Do you know about the SY0-401 Security+ beta questions that are appearing in the SY0-301 Security+ exam?
Lately, I’m hearing from a lot of people saying that they are seeing questions that seem like they’re completely out of the blue. None of the materials they studied covered any of the questions, which has had them a little confused.
Worse, they’ve sometimes seen so many of these questions that they start to think they’ll fail the exam.
SY0-401 Coming in Spring of 2014
Many people have been querying me about the new Security+ exam (SY0-401) coming out soon. Here’s some information you might find valuable:
- First, the SY0-401 exam isn’t officially out and isn’t scheduled to go live until Spring of 2014.
- The current version (SY0-301) will likely remain available for at least six months after the new SY0-401 exam comes out.
- If you pass the current version, you are Security+ certified even after the new SY0-401 exam comes out.
- You can access the new objectives from the CompTIA site by clicking on the “See what the exam covers” link and registering.
- CompTIA announced the SY0-401 version will be live in May 2014
- You can view the new objectives here
- The SY0-301 version will remain available until the end of the year – December 31, 2014
Security+ Beta Questions Not Graded
CompTIA uses Security+ beta questions for testing. If everyone gets the question correct, the question is too easy. If everyone gets the question incorrect, the question is too difficult. They determine a question is valid using some predetermined metric between these two extremes.
The good news is that beta questions aren’t graded. The bad news is that you do not know what questions are beta questions so you have to answer each question as if it’s a valid question.
CompTIA has been adding these questions as beta questions on the current version of the SY0-301 exam to test questions for the SY0-401 exam.
That’s right, you’ll see 401 questions on the 301 exam. In other words, these are questions based of the 401 objectives that are not covered by the 301 objectives. They did the same thing when testing questions for the SY0-301 exam while the SY0-201 exam was live.
Almost all test vendors test questions this way so it isn’t anything new. However, it can be a little disconcerting when you see five or more questions that look completely foreign to you.
Security+ Beta Questions Examples
As an example, several readers have recently asked me about bollards. Bollards are physical security barricades and refer directly to this SY0-401 objective:
2.7 Compare and contrast physical security and environmental controls.
- Physical security
Similarly, several people have asked me questions about protocols and OSI layers. The OSI model is not include in the SY0-301 objectives. However, the following objective in the SY0-401 exam specifically mentions OSI:
1.4 Given a scenario, implement common protocols and services.
- OSI relevance
Don’t Panic with Security+ Beta Questions
With all this in mind, if you come across a question on the exam that isn’t familiar at all to you, don’t panic. It may indeed be a beta question. And of course, the good news is that beta questions aren’t graded.
Then again, if the first 50 questions don’t look familiar, feel free to start panicking. It could be that you weren’t studying the right material and you’ll have another opportunity to take the exam in the future. With that in mind, make sure you read up on the new Security+ performance based questions before taking the exam.