More Than 65% of Security+ Exam Takers Said It Took Under 2 Months to Study for the SY0-601

by Ross Heintzkill | Published on September 12, 2022

To find out how long it takes to prepare for the CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601) exam, we surveyed over 500 cybersecurity professionals who've earned it. We reached out to old students of ours via email, but we also reached out to the entire cybersecurity world with a Twitter survey and a poll on LinkedIn. We put all those answers together to get a sense of how long the SY0-601 takes to prepare for.

How long did most people need to study for the SY0-601?

On average, it takes under 2 months to prepare for the SY0-601 exam. 65% of all people who've earned their CompTIA Security+ said it took less than 2 months to prepare for the exam. But 2 months is quite fast for some: 20% of people with their Security+ say it took them over 5 months to prepare.

how long to study for comptia security+ survey data

There's a big gap between the fastest Security+ students and the slowest. 35% of people with the Security+ took less than 4 weeks to prepare, while 20% took more than 5 months. This large difference is almost certainly a gap of training and experience. People with cybersecurity experience who took online training prepared for the SY0-601 much, much faster than new cybersecurity professionals who didn't take any courses.

Studying for the SY0-601 isn't enough, you also need a regular study habit. But those can be hard to form – especially for people who haven't been in school for a while. Molly Billow, a senior coach at CBT Nuggets, says there's a process to follow when forming a new habit. 

"First, a cue triggers a behavior. For instance, when your alarm goes off, that's your cue to hit the snooze button. The behavior is followed by the reward: a few more minutes of sleep," Molly explains. "Studies show that when you reward a behavior, you can actually create a craving." So tying rewards to your studying can create a craving in your own brain and help you prepare for the Security+.

How should you prepare ahead of taking the Security+ exam? 

The CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601) online training from CBT Nuggets is one of the best ways to shorten how long you'll need to prepare for the Security+ exam. The CompTIA Security+ course covers each learning objective on the SY0-601 one at a time and lets you repeat any section you need to make sure you completely understand it before trying the certification exam.

A great way to prepare for any certification is with a coach or a mentor — someone who knows the right steps to take and how to stay focused on your goals. Another CBT Nuggets coach, Samantha Matta, says she likes to remind her learners to stretch their goals (within reason, of course). 

"Give it 1% more everyday — that little amount adds up!" She also points to the words of Brendon Burchard, the New York Times best-selling author of High Performance Habits. "First, it’s intention. Then behavior. Then habit. Then practice. Then it’s second nature. At the end it’s simply who you are."

Tips to make sure you’re test-ready before Security+ exam day:

Without a structured course, it could take you longer than 5 months to prepare for the CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601). But following along with a CBT Nuggets online course gets you all the skills and knowledge you need to pass the SY0-601 in less than 4 weeks. It's the features that come along with all the training that accelerate your preparation.

Use virtual labs

Learning how to actually do the crucial steps of securing a network or a device is really hard if you can't practice in a real-world setting – otherwise you're just reading about how to administer cybersecurity. Virtual labs create real networks and devices that are inside a digital sandbox where even if something breaks, it can just be reset. Virtual labs are one of the best ways to speed up SY0-601 preparation.

Test yourself using practice exams

Practice exams are another crucial tool when you're trying to prepare for the Security+ exam. Take practice exams to see how you'll do on the real thing, then you can focus on the parts you're not ready for or hurry past the sections you know you can pass.

Learn from the experts

If you're trying to earn a certification, you want to make sure you're learning from someone who understands the material as well as the certification exam itself. Keith Barker teaches the CBT Nuggets CompTIA Security+ online training, and Keith has earned so many certifications, that he's had more certifications expire than most people ever even earn in their entire careers. The Security+ course from CBT Nuggets couldn't be in better hands than Keith.

The Network+ certification from CompTIA isn't a particularly grueling or excessively challenging certification. The majority of people can pass the SY0-601 exam in under 2 months — but those people may already have experience, are using high-quality online training, and studying regularly to speed up their progress. It will likely take more than 5 months to get ready for Security+ on your own, or you can speed that up a lot with the SY0-601 online training course.

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