How many times can I take the SEC+ exam?

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The Security+ certification is a highly sought-after industry credential that validates one’s proficiency in network security and risk management. Prospective candidates invest a great deal of time, money, and effort to prepare for this exam. In some cases, individuals may not pass the exam on their first attempt, or even after multiple tries. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the Security+ exam retake policy and how it works.

Understanding the SEC+ Exam Retake Policy

If you don’t score the required points to pass the Security+ exam, you can retake it. However, there are certain limitations to the number of attempts for the exam without any time gap between them. As per the CompTIA Security+ Exam Retake Policy:

First Exam Attempt: If you don’t pass on your first try, you can retake the security+ exam after 10 calendar days from your first attempt to give you time to study and prepare.

Second Exam Attempt: If you don’t pas on your second try, you can retake the exam after 30 calendar days from your most recent attempt to prepare thoroughly for the exam.

Third Exam Attempt: After the second failure, you can retake the exam two more times, there is no minimal waiting period between the test 3 & 4 attempts.

Fourth Exam Attempt and above: After you failed the test after the 3rd attempt, you are required to wait for one or more years to retake the Security+ exam.

It is important to note that the retake policy applies to both the English language and translated versions of the Security+ exam. Additionally, if you pass the exam, you cannot retake it for at least three years from the date of your last attempt. It is recommended that you thoroughly prepare for the exam before attempting it to avoid multiple retakes and waiting periods.

Tips to Improve Your Score on the First Attempt

A significant aspect of passing the Security+ exam on the first attempt is to ensure adequate exam preparation. The following tips can provide guidance to help improve your score:

  1. Refer to the exam objectives: The exam objectives provide a detailed outline of what topics are covered in the exam. It makes it easier to prioritize what to study first.
  2. Take practice exams: Practice exams can help to identify areas where one needs improvement, and they provide a testing experience similar to the actual exam.
  3. Enroll in a training course: Attending a training course can provide a structured learning experience that helps to prepare for the exam comprehensively.
  4. Practice hands-on exercises: Doing hands-on exercises helps to develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter, and better retention of the knowledge.

It is also important to manage your time effectively during the exam. The Security+ exam has a time limit of 90 minutes, and it is essential to allocate enough time to answer each question. It is recommended to spend no more than one minute on each question and to mark any questions that require further review. Additionally, it is crucial to remain calm and focused during the exam to avoid making careless mistakes.

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Reasons for Failing the SEC+ Exam and How to Overcome Them

Various factors can contribute to failing the Security+ exam, such as inadequate preparation, test anxiety, and a lack of understanding of the exam format. Below are some ways to overcome these issues:

  • Prepare adequately: Studying the exam objectives and taking enough practice exams helps to build confidence and ensure that you have the essential skills and knowledge to pass the exam. It may also involve identifying knowledge gaps and working on them consistently.
  • Manage test anxiety: Test anxiety can hinder performance, but there are various ways to manage it. Breathing exercises, staying optimistic, and staying focused on the positive outcomes can help to alleviate anxiety.
  • Understand the exam format: Familiarizing oneself with the exam format, such as the number of questions and the time required to answer each question, helps to develop a strategy that maximizes performance.

Another factor that can contribute to failing the Security+ exam is a lack of hands-on experience. While studying the exam objectives and taking practice exams are essential, having practical experience in the field can also be beneficial. This can involve working on real-world projects, participating in internships, or volunteering for IT-related tasks. By gaining hands-on experience, you can apply the knowledge you have learned and develop a deeper understanding of the concepts, which can help you to perform better on the exam.

Exam Preparation Strategies for Retaking the SEC+ Exam

Retaking the Security+ exam requires adequate preparation to increase the chances of passing the exam. Some strategies that may help to.prepare include:

  • Analyze and evaluate the previously failed attempts: Reviewing the previously failed exam attempts helps to identify areas that require improvement and develop a plan to gear up for re-taking the exam.
  • Focus on weak areas: Identify areas that one is struggling with and concentrate to master them adequately. Using training resources and taking practice exams focusing on the weaker areas might help.
  • Form study groups: Studying with peers helps to create an environment for learning, reviewing, and sharing knowledge and experience.

Aside from the above strategies, there are other ways to prepare for the Security+ exam. One of them is to take advantage of online resources such as video tutorials, online courses, and study guides. These resources can provide additional information and insights that can help to reinforce the concepts and topics covered in the exam.

Another strategy is to simulate the exam environment as much as possible. This can be done by taking practice exams under timed conditions and in a quiet environment. This helps to build confidence and reduce anxiety during the actual exam.

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How Long Should you Wait Before Retaking the SEC+ Exam?

As per the exam retake policy, candidates are required to wait for ten days after the first attempt fails to retake the exam, followed by 30 calendar days waiting period after the second and third attempts. After the third attempt, CompTIA requires individuals to wait for 12 months to re-take the exam.

It is important to note that while waiting periods are in place, it is recommended that candidates use this time to thoroughly review and study the exam material. This can include reviewing study materials, taking practice exams, and seeking additional training or guidance from industry professionals. By taking the time to properly prepare, candidates can increase their chances of passing the exam on subsequent attempts and achieving their certification goals.

What to Do After Failing the SEC+ Exam Multiple Times?

Failing the Security+ exam consistently can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean the end of the road. The following steps might come in handy:

  • Consider taking a break: Taking a break from exam preparation allows one to recharge and refocus on their next attempt.
  • Re-evaluate study resources: It might be essential to evaluate the study resources, including training courses, practice tests, and other resources. It would help to research and use alternative courses and material to better prepare for the exam.
  • Get a mentor: Having a mentor can be helpful in providing guidance and support, especially during difficult times of exam preparation.

The Cost of Retaking the SEC+ Exam and How to Save Money

The Security+ exam’s cost is quite high, but there are ways to minimize the costs when retaking it. The following tips can help in saving money:

  • Use exam vouchers: CompTIA provides exam vouchers that cover the cost of the Security+ exam. Using these vouchers can cut down examination costs by a considerable margin.
  • Opt for retake bundle options: CompTIA provides retake bundles or packages that include an exam voucher, a retake voucher, and other resources. These bundles offer the convenience of having everything in one place while minimizing the costs.
  • Utilize free resources: There are free resources available online to support your exam preparation. It includes online discussion forums, online study groups, and free study notes.

It is important to note that retaking the Security+ exam can also have indirect costs, such as the time and effort required to prepare for the exam. To minimize these costs, it is recommended to create a study plan and stick to it. This can include setting aside dedicated study time each day, utilizing practice exams, and seeking guidance from experienced professionals in the field.

Difference Between Retake and Recertification of the SEC+ Exam

A retake of the Security+ exam involves redoing the exam after failing to achieve the required passing score. On the other hand, recertification is the extension of the validity of a previously earned Security+ certification. The Security+ certificate expires after three years, and it can be extended by re-taking the exam or other industry-related certifications.

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It is important to note that the process of recertification is not the same as retaking the exam. Recertification requires the completion of continuing education units (CEUs) or other industry-related certifications. These CEUs can be earned through attending conferences, taking online courses, or participating in other professional development activities.

Additionally, retaking the Security+ exam may not always be the best option for individuals who have failed to pass the exam. It is important to assess the reasons for the initial failure and address any knowledge gaps before attempting to retake the exam. This may involve additional study materials or seeking out a mentor or tutor to help with specific areas of weakness.

How many times is too many to take the SEC+ exam?

There’s no definitive answer to how many times an individual can take the Security+ exam. However, it is not recommended to take the same exam repeatedly without passing. Consistently failing the Security+ exam may indicate an inability to grasp the subject matter, or poor preparation, which needs to be addressed before taking the exam again.

It’s important to note that CompTIA, the organization that administers the Security+ exam, has a policy that limits the number of attempts an individual can make on the same exam. For Security+, the policy states that an individual can take the exam a maximum of three times in a 12-month period. After the third attempt, the individual must wait for a period of six months before attempting the exam again.


In conclusion, understanding the Security+ exam retake policy and preparing adequately for the exam can significantly improve the chances of passing on the first attempt. Retaking the exam may be daunting but taking the right steps, such as identifying weak areas and developing a study plan, can increase your success rate considerably. Nonetheless, candidates should not take the exam too many times without increasing their chances of passing, but refine their exam taking skills efficiently.

It is also important to note that the Security+ exam is constantly evolving to keep up with the changing landscape of cybersecurity. Therefore, it is crucial for candidates to stay up-to-date with the latest exam objectives and study materials. This can be achieved by regularly checking the CompTIA website for updates and joining online forums or study groups to discuss exam-related topics with other candidates.

Lastly, passing the Security+ exam is not only beneficial for personal and professional growth but also for career advancement. Many employers require or prefer candidates with Security+ certification, and it can open up opportunities for higher-paying jobs in the cybersecurity field. Therefore, investing time and effort in preparing for the exam can have long-term benefits for your career.

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