My Security+ Experience

SchluepSchluep Member Posts: 346
I decided on Wednesday of this week that I needed to get moving on certifications again after spending a lot of time the past few months working non-stop without any time to study. I decided to take Security+ as an easy one to things rolling again for me and scheduled it last Wednesday for today (Monday). I didn't get a chance to start preparing until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. I read straight throug the Sybex book and all of the Security+ Technotes as my only reference material. Most of it was review of things I was familiar with especially after the CISSP exam I took last September. A lot of the inforation for the exam was highly dated and definitely needed an update. After reading the Technotes and Sybex book I took the practice quizzes here at www.techexams.net and then took the practice quizzes on the CD enclosed with the Sybex book. After scoring 29/30, 96/100, and 97/100 on the Sybex CD questions I was fairly confident going into the exam on Monday.

I tried to call the testing center scheduled the exam with using the phone number I recieved from Pearson Vue's site and found it to be disonnected. I was planning to call and find out about parking since I was taking the exam down-town and wanted to know the best place to park. This concernd me a bit so I gave myself some extra time to get there. I played it safe and parked in the large lot at the Mellon Arena and walked a few blocks to the testing center. I arrived at the building at 12:20 p.m. for a 1:00 p.m. test and had trouble getting buzzed into the building due to a poor sound system for the connection to the front door. It took until 12:32 to get in the front door to the building and the I proceed to the floor where the test center was located after a quick stop in the bathroom. When I arrived there was not a person to be found anywhere in the test center. I rang the buzzer which clearly sounded throughout the building and nobody answered. Ater waiting until about 12:45 p.m. and hitting the buzzer 5 times I took a walk through and found nobody in any of the offices on this floor. I saw someone get off the elavator and asked about it and he mentioned the guy who ran the test center was likely downstairs as he usually was and would tell him I was here. The guy came back up and mentioned he told him. It took another 5 minutes for the person in charge of the test center to arrive. I provided my ID and signed the required paperwork and began taking my exam.

The exam itself was fairly straightforward without many major surpises. There were at least 7-8 questions that I felt were very poorly worded considering the answer choices provided and wasn't sure if I had them correct primarily for this reason. Ultimately I finished the exam in 32 minutes (not incuding time to read the opening disclaimer and take the short survey after the exam). Upon finishing it the computer provided me with my passing score of 847. I would have hoped for a higher score but was satisfied considering my limited study time of reading through the book/technotes and taking those short practice tests.

During the test nobody checked in on me in my room so I am hoping there was a hidden camera as I was in a room by myself. I could my paperwork printed on the printer out in the hallway and waited a minute without anyone coming in. I stuck my head out the door and noticed not one person was in the testing center other than me taking my test. I waited about 5 minutes and the guy came back up and congratulated me on my pass. I commented on his hair since I noticed it was shorter than when I began my test. He said someone that works downstairs cuts his hair for him so he doesn't have to pay for a haircut. I was very dissapointed with my experience at this testing center that is used both by Prometric and Vue for a number of exams. I express my concerns about the incorrectly listed phone number, access to the building, and lack of service (and probable lack of moderation) while I was there.

Next I will be likely be going down the Juniper track since I am starting to work with Juniper Firewalls, IDP, and VPN solutions. Also on my list for certifications to take soon is CEH. There is only one other testing center fairly close by in Pittsburgh that I can use for these exams that I saw through Vue but if it is as bad as this one I might start travelling a bit further for my exam. If anyone from Pittsburgh can recommend a good test center please let me know. At least the testing computer didn't crash like some of the other reports I heard on these boards.

Comments

  • snadamsnadam Member Posts: 2,234 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Schluep wrote:
    I decided on Wednesday of this week that I needed to get moving on certifications again after spending a lot of time the past few months working non-stop without any time to study. I decided to take Security+ as an easy one to things rolling again for me and scheduled it last Wednesday for today (Monday). I didn't get a chance to start preparing until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. I read straight throug the Sybex book and all of the Security+ Technotes as my only reference material. Most of it was review of things I was familiar with especially after the CISSP exam I took last September. A lot of the inforation for the exam was highly dated and definitely needed an update. After reading the Technotes and Sybex book I took the practice quizzes here at www.techexams.net and then took the practice quizzes on the CD enclosed with the Sybex book. After scoring 29/30, 96/100, and 97/100 on the Sybex CD questions I was fairly confident going into the exam on Monday.

    I tried to call the testing center scheduled the exam with using the phone number I recieved from Pearson Vue's site and found it to be disonnected. I was planning to call and find out about parking since I was taking the exam down-town and wanted to know the best place to park. This concernd me a bit so I gave myself some extra time to get there. I played it safe and parked in the large lot at the Mellon Arena and walked a few blocks to the testing center. I arrived at the building at 12:20 p.m. for a 1:00 p.m. test and had trouble getting buzzed into the building due to a poor sound system for the connection to the front door. It took until 12:32 to get in the front door to the building and the I proceed to the floor where the test center was located after a quick stop in the bathroom. When I arrived there was not a person to be found anywhere in the test center. I rang the buzzer which clearly sounded throughout the building and nobody answered. Ater waiting until about 12:45 p.m. and hitting the buzzer 5 times I took a walk through and found nobody in any of the offices on this floor. I saw someone get off the elavator and asked about it and he mentioned the guy who ran the test center was likely downstairs as he usually was and would tell him I was here. The guy came back up and mentioned he told him. It took another 5 minutes for the person in charge of the test center to arrive. I provided my ID and signed the required paperwork and began taking my exam.

    The exam itself was fairly straightforward without many major surpises. There were at least 7-8 questions that I felt were very poorly worded considering the answer choices provided and wasn't sure if I had them correct primarily for this reason. Ultimately I finished the exam in 32 minutes (not incuding time to read the opening disclaimer and take the short survey after the exam). Upon finishing it the computer provided me with my passing score of 847. I would have hoped for a higher score but was satisfied considering my limited study time of reading through the book/technotes and taking those short practice tests.

    During the test nobody checked in on me in my room so I am hoping there was a hidden camera as I was in a room by myself. I could my paperwork printed on the printer out in the hallway and waited a minute without anyone coming in. I stuck my head out the door and noticed not one person was in the testing center other than me taking my test. I waited about 5 minutes and the guy came back up and congratulated me on my pass. I commented on his hair since I noticed it was shorter than when I began my test. He said someone that works downstairs cuts his hair for him so he doesn't have to pay for a haircut. I was very dissapointed with my experience at this testing center that is used both by Prometric and Vue for a number of exams. I express my concerns about the incorrectly listed phone number, access to the building, and lack of service (and probable lack of moderation) while I was there.

    Next I will be likely be going down the Juniper track since I am starting to work with Juniper Firewalls, IDP, and VPN solutions. Also on my list for certifications to take soon is CEH. There is only one other testing center fairly close by in Pittsburgh that I can use for these exams that I saw through Vue but if it is as bad as this one I might start travelling a bit further for my exam. If anyone from Pittsburgh can recommend a good test center please let me know. At least the testing computer didn't crash like some of the other reports I heard on these boards.


    wow, sounds a little familiar as to my experience with sec+. No cameras, the 'admins' on site did not seem to know thier head from thier...you know. stuck in a room with another person and NO AC (It was summer in AZ, so you can imagine the computer room was ~100 degrees). However, they did have the loudest box fan on the planet in there, you know, to really make you concentrate on the exam. Might was well been taking the exam on a job site. I saw no surveillance anywhere, and the receptionist seemed too busy with her cell phone to fully assist me and check me in. Needless to say, I dont think I will return there unless I must.

    As far as the exam, I have to agree with you 100%. I don't think they have changed the sec+ material in over 4 years; and as far as infosec is concerned (as you probably know better than I), thats an eternity!


    congrats on your pass though!
    **** ARE FOR CHUMPS! Don't be a chump! Validate your material with certguard.com search engine

    :study: Current 2015 Goals: JNCIP-SEC JNCIS-ENT CCNA-Security
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Schluep,

    Where did you take the exam? I usually take mine at Riverhead and have not had an experience like that before.
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • TrigunTrigun Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Outdated material? This is a concern, with the amount of money these guys recieve they should have tight content and quality control of all their exams. Imho, credibility of Comptia exams is starting to slip...
  • SchluepSchluep Member Posts: 346
    ajs1976 wrote:
    Schluep,

    Where did you take the exam? I usually take mine at Riverhead and have not had an experience like that before.

    I took mine at Blue Screen Techs on 5th Ave. Riverhead is only a block away from where I was at on 6th Ave and I almost scheduled mine there. I will definitely go with Riverhead next time.

    Trigun wrote:
    Outdated material? This is a concern, with the amount of money these guys recieve they should have tight content and quality control of all their exams. Imho, credibility of Comptia exams is starting to slip...

    The long time since the last exam update was most easily seen when it came to wireless technology. This was my first CompTIA exam though and some of the poorly worded questions surprised me.
  • shednikshednik Member Posts: 2,005
    Schluep wrote:
    ajs1976 wrote:
    Schluep,

    Where did you take the exam? I usually take mine at Riverhead and have not had an experience like that before.

    I took mine at Blue Screen Techs on 5th Ave. Riverhead is only a block away from where I was at on 6th Ave and I almost scheduled mine there. I will definitely go with Riverhead next time.

    Yea I was going to say where did you go...I've taken every exam at Riverhead and and have had no problems. I usually test on Saturday's and there's a parking garage across the street from there and it's very cheap on Saturdays as well maybe $3/hour...but all the well Congrats!!! :D
    Schluep wrote:
    There is only one other testing center fairly close by in Pittsburgh that I can use for these exams that I saw through Vue but if it is as bad as this one I might start travelling a bit further for my exam. If anyone from Pittsburgh can recommend a good test center please let me know. At least the testing computer didn't crash like some of the other reports I heard on these boards.

    I have only used Riverhead personally but I do know there is New Horizons in Greentree and PTI in Oakdale is a testing center now as well I hear. Anyway since you're up north I'd say Riverhead would be your best choice then New Horizons.
  • SchluepSchluep Member Posts: 346
    Sounds like Riverhead is the one everyone in this area uses. I heard there is a center on McKnight Rd that was joining VUE but it was not available when I scheduled my exam. That one would be about 5 minutes from one of the offices I work at regularly and only about 20 minutes from my house with free parking so if it is available I might try that one next, otherwise it will be all Riverhead from now on.
  • shednikshednik Member Posts: 2,005
    Schluep wrote:
    Sounds like Riverhead is the one everyone in this area uses. I heard there is a center on McKnight Rd that was joining VUE but it was not available when I scheduled my exam. That one would be about 5 minutes from one of the offices I work at regularly and only about 20 minutes from my house with free parking so if it is available I might try that one next, otherwise it will be all Riverhead from now on.

    Let me know as well that would only be a 20 min drive for me on Mcknight since I don't plan on using Prometric unless I have to.
  • SchluepSchluep Member Posts: 346
    shednik wrote:
    Let me know as well that would only be a 20 min drive for me on Mcknight since I don't plan on using Prometric unless I have to.

    I live in Hampton Township so it would be perfect for me. I don't know anything other than that one of my business partners mentioned his IT Manager heard from someone at Pearson VUE that one would be available. I do not know how long it will take and if they include all of the different vendors test, but I was very excited at the news. He just mentioned it about 3 weeks ago.

    I'll send you and ajs a PM if I hear anything else. I will definitely be checking for it when I schedule my next example that can be scheduled through VUE.
  • MishraMishra Member Posts: 2,468 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congrats
    My blog http://www.calegp.com

    You may learn something!
  • ellenmorellenmor Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I just had my security exam today, and failed. I Had done alot of studying along with tests from this site and course on-line in which each of the objectives I was scoring high 90 and 100. Three different sources questions were used.
    I felt very comfortable going into the exam. 10 question into the exam, and was wondering if I was writing the right exam! very poorly worded, I did not have but 2 port questions, and maybe 5 questions on MAC/DAC/RBCAC. The rest of the question were what is the "Best" or what would you do " First" ? The course material had studied always seem to have either one option or several options... Either what I studied is not up to standard, or compti should look at venders that are leading there courses.? Or I lucked out and got one of the worst exams . out there. What is "Best for my company, might not be what is "best " for your company!!!!
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    My experience was that there were a lot of policy questions as well and I really didn't like those at all. I was able to scrape by but only because I looked at the questions from the direction of what would be the CompTIA answer instead of what would be the "best" option.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    ellenmor wrote:
    I just had my security exam today, and failed. I Had done alot of studying along with tests from this site and course on-line in which each of the objectives I was scoring high 90 and 100. Three different sources questions were used.
    I felt very comfortable going into the exam. 10 question into the exam, and was wondering if I was writing the right exam! very poorly worded, I did not have but 2 port questions, and maybe 5 questions on MAC/DAC/RBCAC. The rest of the question were what is the "Best" or what would you do " First" ? The course material had studied always seem to have either one option or several options... Either what I studied is not up to standard, or compti should look at venders that are leading there courses.? Or I lucked out and got one of the worst exams . out there. What is "Best for my company, might not be what is "best " for your company!!!!

    What study aids did you use? I used the Sybex book, and recently passed with an 814.


    MS
  • ellenmorellenmor Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I took on-line specialized solutions which also had 468 exam question and I used this site as well as eam cram.
  • KGhaleonKGhaleon Member Posts: 1,347
    When I went in I was a bit nervous, but I went through the exam and answered all the questions in probably half the given time. Got lots of basic questions about ports and such, and finished with a pass. I sat there for a short while and just stared at the screen thinking, "That was it? What a joke."

    Then I took the CCNA. icon_cry.gif

    *shakes uncontrollably*
    Present goals: MCAS, MCSA, 70-680
  • ellenmorellenmor Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Well, I can only guess you lucked out and received a half decent exam. Itook many preptest that were 100 questions long and I too finished in less that 30min with over a 90% average. What I am saying this exam is suppose to be entry level certiifcate with basic knowledge of security, being covered as per pervious email, there were only a couple of PORT question and a few MAC/DAC/RBAC questions...alot of what is the "Best" and what would you do "First" . This exam has an 85% required, that tells me it should be easy to pass,. It the exam is not worded probably, how do you know what it is asking? I took one on-line exam that had 468 questions which took me 1 hour and 20min to complete w/ 94%, My exam today took me a hour for 100 questions with going back to approx 7 questions? Something is differenlt wrong with this picture. I would be curious to know how many people take said exam and pass the first time and how many fail..?... I would bet from reading othe message boards and on-line there is alot.
  • shednikshednik Member Posts: 2,005
    ellenmor wrote:
    What I am saying this exam is suppose to be entry level certiifcate with basic knowledge of security, being covered as per pervious email, there were only a couple of PORT question and a few MAC/DAC/RBAC questions...alot of what is the "Best" and what would you do "First" .

    Don't take this the wrong way but the questions they asked in this manner are done so the test taker will use the knowledge learned and apply it to the given situation. I don't know what the questions were like in class but maybe they were all straight forward and didn't make you apply the knowledge that you had been studying. Poorly worded questions there's not much to do but learne to make the best guess you can in that matter but looking at the subject they're asking you on. Now that you know what to expect I would work on the area's you need work on the most hit the books hard, lab up some different scenarios and then go back and own the exam. I haven't taken the exam but I've heard it's one of the more difficult exams CompTIA has, so don't get down keep on moving and give it another shot.
  • SchluepSchluep Member Posts: 346
    ellenmor wrote:
    Well, I can only guess you lucked out and received a half decent exam. Itook many preptest that were 100 questions long and I too finished in less that 30min with over a 90% average. What I am saying this exam is suppose to be entry level certiifcate with basic knowledge of security, being covered as per pervious email, there were only a couple of PORT question and a few MAC/DAC/RBAC questions...alot of what is the "Best" and what would you do "First" . This exam has an 85% required, that tells me it should be easy to pass,. It the exam is not worded probably, how do you know what it is asking? I took one on-line exam that had 468 questions which took me 1 hour and 20min to complete w/ 94%, My exam today took me a hour for 100 questions with going back to approx 7 questions? Something is differenlt wrong with this picture. I would be curious to know how many people take said exam and pass the first time and how many fail..?... I would bet from reading othe message boards and on-line there is alot.

    If you don't have any experience with networking, access control, cryptography, or the other areas being discussed it will be a lot more difficult to understand and be able to apply what is being discussed. For example, you may have memorized the definition of a digital certificate for the exam and have been able to recite it word for word, but have you actually looked at any to see what is stored in them and what their uses are? If you have a functional knowledge of the material in addition to the book/exam knowledge it will make any test much easier (and give you more of a reason to take it sinc you will be expanding your knowledge of a subject matter and not simply trying to pass a test).

    I don't know your background and experience, but if you have no networking experience maybe the Network+ would have been an easier place to start?

    Even in the case of the poorly worded questions I had a high chance of getting the correct answer because I knew what would not be applicable. I also had enough of the other questions correct so that even if I missed all of the poorly worded ones I still would have passed with some room to spare.

    You can not truly know the percentage needed to pass such as 85% like you mentioned because here are test questions that don't count for anything and you don't know how much the othe questions are weighted. It is possible all of the poorly worded ones are worth less points or no points.

    I am sure there are a lot of people that don't pass any exam the first time, but that is not typically due to the difficulty of the exam but taking it before they were fully prepared to pass it. You cannot judge a real exam by a practice exam since they aren't designed to be the same (otherwise it would be cheating). The practice exams are made to help you find your weakest areas and focus your studies in those areas.
  • ellenmorellenmor Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    oh, I agree with your statement, however because they don't show you the right answer(compti answer) then I will never learn,,,I will end up picking the best answer to what I would in my situation. And bescause it based on"best" depends on the situation. I truley belive that the course I took did not prepare me, but what does that leaveme, start another course and hope that it provides the indept thinking that compti exam requires. Courses are to provide the learning needed to pass said exam. ie. In a classroom of 30 , and only 2 pass, the teacher would re think the exam. Looking further down these forums and on the internet, I see a proble with this. I shouldnt have to go to differnet sites to study on different material,(study quides)Maybe compti should watch closely the vender offering this course, they all say they follow the objectives, but if the answers differ, does it help me to pass the exam. To pass the police dept exam I am not going to follow study guides for nursing, just incase I shoot someone. What might work for a small business, but not be the right answer for alarge institution. The questions were confusing? their answers choices were just as confusing!
  • SchluepSchluep Member Posts: 346
    Ellenmor, did you read any of the books referenced by those on these forums that passed? There are a lot of goods books available for self study, and it is easy to see the two/three most popular ones for this exam by reading through these forums and seeing what worked for people.
  • ellenmorellenmor Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thats my point, If I enrolled into a program, it should have all knowledge base I need to pass exam. I should h not ave to pay alot of money for a course and go out of their boundries to study. other books. ? especially I have looked at those other forums, who have said some material gae wrong answers and then the next guy say I used that study and passed?
  • SchluepSchluep Member Posts: 346
    The books aren't supposed to give the answers to the test. They are desgned to give you the foundational knowledge of the subject area needed so that you understand the material and are therefore able to pass the test.
  • ellenmorellenmor Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    BINGO ! How do you know which study guides are correct ? I am not loking for the answers, Second you said "foundation" the basic's. I'm not study to be a professional, if so I would take microsoft certication. If I took a basic office course, I wouldn't expect to end up writing a MSCE exam, I followed a course and its KNOWLEDGE BASE was incorrect. or lack there of. What I'm saying is there is an certification exam out there and in order to pass it , you have to take a course, then go through the web to find different resource material beyond the course to pass ? There should be a central location. I would rather fail an exam on my own lack of knowledge, than Fail an exam because the course I choose did not meet the critia sent forth by the compti exam.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    ellenmor wrote:
    BINGO ! How do you know which study guides are correct ? I am not loking for the answers, Second you said "foundation" the basic's. I'm not study to be a professional, if so I would take microsoft certication. If I took a basic office course, I wouldn't expect to end up writing a MSCE exam, I followed a course and its KNOWLEDGE BASE was incorrect. or lack there of. What I'm saying is there is an certification exam out there and in order to pass it , you have to take a course, then go through the web to find different resource material beyond the course to pass ? There should be a central location. I would rather fail an exam on my own lack of knowledge, than Fail an exam because the course I choose did not meet the critia sent forth by the compti exam.

    I don't know you and I have nothing against you, but I think you are going to be disappointed by any class you take and by any book you buy, just based on your interpretation of what "should" be. It all sounds like whining to me.

    Best bet is to just get over it and do your best to get what you want in life, really.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • supertechCETmasupertechCETma Member Posts: 377
    critical thinking skills are highly overrated. icon_cool.gif
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