This post is a summary of the resources (and my opinions about some of them) available to prepare for Network+. I have a longer write-up about my study path in a previous post. Note – these links are for English language materials.
If picking up used copies of the textbooks, ensure that you purchase a current version of the text. Around 25% of the content changes with each update to the exam. Between the Network N10-006 & the Network N10-007, approximately 15% of the content changed (updated with new technologies, and older required knowledge is retired).
The materials I used to study for the exam were:
- Mike Meyers’ All-in-One Network+ exam guide
- Mike Meyers’ CompTIA Network+ Guide to Managing and Troubleshooting Networks Lab Manual, Fifth Edition
- Mike Meyers’ online practice tests and simulations (paid access)*
- Professor Messer online videos.
- A collection of Quizlet practice drills for acronym and concept memorization
I prefer Mike Meyers’ study materials over some of the other available resources; they are well written, have a sense of humor, and explain a lot of background concepts (and tech history) that help newbies understand the context of the technology. About 25% of the content overlaps with the A+ exam series.
Meyers also has a series of shorter Passport books that focus on the essentials with less of the background context, as well as college textbooks. (the only real difference between the college texts and the All-in-One guides is that the college texts are printed in color) His Total Seminars packages include simulations, online practice exams and exam coupon discounts (don’t forget to check your textbook package for these!)
Professor Messer is another online instructor who focuses on entry-level CompTIA exam prep. He has a good video series on YouTube. His notes are good final summaries for exam review. He also runs monthly online study sessions. Many of my students find the additional discussion helpful.
Many of my students have found the CertBlaster materials useful; I’m not so keen on paying for access to their paid materials (I think Meyer’s Total Seminars does a better job).
I’m not a fan of the official CompTIA textbooks; I don’t think that they are written clearly enough, and they assume too much implicit background knowledge by the reader.
Pluralsight has a decent series of online tutorials, as does Lynda.com (you need to pay to access both). Neither is comprehensive (no written materials) but they are good supplements to a textbook. Both would be suitable or professionals who are reviewing a body of knowledge that they already mostly know.
Set up a practice lab
I recommend setting a practice lab for yourself, or joining a makerspace or a shared tech workshop that has some experimental equipment available. The lab should contain:
- A spare computer tower with at least 8 GB of RAM to use as your first server and/or virtualization platform.
- A couple of second-hand monitored switches with virtualization capacity
- A wifi access point or two (second-hand home wifi routers will suffice; you want to be able to play around with them and not affect the connections that others are using every day)
Preparation for the Network+ can take as little as a week, if you have significant hands-on experience or three to six months, if you are studying around other family, school and workplace obligations.