How to Pass the CompTIA PenTest+ Certification Exam - MedCerts

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How to Pass the CompTIA PenTest+ Certification Exam

The field of Ethical Hacking is rapidly expanding, with an impressive projection of 700,000 open cybersecurity jobs available across the United States.

This surge is part of a broader trend in cybersecurity, where the demand for skilled professionals, like Ethical Hackers, is expected to grow by 32% over the next decade.

Known also as “Penetration Testers” or “Pentesters”, these cybersecurity professionals play a crucial role in identifying and addressing security vulnerabilities. They proactively test and uncover security gaps within various organizations, spanning all industries.

The CompTIA PenTest+ certification is a crucial milestone for cybersecurity workers, particularly those at an intermediate skill level focusing on the practical aspects of penetration testing.

Are you preparing to add the CompTIA PenTest+ to your repertoire of professional certifications? Here's what you need to know to ace the exam on the first try.

What Is the CompTIA PenTest Exam?

The CompTIA PenTest+ exam is a comprehensive test that ensures candidates are well-equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform effective penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.

The exam certifies that candidates have the skills to plan, scope and execute a penetration testing engagement. It validates abilities in vulnerability scanning, legal and compliance requirements and effectively communicating remediation techniques.

The PenTest+ certification is beneficial for roles such as penetration testers, vulnerability analysts and security consultants. It aligns with the NICE/NIST Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NCWF) v2.0.

CompTIA PenTest+ Prerequisites For Eligibility

To be well-prepared for the CompTIA PenTest+ exam, candidates are advised to have prior knowledge and experience.

  • While there are no strict prerequisites for taking the PenTest+ exam, it's expected that candidates have experience equivalent to what is gained through the CompTIA Security+ certification.

  • Candidates should also have at least 3-4 years of direct, hands-on experience in information security or a closely related field.

CompTIA PenTest Exam Objectives & Section Breakdown

The PenTest certification exam consists of a maximum of 85 questions and includes performance-based and multiple-choice questions. The allotted time for the exam is 165 minutes. You must achieve a passing score of 750 on a scale of 100-900.

See sample CompTIA PenTest+ practice questions.

Exam Section

Percent of Exam

1.0 Planning and Scoping


2.0 Information Gathering and Vulnerability Scanning


3.0 Attacks and Exploits


4.0 Reporting and Communication


5.0 Tools and Code Analysis


The CompTIA PenTest+ certification exam (PT0-002) is structured into five key domains, each focusing on different aspects of penetration testing. Below is an overview of each domain, along with example content requirements.

Check out the complete CompTIA PenTest+ content outline for more information.

Section I: Planning and Scoping

This section evaluates the candidate's ability to understand and apply various governance, risk and compliance concepts.

It includes:

  • Understanding regulatory compliance (like PCI DSS, GDPR)

  • Legal concepts (SLAs, NDAs)

  • Standards/methodologies (MITRE ATT&CK, OWASP)

  • Defining and adhering to the scope of engagement

  • Environmental factors and legal/ethical risks

Section II: Information Gathering and Vulnerability Scanning

Candidates are tested on their skills in gathering information and scanning for vulnerabilities. This includes:

  • Passive and active reconnaissance techniques

  • Using tools for DNS lookups

  • Social media scraping


  • Vulnerability scanning

  • Selection and application of appropriate scanning methods and tools

  • Analysis of scanning results

Section III: Attacks and Exploits

This domain focuses on the practical aspects of performing various types of attacks.

It includes:

  • Network and wireless attacks (like ARP poisoning and password attacks)

  • Application-based attacks (addressing OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities)

  • Cloud-based attacks

  • Specialized system attacks, including those on mobile and IoT devices

  • Social engineering or physical attacks

Section IV: Reporting and Communication

In this section, candidates must showcase their ability to effectively communicate during the penetration testing process and to write comprehensive reports.

This includes:

  • Creating reports with executive summaries, findings and remediation recommendations

  • Communication triggers and paths during testing

  • Post-report activities like client acceptance and lessons

Section V: Tools and Code Analysis

This final section assesses the candidate's understanding of scripting and software development basics, particularly as they apply to penetration testing.

It involves:

  • Analyzing exploit code

  • Use cases of various tools during different phases of a penetration test

  • Recognizing opportunities for automation.

  • Scanners

  • Credential testing tools

  • Debuggers

  • Tools for OSINT

  • Wireless testing

  • Web application analysis

How To Register For the CompTIA PenTest+

Once you're confident you meet the CompTIA PenTest+ requirements, it's time to register for the exam. To register, you must first purchase an exam voucher. The exam voucher cost is $392 (however this fee is included within tuition for MedCerts students).

Step 1: Create a CompTIA Account

Go to the CompTIA website. Create a CompTIA account—this will be your portal for exam registration and accessing resources.

Step 2: Choose Your Testing Option

Decide whether you want to take the exam online or at a testing center. CompTIA offers both Pearson VUE online testing and in-person testing at authorized Pearson VUE testing centers.

Step 3: Purchase an Exam Voucher

Purchase an exam voucher from the CompTIA Store for $392. This voucher is necessary to register for the exam. Be aware of the voucher's expiration date—schedule and take your exam before this date. For all students of MedCerts’ online CompTIA PenTest+ certification training course, the cost of this voucher is included within tuition fees.

Step 4: Schedule Your Exam

Once you have your voucher, schedule your exam through the Pearson VUE website. You'll need to create a Pearson VUE account if you don't have one. During scheduling, you will be asked to enter the voucher code as payment for the exam.

You will receive your exam results immediately upon completion. If you pass, you'll receive your CompTIA PenTest+ certification, which is valid for three years.

Set Yourself Up For Success: Take An Online CompTIA PenTest Certification Course

MedCerts offers an Online CompTIA PenTest+ (Plus) Certification Training program tailored to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the CompTIA PenTest+ exam and a career in cybersecurity.

Here's how MedCerts' online CompTIA PenTest+ Certification course sets you up for success:

Industry Alignment

The PenTest+ certification aligns 100% with the NICE/NIST Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NCWF) v2.0, making it highly relevant and recognized in the industry.

MedCerts' program focuses on developing critical skills in:

  • Planning and Scoping

  • Information Gathering & Vulnerability Identification

  • Attacks & Exploits

  • Penetration Testing Tools

  • Reporting & Communication.

You'll learn to test devices in hybrid environments, including cloud and mobile, alongside traditional desktops and servers.

Expert-Led Training

MedCerts employs knowledgeable instructors who provide expert guidance and insights into the cybersecurity field. The course includes 3D animations, immersive environments, interactive activities and game-based learning, making the learning process engaging and effective.

Flexibility and Support

With on-demand access 24/7, the program offers the flexibility to learn at your own pace and according to your schedule. You can access personal advisors for support via text, call and email, ensuring you have the guidance needed throughout your learning journey.

CompTIA PenTest Exam FAQs

How much does the CompTIA PenTest+ cost?

You can purchase an exam voucher from the CompTIA Store for $392. Alternatively, the cost of the voucher is included in tuition for all MedCerts students that take the online CompTIA PenTest+ certification training course.

What jobs can you get with the CompTIA PenTest+ Certification?

Holding a CompTIA PenTest+ Certification opens doors to several vital roles in the cybersecurity field, each with its unique responsibilities and estimated salary ranges. Here are some of the jobs you can pursue with this certification:

  • Penetration Tester/Vulnerability Analyst - Penetration Testers are responsible for probing and exploiting security vulnerabilities. The salary for Penetration Testers/Vulnerability Analysts typically ranges from $82,000 to $120,000.

  • Incident Analyst - Incident Analysts play a crucial role in managing IT-related incidents, such as service interruptions, quality reductions, or potential impacts on customer services. Incident Analysts can expect to earn between $68,000 and $105,000.

  • Cybersecurity Analyst - Cybersecurity Analysts focus on monitoring, controlling and maintaining systems to protect the security of large databases. The salary range for Cybersecurity Analysts is typically between $72,000 and $97,000.

What is the average CompTIA PenTest+ salary?

In the United States, the average salary for individuals with CompTIA PenTest+ certification typically ranges from approximately $70,000 to $100,000 per year.

What are the CompTIA PenTest+ requirements for eligibility?

It's recommended that candidates have foundational knowledge equivalent to what is covered in the CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certifications.

CompTIA also advises candidates to have at least 3-4 years of hands-on experience in information security or related roles.

How do you renew your CompTIA PenTest+ certification?

To renew your CompTIA PenTest+ certification, participate in CompTIA's Continuing Education (CE) program, which requires you to earn 60 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) within three years.

These CEUs can be accumulated through activities such as attending workshops, completing relevant courses, earning higher certifications, or publishing articles in the cybersecurity field.

Once you've earned the necessary CEUs, upload them to your CompTIA certification account and pay the CE maintenance fee.

Ready To Give Your Career A Boost?

Take your first step towards a rewarding and dynamic career in cybersecurity.

Begin your journey today by enrolling in MedCerts' comprehensive 3-week online CompTIA PenTest+ certification program, meticulously designed to prepare you for the CompTIA PenTest+ certification.

Enroll now and transform your passion for technology and security into a thriving career.

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Published on January 4, 2024