Network+ is now mine! Mwahahahahaha!
The day after I completed the A+ Hardware exam (Friday 1 April), I dove into the Network+ material. I’m now glad that I did the A+ modules out of order. Network+ builds upon the networking portions of both modules, but derives more from the Hardware section. Making the transition from A+ Hardware to Network+ was easy.
By now I was quite accustomed to the CompTIA certification style, so I planned to finish relatively quickly. Computer Power allocated four weeks to complete the certification; I thought I should bump it off in two. I spent the first day diligently reading the first of two books they had given us (containing over 600 pages in all). On the second day (the following Monday; I don’t study much on weekends), a couple of friends gave me some extra material, including exam questions and what amounted to be an entire printout of a book. There must have been close to a thousand pages in all (think of the trees!). I’m not sure how much of it they got through, but I certainly wasn’t going to read it all. It’d drive me bonkers. I extracted a small sliver (by comparison) from the stack, which amounted to about 360 exam questions and some examination cram notes. I decided to cast aside my book (which I had barely dented) and focus on those.
I spent that week going over that material: doing practice questions and taking notes on the stuff that I didn’t know. Then disaster struck — I got sick over the weekend (I think it was influenza). My plans of doing the exam by the middle of the following week had to be thrown out the window. One of the great things about Computer Power is that there are no classes and all learning is self-paced. I was able to take some days off to recooperate, while still accessing all my files (notes, etc.) over the Internet. I ended up doing next-to-nil study, though. I can never concentrate at home.
After taking Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off, I spent all of Thursday at a Personal Effectiveness workshop which had been scheduled for me prior. Although still somewhat ill, I learnt a lot. I’m glad I went. Friday was the only day that week in which I did any real study.
By that point I had grown bored with the subject matter. I was going over the same ground over and over, and I felt no challenge. Wanting to get the subject over and done with, I booked the exam for the next morning. I’d gladly give up a Saturday if I could start the following week afresh. I was still ill, but by then I was over the worst of it and I didn’t care much anymore. Marks don’t matter in CompTIA exams. They give a printout at the end listing your score, but the actual certificate doesn’t say anything. All I was concerned about was the required 72% mark to pass, and the $400 fee I would incur if I failed.
I sat down in the examination chair the following morning. I felt a little fatigued, bleary-eyed and stuffy (sinuses and nose). The drugs didn’t seem to be working effectively. At times I lost concentration and I may have even dozed off a little. The CompTIA exams I’ve done allocate far too much time for the volume and type of questions posed, and Network+ is no exception. Despite my ailments, I had enough time to carefully complete every question and go over them afterwards. I exited the exam with twenty minutes left.
Less than a minute later I had my mark: 833 out of 900. Phwoar! That’s about 93%! I made some dumb errors which I probably wouldn’t have made had I been fully alert, but I’m very happy with the result nonetheless. Especially considering that I only put in seven days of proper study (recommended time is thirty) and that I was ill for almost the entire time (including during the exam itself).