Failing an exam can feel like a punch to the gut. You’ve worked hard, studied harder, and given up your free time only to fall short. If you find yourself in this difficult position, don’t worry! It’s more common than you think, even for seasoned IT professionals.

Each exam costs $200-$400 depending on the test so it’s an investment (even though it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what you could earn long-term.) You don’t want to get stuck taking the exam too many times.

That’s why we’re providing a comprehensive list of study guides, exam prep, and tools to help you succeed at certifications such as CompTIA’s A+, Network+, Security+, and CASP exams. The first time. Read on for the keys to success.

(Know which cert you’re looking for? Jump to A+, Network+Security+, or CASP.)

A+ Exam

When it comes to starting your career, A+ is one of the most recognized certifications in the world. Most major computer software and hardware manufacturers are actually members of CompTIA including Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Compaq, and others. The exam is an hour and a half with 90 multiple-choice and performance based questions.

CompTIA offers a number of resources, both free and paid, for test takers. You can get sample questions and exam objectives for free after signing up via email. They offer a number of alternate media for varying prices in their Self Study and Training including books, online courses, and even arranging training. There are also free flash cards and a low-cost A+ app for your phone or tablet.

While there’s an abundance of other free study materials out there, ensuring the consistency and currency of these sources can be difficult. If you’re concerned about passing the A+ exam, LeaderQuest offers a 15-day foundational training course which includes both A+ and ITIL. The average salary for A+ certified professionals is around $50,000.

If you’re new the IT world, certifications communicate to employers that you’ve got the skills to do the job. Many hiring managers actually require A+ to even be considered. By adding the ITIL certification, you’ll be broadening your skill set and setting a strong foundation to build on if your ambitions are for cyber security, network security, or others.

See our full list of A+ resources below:

Pass the A+ Exam!

Network+ Exam

Even though it’s an entry-level certification, there’s no shortage of threads around the internet about failing the Network+ exam.

We’ve already covered the value Network+ can have to your IT career and skillset, but as for the exam, Network+ covers the key skills needed to troubleshoot, configure and manage network systems.

Again, there are sample questions and exam details available on the CompTIA website. CompTIA has also published a basic list of what students should do ensure they pass the test. If you’re looking for a way to beef up your knowledge in your free time try out these free flash cards or the low-cost CompTIA app.

For IT professionals who are considering Network+, but may be open to broadening their qualifications and earning potential, LeaderQuest offers a 25-day Computer User Support Specialist courses which cover A+, Network+, and Security+. While we do have a five-day course solely dedicated to Network+, people in computer user support specialists roles can make an average of $60,000 a year. By adding more than one certification, your earning power increases.

See more studying resources below:

Pass the Network+ Exam!

Security+ Exam

The notoriously difficult Security+ exam recommends that you have at least two years of experience in IT administration. If you’re not sure if Security+ is really the right move for your career, we wrote a whole blog about it here. It’s extremely versatile with employers such as Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The test includes the following subjects:

  1. Network Security (21% of exam)
  2. Compliance and Operational Security (18% of exam)
  3. Threats and Vulnerabilities (21% of exam)
  4. Application, Data and Host Security (16% of exam)
  5. Access Control and Identity Management (13% of exam)
  6. Cryptography (11% of exam)

CompTIA offers sample questions and an exam overview for free. There’s also an official online app and flash cards for quick studying on the go. Interested in investing some money in some official study guides? This complete list of the best Security+ books is a good place to start.

If you’re getting your Security+ because you’re interested in cyber security, LeaderQuest’s 15-day Information Security Analyst course pairs Security+ with hacking certifications like CND and CEH. From 2015-2017, our Security+ classes boasted a 77% pass rate. This is a great entry point into the cyber world for anyone with at least two years of IT experience.

While a Security+ certification can net you between $40,000 and $90,000, depending on the company and position, an Information Security Analyst’s median income with $90,000 and they can make upwards of $115,000.

See more resources below:

Pass the Security+ Exam!


The CASP is the odd man out in this list because it’s a mastery-level certification. Often compared to the more well-known CISSP, the CASP is Ideal for IT professionals who’d rather stay in the hands-on technical aspect of their careers than go into management.

With around 90 performance-based and multiple-choice questions, this test clocks in at 165 minutes. CompTIA offers Sample Questions and Exam Objectives for free after users fill out a form. You can get free flash cards that cover acronyms or general test prep. CompTIA has also released an official “Certification Guide” which will provide you with the information you need to pass the CASP.

Since it is a newer certification, there are fewer resources available than for other tests. That’s why we offer a 15-day training course to help pros pass the test. The CASP is perfect for Department of Defense jobs because it fulfills DoD Directive 8570.1. This allows you to work for a number of positions some with salaries as high as $120,000 per year.

(Not sure if you want to take the CASP or the CISSP? See the pros and cons here.)

See more studying resources below:

Pass the CASP Exam!

What Happens if I Fail an Exam?

If you don’t nail your test on the first try, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Again, you’re not alone. CompTIA actually has an official retake policy for this very purpose.

No matter how good you are at studying alone, there are always going to be gaps. Even a small misstep on an IT certification exam can mean the difference between getting certified and failing. Not to mention the $10,000 a year in salary.

That’s where we come in. LeaderQuest classes are taught by trained professionals in their field of study. They know the exams inside and out and provide live simulations to help you practice your skills. With our flexible hours, night or day, and online or in person classes to suit your landing style, and we set you up for success. Once you graduate, we also offer resources to help you land a job.

If you need help passing a certification exam, or want to plan the next move in your IT career, contact LeaderQuest today!

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