You can now start Ian Neil’s Study-Self Guide:

Ian Neil’s Self Study Method to Prepare for the CompTIA Security+ 601 exam

I train soldiers and corporate customers on the Security+ exam 40 week per year. I want to certify people to help then gain career advancement. This is a requirement for the DOD 8570 compliance.
The Security+ 601 exam rotates its questions on a random basis, and therefore no question bank is sufficient for practice or preparation if it is not combined with a solid understanding of the concepts behind them. You need two things to pass the exam:

  • A good knowledge base as the questions can be vague
  • A good analytical ability

You need to decide how long you are going to take to prepare for the examination and set a timetable accordingly. Do not keep pushing everything back – be positive and achieve.

This Study Guide

I have written this guide to help people that cannot afford to purchase expensive courses or boot camps. It is a 12-week course based on the 12 chapters in my book, one chapter is covered each week, in addition to free videos and labs from third parties. The whole cost of the study material is less than $35 – the price of a single book purchase.


Remember: Knowledge answers questions. Questions are the application of that knowledge, but do not necessarily increase your knowledge.
For this reason, the recommended preparatory approach is to combine a thorough study of my book, Ian Neil SYO-601 Certification Guide, with Professor Messer’s fantastic video tutorials to give you the best possible chance of success in your exam. The URLs for these resources are:
Ian Neil’s book,
Professor Messer’s video

Stage 1 – Read A Book

This certification guide is based on the Ian Neil SYO-601 Certification Guide. It was written using the same concepts and jargon as that the test uses itself, using the examples and analogies that I use to teach, presented in a simple, straightforward format for the exclusive purposes of certification exam preparation. It is neither a study nor reference guide and should not be used as such.
As you go through the book, highlight the most important information and, when completing the end of chapter open questions, use a blank sheet of paper to write down the topics that you are uncertain of. Open questions are more difficult because you really need to understand the topic being tested. Anything that you cannot answer thoroughly, will need you to go back and review in the book.

Stage 2 – Watch a Video

Video tutorials such as Professor Messer Videos are a great starting point if you have little to no knowledge of Security+, but they often do not go deep enough for certification prep on their own. For this reason, although these may serve well as an introduction, this book is a more dependable choice as the foundation of your exam prep.

Stage 3 – Labs

There are labs and exercises in most chapters, but these are optional and have been carefully selected to reflect topics that will be tested. Other labs are good after you get certified to hone your skills, that is why these tasks are optional.

Key Elements

Key elements for each chapter are laid out in the right-hand side of each chapter’s guide. Once you have completed Stages 1 – 3, go through each of these and highlight those that you are comfortable with. Alternatively, any that you cannot highlight, return to the relevant chapter in the book and read over once again.

Analytical Ability

You now need to put the information that you have learned to the test. The first stage is to complete all of the flashcards and tasks on my website

Multiple Choice Questions

All questions in the exam will be either multiple choice or drag and drop. When taking multiple choice questions, follow these instructions:

Read the questions carefully before selecting your answers
Rule out the wrong answers

(50-50). If you are left with two answer and still struggle to choose between them, re-read the question very carefully. Pay particular attention to the finer details and ask yourself once more what it is you’re looking for in the correct answer. One of these answers should better address these points than the other.
Very large question. You need to read each paragraph and say to yourself is this a statement or a question, remember answering the question gets you the points
Screenshot. When you get a question that include visual elements such as screenshots, the best practice is to ignore the question and visual elements and move directly to the answers. Take each answer in turn and look at the visual element to see if there is one sentence, word, or phrase in the visual element that makes it the answer. For example, if I see SQLi in an answer choice, I will look for 1=1, if I find it then I know that it is the answer. Similarly, if I see HTML tags <script> and </script> then I know that it is XSS.

Double/Second Guess
Change Answers
Re-read the entire test.
Practice Tests

When completing practice tests, keep a sheet of blank paper with you so you can write down any topics you may need to review. After completing the test look at each solution, no matter if you got it right or wrong. Look back at the question and identify the words or phrases that relate to the solution. This means that you are learning the concept.

By following this method, you are improving your knowledge before paying out $392 for an exam voucher. Good practice tests can be found at the following sites: