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  1. Member
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    #1

    Default If you passed 401: Approx. how many hours of studying using Gibson's book?

    I've read a lot of posts in which people say it took 1-3 months for them to pass using Darril Gibson's book. I'm interested to know how many hours a day you spent.

    Going back to take assessments from previous chapters, I realize I'm not retaining concepts as well as I should. I have good study habits, so I suspect I'm just not putting in enough time. With a FT job and a family, I'll have to find the hours, but that would be easier if I had a ballpark figure of what this requires for the average person. (For example, the CPA is 300-400 hours on average. Hopefully Sec+ is nowhere near that....)
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    #2
    So like you, I was in the same boat. I always said I will study after work, and what not. BUT I found many distractions along the way.


    Eventually I got really serious about it. Everyone told me to go to the dumps, and blah blah blah. I tried, and never learned much from it. I went to a job interview and realized how bad my studying habits were.

    Anyways. I spent 2-3 hours a day studying for 2 months. I would come home, take care of my list, and then pull out a box of index cards, and read. Again there are many factors on how long it will take you like experience and such. But for me Gibson's book was great.

    What I found more helpful was his premium access with practice questions. I would spend at least 2 hours a day in Feb going thru them. Making sure i know exactly why the answer was the answer and why all the other options were, in fact he suggests to make sure you know that on his site.

    Anything I didnt understand, I would go back to the book, and then look online as well.

    Good luck! The flash cards really did help me retain the information.
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    #3
    Thank you, Truekid. This is really helpful. I have Gibson's book and premium access, so I'm going to focus on those.
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    #4
    Each person is different, and you have to find the study method that works for you, but this is my method for most CompTIA exams:

    I usually try to read through two to three texts on the subject matter, highlighting key concepts and ideas in one color.

    Then, I read through the texts again, generally reading only the key concepts I highlighted initially. At this point I also use a different color highlighter to mark those concepts that I am not remembering or need to look at further. I also will dog ear pages that have quick-reference charts or tables that may be helpful for review.

    On the second read through I start taking practice exams and using flashcards to reinforce and see where I'm weaker

    Generally, when I'm being casual about study prep, I probably spend an hour to two a day - maybe a bit more on a weekend afternoon - reading and studying. Once I get through the books twice, I start using practice exams and flashcards heavy for a few days just before taking the exam. I may watch a few videos to reinforce something I'm struggling with understanding.

    The morning of the exam, I'll usually refer to those dog-eared pages that have important charts or tables for a quick review.

    All in all, for something like most CompTIA exams where self-study works, I probably take about 50 to 70 hours to prep. I usually am too casual and take my time until close to the time I'm ready to test. If I'd just take a week off work and other responsibilities I could probably be ready in a week or so for a CompTIA exam. Now if the exam is more advanced and requires a lot more hands on labs - something like CASP or CISSP, then probably going to need more time.

    As you can see, my study habits rely on using an actual book or hardcopy of the texts, not an eBook, due to my highlighting method in different colors. I've not seen an app I can use that will allow me to use more than one color, then overlay with a second color.
    Last edited by ThePawofRizzo; 03-16-2018 at 12:33 PM.
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    #5
    Thanks, ThePawofRizzo. I like your method--I'm a big fan of weeding out what I don't need to focus on anymore. Also, the more manual, the better for me. I don't retain that well from e-books.

    Did either of you use videos? I've checked out Prof. Messer, but he appears to deviate from Gibson with either too much or too little information at times. This is not a method I'd ever use exclusively, but it would be a nice change if it helped.
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    #6
    I studied for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week for 3 months. 2 weeks before the exam, I bumped it to 3 hours a day every day, more intense. I used little Flash Cards for the final few days to cram the last sources of information, and used them while travelling to the exam centre.
    I used Darryl Gibsons book, and took every online practice test I could find, and measured my average results along the way to find my weak areas, so that I could focus on them.

    I passed 811/900.

    Background Experience: 3 months Cyber Security internship.
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    #7
    Thank you, AaronW1994. It seems like 2 hours a day before the final push is a good target. I'm glad to see you all use flash cards, because they've always been my go-to. Great score, by the way.

    I won't even tell you how much experience I have...ironically, sometimes it's more of a hindrance, since the clients I deal with do not necessarily use the same language as CompTIA.

    Thanks, all.
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    #8
    So ive been studying somewhat since about January 2018. I started with Video series. Messers (more for a beginner to the field, IMHO doesn't contain much actual useful info) Then UDEMY course (get it cheap at $12 or so) then Skillport through work. Not sure how much any of them helped honestly though.

    Since mid march or so I've been using Gibsons book and premium content. I read the book all the way through once, and refer back to it occasionally. I've also been using various test prep sites to answer as many questions as I can and see just how many ways they can ask the same question.

    I study pretty much only at work, since I'm doing this for work, they're very understanding. I'm a PC tech so any spare time I get in between issues I'm reading or trying to answer questions. Seriously several hours a day devoted to just doing that. I SHOULD be ready but every so often I run into some really vague question that just doesn't make sense, even though the answer usually does. That worries me because of how Comptia words their questions sometimes.

    To answer your question, only you can determine how much time you need to devote. I go overboard just because I really want to pass this darn thing the first time. A colleague has failed it 3 times, but she doesn't really have much background in the field. I've got 25 some years in the IT/Help Desk/PC support areas.

    My exam is scheduled for May 5th.
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  10. Member
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    #9
    Thanks, @mklein2836. I'm currently in the same boat. I stepped up my studying in a very big way about three weeks ago, because I found that I wasn't retaining enough by studying a little each day.

    Ironically, when I first read Gibson's 45-day method, I thought it was too short and too intense, but that's essentially what I will have done in the end.

    Good luck on your exam.
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  11. Lost & Not Found
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    #10
    I studied the gibson book heavily about 1-2 hours a day, as well as tested myself on his application. I passed my first try with this method, I also used materials from WGU through LabSim via TestoutPro, and of course the uCertify application/book.

    For any exam for a certification, study more than one material, this fills in the gaps that certain books either don't have or just barely cover with little detail.
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  12. Senior Member
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    #11
    Takes 3 to 5 months depend on the frequency of how many time do you spend studying.

    Good luck!
    2018 Year goals:
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    Extra goals: VCP6-DCV [1%] , CCENT-CCNA [2%]
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by nisti2 View Post
    Takes 3 to 5 months depend on the frequency of how many time do you spend studying.

    Good luck!
    3 to 5 MONTHS?!?!?!?!

    I have taken several CompTIA exams, and passed all of them on the first try. My first try for Security+, I scheduled myself to test in 3 weeks, *when I had not started studying yet*. Then life got in the way, so I wasn't able to study much the first two weeks. The last week I was cramming like crazy (meyers, gibson, a little of messer, meyers primarily). Being an experienced CompTIA test taker, I started to panic a little. I didn't feel I was ready. Took a day off of work JUST to study. That day I took off of work was probably 30% of my total study time.

    Day of the test, I was still studying (had studied all night, actually). I did NOT feel prepared. And I was DEAD tired from being up all night studying. I sat the test anyway, as I did not feel like rescheduling. However, I was already thinking that I'd be back the next week to test again. After the first try, I actually passed. It wasn't a high score, but it was comfortable (not near failing). So even though I was not as prepared as usual, and not as prepared as I THOUGHT I should be...
    A pass is a pass.

    Looking back, I could have easily passed Security+ on less than a week of study, if I didn't have anything else going on. That was 401.

    3 to 5 months? Obviously some people will have different study habits and need more time, but measuring study time in MONTHS for Security+ seems... excessive. IMHO

    Meyers is your friend. He has not let me down. His books (and recently videos) have been my primary source of study material. I have passed every CompTIA exam on first try. 401 is the only one I was not confident about, but I really only had less than a week of actual study time for it (I should have been more prepared...I can't blame that on my study material) Still, even the one I was not confident about...I still passed!
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by davec8080 View Post
    Looking back, I could have easily passed Security+ on less than a week of study, if I didn't have anything else going on.
    The topic owner has Security+ listed in his profile, so I'm assuming he passed.

    That being said, I would never recommend someone sit for an exam after only 1 week of studying for it. Security+ has a lot of material to learn... especially if you don't have IT Security experience or IT experience in general.
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  15. Senior Member scaredoftests's Avatar
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    #14
    Me? I have dyslexia so it takes me longer to study even though I have plenty of experience. still took me a couple of months.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
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    #15
    Let me break down my timeline so you get an understanding on the Certs with Gibsons material.
    A+ < 1 month (both courses)
    Net+ 2-3 months
    Sec+ 3 months Solid (nailed the exam btw thanks to Gibsons material)
    Linux+ 1 month for part 1, 2 weeks for part 2. (no gibson material for this, just thought I would add it for timelines sake)
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ReonBalisty View Post
    Let me break down my timeline so you get an understanding on the Certs with Gibsons material.
    A+ < 1 month (both courses)
    Net+ 2-3 months
    Sec+ 3 months Solid (nailed the exam btw thanks to Gibsons material)
    Linux+ 1 month for part 1, 2 weeks for part 2. (no gibson material for this, just thought I would add it for timelines sake)
    Did you have prior working experience ?
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by scaredoftests View Post
    Me? I have dyslexia so it takes me longer to study even though I have plenty of experience. still took me a couple of months.
    did you get your security + without ever getting the comptia a+ ?
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  19. Senior Member scaredoftests's Avatar
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    #18
    Yes. Never took the A+.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by techN0 View Post
    Did you have prior working experience ?
    Yes and no, I have no real world exp except for freelance IT work that are in SoHo environments.
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  21. Senior Member
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    #20
    I've taken Sec+ twice, once in 2010 right before it switched from lifetime to renewable, and again around 2016-2017 for WGU. Both times Gibson's book was my sole study source. Gave it a read through, took the chapter tests and the comprehensive at the end until I felt like I was nailing it, and then passed the exam easily. I dont remember the time each night, but the first time I did it in 10 days, and the second time it was about a week.
    CCNP - Switch [X] Route [X] T-Shoot [X]
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  22. Junior Member NiTech-5's Avatar
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by ThePawofRizzo View Post
    Each person is different, and you have to find the study method that works for you, but this is my method for most CompTIA exams:

    I usually try to read through two to three texts on the subject matter, highlighting key concepts and ideas in one color.

    Then, I read through the texts again, generally reading only the key concepts I highlighted initially. At this point I also use a different color highlighter to mark those concepts that I am not remembering or need to look at further. I also will dog ear pages that have quick-reference charts or tables that may be helpful for review.

    On the second read through I start taking practice exams and using flashcards to reinforce and see where I'm weaker

    Generally, when I'm being casual about study prep, I probably spend an hour to two a day - maybe a bit more on a weekend afternoon - reading and studying. Once I get through the books twice, I start using practice exams and flashcards heavy for a few days just before taking the exam. I may watch a few videos to reinforce something I'm struggling with understanding.

    The morning of the exam, I'll usually refer to those dog-eared pages that have important charts or tables for a quick review.

    All in all, for something like most CompTIA exams where self-study works, I probably take about 50 to 70 hours to prep. I usually am too casual and take my time until close to the time I'm ready to test. If I'd just take a week off work and other responsibilities I could probably be ready in a week or so for a CompTIA exam. Now if the exam is more advanced and requires a lot more hands on labs - something like CASP or CISSP, then probably going to need more time.

    As you can see, my study habits rely on using an actual book or hardcopy of the texts, not an eBook, due to my highlighting method in different colors. I've not seen an app I can use that will allow me to use more than one color, then overlay with a second color.
    This is what I do. Highlight key concepts...then type out a reference/cheat sheet with listed page numbers for each concept. I experimented with handing writing notes and even typing notes from my books. But, it's much labor when you have 600+ page book. I only plan to make flashcards for the "Exam Tip" boxes. I'm currently at 52 hours of study/reading time based on time tracking app. I plan to get at least 115-120 hours in for Security+ exam preparation.

    I plan to watch videos for anything I can't easily grasp or recall...then hope to buy Gibson's practice exams by the end of this month.

    PS: I use Ebooks...mostly due to the cheaper pricing lol.
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  23. Senior Member
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    #22
    I'm studying for the test currently, I've started Mike Meyers Udemy 501 course and I'm into section 4 already since I started 4 days ago. I have Gibson's book on the way and purchased his premium Full Study Guide package with Audio. I plan on watching Messer's videos as a fill in for additional/fresh-pov information. I feel like I'm going through the material nicely and most of it is sticking. I have a ton of downtime at work, 4+hrs/day, so I'm free to use this time to study, which is how I did my CCNA and labs. I created a nice stack of flashcards, 1 set for the office & 1 for the home. I'm taking a 6.5hr drive this weekend and plan on listening to Gibson's audio and I downloaded Meyers videos for offline use. I'm coming from a Desktop Support role with a CCNA, so I feel like I have a solid network/os/tshoot background to build my security concepts onto. My most important aspect for prepping is to remain zoned in, study at-least something(videos/books/flash-cards) everyday to keep the end goal front & center on my mind to pass! I won't schedule the test until my practice test are 90% or more, so I know I'll be walking in prepared. I plan on sitting the exam in mid July, maybe a bit sooner.
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