How to prepare well for CompTIA Network+ exam?

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First of, congratulations on your interest in the CompTIANetwrok+ exam! CompTIA is a non-profit trade-association that is often called the voice of the IT Industry. It provides training, guides, and certifications to IT personnel worldwide. The CompTIA Network+ certification is the mark of a qualified foundation-level network technician. Job titles of such degree include network administrators, network technicians, network installers, help desk technicians and IT cable installers. Already some companies such as Dell or HP require all their technicians to hold at least this degree upon employment. Being last revised on the 1st December 2011, the exam is a firm and up-to-date accreditation for anyone wishing to enter the IT network industry.

About the exam

The current version of the exam, at code exam code N10-005, addresses virtual networking and, first and foremost, network security and coverage of the seven-layer Open System Interconnection (OSI) model. As CompTIA is an ANSI certified certifier, the COMP TIA Network+ is also included in this accreditation. JK0-019 is the exam-code for any CompTIA Academy Partners.

The exam features a maximum of 100 questions that are either multiple-choice or performance-based. The test itself lasts for about an hour ½, with a score between 100 and 900, 720 being the passing score. The exam can be taken in a multitude of languages, including English, Japanese, German, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.

You can find more information about the exam itself on its main page.

What skills do I need?

As this is a foundation-level certification, do not expect any high level skill requirements. That being said, the examiners recommend having a CompTIA A+ certification and nine months networking experience before attempting the exam, however those are recommended, but not mandatory. The exam itself certifies that the holder has the required skills and knowledge to implement defined network architecture with basic network security, and, furthermore, the examinee will be expected to configure, maintain, and troubleshoot network devices usingappropriate network tools. This also implies an understanding of the purpose and features of some network technologies. The candidates will also be needed to be familiar with media types and common network protocols.

Beyond the up-mentioned skills, the candidates will need an extensive knowledge of these following exam topics: Network Installation and Configuration (23%);Network Concepts (21%) ;Network Management (20%);Network Security (19%);  Network Media and Topologies (17%); And in-depth description of each topic sub-topics can be found in.pdf format on the official exam site or here.

Other skills required include end-user level Windows operating skills, and also ability to identify and describe basic network theory concepts, communication methods, software and hardware, LAN/WAN/TCP/IP implementations, along with basic security threats and attacks.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Thankfully CompTIA has included a flowchart of what to do when you want to take an exam, a flowchart that I will use as a basis for my own guide. Firstly, the obvious place to start is to review what the exam covers. Meaning review the topics and sub-topic of the exam, auto-evaluate yourself on your knowledge over each sub-topic and grade yourself for each on a scale of 1 to 5 (you can find the full exam topics here (registration may be required)). Then, concentrate your studying on the items you graded yourself least. Afterwards, based on your grades, you should review what training/study materials are available and decide which course you should take. If your grades were overall poor or medium, you should consider joining a CompTIA Network+ Training Classroom. CompTIA has a number of guaranteed training programs in multiple countries around the world. You can find one near you from their main site, or here. There are both lab/classroom training and online training available. If your grades were a bit over medium, you may want to just check for study materials such as book like the CompTIA Network+ Study Guide Exam: N10-005; CompTIA Network+ N10-005 Exam Cram (Fourth Edition) - Self Study; etc. Those books and more can be found here. You can also look up E-Learning options in the CompTIA Store here.

Afterwards you might want to try the CompTIACertMaster, the self-adapting online exam that changes itself on the user’s ability and needs. CompTIA market this as a confidence-boosting online learning tool that will make studying fun; your “study companion” that understands your needs and helps you learn. While the license is quite expensive ($139/year), CompTIA provides a free trial period that you can use to test the product and see if you find it useful. There are both mobile and stationary variants of the CertMaster, allowing you to learn as you go if you want it.

Lastly after you study hard and find yourself confident enough, you should proceed to take a practice exam or two before paying for your exam, and finally finding an exam center.

However, before making any attempt you should be sure you understand most of the exam question types, their average level of difficulty, and be sure you know all the detail regarding payment and re-take conditions. You can review the policies on their main site or here. The exam itself costs about $190, and there are usually at least 3 exam centers in any capital of the world.


With over 950,000 A+ certified worldwide and an average salary of $64,750*, the CompTIA Network+ certification can open the door to a career as a Remote Support Specialist, a Deskside Support Specialist; or a Bench/Depot Technician. It will acknowledge that the holder has the needed skills to  Install, Assure Preventive Maintenance, Secure and Troubleshoot Network connections. After passing this exam, you will be able to work as a technician for giant companies like Dell and HP who place the holding of this certification as mandatory for their specialized employees. This exam is truly your gateway to the networking industry.

Related IT Guides

  1. CompTIA Network+ Study Materials Online: How effective are these resources
  2. Detailed analysis of the tests CompTIA Network+ consists of
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