Testing Day

This is the reason you have studied all this time, to take the test and PASS. Ensure that you have the local Pearson VUE helpdesk number for CompTIA online testing stored on your phone, just in case you need it.

Run the System Test

At least two hours before you test, you need to run another system test.

Read the Exam Policy and have the correct ID ready

Review the exam policies and ensure that you have the correct form of identification.
Before entering the testing site, make sure that you are prepared to adhere to the following policy requirements:

  • No books or notes near the desktop.
  • No dual monitor install. Remove it and place it in another room.
  • Ensure you have a phone that the proctor can ring you on. Later on, they will ask you to put it out of reach.
  • No coat or jacket
  • No watch
  • No headset

You do not want to study right up until the time to check into your exam. Your study should have finished the day before. If you do not know it by now, then last-minute cramming will not help you.

Exam Format

The exam can be up to 90 questions in a 90-minute period. The maximum score is 900, and you must score 750 (83.33%) to pass.

Checking In

You will be told to check in 30 mins before your test starts. If your exam is at 11.30am, you should book in at 11.00am. If you check in too early, the screen will go white, and your exam will not start.
If English is not your native language, be sure to inform the proctor. They should give you an extension of 30 minutes.
The proctor will give you some instructions that will include showing them your ID and taking pictures of your surroundings.
An online chat box will appear. If you cannot hear your proctor, or they cannot hear you, ask them to call you.

Taking the Test

Once your exam has downloaded, and your proctor is happy, your test will begin. You will first receive between three and six Performance-Based Questions, followed by the expected multiple-choice questions which comprise the main assessment. If you have any problems such as the exam freezing or a question interface not working, inform the proctor by microphone or the chat. If the exam freezes, ring the customer service desk.
The first questions that you will see will be Performance-Based Questions. The question format will either be drag-and-drop, choose an option from a drop-down menu, or type into the interface. They all have four or five areas to answer and are worth more than the normal questions, but they are proportional. All that happens here is that your knowledge is tested.

If you find any of the questions daunting, you can flag them for review. On the top left-hand corner of the screen is the remaining time; underneath this is an option to flag for review. If you are going to flag a question, do not attempt to answer it.


Flag for Review

Remember as you go through the test that, though you have limited time, 60 seconds is long enough to read a question twice. If you know the answer, then take it on. If you feel uncertain about it, then flag for review. Bag as many questions as you can and leave the difficult ones to the end. Taking them on at this early stage will only lose you time. If you have done well with the remainder of the exam, you may feel more confident and find that answering them at the review screen is easier.

1/82 29:00
1 testing

This item has not been answered


When you get to the last question, it will take you to the Review screen. You cannot leave the exam by answering ‘yes’ twice.
When you go to the review screen, you will see a blue box for the items you have flagged. You will also see your remaining time. If you did not answer a question, it will have a blue box with some red writing which will show the number of questions still to be answered. In the figure above, you can see two have been flagged, but it only shows 1/82. This means that you have placed an answer against the other question.
As soon as you get into the review screen, quickly count the number of blue boxes you have flagged and look at the remaining time. Remember, you can get 13 questions wrong and still pass.
Click on the question number or blue box, and the flagged question will appear. You need to adopt the following strategy:

Testing – follow these guidelines

  • Read the questions carefully.
  • Rule out the wrong answers
  • Narrow down to a 50-50 choice, then re-read the finer details to make it 60-40
  • Pick the BEST or MOST LIKELY options if there is more than one correct answer.
  • Select the answer for the question being asked

You may find yourself forgetting things or struggling to make decisive answer choices due to test anxiety. When this happens, you may find that the process of elimination can help you narrow down your choices. For instance, say you are faced with a difficult question for which there are four possible answer choices. Even if you cannot immediately tell which is the correct answer, the chances are that you at least know one or two which are definitely incorrect. From there, a quick review of your knowledge and the question itself should help you make your choice. It’s much easier to make a decision between two choices than four.

End Review

When you have reviewed your exam, check that you have no blue boxes, then select ‘end review’ in the bottom left-hand corner. Never go back through your questions because you may doubt yourself. The last thing you want is to talk yourself out of a passing grade by letting your nerves convince you that previously chosen correct answers are actually the wrong ones. In this instance, you should ignore your schoolteacher’s advice and not re-read the entire paper if you have the time. This is only likely to reduce your chances of certification.

After End Review

Do not panic. You will be given about 12 marketing questions asking for your age, gender, etc. On completion, you will see your first Security+ badge. Don’t panic. It will say something like “thank you for your review”. When you press next, milliseconds later another Security+ exam badge will appear. Look underneath. If you see CONGRATULATIONS then you are certified. Anything else is a bonus.
Ian Neil wishes you the very best of luck becoming certified and chasing your dream.