CompTIA Security+ (Plus)

How to Pass the CompTIA Security+ (Plus) Certificate in 2024

Last Updated: January 8, 2024


The job outlook for network and computer systems administrators is anticipated to experience a modest 2 percent growth between 2022 and 2032. So, in the fast-paced world of cybersecurity, obtaining the Security+ Certificate in 2023 can open doors to a rewarding career or propel your existing one to new heights.

That’s why we have created this article to equip you with the knowledge and resources needed to ace the Security+ exam on your first attempt. Now, let’s explore the critical aspects of achieving Security+ certification.

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Pros and Cons


  • Entry-Level Access: CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level certification, making it an excellent choice for individuals new to cybersecurity or IT. It provides a foundational understanding of security concepts.
  • Vendor-Neutral: It is vendor-neutral, meaning the knowledge gained is applicable to a wide range of technologies and platforms, making it versatile.
  • Industry Recognition: CompTIA is a well-known and respected organization in the IT industry, and Security+ is recognized by many employers as a valuable certification.
  • Global Relevance: The certification is recognized globally, offering opportunities for employment and career advancement in various regions.
  • Career Advancement: Holding the Security+ certification can open doors to entry-level security positions and can be a stepping stone to more advanced certifications and higher-paying roles.


  • Limited Depth: While Security+ provides a good foundational knowledge of cybersecurity, it doesn’t go into as much depth as more advanced certifications like CISSP or CISM.
  • Not Specialized: It’s a generalist certification, so it may not be suitable for professionals seeking specialized knowledge in a particular area of cybersecurity.
  • Continuing Education: Security+ requires continuing education to maintain the certification, which can involve additional time and expense.
  • Scope of Opportunities: While it can help you land entry-level roles, it may not be sufficient for higher-level cybersecurity positions that often require more advanced certifications and experience.
  • Cost: The cost of preparing for and taking the Security+ exam, including study materials and exam fees, can be a barrier for some individuals.

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The Security+ Exam Requirements

Before you embark on your journey to earn the highly regarded Security+ certification, it’s essential to understand the requirements and associated costs.

Prerequisites for Security+ Exam

1.    Basic IT Knowledge

While there’s no mandatory prerequisite, having a fundamental understanding of IT concepts is highly recommended. It will make comprehending cybersecurity principles smoother.

2.    Experience

While not obligatory, hands-on experience in IT or security roles can be immensely beneficial. It provides a practical context for the theoretical knowledge you’ll acquire.

Security+ Exam Eligibility Criteria

To take the Security+ certificate exam, you must meet CompTIA’s eligibility criteria. Here’s a summary of what you should keep in mind.

CompTIA recommends but doesn’t mandate, two years of work experience in IT with a security focus. Additionally, two years of working experience in a security/systems administrator job role would be a plus. This experience can significantly boost your chances of success.

Understanding the Exam Details

Familiarize yourself with the exam code (SY0-601), duration (90 minutes), and the number of questions (maximum of 90). The passing score for the Security+ certification exam is 750 (on a scale of 100-900).

Security+ Exam Cost

Understanding the cost structure is crucial as you plan your certification journey. Here’s a breakdown of the Security+ exam fees:

1.    Exam Fee:

The standard Security+ certificate exam fee is $392 in the USA (changes with change in currency). However, CompTIA often offers bundle options that include exam vouchers, study materials, and retake options at varying prices. You can secure up to 46 percent discounts with these bundles. If you’re applying other than the USA, then currency changes

2.    Retake Option

Some bundle packages include a retake option, allowing you to retake the exam if you don’t pass on your first attempt. This can be a valuable safety net.

Navigating Security+: An Overview of Certificate Domains

The Security+ certificate exam is comprehensive, covering various domains that encompass the realm of cybersecurity. Here’s an overview of these domains:

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities (24%)

  • Explore cyber threats, attack types, and system vulnerabilities.
  • Learn how to identify & mitigate security risks.

Architecture and Design (21%)

  • Focus on designing secure network architectures and systems.
  • Understand how to integrate security measures into infrastructure.

Implementation (25%)

  • Dive into the practical implementation of security measures and technologies.
  • Learn about configuring and managing secure networks and devices.

Operations and Incident Response (16%)

  • Discover how to operate and monitor secure systems effectively.
  • Develop incident response strategies to handle security breaches.

Governance, Risk, and Compliance (14%)

  • Learn about cybersecurity governance and compliance frameworks.
  • Understand risk management principles and how they apply to cybersecurity.

These domains collectively form the foundation of the Security+ certification. Each domain covers specific aspects of cybersecurity, and successful certification requires a comprehensive understanding of all these areas.

Crafting an Effective Security+ Study Plan

Stanford scholars have found that careful resource planning correlates with enhanced exam performance. A well-structured study plan is your compass to conquer a Security+ certificate.

To ensure your preparation aligns with the strategies of successful candidates, we’ve scoured Reddit and other forums for their valuable insights. Here’s how to create an effective study plan:

1.   Assess Your Starting Point

Before diving in, take a practice test to gauge your baseline knowledge. Identify your strengths and weaknesses within the Security+ domains.

2.   Set Clear Goals

Define your objectives and timeline. Establish a realistic date for your exam and work backward to create milestones. Ensure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

3.   Choose Study Materials Wisely

Opt for trusted resources such as CompTIA’s official study guide, reputable online courses, and practice exams. Utilize a variety of sources to gain a comprehensive understanding.

4.   Create a Study Schedule

Develop a daily or weekly study routine that suits your schedule. Short, focused study sessions are often more effective than cramming. With a basic understanding of cybersecurity, 30 days are perfect for Security+ exam preparation.

Here’s how to utilize them effectively;

  • 1-10 days: Familiarize yourself with all the five domains of the Security+ exam course.
  • 11-15 days: Thoroughly explore these domains to understand deep topics.
  • 16-25 days: Appear in different mock exams to review your preparation. Side by side, fine-tune any potential shortcomings.
  • 26-30 days: Finally, go for full-fledge timed practice exams. Allocate the last two days to revise your notes and flashcards. 

5.   Break It Down by Domains

Divide your study plan into sections corresponding to the Security+ domains. Allocate more time to areas where you need improvement.

6.   Active Learning

Engage actively with the material. Take notes, create flashcards, and teach the concepts to others (or even an imaginary audience). Active learning reinforces understanding.

7.   Practice, Practice, Practice

The importance of practice exams cannot be undermined. Take multiple practice tests to simulate exam conditions. Analyze your mistakes and focus on weak areas.

8.   Join Online Communities

Reddit’s r/CompTIA community and other online communities are goldmines of information. Interact with fellow learners, ask questions, and share your experiences. You’ll find invaluable tips and moral support.

9.   Take Breaks and Stay Healthy

Don’t underestimate the value of breaks, exercise, and a healthy diet. A clear mind and a fit body contribute to effective learning.

10.                Review and Adjust

Periodically review your study plan and adjust it accordingly. Be flexible in adapting to what works best for you.

Top Book Picks for Excelling in Security+ Preparation

Regarding preparing for the Security+ certificate exam, we have book recommendations that will prove invaluable in your prep journey. Here are some highly recommended books to bolster your Security+ preparation:

CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-601 Study Guide” by Darril Gibson

This book includes free online resources, over 300 practice test questions with explanations, and real-world examples for each of the SY0-601 objectives. It offers a focused approach to security topics, making it an invaluable tool for both exam preparation and building a strong foundation in IT systems security.

Security+ Guide to Network Security Fundamentals” by Mark Ciampa

It is an up-to-date resource designed to prepare you for professional certification and career advancement. It aligns with the CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 Certification Exam, covering all domain objectives. This edition also includes expanded content on embedded device security, cyberattacks, and assessment tools.

CompTIA Security+ Certification Guide” by Ian Neil

Authored by expert trainer Ian Neil, this book covers all exam objectives with self-assessment scenarios and realistic questions. It also includes over 600 practice questions and two mock exams to ensure your success in mastering encryption and core concepts of the Security+ certificate exam.

CISSP Study Guide” by Eric Conrad, Seth Misenar, and Joshua Feldman

While geared towards CISSP, it’s a beneficial resource for diving deep into security concepts and could serve as supplementary reading. It provides clear objectives, exercises, and practice questions to help you succeed in passing the Security+ certificate exam.

Top Bootcamps and Training Programs

Embarking on your Security+ certification journey often benefits from hands-on training and boot camps. Here are some highly recommended boot camps and training options to elevate your Security+ certificate preparation:

CompTIA Security+ Crash Course Bootcamp: SY0-601

The CompTIA Security+ Crash Course Bootcamp channel offers a rapid and condensed preparation experience. This course addresses special question types encountered in the exam, ensuring a comprehensive and focused approach to exam readiness.

Professor Messer’s SY0-601 CompTIA Security+ Course

It is a highly regarded and widely recognized resource for preparation for the CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 exam. This comprehensive course, hosted by Professor Messer, covers all the essential topics and knowledge areas required to excel in the Security+ exam. It includes video lectures, study materials, and practice quizzes to ensure thorough exam readiness.

CompTIA Security+ Certification Bootcamp

The CompTIA Security+ Certification Bootcamp offers a comprehensive path for individuals with no prior knowledge to excel in the globally recognized CompTIA Security+ certification exam. Led by instructor Aleksa Tamburkovski, you can gain expertise in the latest cybersecurity best practices and acquire the skills needed to pass the exam successfully.

CompTIA Security+ Training Boot Camp

The CompTIA Security+ Training Boot Camp by Infosec is a five-day program designed to provide the knowledge and hands-on exercises required to achieve CompTIA Security+ certification. Led by cybersecurity experts, this boot camp ensures comprehensive exam preparation with a guaranteed pass.

Additional Resources to Ace Your Security+ Exam

Beyond books, boot camps, and training programs, we have some invaluable recommendations for supplementary resources. These resources can significantly enhance your Security+ certificate exam preparation.

Here’s a breakdown of these additional helpful resources:

Practice Exams

1.    CompTIA Official Practice Tests:

CompTIA offers official practice tests that mirror the exam’s format and content. These are highly recommended to assess your readiness.

2.    Examcompass:

Exam Compass Security+ practice exams are a valuable resource for cybersecurity professionals. They offer a wide range of realistic exam questions to help you prepare for the CompTIA Security+ certification.

3.    Cybrary CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 Practice Test:

This practice test is a valuable tool for pinpointing areas of improvement and readiness for the exam.

By identifying weak spots and focusing on specific domains, you can confidently prepare yourselves for success in your Security+ certificate journey.

4.    CompTIA Security+ Pocket Prep App:

This is a mobile study tool designed to help prepare for preparation of the CompTIA Security+ certificate exam on the go. With a user-friendly interface and a vast question bank, it offers practice questions and detailed explanations to reinforce cybersecurity knowledge.

Last-Minute Resources

1.    CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601) Practice Exams & Simulated PBQs

This resource offers six timed, full-length practice exams with 80 questions, including CompTIA-style PBQs. It’s designed to help you confidently prepare for your certification exam, making it an ideal last-minute study tool for effective test pacing and readiness.

2.    CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601) Practice Exam Questions *2023*

These four full practice tests offer a quick way to evaluate your readiness. Each test mirrors the real exam, reinforcing your knowledge and ensuring you’re well-prepared for success. These practice tests will boost your confidence for last-minute exam preparation.

Essential Tips for Acing the Security+ Exam

Earning your Security+ certification requires not only knowledge but also the right mindset and effective time management. To ensure your success, here are some essential tips based on insights from those who’ve conquered the Security+ certificate exam:

Approaching the Exam with the Right Mindset:

  • Maintain confidence and positivity.
  • Keep calm and composed during the exam.
  • Read questions carefully to understand their context.
  • Apply the process of elimination for uncertain answers.
  • Flag difficult questions and return to them later.
  • Avoid rushing and focus on understanding each question.

Time Management during the Exam:

  • Set a pace for each section of the exam.
  • Skip challenging questions and revisit them later.
  • Use the marking feature for questions to review.
  • Budget time for a final review, if possible.
  • Stay focused and avoid excessive second-guessing.
  • Check your work if time allows, but don’t panic.

The Pivotal Role of Security+ in Advancing Cybersecurity Careers

CompTIA Security+ certificate plays a pivotal role in shaping and advancing careers in the dynamic field of cybersecurity. Here’s why it holds such importance:

Cybersecurity Awareness

In an era of increasing cyber threats, Security+ certification enhances your awareness of cybersecurity risks and best practices. This knowledge is applicable in both professional and personal contexts.

Career Advancement

For those already in the field, a Security+ certificate can lead to career advancement opportunities. It may make you eligible for positions with higher responsibilities and better compensation.

International Opportunities

The certification’s global recognition opens doors to international job opportunities, allowing professionals to work on cybersecurity challenges worldwide.

Competitive Advantage

In a competitive job market, a Security+ certificate sets you apart from non-certified candidates. Employers often seek candidates with this credential to prove their knowledge and commitment.

Getting Ready for the Exam Day

As the day of your Security+ certificate exam approaches, meticulous preparation goes beyond studying the material.

It extends to understanding the logistics and procedures surrounding the exam itself. Let’s explore these factors to ensure you’re fully ready for the big day.

Exam Expenses

Understand the total cost, including exam fees, study materials, and potential retake fees. The Security+ certification exam fee is $392. It can vary based on your location.

Exam Locations

The Security+ exam can be given both ways;

  1. Online
  2. Pearson VUE test centers located globally

Certification Procedure after Passing the Exam

After passing the exam, you’ll receive a congratulatory email from CompTIA Certmetrics. It also contains all the instructions to access your record and claim your certification. Your email address and exam registration number will help you access your certification account.

Maintenance Requirements

CompTIA Security+ Certification expires exactly three years from the date of the exam. Then, you need to earn 50 Continuing Education (CE) points within this duration to get it renowned for the next three-year period. Make sure to earn and submit these CE points for successful renewal. Otherwise, you’ll be required to re-appear in the exam to become Security+ certified.

What If You Don’t Pass?

After the first failed attempt, you can immediately re-appear in the exam after paying the exam fee. If you still didn’t get it the second time, then you have to wait for fourteen days before re-appearing.

In the meantime, creating a contingency plan allows you to stay resilient and focused on your goal. Consider scheduling a retake of the exam. However, take the time to review your performance and identify specific areas for improvement thoroughly. Go through the detailed report you receive after the exam. It highlights all weak areas. You can particularly target those areas to earn the certification,


In conclusion, the Security+ Certificate in 2023 is your gateway to a promising career in cybersecurity.

By following the guidance and insights provided in this article, you’re on the path to success. The journey may be challenging, but with determination and the right resources, you can pass the Security+ exam on your first attempt.

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