Performance-Based Questions

Performance-based questions (PBQs) are exam items designed to test a candidate’s ability to solve problems in real-world settings and are delivered as either simulations or within virtual environments.  

  • Simulations are an approximation of an environment or tool, such as a firewall, network diagram, terminal window, or operating system. They typically have restricted system functionality but are designed to allow for multiple possible responses or paths. 
  • Virtual environments are virtual machines/systems running select operating systems and software in a production environment. Because they are full versions of the technology assessed by the exam item, all manner of incorrect steps or paths may be pursued. 

CompTIA certifications with simulation PBQs:

  • A+
  • Network+
  • Security+
  • CySA+
  • PenTest+
  • Linux+
  • Server+
  • Cloud+

CompTIA certifications with both virtual and simulation PBQs:

  • CASP+

CompTIA certification without PBQs:

  • ITF+
  • Cloud Essentials+
  • Project+
  • CTT+

Try a Simulation PBQ

Watch a Virtual PBQ

These sample PBQs are not from any CompTIA exams. They are provided to illustrate the experience of a PBQ item on a CompTIA certification exam. 

Click here for the answer key to this PBQ.

Tips for completing PBQs on your exam

  • Identify the type of PBQ. Simulation PBQs cover the entire testing area and have a reset button, virtual PBQs do not.
  • You can skip simulation PBQs and return to them later, you cannot do the same with virtual PBQs! If you don’t feel confident about answering a simulation PBQ, move on to the next question. Click the Next button to proceed with the exam. Your work on the simulation PBQ will be saved as you work and when moving to another item.
  • When you encounter a virtual PBQ, you must complete it at that time. There is a warning screen prior to entering the virtual environment alerting you that you cannot skip the item and then return to it. When encountered, the best strategy is to complete the virtual PBQ to the best of your ability, then click the Next button to continue with the rest of your exam.
  • There can be multiple ways to solve a question or challenge posed in a PBQ. Scoring addresses different possible approaches.
  • Partial credit may be given to virtual PBQ, as it is for simulation PBQs.

Click here to see FAQs about completing exams with PBQs.