* Core Hardware: $153 - min. passing score 515
* Operating Systems Technology: $153 - min. passing score 505
(CompTIA corporate members can take the exams for $98, employers that require this test are usually corporate members and will inform you of this.)
The new version of the CompTIA A Plus Exam released for 2003 has been totally stripped and reworked to cover the newest technologies. The Core Hardware Exam now covers the Pentium 4, USB 2.0, IEEE 1394a and Serial ATA, while the new OS Exam now covers all versions of Microsoft Windows from 9x to XP with the majority of questions leaning toward the newer Win2Kand XP versions respectively.
Here are some things you can do to ensure your success:
Read, Read, Read and Read some more:
Some people learn by doing, others learn by reading. Even if you are in the "Hands On" group of people it never hurts to read. Text books are expensive, use your local library. Thrift stores are a great place to look as well. Free study guides available on the web are great resource as well.
Whether you are taking a class or doing self paced study, writing things down is great way to make them stick. Highlight your best notes for review on the day you take the exam.
Odds are, you have a newer computer or don't want to risk damaging your own. Get some old computers from local thrift stores and garage sales. The cheap $10 or $20 ones will do just fine. If you can make an old IBM XT with an 8088 and MFM/RLL hard drive work, you will pass.
Study the newer technologies:
Real world experience, and any hands experience even with the older machines is a definite plus. However, make sure that you are familiar with the good amount of more recent technologies covered in the new 2003 revision of the A+ Exam (A Plus Exam).
We all have a life, just remember your goal. Once you successfully pass the CompTIA A+ Plus certification your future employment opportunities will be greatly enhanced.
Talk about it:
Take the opportunity to talk with friends and classmates. Better yet, other people who have actually taken the exam. Even those who have failed can give you pointers, especially on what to look out for.
Practice Makes Perfect:
The internet is filled with resources, take advantage of them. Take as many free practice exams that you can find. This will not only give you exposure to questions much like the ones on the test, but it will also prepare you for testing day as well.
The A+ exam is multiple choice. So while you may not be able to memorize all the questions and answers to everything, use your common sense. If you can eliminate some of the obvious wrong answers you will have an edge.
Take your time:
You are paying for this test, two parts actually. That's $290. You have 90 minutes for each test, don't rush it; that's how mistakes are made. Watch out for double negatives. Don't let being in a hurry cost you $145.
You should enjoy what you are doing. Once you get past the hard work and studying, this can be a very rewarding career path.
Things to avoid when preparing for the CompTIA A+ Plus Exam
Here are some basic study habits that apply to all situations:
Avoid distractions: Listening to your favorite TV show or blaring your MP3s while you are studying will not help you remember anything.
Avoid UnReliable Websites: The internet is a great place for research and gathering information. However; it can be a double edged sword. Be sure that you double check your information with a verifiable source if you are not using a reliable website.
Avoid Accessories On Exam Day: When you arrive for your exam, try to show up with the least amount of extra clothing or accessories possible. Every testing center I have visited takes the procedures and rules very seriously. This is an industry standard test and should be revered as such.
Avoid Outdated Material: A lot of study material on the internet may not cover the latest objectives. Ensure that you are studying from the latest exam objectives.
Avoid Time Hog Questions: Do not Spend too much time on any one question. If you are unsure, answer it the best you can; then mark it for review after you have finished the rest of the questions.