Among other certifications, one of the certs that I needed to renew was my CompTIA Network+ exam. The current series is N10-006, and to take the test locally through Pearson View costs $295! That is a hefty chunk of change. However, I need this certificate for my work, so I had little choice but to renew the certification.

Fortunately, my work was willing to foot the bill, provided that I pass the test. Unfortunately, the test is still $295 even if I were to fail. Last time that I took this test, I just barely passed, and I didn’t want a repeat of that.

On the previous test, I was using an outdated study book that was for an older version of the test than was currently in place. Some of the areas I struggled in the most were fiber optics and wireless technologies.

This time I decided to do things right and get the latest study guide, with the intent of doing better than last time. One would think that since I’m working in the IT world, I would be up to date on the latest technology, but I guess that really depends on where you work.

In my case, most of our facilities have rules banning the use of wireless technologies. On to of that, in almost 8 years at my work, I’ve only troubleshot a fiber optic network once, and I’ve never actually installed one anywhere. However, ask me to convert base 10 to base 8, or decimal to binary, and I’m your man!

I can imagine how others in my field may fall into this trap as well. The technologies around us are changing, but our local area network is not. We are required to recertify, even though the scope of our job hasn’t changed in years. In a way, these certification requirements might seem tedious or overwhelming, but really they are a blessing in disguise, as they make is keep up with the times.

So of you are taking the N10-006 test, either for the first time, or as a renewal, here’s what I did to prepare for the test. Not saying this is the only way, but this worked for me. Not only that, but rather than barely passing, my score was decent this time.

Last time I used “exam cram” books. I guess it got me through, but I feel that those are better suited for the technician who does work on the full scope of equipment covered by Network+ on a day to day basis. I needed something with more meat on it to teach me about things I’ve never done, or done very little of. So, I purchased this book:

I didn’t purchase it there, and of you look online, it can be found cheaper, much, much cheaper.

After buying the book, I took a highlighter and highlighted key portions in every chapter. This was a huge help to me on the day of the test, as I thumbed through the book, looking over my highlighted portions just before the exam.

The book comes with a CD and software for practice tests, but I didn’t use it. I have a Linux computer, and the software was for Windows machines. Instead, I used this free online resource to take some practice tests:

With 20 test of 25 questions each, those 500 questions gave new a feel for areas I was weak in. After each test, it tells you the questions you got right or wrong, as well as what the right answer was, which was helpful.

As for the test itself, it has changed since I took it last. Before, it was just a series of multiple choice questions. They still had many of those, but the new test implemented “simulations”, or pop up windows with diagrams and pictures of computers and consoles that you could drag and drop or type in. They seemed a bit buggy to me though, after making a selection the simulation would close, even though you were not done yet. However, opening the simulation again proved that everything you changed was still there.

Hopefully, if you are looking to take the Network+ exam, then some of these notes were useful for you.

Linux – keep it simple.

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