How I studied for CompTIA Network+ N10-008

I recently got certified CompTIA Network+ for the first time back in July. It was something that I wanted to do for awhile now, but kept on putting it off for a bunch of reasons that ultimately just add up to me being lazy. As an extra duty for my current position in the Navy I am a Network Administrator for my department. Part of this duty was attending about two and a half weeks of training. The first week consisted of receiving instruction from a civilian on basic computer networking. The instruction was largely focused on covering the topics needed for Network+ N10-007. The second week and a half was training that was more on the specifics the network layout and maintenance for my department’s LAN. It was an expectation that I obtained the Network+ certification within a year of being assigned to this administrator duty. Well shortly after that my ship went on deployment, and ultimately I just never got around to studying or taking the exam.

In the beginning of June this year I finally decided that I would actually take the time to obtain the cert. Almost exclusively I used the “IT & Cybersecurity Study Prep” app on my phone to prepare for the exam. The app has a number of certifications that it has question banks for, and specifically for Network+ it had 900 questions. For the most part I thought that these questions were great. It had been awhile since I had taken a multiple choice exam, so getting used to the sort of process of elimination mindset when doing multiple choice was good practice. Additionally most of the questions were scenario based, so it wasn’t as simple has just memorizing a definition and easily picking out or deducing the right answer. My favorite part of this app though was that each answer had an explanation of why it was the correct answer and why the other answers were wrong. Since I was intending on using this as my only source of study this proved to be really beneficial in actually comprehending the content. The answers also included page numbers to specific text books if you wanted to read further on the topic. At first I was only doing a small number of questions a day, and chipping my way through the bank. As the days went by I realized I actually wasn’t making the amount of progress that I wanted. I started creating quizzes that were only made up of questions I hadn’t answered yet. Eventually I made it through all 900 questions, and with the stats that the app keeps I could see that I had a number of them that I hadn’t answered correctly. Luckily the app allows you to create quizzes that are made up of just questions that you had gotten wrong. Not much longer I had gotten to the point where I had answered all the questions correctly at least once. At this point I would just create 100 question quizzes from the whole pool and see how long it would take me and how many I got right. Soon I was able to get through 100 questions in about 35-40 minutes and hade about an 85% correct ratio. Feeling pretty confident in myself I purchased a voucher and scheduled an in person exam for the coming weekend.

I’ve always been a nervous test taker, and the day before the scheduled exam I was getting really anxious about it. It had dawned on me that I never actually looked at the objectives posted by CompTIA to see how the exam is structured and what the weighted values were for the topics that make up the test. After looking them up I suddenly became really insecure with the preparation that i had done. In a last ditch effort I searched around for crash course style teaching in order to cram right before the exam. In my searches I found Professor Messer’s Network+ free video course. He has a total of 93 videos which add up to a total of 14 hours and 12 minutes of content. Definitely not cram material for the timeline that I was on. However, since I was familiar with the concepts already, and at this point had been working as an administrator at work for a little while, I felt like I could watch the content at an accelerated pace. So I watched literally all 93 episodes at either 1.5x or 2.0x speed. He talks rather slow in realtime, so the accelerated speeds proved to sound excellent to me. I watched a majority of it the night before the exam, and finished the last hour or so the morning of the exam. Honestly I found all of his videos really useful and full of good content. I especially found his instruction on subnetting to be excellent. The best part of his videos is he breaks them all down into bite-sized videos which cover specifically the topics as laid out by CompTIA’s exam objectives.

The day of the exam I was obviously pretty nervous, but I felt adequately prepared. I don’t know if it was the facility I was at, or just because I didn’t ask, but I didn’t receive any scratch paper or whiteboard which mentally I was preparing to have. The exam started off with performance based questions, which in all honestly I hadn’t prepared for at all. Instead of eating up a bunch of time figuring them out, I skipped them to answer all the multiple choice questions first, and then come back to those at the end. I was able to get through the multiple choice questions relatively fast, and had enough time to go back through them again to double check my answers. Overall the questions were pretty similar to those that the Pocket Prep app that I was using had, but I’d say the ones on the exam were definitely more vague, and many questions had multiple answers that could seem correct. I was able to spend a decent amount of time on the performance based questions in the end, and ultimately I think I did pretty well on them. It was actually kind of funny, but I was mentally doing subnetting for one of those questions and counting on my fingers trying to work my way through the mental table I had in my head. I’m sure the proctor thought that was pretty humorous.

So in the end I passed. It was a very nice feeling. I do feel like I was adequately prepared with the resources that I used. I’m definitely happy that I watched all of Professor Messer’s videos, but I think I would have still passed just based off my preparation with the app (albeit a lower score). Going forward the next cert I wish to obtain is CompTIA’s Security+. I think I will go a similar route for preparing for that one as well, but a little more spread out. I will use the app to take quizzes, and study on a daily basis. With Professor Messer’s videos though I will not be cramming them. I intend on watching them in a much more responsible manner, and taking notes as I progress through them. I feel pretty confident that this method will result in passing the exam on the first go, just like I did with Network+.

Until next time,


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