Network+ certification: Exam strategies, Part 2

Before you begin to study specific components of exam, it is always good to get a general feel for the exam first. This tip provides some exam strategies to help with taking the CompTIA Network+ certification test.

Before you begin to study specific components of exam, it is always good to get a general feel for the exam first.

The exam is a 90 minute, 85 question test with no intermediate break or multiple components (unlike the A+ examinations). It is also not adaptive (again, unlike the A+ exam), which we will cover later. It covers a wide range of material, but this material is conceptual and practical, unlike the "all-practical, real-world" questions from the Microsoft exams. The exam is graded and scored instantly on a scale of 100 - 900; as soon as you complete the test, you will receive your score and report, complete with a description on the questions you missed and how you can improve.

The Network+ exam is no different than the myriad of exams you might have taken throughout your high school, college, and professional career. In fact, you will probably find it far easier than the exams that you had taken before. The choices for the exam are such that for any given question, you can typically eliminate one or even two bogus choices and find yourself faced with at worst a coin-flip. Some of the questions do not require analytical thinking, and the ones that do require such thinking are typically not exceedingly difficult.

Strategies while taking the CompTIA Network+ exam
The majority of the CompTIA Network+ exam features questions with four answer choices and a single correct answer. Some questions require you to choose more than one answer, but these are generally few and far between. The first thing you should always do is to carefully read the question, glance over the answer choices, and then read the question again. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of reading the question carefully. The exam is not ambiguous or akin to your college lit exam – it is a precise and exact measurement of your skills. So, do not try to "contest" the exam while taking it – trust me, it is more likely that you are mistaken than it is that the exam question is in error. Instead, look for some common traps like the ones I have listed below:

  • False acronyms/names: CompTIA loves to add choices like "ipconfiguration" instead of "ipconfig" or "OS2" instead of "OSI"
  • Unrealistic or "Leap of Faith" answers: the answer will almost never be that your company should "rewire the entire network" or "upgrade every computer to the latest operating system, install all patches, and throw away old machines"
  • Irrelevant Choices: these are more difficult to spot, but are often included as choices that address/fix a different problem than the one being tested
  • Incorrect terminology usage: sometimes, CompTIA will throw in a choice that "sounds right" but is not technically correct

For questions that require more than one answer choice, the process is simple: consider all choices individually, independently of each other, for their correctness and feasibility.

Candidate elimination
For questions involving a single answer choice, however, you are blessed with the ability to evaluate the choices and "eliminate" impossible ones. For example, consider the question below:
You need to implement a domain server on your corporate network that Windows 98 clients can connect to. Which of the following is the most viable and easily applicable option for OS on the server?

A. Mac OS X
B. Windows 98 SE
C. Windows 2000 Server
D. Linux with SAMBA

Of course, you probably haven't studied this component of the Network+ exam yet. But, you should be able to eliminate a few obviously incorrect choices. For example, choice A would be an obvious candidate for elimination because of the fact that Windows 98 is specified as the client operating system. In addition, choice D should seem unreasonable, because Linux would certainly not be easy to implement on an all-Windows network. You are left with choices B and C in this case, and the answer should seem rather obvious C. Remember that answer choice candidate elimination is your best friend on the Network+ examination!

Use all the time you need!
The CompTIA Network+ exam is not adaptive, meaning that the exam does not adjust question difficulty as you complete the exam according to the ratio of correct answers that you achieve. Rather, the exam is "traditional" in that you can answer a question or even skip it entirely, and then come back later to work on the question. This is favorable for you as a test-taker for two reasons: first, it allows you to work on easier questions first, which is something you should always do (as a general rule of thumb, don't spend longer than two or three minutes on any given question), and second, it allows you to review later exam material to see if you can glean any information from later questions and answer choices. Use your time wisely - take advantage of the information found in later answer choices, and always skip questions that seem to difficult or involved. Using these testing strategies, you should be on your way to passing the CompTIA Network+ exam with flying colors.

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ProProfs Comptia A+ Certification School
ProProfs Free Online Network+ Certification School provides free study aids for the Network+ exam such as study guides, practice exams and practice questions. ProProfs online learning center for Comptia Network+ exam is located at: http://www.ProProfs.com/certification/comptia/network-plus/index.shtml

This was first published in September 2006

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