Organizations’ network systems are becoming increasingly more complex. With the expansion of the cloud, an increase in the number of employees working from home, growth in the number and diversity of devices being used, and new and ongoing security threats, networking professionals need to be both knowledgeable and have well-developed problem-solving skills.
A career in IT networking can be extremely rewarding. Many networking professionals report that their jobs are interesting because their work is different each day. They also feel respected because their companies appreciate their work and offer them competitive salaries. The Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report shows that more than three-quarters of IT professionals surveyed feel secure in their positions, making an IT career even more attractive.
For those interested in a career in IT networking, the CompTIA Network+ certification is an excellent choice. It validates that an individual has the necessary fundamental skills to configure, manage, and troubleshoot their organization’s network. Network+ is vendor-neutral, so the skills covered by this certification can be applied regardless of the hardware and software used. Companies such as Apple, Dell, Ricoh, and Verizon, rely on the Network+ certification to demonstrate that their networking specialists can perform their jobs well.
The Network+ certification confirms that the holder not only knows the terms and concepts used but is also prepared to apply this knowledge in real-world situations. It was developed by CompTIA (the Computing Technology Industry Association) and is regularly updated to address current networking technologies, including critical security concepts, cloud computing and virtualization best practices, and working with the latest hardware.
Because Network+ is a DoD Approved 8570 Baseline Certification and meets DoD 8140/8570 training requirements, it’s also beneficial if you work for or plan to work for a contractor or entity of the U.S. Department of Defense – including military and defense agencies – that provides cybersecurity functional services for DoD information.
If you are ready to pursue this certification, Global Knowledge is here to help. Earning a Network+ certification is not easy, but with proper preparation, focused training, and practice, you will achieve it and deliver rewarding results in your job and career.
Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for and pass the Network+ exam.
Tip #1: Know What Information is Covered in the Network+ Exam
To prepare effectively it is critical that you understand what you are preparing for, so the first thing you will want to do is know what you can expect to see on the Network+ exam. By understanding what the certification tests, you can determine if it is the right exam for you. Reviewing the topics covered will also let you identify what you know well, what areas require additional study, and how much time you might need to prepare. You can download the full list of objectives from CompTIA here.
Each area of the exam is defined as a “domain.” Here is a list of the domains included in the Network+ exam, as well as the percentages of each domain that make up the test:
- Networking Concepts 23%
- Infrastructure 18%
- Network Operations 17%
- Network Security 20%
- Network Troubleshooting and Tools 22%
Tip #2: Determine Your Strengths & Weaknesses with Practice Tests
Practice tests can help you throughout the preparation process. By accurately gauging your preparedness, you can assess where you are at the beginning of your review and monitor progress as you continue. Comparing your knowledge against the list of topics in the CompTIA Network+ exam objectives will let you see what areas you know and what areas could use more review.
Another benefit to taking a practice test is that it will familiarize you with what you can expect from the actual test. Earning a Network+ certification requires more than just theoretical and factual knowledge. In addition to multiple-choice and drag-and-drop questions, the exam includes performance-based questions (PBQs), which will test your ability to apply these skills in a simulated environment. Though these questions can be challenging, successfully responding to them also confirms that you can put your skills to use to support an actual working network system.
Pro tip: Even when taking practice exams, treat them like the real one. Get a good night’s sleep, eat well, and take it at the same time you’ll take the official exam. Develop an exam routine. Nothing new on exam day!
Tip #3: Get Help to Strengthen Your Weak Spots
After taking a practice test, you will now be able to identify the areas that you do know well and those that you do not. You now need to fill this knowledge gap. One of the best ways to do this is with through a formal training course.
When choosing a Network+ course, make sure that it is through a CompTIA-authorized training provider.
This ensures that you are:
- Working with a training company that has been vetted and continually audited by CompTIA.
- Learning from an expert instructor with experience in the field. They are a great resource to leverage to understand the exam’s multiple-choice questions and for the more challenging performance-based questions.
- Receiving the latest information, exam objectives, best practices, and approved courseware and labs.
Global Knowledge is an award-winning CompTIA Platinum Partner and our Network+ prep course is available in virtual live-streaming and on-demand delivery formats, so that you can choose the structure that best fits your learning style and schedule.
Tip #4: Prepare for the Exam
Once you have completed the course, take time to review the materials. Pay particular attention to those areas that were less familiar to you. You cannot bring any reference materials with you into the exam, so you should study until you are confident that you know the material.
Make a plan of action. Ask yourself these questions:
- How much time will I need to review the areas that I do not know as well?
- Which of the materials that I have will help me the most and how can I most efficiently reexamine them?
Practice the concepts that you have learned until you feel comfortable. Review the key terms and go through all of the labs included with the course you completed. This will help you to be as prepared as possible for the multiple-choice, drag and drop, and performance-based questions.
Study the acronyms in the Network+ exam objectives carefully. These may appear on the test without being written out and without explanation. If you do not know the acronyms well, it will be difficult to understand what is being asked or what the possible responses mean.
If you have the opportunity, take some time to actually build or set-up a network. This will further strengthen the skills you will need for the PBQs.
Once you feel ready, it is time to schedule the exam. The CompTIA Network+ exam is administered by Pearson VUE and can be taken either in-person or online. You can register for the exam, as well as reschedule it should you have a conflict, on the Pearson VUE website.
On the night before the exam, get plenty of rest. You will want to be alert in order to do your best.
Want more exam tips?
Tip #5: Sit for the Exam
As you begin the exam, take a breath and remind yourself to read each question carefully. Some of the questions are worded in a way that can be confusing and you do not want to answer a question incorrectly due to a reading error.
Pay special attention to capitalized words or phrases. These are key items and focusing on them can help you to accurately interpret what the question is asking. Additionally, several questions will likely ask you to select the best response. In these cases, more than one response could be correct. You want to read all of them to confirm that you are not just choosing a valid answer, but that you are selecting the best response.
The Network+ exam is timed. You will be allotted 90 minutes to complete it, but you can skip and return to any questions you choose. Some test takers like to go through the questions in order, while others prefer to start with selected questions and go back to the rest. You can begin with the questions you find easiest and then tackle the more difficult ones, start with the hardest ones and get them out of the way. Or go through the questions in order. The choice is yours.
You can also change your responses, so if you have time left at the end you should review your answers to make sure that they are correct. Another benefit to going back over the test is that some questions may offer hints to the answer to other questions. Reviewing your selections allows you to use any clues found to make certain that you have answered all of the questions properly.
Once your time is up or you are confident that you are done, it is time to submit your responses and receive your results. Your responses will be tabulated immediately. A score of 720 or higher (on a scale of 100-900) is needed to pass. After your exam is scored and you have passed, you will receive a confirmation of your accomplishment, have the option of receiving a physical copy of your certification, and be entitled to showcase your certification on LinkedIn and in your list of certifications earned.
Bonus Tip: Once you Pass
Take a big sigh of relief, jump and up down and reflect on your hard work paying off. You should be proud. You have reached your goal of achieving the Network+ certification!
- Thank those who supported you in your preparation.
- Decide if you will add the certification in your email signature.
- Add the certification to your resume.
- Put into practice what you have learned (if you haven’t already).
As a Network+ certified professional, you have signaled to your team and employer that you validated your understanding of IT networks. You have the hands-on practical skills to configure, manage, and troubleshoot your organization’s network and have a strong baseline certification on which other certifications can be stacked. A recommend certification to pursue next is the CompTIA Security+. Regardless of the next step that you decide to take, you are well-positioned to advance as an IT expert.