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CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide Paperback – October 25, 2014
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About the Author
An accomplished author and professional trainer, Darril Gibson has authored or coauthored more than 30 books. He holds many current IT certifications including: CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CASP, (ISC)2 SSCP, CISSP, MCDST (XP), MCTS, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, and ITIL Foundations. He is the CEO of YCDA, LLC (short for You Can Do Anything) and actively teaches, writes, and consults on a wide variety of IT topics with a strong focus on IT security.
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Top Customer Reviews
A little bit about my background, so as to help base your judgment on where I started and what it took for me to pass this test...I graduated with a bachelors in management information systems in 2012. In my studies, I only took one basic networking class and one network security class (neither of which I did well in, but I passed them both). Since, I have worked as an IT systems analyst, not a networking position by any means, but I have been exposed to normal IT security awareness (i.e. password rules, disaster recover plans, clean desk policies, etc.). The CompTIA recommends 2+ years of networking experience and having the Network+ certification before attempting the Security+ certification. I did not have either of those. Just this book and a determination to learn the material as best as I can a short amount of time.
What worked for me:
I started with the pre-assessment to judge my knowledge level. Then just read a chapter a day, taking notes on all the "Remember this" bubbles and answering the chapter practice questions at the end of each chapter. This book is great with the practice questions in that the answer sections didn't just provide the right multiple choice answer. They provided explanations as to why the answers were correct, and more importantly, why the wrong answers were wrong. When I finished the last chapter I jumped right into the post test. Pre-assessment: 64/100; Post-assessment: 83/100. A decent improvement, and I knew which were my trouble chapters. Went back and reread them. Read my notes. Retook all the tests and chapter quizzes and felt ready for the test.
I'll admit, that test is not a joke, and the questions were not easy. I came out of the test thinking I failed. But that's the crazy thing about those types of tests. You never know how you did until you actually get the results. Needing a 750 to pass, I got an 833.
So you might need a little more than I did. You might need a little less. But if you're needing to pass the Security+ certification, this book is a great place to start.
About the only thing on my exam that was hardly covered was cryptography (which, while the CompTia folks say is only 12%, felt more like 2%) - and if you ask me is way more important to know about than whether somebody can remember all the buzzwords for types of risk. Darril however covers every topic in depth and quite well - just make sure you pay attention to EVERYTHING.
Good luck with your studies, sec+ friends.
The process I used for this guide was reading through it and highlighting all information that seemed especially important. Then completed the quizzes at the end of each chapter (never getting less than 80% on these). Then I went back through the books and pulled out all the notes I highlighted and other important components into a study guide to make it easier to study and then went through and memorized all this information. This whole process took me about 2.5 months while I was working (so mainly studying on weekends and a little during the week). When I finished, I took the practice test in the back of the book and got an 88% so I thought I was good to go. Then I took a practice test from a different source and got a 72%. Tried cramming some more and took another practice test a week later and got a 63%. The majority of the things I had gotten wrong were things I'd never heard of and don't think they were covered in this study guide. I'd bought the CompTIA Certmaster as well when I bought the test voucher so I went through that and pulled out all information that was new to me (that wasn't covered in this guide) and memorized that. Then reviewed the entire video course in CBT Nuggets and pulled out any new info to me. Then used the Pearson online practice test tool and retook practice tests multiple times and tracked the answers and studied them. By the end of this, I was getting close to burned out and reaching an 82% on practice tests so I figured I go for it. Despite the multiple sources I reviewed, I still came across some things on the test I hadn't heard about before so by the time I finished, I was convinced I'd failed. Until I saw that I'd passed with an 803. I'm not sure if the practice tests from Pearson (or whichever one CBT Nuggets uses) are harder than the actual tests, which I've heard before, or if I just got lucky.
Similarly, when I studied for the Network+ certification, at first I primarily used the CBT Nuggets video course and memorized everything I could from that but still failed the practice tests from Pearson or whatever, so then got a study guide book from another source and read through it, extracted the important info from that and memorized it and then started passing the practice tests and ended up getting somewhere in the 800-820 range.