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The CompTIA A+ certification exam is crucial for beginners in IT. It teaches candidates all the basics of computer hardware, software, operating systems, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and network support. If you’re at the beginning of your IT career (or would like to brush up on the foundations), taking this CompTIA exam is a perfect choice. However, a question poses itself: how to pass CompTIA A+? 

The exam can be difficult for those who have never dealt with anything beyond watching Netflix or playing video games on the computer. On the other hand, if you have some experience with assembling desktop configurations or setting up simple home or office networks, the A+ might be a breeze for you. Either way, MyComputerCareer can help

No matter how well you prepare for exam day, there are a few other things you need to take into account to make the most of your newly acquired A+ knowledge. 

How the CompTIA A+ Works

From January 2019, the CompTIA A+ belongs in the CompTIA Core Certifications group. To obtain this certification, you need to pass two exams: 

  • Core 1 (220-1001) encompasses networking, hardware, virtualization and cloud computing, mobile devices, and hardware and network troubleshooting. 
  • Core 2 (220-1002) includes security, operational procedures, software troubleshooting, and operating systems. 

Each of these exams has a maximum of 90 questions and lasts 90 minutes. The score ranges from 100 – 900. You need a passing score of 675 for Core 1, while the second exam requires a minimum of 700 to be successfully completed. 

It doesn’t matter whether you first take Core 1 or Core 2, and there is also no time restriction between taking the two tests. What matters is that you pass them both before the exam series is retired. 

Namely, to stay up to date with all IT innovations, CompTIA restructures its exam series from time to time. Each cycle lasts approximately three years, so the current 1001 and 1002 exams are expected to retire somewhere around 2022. If you pass only one test before the cycle retires, you will have to pass that one again in the next cycle. 

Exam Questions

There are two main types of questions on Core 1 and 2: multiple-choice and performance-based questions. It is essential to learn what each of these is and what you need to look for to answer them successfully. 

  • Multiple-choice Questions

Test takers could easily get tripped up by multiple-choice questions. These have multiple answers on offer, only one of which (or a few of which) is the correct one. When you run into these questions, you need to read them thoroughly or perhaps even re-read them at least once. They tend to ask a candidate to make a judgment call by using words such as “which option is the BEST” or “which option should you do FIRST.” 

Pay close attention to these FIRST, LEAST, BEST, MOST words, as they make all the difference between a right answer and a wrong one. You might also find that the wrong answer to one question is the correct answer to a different question. 

  • Performance-based Questions

A performance-based question is anything but a multiple-choice one. It can be ‘fill in the blank,’ a drag and drop question, or even a full-blown simulation. The purpose of performance-based questions is to provide you with a scenario where you would use your theoretical knowledge in simulated practice. 

The most important thing here is not to panic. Performance-based questions can be challenging, but they’re not a reason for you to lose your cool. Many exam takers skip these questions until the end of the exam. So if a problem is too difficult, skip it and come back to it later! 

  • Beta Questions

At the beginning of the test, you might face a beta question or two. These questions are ‘test questions,’ meaning that CompTIA is testing them out. Usually, you will recognize them because their topic isn’t something currently covered by the exam objectives. 

Even if you give incorrect answers to beta questions, there’s no need to worry. These exam questions are not graded and thus won’t affect your score at all.  

Tips & Tricks 

  • During the exam preparation, take advantage of different study material types: books, practice tests, videos, and similar. Some people prefer to focus on just the videos; others like to put together a test lab and get some hands-on experience building a computer. Find what works for you. 
  • Check out the testing center before the day of your exam. This will save you time and added stress of needing to find the right building, parking space, and entrance. 
  • Be early for the exam. It will allow you to run through your notes a bit more or even go in early and start the test (and finish earlier, as well). 
  • If you run into any technical problems, make sure to notify the testing center at once. 
  • When you submit the exam, you will know right away whether you passed or failed. Don’t leave the center until you get your certified results if you pass.  It can be difficult to obtain them after. 

Conclusion

This CompTIA certification exam can be relatively easy or challenging, depending on how much knowledge and experience you have going into it. There are two primary question types you need to be aware of: performance-based and multiple-choice questions. Each type requires you to pay special attention to their details to not accidentally answer wrong even if you know different. 

Utilize as much of the study material as is available to you. Create your study guide, examine each exam objective closely, and find a study method that works best for you. 

The A+ CompTIA course is ideal for IT beginners and those who want to work as a help desk computer technician, security specialist, network support specialist, and similar. It represents a springboard into the world of information technology, and for many, it’s an invaluable asset early on in their career. 

If you’re interested in obtaining your CompTIA A+ certification, don’t hesitate to contact MyComputerCareer. We will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the exams and even guide you through the entire process until you successfully get your certification.