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Exam Profile: CompTIA Network+ N10-007

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Date: Mar 8, 2018

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CompTIA's Network+ certification is an entry-level certification for information technology (IT) professionals. In this exam profile, Anthony Sequeira provides exam details, highlights trouble spots, offers preparation hints, recommends study resources, and suggests next steps.

Unlike many vendor-specific certifications in the IT industry (such as Cisco Systems' Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification), Network+ is a vendor-neutral certification that is intended to verify a candidate has the knowledge and skills to troubleshoot, configure, and manage conventional network devices. This exam profile provides a sense of what to expect on the N10-007 exam, along with preparation strategies.

Exam Details

Number of questions: You can expect 80 questions on your N10-007 exam.

Type(s) of questions: You can expect two to three simulation-style questions at the start of your exam. Following those are multiple choice questions. Some of the multiple choice questions might have more than one option that is correct. The exam is always explicit about how many of the possible options are correct. For example, "choose two" or "choose three." You should be prepared to perform calculations, such as those used for IPv4 subnetting. The testing center provides scratch paper and a pen or pencil for this purpose. Remember, the exam is testing to see if the candidate can use their knowledge and apply critical thinking skills to arrive at a correct or best solution.

Passing score: CompTIA requires that you score a 720 (100-900 scale) on the Network+ exam. Your exam score report indicates specific topics where you answered items incorrectly. This feedback is provided to you regardless of your passing or failing mark.

Time limit: You have 90 minutes to complete the Network+ exam. You might note that CompTIA provides more time than this, but this "extra" time is for reading the instructions of the exam, and for completing a survey conducted by CompTIA. 90 minutes is always the fixed duration of time for solving your 80 questions.

How to register: You register for your exam through Pearson VUE.

Trouble Spots

The primary trouble spot for many Network+ exam candidates is using critical thinking, in combination with their knowledge, to answer a scenario-based question or correctly complete a simulation. An example would be a troubleshooting scenario, where network clients are unable to reach a network resource, and the candidate needs to identify why this might be the case. A single question like this might require knowledge of networking, IP addressing, host configuration, and a troubleshooting methodology.

Another challenge is that instead of focusing on only a single technology (such as routing, switching, wireless networking, or security), the Network+ exam requires you to know, and apply that knowledge, regarding the fundamentals of many different technologies. Many of the questions integrate multiple technologies into a single question.

CompTIA has based the exam on five areas, referred to as domains. Following is a list of those domains and the percentage of exam questions in each domain:

1.0 Networking Concepts
2.0 Infrastructure
3.0 Network Operations
4.0 Network Security
5.0 Network Troubleshooting and Tools

23%
18%
17%
20%
22%

 

Two of the most significant differences between the current N10-007 version of the exam and the previous version are the increased focus on troubleshooting, and an overall reduction on the amount of security content the learner is tested on. The N10-007 exam devotes 22 percent of the exam to troubleshooting, and to troubleshoot well requires a solid understanding of networking concepts (23%).

Performing the binary math calculations required to subnet an IP network is another area where many test takers struggle. You should, for example, be able to take a given IP network and subnet it into a certain number of subnets, to support a certain number of hosts, and be able to identify the usable IP address range in each of the subnets, along with the new masks for each subnet.

Preparation Hints

Since the Network+ exam covers a broad spectrum of networking topics on its blueprint, you should consider a CompTIA Approved book that targets the N10-007 exam. CompTIA's approval ensures that the book covers ALL topics on their exam blueprint.

Alternately, if you have a training budget, you might prefer to take a class, where you can interact with your instructor and fellow students, ask questions, and get hands-on experience with the equipment you are studying.

Note that hands-on experience can also assist you in preparing for the exam. You can even use a couple of older PCs (running Microsoft Windows® or the Linux distribution of your choice), an older (less expensive) Ethernet switch, and a home wireless router to build a practice network topology. Practicing Windows® and Linux commands and becoming comfortable configuring network options (for example, configuring a static IP address, default gateway, and DNS), and troubleshooting any issues you encounter as you build and work with your home lab. A small wireless router would also allow you to practice with the frequencies, security, 802.11 protocols, and other settings. This practice can help you dramatically in your preparation for the exam.

You should also note that many simulation options exist for you today in the area of Network+. Low-priced simulators allow practice with hosts, routers, switches, and even the wireless equipment you are expected to know.

To prepare for the subnetting questions you might face, you can make up your own practice questions, for example, "The company in the topology below wants to use the address space of 10.1.2.0/24 for their 3 sites."

Exam Profile: CompTIA Network+ N10-007
Click to expand image

 

"What subnet mask could be used to create 4 new subnets?", or "What would the mask be to support 16 hosts?" Then, you could use a free subnet calculator from the Internet to check your answers. Remember, of course, that such a calculator would not be available in the actual exam.

Recommended Study Resources

CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Cert Guide, by Anthony Sequeira: This is an excellent resource from Pearson IT Certification and is CompTIA Approved. The book covers all of the exam objectives across the following chapters:

The book also includes:

There is also a Deluxe Edition available that includes the book in an electronic format as well as additional interactive exercises, practice exams, and a full version of the Network+ Simulator software for hands-on practice with the full scope of technologies covered by the exam.

CompTIA Network+ N10-007 Exam Cram, 6th Edition: an excellent study guide to help you pass the CompTIA Network+ N10-007 exam. It provides coverage and practice questions for every exam topic, including substantial new coverage of security, cloud networking, IPv6, and wireless technologies. The book presents you with an organized test preparation routine through the use of proven series elements and techniques. Exam topic lists make referencing easy. Exam Alerts, sidebars, and Notes interspersed throughout the text keep you focused on what you need to know. Cram Quizzes help you assess your knowledge, and the Cram Sheet tear card is the perfect last-minute review.

As with all Exam Cram books, it includes:

Where to Go from Here

Evaluate your readiness for the Network+ exam. Specifically, CompTIA recommends that an exam candidate have 9-12 months of work experience with networking technologies. If you have that experience, picking up the concepts presented in study materials and classes will come much easier.

Although CompTIA does not require the A+ certification as a prerequisite for the Network+ certification, they recommend you have an equivalent level of knowledge. Therefore, if you are just entering the world of IT and have not yet worked with computers (for example, operating systems, PC hardware, and troubleshooting), you might wish to first pursue A+ certification before your Network+ certification.

After attaining your Network+ certification, your next step could be to focus on a specific technology or vendor. Many decide on Cisco Systems' entry-level routing and switching certification of CCENT or CCNA. You also may want to consider the CompTIA Security+, which is another vendor-neutral certification, and is focused on Security. The great news is that the foundation you have established with Network+ will serve you well regardless of which technology or vendor you choose as you continue your studies and training.

Have fun, and enjoy the exciting journey you are now on!

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