Yes, you can pass the Security+ certification. Many times I hear from people asking if they can pass the Security+ SY0-501 exam and earn the Security+ certification. My answer is almost always a hearty yes, but I also spend some time telling them how. If you were thinking of pursuing this, you might want to know how you can earn the certification. If you’ve been working with computers for a while (and most people have), this is achievable. And when you have you’ll find that it often opens up doors of opportunity for you.
First, there are no prerequisites except for some money to pay for the voucher. The voucher is $302 though you can sometimes find discounted vouchers. For example, GetCertified4Less often has discounted vouchers. Sometimes they’re just a little cheaper, and sometimes they are a lot cheaper.
Beware of some unscrupulous people selling vouchers on eBay. Some have sold bogus voucher numbers that aren’t valid and the buyers have lost their money. However, some people have had success this way too.
CompTIA recommends the following:
- A minimum of 2 years’ experience in IT administration with a focus on security
- Day to day technical information security experience
- Broad knowledge of security concerns and implementation including the topics listed in the Security+ objectives
- 1.0 Network Security (21% of exam)
- 2.0 Compliance and Operational Security (18% of exam)
- 3.0 Threats and Vulnerabilities (21% of exam)
- 4.0 Application, Data and Host Security (16% of exam)
- 5.0 Access Control and Identity Management (13% of exam)
- 6.0 Cryptography (11% of exam)
Master Security+ Performance Based Questions Video
What Should You Study?
Many people have used the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide to study for this exam. If you take a look at the reviews on Amazon you can see that over 85 people have given it five star reviews after using to take and pass the Security+ exam the first time they tried.
Some people with technical backgrounds have posted that they read the book over the weekend and took and passed the exam on Monday. I’m impressed that anyone could read that many pages over the weekend and I’m not in that category. However, it does give an idea of how the book has been able to fill in the right knowledge gaps for people so that they could quickly pass the exam.
Similarly, I’ve taught many classes with this book in a Monday through Friday daytime setting and people have taken and passed the exam on Friday afternoon or Sunday morning.
This blog includes multiple pages on Security+ you can check out too.
Are There Any Practice Test Questions?
The CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide includes over 300 practice test questions in it. This includes practice test question in a pre-assessment, after the end of each chapter, and a post assessment at the end.
I recommend the study guide as the primary study source but if you’ve already been studying from another source and want to test your readiness with some practice test questions, you might like to check out one of these sources.
If you use any practice test questions you should ensure that they have explanations. In my experience, I’ve noticed that practice test questions without explanations often aren’t the best quality and include incorrect answers. I have taught students that have memorized the incorrect answers to these types of practice test questions and they had a hard time unlearning the faulty knowledge they hammered into their head.
Also, you should take the time to ensure you know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. Ideally, you should be able look at any question and be able to identify the correct answer knowing why it is correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. This way, you’ll be prepared to correctly answer the questions no matter how they are worded.
How Long Will It Take To Get Ready?
Exactly 64, 800 minutes.
That might sound like a better answer than “it depends” but “it depends” is a more realistic answer. In truth, it depends on what your background knowledge is, how much time you have to study, and how determined you are to stick to a study schedule.
However, here’s a formula that works. Pick a day 45 days from today and set a goal. For example, it might be February 19th and your goal will be:
- I will take and pass the Security+ exam by midnight on February 19th.
- Repeat that goal to yourself every day between now and February 19th and start taking action to make it happen.
- Buy a book such as the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide and spend time studying it every day.
- If something doesn’t come clear, post a question to a public forum such as at TechExams.net where friendly people are willing to help you achieve your goal
- Buy a voucher and schedule the exam at a Pearson Vue testing center as soon as you can. You can reschedule later if you have to but when you’re scheduled, you’re more likely to follow through.
By the way, 64,800 minutes works out to 45 days.
If you follow these steps, you’ll join the thousands of people before you that have become Security+ certified. Other people have done this. You can too.
Other Security+ Study Resources
- Security+ blogs organized by categories
- Security+ blogs with free practice test questions
- Security+ blogs on new performance-based questions
- Mobile Apps: Apps for mobile devices running iOS or Android
- Audio Files: Learn by listening with over 6 hours of audio on Security+ topics
- Flashcards: 494 Security+ glossary flashcards, 222 Security+ acronyms flashcards and 223 Remember This slides
- Quality Practice Test Questions: Over 300 quality Security+ practice test questions with full explanations
- Full Security+ Study Packages: Quality practice test questions, audio, and Flashcards
If you want to take and pass the Security+ SY0-501 exam and earn the Security+ certification, these steps can help you do so. The key is to take action now to get started.
25 thoughts on “You Can Pass the Security+ Certification”
Hi Darril, I know this is an old post but was wondering about the “mobile apps” option you mention for studying for the test? What apps are available or what should I be searching for? I tried the obvious but not pulling anything up. I’m on an iPhone.
Go to the AppStore and search for LearnZapp.
Would you recommend getting the Security+ (SY0-401) Study Guide and the Security+ Practice Test Questions books? Thanks!
If you’re pursuing the Security+ certification, I recommend getting the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. Some people get the test questions book, but the questions are the same (just organized a little differently). The test questions book is best for people that have studied other sources and want another source for practice test questions.
Today I passed Security+ exams after studying your study guide & using your practice tests. It is a great resource for anyone preparing for Security+ exam. Thank you!
Congrats on the pass,DK. Great to hear the study guide and practice tests helped.
Good luck with your next adventure.
I just passed the SYO-401 without any Computer background and no IT experience. I just studied hard.
I am now trying to get a job with this Certification. Will I be able to get a job with the certification and what position(s) should I be looking for?
Congratulations on the pass.
> Will I be able to get a job
> with the certification…?
Check out this blog post
> … without any Computer background and no IT experience…
> … what position(s) should I be looking for?
I would suggest any IT job that will allow you to build up some experience.
I am looking into IT field as I love computers. How would I even begin to get certified and what would I need to do to get into the security+ part of it? Do I need to take other certifications before I try for security+? I guess what I am asking for is guidance.
> How would I even begin to get certified and what would I need to do to
> get into the security+ part of it?
1. Decide to do so.
2. Set a goal to get the certification.
> Do I need to take other certifications before I try for security+?
Check out this post for what’s required and what’s recommended.
It includes links to other relevant posts.
> I guess what I am asking for is guidance.
If you don’t, you may just think back to this day a year from now wondering how the time got away from you.
Two years ago I graduated with an Elec. Engineering Tech. degree. Since then, I have not been working in IT. I’m currently an electronics tech doing calibration and repair of testing equipment. I’m thinking about a career change to cyber security, and I think a certification will help.
I purchased a set of modules from CompTIA for over $100 which are supposed to help you memorize the information. After mastering the modules, I took a practice exam and didn’t recognize half of the questions. I’m fine with spending money on education, but I would like to get a reasonable return for my money.
Can you give me an idea what I should do for the best chance of passing the exam? I’d also like to know if my degree is right for a security position. Any info you can give me would be appreciated.
Check out these posts:
I just took the COMPTIA Sys 401 yesterday and failed with a 730. I studied the material you recommended. I feel that I will pass the second time. However, I didn’t purchase the retake when I bought the voucher. Any suggestion on what I should do. I have to pass for my job.
Sorry to hear you didn’t pass. The good news is that at 730, you are close. You are probably only missing it by one or two questions.
I recommend you review this post: Reject Rejection.
If you have the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide, compare your test printout with the objective map at the beginning so that can review the areas you’re weak on.
The online software doesn’t record all your activity, but it records some. I see that the best score you received on the extra test questions was 6% and the best score you received on Set 10 of the Performance-based Questions was 73%.
A passing score of 750 on the live exam equates to about 83%. That said, I’d spend more time with the practice test questions until you are scoring at least a passing score of 83%.
While a passing score is useful, it isn’t the only measure.
The most important goal is to understand why the correct answers are correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. This way you’ll have a much better chance of interpreting the live questions and answering them correctly no matter how CompTIA words them.
And, you can get 10% off the voucher by following the directions on this page.
I am working as a Lead SOX Auditor in American Express (India) from last 2 yeras. I do audits for Business unit security administrator. I had recently done iso 27001 certification. Will Security+ certification give an edge to my CV? Can u also recommend me some certifications that will help.
Note: I am from commerce background and have done BBA but after my graduation my interest is developed in IT sector and now i want to grow in this sector.
Sorry, but I’m not a good source of information for job requirements in India.
In general, all organizations value employees with strong IT security knowledge and the Security+ validates this. In that sense, it will add value to your CV. Further, it is a valuable certification to build a strong foundation in IT security.
If i apply for a job outide india after doing security+, do i get good opportunities?
Yes. I would suggest you take some time to think about what you really want.
thanks Darril. this really helps.
I needed to obtain this certification for a new job, and after studying your book for a little over two weeks, I passed the exam yesterday. I do not have a background in networking, let alone network security. With only taking a couple classes in college 3-4 years ago and working as an IT systems analyst for the past 3 years, this seemed like an impossible task to pass this test in less than a month’s preparation. But your study guide was easy to follow and kept me motivated to learn the material. Thanks for creating such a great study guide!
Congratulations on the pass Ben. It’s a tough exam but great to hear that the study guide helped you. Thanks for the kind words.
Studied using your study guide and practice test books for two weeks and passed today. Thanks for your help! This is actually my second time passing Security +. I passed in 2007 but had to retake it for the CE version due to my job. I have been in security roles off and on since 2006, but your materials were a great refresher! Thanks again!
Congratulations on the pass Sean. Glad to hear the the study guide and practice tests helped.