How to Pass the CompTIA Security+ Certification Exam - MedCerts

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The Ultimate Guide to the CompTIA Security+ Certification Exam 

Technology is an integral part of any organization's infrastructure—and the security of that technology is paramount. That's why more companies than ever are seeking professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to protect their organizations from threats, both internal and external.

In the next ten years alone, cybersecurity jobs are expected to grow by 35%, opening up over 56,000 new jobs in the industry. With the CompTIA Security+ credential, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you're equipped to identify, manage, and secure networks in any organization.

Here's everything you need to know to pass the exam with flying colors on your first try.

What is the CompTIA Security+ exam?

The CompTIA Security+ exam is an entry-level cybersecurity credential offered by CompTIA. More companies prefer it to demonstrate skill and meet DoD 8570 compliance than any other certification.

Passing the exam establishes that a candidate has the knowledge to assess, secure, and respond to security events and incidents. To succeed on the exam, you must know how to:

  • Install and configure systems to secure applications, networks, and devices

  • Perform threat analysis and respond with appropriate mitigation techniques

  • Participate in risk mitigation activities

  • Operate with an awareness of applicable policies, laws, and regulations

Memorizing facts won't cut it on the CompTIA Security+—this exam emphasizes hands-on skills in baseline cybersecurity, so you'll also have to succeed in practical applications of the concepts.

Specifically, candidates should know how to secure software, hardware, and technology systems to ensure network security.

Are there any CompTIA Security+ certification prerequisites?

While there are no formal prerequisite requirements to take the exam, CompTIA recommends two years of experience in IT administration and security. CompTIA has also stated that having a CompTIA Network+ certification is a helpful prerequisite. MedCerts offers courses that help students prep for and pass both the CompTIA Network+ and the CompTIA Security+ exams.

What's on the CompTIA Security Plus exam?

The exam consists of a maximum of 90 questions with 90 minutes to complete the exam, leaving you with roughly one minute per question. Aim for a passing score of 750 out of 900. You'll see two kinds of questions on the CompTIA Security+ exam—multiple-choice and performance-based questions (PBQs).

About the CompTIA Security+ PBQs

PBQs are designed to test knowledge in a real-world setting. On the CompTIA Security+ exam, the only kind of PBQ you'll encounter are simulations.

The simulations are an approximation of environments or tools. For example, examinees may need to configure firewalls or troubleshoot network connectivity. While they allow for multiple response possibilities, they have restricted system functionality, preventing you from straying too far off course in your response.

CompTIA Security+ sections and content

The CompTIA exam covers six domains of knowledge: Threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities; Technologies and tools; Architecture and design; Identity and access management; Risk management; and Cryptography and PKI.

1. Threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities (21% of exam)

The first domain of the exam covers primary security threats and attack vectors, identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities, recognizing the challenges of dealing with social engineering, and understanding mitigation strategies. You should be familiar with topics including:

  • Indicators of compromise

  • Types of malware and attacks

  • Vulnerability scanning concepts

  • Penetration testing concepts

2. Technologies and tools (22% of exam)

The exam's second and most significant section asks you to demonstrate your knowledge of the foundational tech and tools used in a cybersecurity environment. You should be familiar with topics including:

  • Installing and configuring network components

  • Common security issues

  • Securely deploying mobile devices

  • Secure protocols

3. Architecture and design (15% of exam)

The third domain of the exam covers design principles and concepts, such as authentication, access control models, risk management strategies, cryptography components, security policies, and procedures. Candidates will show what they know about topics like:

  • Secure network architecture concepts

  • Secure systems design

  • Staging deployment concepts

  • Security implications of embedded systems

4. Identity and access management (16% of exam)

Preventing attacks starts with managing access to the systems and resources that need protection. This section of the exam covers topics related to user authentication, authorization, and access control models. Candidates should be familiar with the following:

  • Access management concepts

  • Account management practices

  • Configuring identity and access services

5. Risk management (14% of exam)

Risk management is a core element of cybersecurity, and this section of the exam tests your knowledge of risk assessment methodologies, mitigation strategies, and security policies. Candidates should be knowledgeable in:

  • Policies, plans, and procedures related to organizational security

  • Business impact analysis concepts

  • Risk management processes and concepts

  • Basic concepts of forensics

6. Cryptography and PKI (12% of exam)

Finally, the exam covers the fundamentals of modern cryptography, including algorithms, key management, and digital signatures. Candidates should be familiar with topics, such as:

  • Basic concepts of cryptography

  • Cryptography algorithms and their essential characteristics

  • Installing and configuring wireless security settings

  • Implementing key infrastructure

CompTIA Security + acronyms and proposed hardware and software list

In addition to the six knowledge domains, CompTIA publishes a suggested list of acronyms, hardware, and software that may be covered on the exam. Candidates should review this list to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of all possible topics. Some example key terms include:

  • Attribute-Based access control (ABAC)

  • Channel Service Unit (CSU)

  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

  • Equipment, spare parts, and hardware, including VPN concentrator, DLP appliance, and Network access control servers

How to register for the CompTIA Security+ exam

Registration begins by heading over to the CompTIA website, where you'll create an account and log in. From there, you'll be sent to the Pearson VUE site, where you'll select the CompTIA Security+ exam.

Once you select your preferred date and time, you can pay for the exam with a credit card or exam voucher. The exam or voucher cost is $349 (however, for MedCerts students, the exam cost is covered as part of tuition, so no additional payment is needed).

How to prepare: Online CompTIA Security+ Certification Course

If you're a beginner in the field of cybersecurity, the best way to ensure you pass the CompTIA Security+ is by completing a convenient online certification course. In just six weeks, you can earn your Security+ certification with the help of MedCerts' expertly designed, self-paced prep course.

This MedCerts course teaches Security+ concepts from the ground up so that everyone can understand them easily. The interactive course includes video lessons, practice tests, 3D animations, immersive environments, and game-based learning to help you feel prepared and confident in your studies.

Additionally, the course was designed to focus on real-world relevance to ensure that you understand security principles related to real-life scenarios.

The MedCerts tuition advantage makes education possible for all.

Not only does the program include the Security+ exam fee, but MedCerts offers payment plans for all eligible students. Pay in full, or break down your payments into smaller monthly installments. Plus, if you're a veteran, MedCerts' team of dedicated advisors can assist you in taking advantage of special grants and programs to take care of your tuition.

Enrollment is fast and easy.

With no travel requirements to worry about, enrollment and course content is 100% online and on-demand 24/7. Once you complete our simple enrollment process, you can start your first lesson right away.

All your materials are included when you enroll.

Unlike traditional education options, the online CompTIA Security+ course with MedCerts includes all the materials you need to succeed. All textbooks, exam costs, and learning materials are included in your tuition price.

CompTIA Security+ FAQs

Who should take the CompTIA Security+ exam?

The CompTIA Security+ exam is intended for entry-level IT professionals seeking a foundation in security concepts. This includes identity management, network access control, and risk management.

What jobs does the CompTIA Security+ prepare you for?

IT Security Specialist ($30K)

As an IT Security Specialist, you'll hone your networking and administrative skills across operating systems, including Windows, OS X, Unix, or Linux. IT Security specialists can work across a variety of corporate environments and organizations.

IT Security and Network Technician ($40K)

IT Security and Network Technicians are responsible for implementing and monitoring security on networks, applications, and operating systems and responding quickly and effectively to security breaches.

Can I take the CompTIA Security+ exam without experience?

While you technically can take the CompTIA Security+ without experience, it's not recommended. CompTIA suggests a minimum of 2 years of experience in the field of cybersecurity before taking the exam.

How many questions are on the CompTIA Security+?

There are a maximum of 90 questions on the CompTIA Security+ exam.

How long is the CompTIA Security+?

You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam once it begins.

Ready to launch your new career in cybersecurity?

Earning your CompTIA Security+ certification is the first step in gaining the skills you need to launch a successful career in cybersecurity. With MedCerts' self-paced, online course, you can brush up on all the key concepts and be exam ready in as little as six weeks. So take the first step towards starting an exciting career in cybersecurity and enroll in our CompTIA Security+ course today!

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Published on January 3, 2023