CompTIA Network+ Exam: Preparation Tips, Costs, and Insights

Taylor Karl
/ Categories: Resources, Modern Workplace
CompTIA Network+ Exam: Preparation Tips, Costs, and Insights 1117 0

CompTIA Network+ is a professional certification that covers the essential principles for network infrastructure and is designed for IT professionals who work or plan to work in a network-related role. It is all about developing a strong foundation in networking, and because it is vendor-neutral, it provides professionals flexibility in their career paths.

Many in the IT field consider the CompTIA Network+ the first networking-specific certification you should earn as an IT professional if you want to specialize your career in network administration and support. To achieve this certification, you just must pass the CompTIA Network+ exam.

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Understanding the CompTIA Network+ Exam

CompTIA Network+ offers you a well-rounded understanding of networking concepts, making you more versatile in various IT roles. The certification positions you for roles related to small to medium-sized networks, which are prevalent in many organizations.

One of the reasons CompTIA Network+ certifications are so universally respected is that they are updated regularly to align with current industry standards and technologies. This credential shows potential employers that you’re committed to staying updated with industry standards and technologies, which enhances your competitiveness in the job market.

To pass the exam, you’ll need to answer questions related to troubleshooting skills and security awareness and exhibit familiarity with networking models (e.g., OSI and TCP/IP), IP addressing, and subnetting. These are all considered impactful skills in real-world networking scenarios.

CompTIA Network+ Exam Details

Exam Eligibility and Registration

Officially, there are no prerequisites, but it is recommended you have the CompTIA A+ certification or equivalent knowledge, plus nine to twelve months of networking experience. Practical hands-on experience with networking equipment and technologies complements the theoretical knowledge you gain in the CompTIA Network+ course.

Whether you have on-the-job experience or not, CompTIA Network+ is ideal for those who already have a basic understanding of IT and networking. It's particularly beneficial for individuals aiming to specialize in network support or administration. CompTIA Network+ doesn’t develop a networking skill set, rather, it develops the vocabulary you need to work in a networking role.

Study Duration and Preparation Tips

Different people require different amounts of time to prepare for this exam. It all depends on your experience level and how much time you can dedicate to studying. If you have ample on-the-job experience in networking, you will require less time to get ready. If you’re not sure whether you have the necessary training or knowledge to take the exam, it might be worth obtaining the CompTIA A+ certification first.

If you are new to networking concepts, we recommend you take an instructor-led course, such as our CompTIA Network+ offering. Our course uses official CompTIA study materials, including study guides and practice tests, and the latest information on exam objectives and content to stay current. Third-party materials can complement these resources, but you need a deep engagement with the study materials for a thorough understanding of the subject matter.

Practical experience is highly beneficial, and engaging in lab work or simulations can greatly enhance your comprehension. Passing the exam requires not only knowing the terms and definitions but also understanding how to apply them in practical scenarios.

Exam Format and Structure

The CompTIA Network+ exam is 90 minutes long and has, at most, 90 questions. These include a combination of multiple-choice questions, drag-and-drop activities, and performance-based items. Questions cover the following topics:

  • OSI and TCP/IP Models.
  • Properties of network traffic.
  • Installing and configuring switched networks.
  • Configuring IP networks.
  • Installing and configuring routed networks.
  • Configuring and monitoring ports and protocols.
  • Explaining application and storage issues.
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting networks.
  • Explaining attacks and mitigations.
  • Installing and configuring security devices.
  • Explaining authentication and access controls.
  • Deploying and troubleshooting cabling solutions.
  • Implementing and troubleshooting wireless technologies.
  • Compare and contrast WAN technologies.
  • Using remote access methods.
  • Identifying site policies and best practices.

To pass the exam, you must earn a passing score of at least 720. You can take it in person or online through Pearson VUE. A link to the online testing requirements with Pearson VUE is available here: Pearson VUE Online Testing Guide.

Understanding the Difficulty Level

If you put in the time to study and learn the subject matter, the Network+ exam shouldn’t be too difficult. Of course, the more you familiarize yourself with the curriculum and exam format through practice tests and simulations, the easier it will be.

Though it is considered an entry-level exam, if you don’t have previous experience in IT or networking, you may have questions related to the challenging areas in the course, such as mastering IP addressing or other domains and their practical applications.

How Long Does It Take to Get Certified?

It varies per individual, but on average, it takes about 10-12 weeks of dedicated study. This can be longer if you are new to networking or shorter if you have some networking experience or prior knowledge in the field. Once you’ve completed the exam, it will take five business days for your CompTIA web record to be updated with your exam results. If you passed, you will then be able to download your PDF certificate and should receive your paper certificate within eight weeks of passing the exam.

CompTIA does not offer free or discounted retake exams, which means you will pay the same price each time you attempt the exam. There is no waiting period between the first and second attempt to pass the exam; only before the third or any subsequent attempt is there a mandatory waiting period of at least 14 calendar days from the date of the last attempt.

Maintaining Your Certification

The IT industry changes rapidly, and part of the reason CompTIA certifications are in such high demand is that they are constantly updated to reflect new trends, technologies, and skills. The Network+ certification expires three years from the date you pass the exam, and you must renew it before the expiration date.

Recertification is important because it shows that you have the most up-to-date networking skills and knowledge are current. To qualify for recertification, you are required to complete 30 CEUs within the three-year period following your certification. You can accumulate CEUs by attending an approved training or educational activity (one CEU = one hour of training).

Exam Tips

To help you prepare for the Network+ exam, we asked our subject matter experts for their best study tips and exam strategies to help you prepare.

  • Carefully read the entire question and all answers.
  • Pace yourself so you do not need to guess at the end.
  • Only change an answer if you realize you made a mistake, had an “Ah-Hah” moment, or if a question answers a previous question.
  • Trust your gut if you’re stuck between two answers.
  • Answer every single exam question.
  • Eliminate obviously incorrect answers.
  • Space out your studying to give your brain time to absorb what you’ve learned.
  • There are no trick questions.
  • Try reading the questions and answering them before looking at any of the choices.

Beware of distractors, which are answers designed to distract you from the correct answer. If you don’t remember ever seeing a term used in one of the answers listed, that is probably a distractor. Conversely, there are times you can weed out familiar answers that do not make sense for the question you are answering. If that is the case, it is very likely that the answer with the term that you don’t recognize is the correct one.

Conclusion

CompTIA has issued over 2 million IT certifications worldwide and can open doors to new positions. If you’re unsure of what direction to take your career in IT, you can combine Network+ with additional certifications, experience, or education that can significantly improve your job prospects.

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