What is new in latest CompTIA Network+ exam pattern?

Certification: CompTIA CompTIA Network+ - CompTIA Network+


Exams are known to follow a given pattern. That pattern includes certain types of question, certain levels of difficulty, number of questions, length of time, scope, and scoring logic. An exam should be predicable, so candidates know how to prepare for it, to learn its patterns and scoring logic. Doing so, will permit the candidate to obtain the best score he is able to.

About the Net+ exam

The CompTIA Network+ is a certification exam for the associate-level network technician. Big companies like Dell or HP have a little red line in their job requirements that specifically mention this little piece of paper.  CompTIA prides itself on being a frontrunner in providing certifications and training for Network Technicians, and this shows both in their international renown, and power of their certifications. The exam itself is about 100 questions, lasting no more than 1 ½ hours. The score range from 100 to 900 with 720 being the magic pass score. It can be taken in a multitude of language such as: English, Japanese, German, Simplified and Traditional Chinese (these refer to the type of characters), Korean and Spanish. Each attempt costs about $240. It has 5 big topics, each with its own 2-page-wroth of sub-topics. The exam topics, as well as their percentage value of the exam is as follows: Network Concepts (21%) ; Network Installation and Configuration (23%); Network Media and Topologies (17%); Network Management (20%); Network Security (19%). A detailed overview of the topics can be found here. However you shouldn’t feel pressured by the sheer amount of content. Most of those questions are fairly simple, and again, they usually have multiple choices you need to pick out of. In case you forget a specific wording or name, you will usually find it written.

Exam pattern and question type

The 100 questions are separated in the following 3 types of questions: Multiple Choice with single answer, Multiple Choice with Multiple answers (the number of answers required is specified), and “fill in the blanks” type of question. The multiple choice questions usually have 4 or 5 choices, most of the time one of them being somewhat obviously wrong. The whole test is taken on the computer, so be sure to look out for any typos on the “fill in the blanks” type of questions. The result is given immediately upon finish.

The topic of the questions meet the standard CompTIA Network+ topics curriculum, and are questions both purely theoretical, such as “Which layer is the presentation layer?” or may even contain an actual job request, such as “An owner of a shop wants his clients to be able to connect to the network from inside the shop but not outside... what’s his main concern?”; or other types of scenarios that go something like “The network administrator of…wants…what/how…?”.  The scenarios themselves are not usually difficult, yet they may sometimes be tricky to get, as, at first glance, there may be more than one choice that fits the basic needs.  If this happens, try to think of all other possible needs that may come out of the scenario. You may realize that in fact the customer wants a password protection as well, or that he’d likely be interested in the cheaper products. When reading the scenarios, it may be beneficial that you note, or otherwise mark any keywords that may help in isolating the needs of your costumer.

Again, pay attention to the missing word questions. The word written must be exact. You probably won’t have any major problems, and the exam will usually specify if the words are case-sensitive or not.

The questions, range in difficulty from easy to hard, with no really over-extreme items. You will be expected to know detailed specs of some hardware, but not complex security problems and attacks.

What is new from all this?

The latest version of the N10-005 exam was released as of Dec. 1st, 3 years ago in 2011. It hasn’t changed since then. The revised objectives of the 2011 revision though, addressed an increase in attention to security and the 7 layer OSI model.

Things to look out for

Like any exam, there may be some problems during the exam, or with the exam questions. Sometimes the questions are either too ambiguous or just plain weird. These are multiple choice questions though, so they will be kept at a minimum. However there may be some questions that may not seem natural. Once those appear, fret not. Instead, think about it logically. Try to deduct what that question wants from you. If you do not feel confident you can guess it, skip it, mark it down somewhere to get back to later, then, once you finish all the other questions, get back to it. You may want, depending on whether the exam deducts points for picking out a wrong answer, to pick out a random option out of those that you think may be.

Listen to your proctor carefully. Usually, they will explain all the details of the exam at the beginning. Even computer-based exams will have some sort of indications at the start of the exam, so read them carefully.

Don’t rush it. If you aren’t in the last of your time, there’s no need to rush it. Try to think out each option individually. Sometimes, if you try to picture it in your mind, some options may feel out of place. If you have some technical knowledge of each product, or at least a mean approximation, you should be able to fish out any outstanding choices.

Conclusion

The exam is pretty straightforward. It will ask you to know technical knowledge and specs, and applied knowledge to be used in fictive scenarios. Their three question types are enough to keep you active yet not reach into the unpredictable. Also, being a multiple choice question dominant exam, you will not have to bother with forgetting some exact specs in the moment. However the best way to ace the exam is to practice. When you practice, you will be able to better familiarize yourself with the question types, better than any can explain them to you.

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