Computing Technology Industry Association or CompTIA is a trade organization widely known for its IT certification exams and training courses. One of the most popular certifications they offer is the CompTIA A+ – an entry-level certification that’s considered to be a great starting point for people who seek to launch a career in the Information Technology sector. To pass the CompTIA A+ exam, it is advised to go through training to prepare, and once you pass the exam, you will be eligible for the next level of certifications.
The CompTIA A+ exam consists of two exams:
- CompTIA A+ 220-901 – this exam covers PC hardware, networking, mobile device hardware, and more;
- CompTIA A+ 220-902 – after passing the 220-901 exam, you become eligible for the 220-902 exam. It covers installing and configuring operating systems, operational procedures, the fundamentals of cloud computing, and cyber security fundamentals. This exam is the last step towards obtaining your CompTIA A+ certification.
When you sign up for this certification exam, you should be ready to invest real hard work – create a master plan and commit to it. To make things easier and help you understand what it takes to pass the CompTIA A+ exam, we have made a list of essential exam studying tips for passing this entry-level exam.
Getting Familiar with Course Content
How long should I study for CompTIA A+? That’s the first question people ask themselves upon deciding to take the exam. Before you start studying, you need to get an idea of the workload. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find out what is included in the CompTIA A+ course. This is required so you can create a proper study plan and know how long it will take you to cover the entire course. Also, be sure to assess whether the resources available throughout the course will be enough to pass the exam. The exam is designed to test the computing, security, and networking fundamentals, not your expertise (because expertise comes with experience). Understand all the objectives and topics and don’t leave anything out because it will hurt your score in the exam.
Review the Exam Objectives and Format
There is nothing worse than arriving at the test center, going through the questions, and realizing that you should have spent more time studying a certain section. You need to review all the exam topics and sub-topics to know what to expect. When studying for a CompTIA A+ exam, you get a percentage of each section in the exam. For example, in the A+ 901 exam, 21% of the questions cover networking, meaning you should spend about 1/5 of your study time on that exam section.
Book Your CompTIA A+ Exam
After signing up for a training course, it would be great to schedule a date for your final exams. Still, it all depends on what your approach to exams is, how busy your life is, and what kind of student you are. Booking an exam early (a recommended approach) puts a deadline that may encourage you to study over a long period of time and plan it into small chunks. Booking an exam whenever you’re ready to write allows you to learn at your own pace without a sense of urgency. However, some people find this approach more stressful.
Exam Details and Specifics
CompTIA A+ 220-901 exam – 90 minutes for answering a maximum of 90 questions (performance-based or multiple choice). The topics covered include: Hardware (34%), Networking (21%), Mobile Devices (17%), Hardware and Network Troubleshooting (28%).
CompTIA A+ 220-902 – 90 minutes for answering a maximum of 90 questions (performance-based or multiple choice). The topics covered include: Windows Operating Systems (29%), Software Troubleshooting (24%), Security (22%), Operational Procedures (13%), and Other Operating Systems and Technologies (12%).
Find Your Method of Studying
There are three main styles of learning – Auditory, Tactile, and Visual. Figure out which type of learning is best for you, and it will help you determine the best way to organize your studies. Research says that most people are visual learners, meaning that they remember things by sight. If you’re a visual learner, then you will retain information by trying to visualize new ideas and concepts, color coding your notes, and writing down new information. Also, you could draw pictures or create spider diagrams or mind-maps.
Build a Desktop Computer
The CompTIA A+ exam covers many topics on computer hardware knowledge, and one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as an IT professional is the satisfaction of building a computer. Watching and reading can only take you so far, while the time-intensive and muscle memory process will teach you so much more. Building a desktop configuration will clarify what CPU, HDD, SSD, GPU, MOBO, RAM, and other acronyms mean. You’ll get an experience of setting up an operating system, running through a BIOS, selecting motherboard and case type, hardware differences, and much more. It’s a hands-on experience that will make you feel more confident when taking your CompTIA certifications exam.
Set Up Your CompTIA A+ Test Lab
There are so many study guides on passing your exams, but nothing beats experience. A CompTIA A+ test lab requires a desktop computer, a monitor, networking components, and a current operating system covered by CompTIA A+ exams. Use the equipment to become an expert at BIOS management and practice tasks, like overclocking CPU. It is a great practice test that will help solidify important concepts.
Prepare for Performance-Based Questions
CompTIA A+ has two types of questions – multiple choice questions and performance-based questions. The latter may be a bit more challenging for some students because they require a specific task to be completed or a problem to be solved in a simulated IT environment. During your exam prep, you should get prepared for performance-based questions by:
- Understanding common terminology, so you don’t get tripped up on the exam day;
- Learning how to perform certain tasks like you would work in the field;
- Getting familiar with the objectives of your exam to find out which tasks you must prepare for more thoroughly.
There are many learning paths and methods you can take to pass the CompTIA A+ exam and begin with your professional development. With enough study materials, the right exam study tips, hands-on experience, and covering as many practice questions as possible, the CompTIA A+ course can set you on the path to becoming a project manager, server administrator, network administrator, network engineer, CompTIA cybersecurity analyst, and much more.
After completing the CompTIA A+ exam, you can proceed to take:
- CompTIA Server+
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Security+
- CASP+ (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner)
MyComputerCareer is a training course provider that can help you with your IT skill development. We are up-to-date with the latest CompTIA practices and offer CompTIA exam prep courses that will help you get the real-world experience and information you need to pass any CompTIA exam. For more information, contact us today!