The Network Certification Program

Network+ Certification is a testing program sponsored by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) that certifies the knowledge of networking technicians who have accumulated 18-24 months of experience in the information technology (IT) industry. You can find more information about CompTIA certifications at http://www.comptia.org/certification/index.htm.

The development of the Network+ Certification program began in 1995, when a group of technology-industry companies came together to create the IT Skills Project. This committee was formed to direct CompTIA in identifying, classifying, and publishing skills standards for networking professionals employed in three types of organizations: IT companies, channel partners, and business/government firms. Acting on the committee's recommendations, CompTIA defined these job skills through an industry-wide survey. Results and analyses of this survey were used as a foundation for the Network+ Certification program.

Earning the Network+ Certification means that you possess the knowledge needed to configure and install the TCP/IP client. This exam covers a wide range of vendor- and product-neutral networking technologies.

Benefits of Certification

For most individuals entering the computer industry, Network+ Certification is only the first step. It can also be thought of as the next step after CompTIA's A+ Certification examination, which measures your knowledge of personal computers and your qualifications to work as a computer service technician. Passing the Network+ examination certifies you as possessing the basic knowledge and skills needed to work in the computer networking field. If you are interested in becoming a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), the Network+ Certification Training Kit provides just the foundation you need to get on your way with confidence.

With Network+ Certification, you will receive many benefits, including the following:

  • Recognized proof of professional achievement.  The Network+ credential asserts that the holder has reached a level of competence commonly accepted and valued by the industry.
  • Enhanced job opportunities.  Many employers give hiring preference to applicants with Network+ Certification.
  • Opportunity for advancement.  The Network+ credential can be a plus when an employer awards job promotions.
  • Training requirement.  Network+ Certification is being adopted as a prerequisite to enrollment in certain vendors' training courses.
  • Customer confidence.  As the general public learns about Network+ Certification, customers will request that only certified technicians be assigned to their accounts.
  • Improved productivity.  Certified employees perform work faster and more accurately. Statistics show that certified employees can work up to 75 percent faster than noncertified employees.
  • Customer satisfaction.  When employees have credentials that prove their competency, customer expectations are more likely to be met. More business can be generated for the employer through repeat sales to satisfied customers.

The Network+ Exam

The text in this book prepares you to master the skills needed to pass the Network+ exam. By mastering all course work, you will be able to complete the Network+ Certification exam with the confidence you need to ensure success. Individuals are permitted to take the exam as many times as they like.

The exam is broken down into four sections, called objective domains. The following table lists the objective domains and the extent to which they are represented in the examination.

Network+ Certification Domain Areas Percentage of Examination

1.0 Media and Topologies

20 percent

2.0 Protocols and Standards

25 percent

3.0 Network Implementation

23 percent

4.0 Network Support

32 percent

Registering for the Network+ Exam

Anyone can take the Network+ exam. There are no specific requirements or prerequisites, except payment of the fee. However, exam content is targeted to computer technicians with 18–24 months of experience in the IT industry. A typical candidate will have CompTIA A+ Certification or equivalent knowledge, but A+ Certification is not required. The Network+ exam consists of 65 questions that must be answered within a maximum allowable time of 90 minutes.

The tests are administered by Sylvan Prometric and VUE, who have hundreds of authorized testing centers in all 50 states in the United States and in more than 150 countries worldwide. To register for the exam, call 1-888-895-6166.

When you call, please have the following information available:

  • Social Security number or Sylvan Prometric ID (provided by Sylvan Prometric)
  • Mailing address and telephone number
  • Employer or organization
  • Date on which you want to take the test
  • Method of payment (credit card or check)

The test is available to anyone who wants to take it. Payment is made at the time of registration, either by credit card or by requesting that an invoice be sent to you or your employer. Vouchers and coupons are also redeemed at that time.

Preparing for the Network+ Exam

The process of preparing for the Network+ exam is unique to every student, but there are a wide variety of resources to aid you in the process, including the following:

  • Classroom instruction.  There are many organizations that offer instructor-led training courses for the Network+ exam. The advantages of this type of training are that you have access to a networking lab in which you can experiment and a teacher of whom you can ask questions. This type of training can be quite expensive, however, often running several hundred dollars per day.
  • Computer-based training (CBT).  CBT courses come on one or more CD-ROMs, and can contain multimedia training materials such as audio and video, in addition to graphics and text. A typical CBT includes software that you install on your computer that enables you to track the lessons you've completed and the amount of time you've spent on each one, as well as your results for any exercises and practice exams that might be included. The advantage of a CBT is that you can work with it at your own pace and without having to travel to a training center. CBTs can also be expensive, but not as expensive as classroom training.
  • Online training.  Some training companies offer Network+ courses using Web-based training, which is usually similar in format to a CBT, but delivered online instead of from a CD-ROM. One advantage of online training is that usage information and quiz scores can be maintained by the training company on its servers, making it a good solution for corporations looking for an employee training program. Some courses also offer feedback from a live instructor, through online message boards or chat applications, which can place this medium a step above CBTs. Depending on the format of the course, however, online training might not be satisfactory for users limited to relatively low-speed dial-up Internet connections. For corporate customers, however, who usually have high-speed connections, online training could be ideal, and is generally comparable in cost to CBTs.
  • Study guides.  Books always provide the most information for your training dollar. A student who is disciplined enough to work through a comprehensive Network+ study guide is likely to absorb more information from books than from CBTs or online training courses, and for substantially less money. There are many different Network+ books available, many with exercises and practice questions that provide feedback and progress indicators similar to those in the electronic training formats.
  • Practice exams.  Practice exams for the Network+ Certification are available in book form, on CD-ROM, and on Web sites. The interface used for the examination by the testing centers should not present a challenge to users familiar with computers, so it should make little difference to most people whether their practice tests are in printed or electronic form. What is more important is the content of the practice exams. In addition to providing the correct answers, a good practice exam should also explain why each possible answer to a question is either right or wrong.
  • Braindumps.  Although not a commercial product like the other training material listed here, braindumps can be the most valuable resource for information about the Network+ exam, and they're free. A braindump is simply a document, usually posted on a Web site or in a Usenet newsgroup, containing the recollections of a person who has taken the exam. Because no one is permitted to take notes during the test or take them outside the testing room, how much information a braindump provides depends on the person's memory and how long it's been since he or she took the test. Some people are able to recall a great deal of information; some are not. One thing to be careful of when it comes to braindumps, however, is that a person's memories of the exam might be useful, but his or her networking knowledge might be incomplete or incorrect. Don't rely on braindumps for explanations of right or wrong answers; just note the content of the questions and research them yourself, if necessary.

Taking the Network+ Exam

The Network+ exam is administered by computer, and is completely "closed book." You are not permitted to bring any written materials into the testing room with you, although you are given a pencil and a blank piece of paper or a scratch tablet on which you can write any information you want before the exam begins. Many students memorize a page full of crucial facts and jot them down in the testing room before the exam begins. You can then use your own notes during the exam, but you must turn them in afterward; you cannot take them out with you.

The testing room typically contains a group of computers, with cubicles or dividers to prevent any distraction or communication between students. In most cases, there is a window through which a proctor observes the testing process. You are given time in the testing room to make your own notes. You can then take an orientation exam on the testing computer to familiarize yourself with the format of the software.

The exam is preloaded on the computer when you arrive, and you can start the test at any time. The exam consists of 65 questions, chosen at random from a pool, so that the probability of two people taking the exact same exam is very slight. You have 90 minutes to take the exam; a clock on the computer screen keeps you informed of the time remaining. Each question appears on a separate screen, and you can move forward and backward through the questions by clicking the appropriate arrows. Instructions for using the testing software appear on each screen, although most users familiar with graphical user interfaces don't need them.

The questions are all multiple choice. Some questions require you to select a single answer; these questions have radio buttons on the answers so you can make only one choice. Some questions require more than one answer. These questions have check boxes and also indicate how many selections you can make. All questions are graded either right or wrong; there is no partial credit. If you do not select the required number of responses to a question, the software flags that question and reminds you that it is incomplete at the end of the exam. In some cases, questions include graphics, such as charts or network diagrams. You are asked a question about the graphic, and you might have to click on a particular part of the graphic to indicate your answer.

As you take the test, you can answer each question as it appears, or you can fill a check box that flags an unanswered question to review later. This feature is for user convenience only. You can return to any question at any time in the exam by clicking the forward and backward arrows. The flags only enable you to return to specific questions without having to go through all the questions you have already completed.

Students have different techniques for taking multiple-choice exams. Some people read all of the questions first before selecting any responses. This can be beneficial, because later questions might provide a hint or trigger your memory about the subject of an earlier question. However, don't waste too much time doing this, or you might find yourself rushing through the last few questions. Answering 65 questions in 90 minutes works out to 83 seconds each, so you can't afford to spend too much time on any one question.

The key to taking an exam of this type is to read each question extremely carefully. The language of the questions is chosen very carefully, and sometimes rather deviously. In many cases, questions are designed to trick you into thinking that they are easier than they actually are. If an answer seems painfully obvious, read the question over again. Chances are, the obvious answer is not the correct one. In some cases, all of the responses are correct, and you are instructed to select the one that best answers the question, so always be sure to read all of the possible responses, even when the first one seems correct.

Even if you are completely stumped about a question, you should take a guess before the exam is over. Leave yourself a few minutes at the end of the test to make any guesses you need to, so that you don't leave any questions unanswered.

When 90 minutes have elapsed and the exam is over, there is a brief delay as the computer totals your score. You then receive the results on the spot, with a printed report that breaks down your score into several topics. If you fail the test, this report can be an excellent guide to the material that requires further study. If you pass, the report contains the certification number that you can use to prove your status. Although you receive a score for the exam, the Network+ Certification exam is strictly pass/fail. You can use your high score for bragging rights among your friends and colleagues, but all students passing the exam receive the same certification, which is a certificate that CompTIA mails to you a few weeks after the exam.



Network+ Certification Training Kit
Self-Paced Training Kit Exam 70-642: Configuring Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure
ISBN: 0735651604
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2001
Pages: 105

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