By March, 2012, CompTIA will add performance-based questions that require candidates for the Network+, A+, and Security+ exams to interact with online simulations to carry out a task or solve some problem.
CompTIA made its plans public in a blog post whose headline is shown in the preceding figure. It also published the following schedule for the introduction of such questions in its three most popular exams:
- A+: Updated versions of the two A+ exams — namely 220-801 and 220-802 will include performance-based questions, and become available in October 2012. The old, multiple-choice only versions (220-701 and 220-702) will remain available until August 31, 2013.
- Network+: The updated version of the Network+ exam (N10-005) will do likewise, and should appear before the end of 2012. The old, multiple-choice only version of this exam (N10-004) remains available until August 31, 2013.
- Security+: The current version of the Security+ exam (SYo-301) will get an infusion of performance-based questions, and become available sometime in the first quarter of 2013. No info on if the old version will remain available after the new one comes out, but I think it unlikely.
CompTIA also provides some words of warning about its new performance-based questions: “Exam candidates must pay careful attention to the wording and details of each question in order to form the correct answer.” They also opine that “To prepare for exams with performance-based questions, CompTIA encourages candidates to gain hands-on experience with exam objectives, in addition to engaging in their preferred methods for study and training.” I’m guessing this means there’s some potential to encounter trick questions in the mix, so candidates should be forewarned and fore-armed before they tackle the next-gen exams. I’m also guessing that this means some reworking will be needed for exam prep materials, and that interactive labs and simulations will start to become increasingly important tools for CompTIA exam preparation, too.