About the SY0-501 Security+ Exam


Exam Data Card

  • Exam length: 90 minutes maximum
  • 62-82 questions
  • Mostly multiple choice with a single answer
  • 5-10 multiple choice with multiple answers
  • 2-6 exhibits/simulations, often with multiple actions
  • Mark and review: Yes
  • Go back and change answers: Yes
  • Real exam cost: About $300

Domains covered

  • Domain 1: Threats, Attacks and Vulnerabilities
  • Domain 2: Technologies and Tools
  • Domain 3: Architecture and Design
  • Domain 4:Identity and Access Management
  • Domain 5: Risk Management
  • Domain 6: Cryptography


Exam Content

The content of this revision of the Security+ exam is 65% similar to its predecessor, SY0-401. New to this version (SY0-501):

  • More on mobile security
  • A focus on 3rd party authentication systems
  • Development methodologies
  • Risk frameworks and standards
  • Less on cryptography
  • Much on IoT security
  • Probably fewer simulations
  • More multiple answer/multiple choice


Exam Structure

You will receive from 62 to 82 questions, but will make a total of 100 choices. You won’t be told how many points each question is worth, but it is generally speculated that one selection equals one point. When you get an exhibit or scenario, it will involve multiple selections.

Example: You are asked to configure a few rules on a simulated firewall. You make 8 to 10 selections based on the options provided. Each selection is worth a point.

Expect 5-10 items with multiple-answer choices. The majority of the remaining questions will be single-answer.

Exam Time Crunch

Time is a key factor in this exam. Almost all of the people who fail the exam take too long to examine each question. You only have 90 minutes. Make them count.

Tip: Get through the exam quickly, answering what you know, and marking questions for review. When you complete the first viewing of the questions, you will have ample time to go back and review the more difficult questions.

Prep: Take the online quizzes. They are designed to march you through the questions in an aggressive fashion so that you will learn to read and answer the questions quickly and accurately.