The Exam Experience: In-Person Edition

You’ve put in the work and prepared for your CompTIA exam. But what can you expect on exam day? Calm your nerves by reading this article.

Male with sunglasses walking out of a buildingIf your first CompTIA exam is coming up, it’s natural to feel a little bit nervous. Even if you’re completely prepared and feel like you’ve mastered the content, not knowing what to expect on exam day is sure to cause some butterflies – or a slight nervous stomach.

To alleviate some of those nerves, we’ve put together “The Exam Experience.” Read on to learn what exam day looks like from start to finish and how you can prepare.

Is In-Person Testing Right for You?

First things first, is in-person testing the right choice for you? If you’d prefer to take the test at a testing center (vs. online testing) you can choose from any of the thousands of Pearson VUE test centers located around the world. Candidates choose in-person testing if they don’t have access to a private and distraction-free location, if they don’t have reliable internet access or if they have a language barrier. Of course, some people choose in-person testing simply because they prefer it – and that’s a good reason too!

Before Your Exam Day

Aside from studying the material and preparing for your CompTIA certification exam, there are few other things you must check off your to-do list before taking the test.

1. Create a CompTIA Account

Before you sit for your CompTIA certification exam, you have to purchase a voucher and schedule the exam.

The first step in doing that is creating a CompTIA account. Make sure you use an active and valid email address when creating your account. This is where you’ll receive important information about your exam results and certification status.

2. Purchase an Exam Voucher

The exam voucher is your ticket for scheduling and sitting for your certification exam.

There’s no doubt that putting the work into earning a CompTIA certification is a great investment in yourself and your career – but every investment comes with a cost. The retail price for exam vouchers can be daunting, but there are ways to save money, such as purchasing a bundle or using a discount code.  

If you choose, you can pay for the exam via credit card payment as part of the exam scheduling process. Also, keep in mind that each voucher comes with an expiration date and those dates cannot be extended under any circumstances.

Check out this page for current CompTIA exam prices.

3. Schedule Your Exam

When you’re ready to take your exam, visit the Pearson VUE website to find an authorized test center near you. You will be able to select the testing center of your choice when scheduling your exam.

Register using the first and last name that appears on your government-issued ID. Once you schedule your exam, you will receive a confirmation email containing your exam appointment time. If you do not receive this email, please contact Pearson VUE immediately.

4. Review the Testing Policies

On exam day, before taking the exam, all certification candidates will be prompted to agree with the CompTIA Candidate Agreement. You must agree to take the exam. It’s a good idea to take a look at the CompTIA Candidate Agreement, along with the CompTIA Testing Policies ahead of your exam.

5. Request Accommodations

CompTIA’s exam provider, Pearson VUE, makes Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations during certification exams for people who need them and who qualify. Learn more about ADA accommodations.

On Your Exam Day

When the day arrives, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious. Here’s what you can expect when you enter the testing center.

1. Leave Early

Give yourself plenty of time to arrive for your testing appointment. We recommend arriving at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. This will give you enough time to complete the required sign-in procedures.

2. Bring Acceptable Identification

You’ll need two forms of valid identification with you. Acceptable forms of ID are detailed in the Candidate ID Policy. Your first and last name used to register for the exam must match the first and last name on both IDs that you present on exam day. Your IDs must be issued in the country in which you are testing.

Furthermore, the IDs must be originals – photocopies are not accepted. Candidates who are 17 years of age and under should have a single form of identification with them – a school ID counts.

Additionally, they should have guardian authorization for each testing event. The guardian should be present during the check-in process and willing to show their government-issued ID.

3. Smile for the Camera

Be prepared to get your picture taken. When you check-in, your photo will be taken to help maintain the highest level of security and authentication. You don’t have to get dolled up – just understand that this is part of the testing process.

4. Pack Lightly

You are not allowed to bring any personal items with you into the testing room – including your phone. Additional items include bags, books, notes, smartwatches, etc. Some test centers provide areas in which to secure your belongings, but you may want to check with your selected test center. If your test center does have an area to secure your belongings, limit the items you bring inside.

5. Take Your Exam

Most CompTIA exams are completed in a two-hour window – that includes 15 minutes to agree to the CompTIA Candidate Agreement and testing policies prior to beginning the exam, and 15 minutes after you’ve completed the exam for the post-exam survey.

6. Follow the Rules

There are a few rules you should be aware of on exam day. First, photos or videos of the exam screen are prohibited – including a photo of your exam result at the end. This is a violation of testing policies and can result in your score being invalidated and your certification being revoked.

In addition, candidates are not allowed to tamper with the operation of their computer or allow unauthorized software to run in the background.

Also, be careful to not read the questions aloud. While concentrating, you may find yourself accidently murmuring to yourself. If that happens, you’ll get a warning from the proctor. If it happens again after the warning, the exam will be shut down.

7. Get Your Results

You’ll find out your test results immediately after completing the test. The test center will print out your score report. If you passed, the score report will include instructions for you to log in to your CompTIA account to request your wallet ID card and your official certificate. If you did not pass on your first attempt, there is no waiting period before you can try again. But, before your third (or any subsequent) attempt to pass, you must wait at least 14 days from the date of your last attempt.

After Your Exam Day

Once you have a CompTIA certification, you not only have an industry-recognized credential that employers rely on to find qualified candidates, but you also have access to free resources that will help you find and land your dream job in IT.

1. Claim Your Digital Badge

CompTIA has included digital badges as an additional way for you to share and validate your CompTIA certification achievements. A digital badge consists of an image and metadata that are uniquely linked to you. Together, they serve as a compelling digital showcase of your certification achievements. Clicking on your digital badge grants immediate access to validated information that features your knowledge and skills.

2. Use ZipRecruiter

Through CompTIA’s partnership with ZipRecruiter, you can match your skills to new job opportunities and highlight those skills on your career profile. ZipRecruiter will promote your profile to employers looking for people with your skills – taking some of the leg work out of your job search.

3. Learn from CompTIA Resources

If you’re new to IT, check out our free resources for displaced workers as well as the Career Change section of our website, which includes quizzes, articles and step-by-step guides to help you get into IT no matter your previous experience. CompTIA resources can help you simplify your job hunt, perfect your IT resume, write an effective cover letter and rock your IT interview.

Ready to begin your CompTIA exam experience? Download the exam objectives for the certification of your choice to get started.

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