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FAQ: The Definitive Guide to Passing the Current CompTIA A+ Exam


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#1 VincePolston

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 09:03 AM

I noticed that the thread stickied to this board hasn't been updated in ages. The OP still referencing old, outdated objectives. I wanted to create an updated FAQ on the current exam objectives that could help others study and pass. Hopefully this post gets stickied so that it can be a community resource.

 

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The CompTIA A+ certification is a vendor neutral certification that covers hardware and software objectives. The objectives will teach you how to assemble, install, configure, and troubleshoot computer systems and basic networking fundamentals. You will also learn about mobile devices and a bit about security. The CompTIA A+ exam is split into two separate tests. The 220-901 focuses on hardware whilst the 220-902 focuses on software.

  • 220-901 objectives cover hardware, networking, mobile devices, and troubleshooting of hardware and networking.

  • 220-902 objectives cover Windows OS, other operating systems and technologies, security, software troubleshooting, and operational procedures.

You are required to pass both exams to be considered CompTIA A+ certified.

 

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The answer? It honestly depends. Some IT employers don't care about the A+ certification whilst others demand that you have it. My take on it? Get it. Having the A+ certification on your resume can only help you. Not only that --but the knowledge gained from studying the objectives can be useful. Some of what you learn you will never use.. and that's okay. Having the CompTIA A+ certification shows potential employers that you have the initiative and ability to self-study and progress in your education. They like that.

 

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Obtaining the A+ certification can help you get an entry level IT position. This would include positions such as a helpdesk support technician at which you could expect to make $30K - $40K per year according to Glassdoor, if you are in the US. It also helps you get your foot in the door to continue deepening your knowledge and pursuing more advanced certifications and jobs.

 

 

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The cliche answer is probably what you already know: Google is your friend.

 

Other than that. Here are some great resources. Some are forums and some are online learning resources:

Study Resources

 

  • Professor Messer’s free A+ Videos — Most of you probably already know about Messer’s free videos. Their a bit dry but the content is great.

  • Quora CompTIA Topic - This is a great place to ask specific questions about the A+ objectives. I actually frequent here and help others.

  • Exam Cram by David L. Prowse — My personal favorite if you prefer reading from an actual book. The content is to the point without boring you to death. 

  • CompTIA subreddit — Surely you know about Reddit. The CompTIA subreddit has 3,500+ other techies.

  • Bleeping Computer - You're already here! This community is here to help! Don't be afraid to ask questions. I know that myself as well as others here on the board would be glad to help.

When I am helping others pass the A+ I normally suggest to study in this order:

  1. Study the section in the book. Whether you are using the Exam Cram or Mike Meyers or whatever. Read the chapter / section first. Let's say you read the chapter about troubleshooting.

  2. Watch Professor Messer's corresponding video to that chapter. In this case we would watch his video about troubleshooting.

  3. Do it again

  4. Come here and ask questions on what you don't understand :)

 

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The answer: don’t.
 
Why? Because CompTIA considers this cheating. And cheating, my dear friends, can get your certification revoked.
 
 
Under section 4: Candidate Conduct Policy: You will not participate in…
Seeking and/or obtaining unauthorized access to examination materials (this includes using braindump material and/or any unauthorized publication of Exam questions with or without answers)
 
So what does CompTIA say will happen if you are caught doing so?
 
Under section 7: Violations
Any candidate determined by CompTIA to have violated the terms of this Agreement or diminished the security and integrity of CompTIA’s Certification Program in any way shall, if determined necessary or appropriate by CompTIA based upon the seriousness of the incident or violation:
 
(a) have the CompTIA certification for the applicable examination revoked, if such certification was previously granted by CompTIA

 

The policy continues on and gets pretty nasty -to the point of even revoking all other previously granted CompTIA certifications.
 

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In the words of Albert Einstein,

 

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I created this guide because I live by this quote. Technology absolutely fascinates me. The best way for me to learn is by learning something so well that I can simply explain it to others. Want to know more about me? Check out my profile here on BleepingComputer.

 

Overall, the best advice I can offer is this. Don’t just memorize test questions and answers. Take your time to fully comprehend what you’re studying. If possible create a test lab.

Good luck on your adventure into the tech world as a professional. It is what you make of it. Now go out and do.

 



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#2 Kilroy

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 12:46 PM

I also recommend the Transcender Practice Exams.  I found the CompTIA practice exams not to be as spot on as the Microsoft Practice Exams, but they will help ensure that you pass on your first attempt.

 

My study method was to read an Exam Cram style book and then take the practice exams until I was getting 90% or better on a consistent basis, then schedule my exam.  It was nothing for me to take all of the practice exams once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  I'm a test taker, I've never had issues with testing and complete most tests in about half the time allowed.  The practice exams will get you used to the time you have to complete the exam to give you an idea of the experience.  The Transcender practice exams will tell you why the correct answer is the correct answer.  Some of my certifications I learned more from the Transcender practice exams than I did from the book.


Edited by Kilroy, 23 June 2016 - 12:47 PM.


#3 VincePolston

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 03:07 PM

I hadn't heard of them! Checked out the site and for $99 that doesn't seem like too bad a deal. Especially being as good as you stated. Thank you for adding it to the thread :thumbsup:



#4 VincePolston

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 10:12 AM

introduction-to-troubleshooting-750x410.

 

CompTIA Troubleshooting Steps: An Introduction to Troubleshooting

On the new 220-902 objectives CompTIA outlines their six steps to troubleshooting. After you read this section you will understand 220-902 section 5.5, given a scenario, explain the troubleshooting theory. These are study notes that I put together. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

Let’s begin.

CompTIA Troubleshooting Steps

Understanding the six steps of troubleshooting

CompTIA outlines their six step troubleshooting theory in the exam objectives. These six steps include:

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Establish a theory of probable cause.
  3. Test the theory to determine cause.
  4. Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution.
  5. Verify full system functionality and if applicable implement preventative measures.
  6. Document findings, actions, and outcomes.

As a computer technician; the majority of your job has to deal with troubleshooting. A good troubleshooter takes a logical plan for identifying the problem and resolving the issue. This is your foundation for anything troubleshooting related; regardless if it is hardware or software.

It is also important to always consider if there are corporate policies before making changes.

If possible, always perform a backup before attempting to fix any software problems.

Let’s break these six steps down using an example scenario.

 

Step 1: Identify the problem

Your first step in resolving a computer issue is to identify the problem. Much of the time this includes questioning the user. It’s important not to make the user feel that it is their fault; even though it may very well be. You may ask the user if they had recently plugged anything into the computer, or downloaded and installed any new programs. Ask the user what was happening before they had the problem as well as how long they have been experiencing the issue.

 

Question the user: You receive a ticket from Amber in accounting. Amber said that her computer was working fine last night.. but when she came in this morning her email stopped working. She hasn’t been able to send any emails all morning. You should start by asking Amber what happened the last thing she emailed was last night before leaving the office. You should also ask Amber what email program she uses.

 

Identify any changes made: Since we know that Amber’s email stopped working; we need to identify if there were any changes made. The most logical place to start would be within her email client. Some popular email clients are Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Apple Mail. We know that Amber uses Outlook since we have already asked her what email program she uses. So open up Outlook and look for any changes that could have inadvertently been made that could cause her to not be able to send or receive email.

 

Review Documentation:  Always check documentation to see if this issue has happened before or if there were any changes made to services that would affect Amber’s email from working. It’s possible that your companies email provider changed what outgoing port SMTP should use. Maybe Amber had this problem before and another technician documented what the problem was as well as steps for fixing the problem.

 

Don’t get ahead of yourself though. At step 1 we are just identifying the problem; not fixing anything. Before we can fix the issue we need to establish a theory of probably cause

 

Step 2: Establish a theory of probably cause (question the obvious)

After identifying the problem in step one; we now need to establish a theory of probable cause. Now is the time to question the obvious. In this step we need to decide if the issue is hardware or software related.

 

Let’s keep using Amber from accounting for the example. Since we established that the problem was the Amber could not receive email in step 1; we have a good idea of what may need done. Again, think logically and start with the most obvious cause.

 

We know that for email to work; the computer needs internet. Did the ethernet cable come unplugged? Now that we have established a theory we need to move onto step 3 and test our theory to determine the cause.

 

Step 3: Test the theory to determine cause

Now we are going to test our theory from step two and determine if it resolves the issue.

 

In step two we thought that maybe the ethernet cable came unplugged; but sure enough everything is plugged in and the computer gets internet.. At this point we would need to go back to step two and establish a new theory.

 

Our next theory would probably be to check the email client’s outbox. Our thoughts are that maybe the user tried to email an unusually large file that may be clogging up the outbox. Now we test that theory.

 

At this point we open up the email client and see that Amber had tried to send an 800mb video file from her computer. The email server kept timing out when trying to send that huge email; causing no email to be delivered. We test this theory by deleting that large email from her outbox. After we delete the large email we click on send/receive and sure enough; the other emails start sending.

 

Step 4: Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution

I’m going to be perfectly honest.. it’s easy to think of steps 3 and 4 at the same thing. But for the purpose of the A+ exam we need understand that they are two separate steps.

 

Now that we have tested our theory by deleting the large email from Amber’s outbox; we need to establish a plan of action.

 

Our plan of action to resolve the problem was to delete the large email from the outbox. Us deleting that email was implementing the solution. Had the ethernet cable not been plugged in; plugging it in would have been the solution.

 

Whatever your plan of action is; you need to immediately implement the solution. In step 5 we will go a bit deeper and verify the full system functions properly.

 

Step 5: Verify full system functionality and if applicable implement preventative measures

Great job, super technician, you fixed the computer! But wait.. you’re not done. Now you need to verify the full system works and if able; implement preventative measures.

 

After fixing the problem you want to make sure that the computer is functioning properly. Try rebooting the computer a few times and then testing the email again. Doing this verifies that you did indeed fix the problem.

 

If possible, have the user sit down at the computer for a few moments and try some of their daily tasks. There’s nothing worse than thinking you have a problem fixed to just receive another ticket for the same exact problem.

 

Now if possible implement preventative measures. For this we would suggest to Amber that she shouldn’t email large attachments such as videos or really large images. Again, do this without making the user feel dumb by making accusations that it was their fault; even when it was. You’re on their team!

 

Step 6: Document findings, actions, and outcomes

In our last step, we need to document our findings. This includes what the issue was as well as what caused it, our solution, and any preventative measures we implemented.

 

Never underestimate how important documentation is. It makes you and your teams job much easier. Document with as much detail as possible.

 

For example: Three months down the road Amber might be having the same problem again. By this time you probably forgot what the solution was because you’ve processed hundreds or thousands of tickets for other tech related issues. In step 1 of headed back out to see the issue you see your notes about what happened before. Score!

 

You can do this

I know that when looking over the 220-901 & 220-902 objects it can seem overwhelming. Just remember to take this one byte (see what I did there?) at a time. You can do this. Put your mind to it and you’ll get there. Be sure to bookmark this thread if you are studying for the CompTIA A+ as I will continue uploading notes as I finish them.

 



#5 billhenry12

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 05:26 AM

CompTIA A + is the foundation of your IT career

CompTIA A + is the preferred qualification credential for technical support and IT operational roles. It is about more than a PC repair.

      Candidates are better equipped to solve problems and solve problems.
      Technicians understand various issues ranging from networks and operating systems to mobile devices and security.
      A + supports the ability to connect users to the data they need to do their work regardless of the device being used.

 

CompTIA carefully tracks technological evolution and its impact on the world of work. Together with the industry, we continue to review how the trend of changing roles claimed by CompTIA A + 220-902 Dumps Questions - which focuses on IT technical support and operations - and works to adapt certification to the needs of the industry. Series 900 is a reflection of the latest knowledge and skills required by today's IT professionals.

In addition, CompTIA A + 220-901 Exam Dumps is an ISO accredited certification which means we comply with the policies and practices set out in developing our certification. One of the goals of our development standard is to ensure that current certification holders maintain the latest skills. The Series 900 is a blueprint for up-to-date skills for support and entry-level IT entry roles.



#6 arlattimor

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 07:57 AM

CompTIA A + is the foundation of your IT career

CompTIA A + is the preferred qualification credential for technical support and IT operational roles. It is about more than a PC repair.

      Candidates are better equipped to solve problems and solve problems.
      Technicians understand various issues ranging from networks and operating systems to mobile devices and security.
      A + supports the ability to connect users to the data they need to do their work regardless of the device being used.

 

CompTIA carefully tracks technological evolution and its impact on the world of work. Together with the industry, we continue to review how the trend of changing roles claimed by CompTIA A + 220-902 Dumps Questions - which focuses on IT technical support and operations - and works to adapt certification to the needs of the industry. Series 900 is a reflection of the latest knowledge and skills required by today's IT professionals.

In addition, CompTIA A + 220-901 Exam Dumps is an ISO accredited certification which means we comply with the policies and practices set out in developing our certification. One of the goals of our development standard is to ensure that current certification holders maintain the latest skills. The Series 900 is a blueprint for up-to-date skills for support and entry-level IT entry roles.

 

I'm sorry but I feel compelled to say this, 
 
Those of you who are promoting brain dump sites are only hurting yourselves and others. Instead of you trying to fake it until you make it. Why not crack open a book and read, watch videos on Youtube there are plenty. 
 
Learn your craft hard chargers trust me it will pay off in the long run. For those of you who wish to try and skate don’t worry. YOU WILL BE FOUND because you lacked the discipline to acquire the skills to do the job and it will show when you are tasked with an assignment and can’t perform I have seen it happen too many times.
 
If you need help let me know I've taught CompTIA and Microsoft courses while in the Marine Corp and at Tuskegee University for 6 years. Learn your craft young padawans I swear it will pay off.

Edited by arlattimor, 09 March 2018 - 07:59 AM.

A. Lattimore

CCNA, CWNA, MCITP, MCSA, MCT, MCP, Security+, Server+, Linux+, Network+, A+, CNST

Network Security Engineer

 





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