similar to what Darril, David Prowse, or any internet web sites that I used for practice. Wish you all good luck! Happy reading!
Congratulations on the pass Anil, Great comments.
Good luck with your next adventure.
Hi Darell, Just curious if you come across a question that you are unsure of, should you skip it or guess? Would you lose points for not answering a question just like you got it wrong?
Check out the mini-FAQ on this page: https://blogs.getcertifiedgetahead.com/5-success-tips-for-security/
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