If you are just starting out on your IT career, then CompTIA A+ is the right certification to begin with. This isbecause it’s an entry-level credential that allows you to later go for other advanced-level credentials if you decide to grow your career. But first things first, what is CompTIA A+ all about, and who is the vendor for this popular certification? Let me take you through some details of this credential before letting you in on how you can pass your CompTIA A+ exams.
What is CompTIA A+ certification?
This is a vendor-neutral credential targeted at those who want to become IT technicians, and it is offered by Computer Technology Industry Association. To attain this credential, you must pass two core exams. They are CompTIA A+ Practice Tests and 220-1002 exams. Before 15th January 2019, the initial codes were 220-901 and 220-902, respectively. The exam topics include hardware, networking, mobile devices, security, software, and hardware as well as network troubleshooting.
Reasons to become CompTIA A+ certified
1. Globally recognized credential
CompTIA A+ credential is popular and recognized worldwide by IT organizations. This means that once you attain it, you’ll have access to unlimited opportunities.
2. Vendor-neutral credential
Once you attain this certification, you can use your skills to work with any platform including Microsoft, Cisco, Novell, IBM, HP, Dell, and others.
3. Ability to move to advanced-level certifications
This entry-level certification offers you the possibility to move to other advanced CompTIA certifications. You can choose to go for networking, security, or any other preferred area of specialization.
4. Mandatory requirement for a number IT entry-level jobs
Most entry-level IT jobs demand that you have CompTIA A+ certification. Once you have it, then you’ll always have an upper hand when it comes to getting IT jobs.
5. Attractive salaries
CompTIA A+ professionals are some of the best paid entry-level experts. Indeed.com puts their average annual salaries at $82,271, which is a great salary for someone who’s at the early stages of their IT career.
So, how do you prepare and pass your CompTIA A+ exams?
Just like for any other exam, prior preparation is important. And it’s only possible for you to prepare well if you understand what the exam entails. It’s important for you to know the exam details and objectives, and even how to book your exam. Here are the best tips to help you pass your CompTIA A+ 220-1001 (Core 1) and 220-1002 (Core 2) exams:
1. Understand the exam objectives and format
Knowing the exam topics and the skill areas it tests is a must as it gives you an insight into the areas that you must cover as you revise. CompTIA A+ exams are targeted at testing your skills in the following areas:
- Windows OS
- Software troubleshooting
- Hardware & network troubleshooting
- Mobile devices
- Other OS & technologies
- Operational procedures
2. Exam details
Both CompTIA A+ exams have similar format and details. The current exams were introduced on 15th January 2019. CompTIA A+ 220-1001 exam is a prerequisite for 220-1002 exam. You won’t sit for the second before passing the first. Here are the details for these exams:
- 220-1001 exam concentrates on networking technology, mobile devices,network troubleshooting,cloud computing, virtualization, andhardware
- 220-1002 exam is focused on the installation and configuration of operating systems, operational procedures, software troubleshooting, and extended security
- Question format: Multiple-choice single answer, multiple-choice multiple answer, drag-and-drop, andperformance-based
- Number of questions: maximum 90
- Duration: 90 minutes
- Passing score: 675/900 for 220-1001, and 700/900 for 220-1002
- Cost: $219
- Certification validity: 3 years
3. Book your exam in good time
Booking your exam early enough will ensure that you set aside enough time for study. You can opt to book iteither when you are beginning your study or once you are through with your study and are ready to take the exam. But it’s advisable to book in advance to avoid the last minute rush and other inconveniences. CompTIA A+ exams are administered by Pearson VUE. To book your exams, you must first create an account on the site, find a test centernear you, scheduleyourexam and save confirmation for your exam appointment through the mail.
4. Create a study timetable and manage your time
A study timetable will help you manage your time so that you can concentrate on your studies as scheduled. Do not allow anything else that does not add value to your study to distract you. With social media, it’s possible to be curious about what is going on in the social space, and you may be tempted sometimes to check it out. It’s good to make use of the time you have and concentrate on your studies. Avoid any kind of time wasters.
5. Enroll for a training course
With an experienced instructor, it becomes easier for you to understand topics and concepts that you would have otherwise had a hard time understanding on your own. There are a number of authorized training providers online that have some of the best courses to help you prepare for your CompTIA A+ exams. You can find out more about these training providers on the official CompTIA website.The training can be classroom or e-learning through videos. It’s up to you to choose the best training method that goes with your schedule. These courses also come with study workbooks, flashcards, and short tests that come after each topic or module coverage.
6. Use study guides and practice tests
There are recommended books that you can use for your study. Ensure that you choose study guides with great reviews and detailed objectives. CompTIA has some of the best study books for A+ exams:
- CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 Certification Study Guides
- CompTIA A+ Complete Study Guide: Exams 220-901 and 220-902
- CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, Ninth Edition
- CompTIA A+ 220-901 & 220-902 Exam Cram
Most of the study books include practice exam questions to help you gauge your exam preparedness.
Another great resource that you can use to prepare for your exams is practice tests. These are past exam questions uploaded online by previous exam takers and experts. These tests are available online for download. You can practice with them as many times as you want. This way, you are able to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Ensure to work on your weak areas until you get it right. Some of the practice tests providers include ExamCollection, PrepAway, BrainDumps, and Exam-labs.
7. Enough sleep
On the eve of your exam day, go to bed early. A good night’s sleep ensures that your thinking ability is intact the next day. It is known that candidates who get enough night sleep on the eve of exams always score better grades. A study carried out by Dr. Baert, a Ghent University researcher, agrees with this fact.
8. Be at the exam testing center on time
When it’s time to take your exam, it’s important to arrive at the exam testing center at least 30 minutes before the scheduled starting time. This will help you compose yourself and relax before beginning your exam. Lateness can lead to a lot of anxiety and you may end up answering exam questions wrongly and fail as result.
9. Read exam questions carefully and attempt all questions
You have to ensure that you understand each question before attempting it. If you meet one that isn’t familiar to you, you can skip it and come back to it later. Never leave out any exam question unanswered.
Passing your CompTIA A+ exams may not come with ease, but it’s highly possible if you do the right things. Always be focused on what you want and you will reap great results. Once you pass these exams, you’ll qualify for CompTIA A+ certification. Armed with this credential, you’ll have access to various job positions like Support Specialist, Field Service Technician, Help-desk Support, and entry-level Support Analyst.