Over obsessive about taking the exam?

oldschoolIToldschoolIT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
I'm new here, but I've actually been studying and into the computer for quite a long time. I'm hoping to take the A+ exam soon, but a few things trouble me and I think I've hit a wall.

For the past several months I've been studying for the A+ exams with various material, and already had some experience with building and troubleshooting PCs going in.

I started with the Mike Meyers All-In-One exam book, finished that, moved onto the David Prowse Exam Cram book, finished that, and then went on to the Professor Messer videos and finished those.

I guess the first thing that concerns me about the exam is every source seems to emphasize something else, Mike Meyers book for example seems to do ridiculously in depth on the ins and outs of EVERYTHING with a computer and is extremely broad. Going through it, I couldn't tell if I had to answer what the hotkey for using Aero would be to naming every bootfile in Windows XP. Exam Cram condensed it and made it easier, but goes into a lot of practical troubleshooting methods as if you were a technician, a lot of 'what you would check first' questions up including doing things like changing inverters in laptops that I don't see mentioned in other sources. Professor Messer seems the most concise and to the point, but I think to myself if that's enough. And Skillsoft courses I have access to take seem to go off on another tangent altogether.

That leads to my second concern with which rote memory things need to be memorized? I think it's a little ridiculous that minutia like pin sizes for computer sockets need to be memorized, or installation size requirements for XP are listed, but it's not only that but exactly WHICH things need to be memorized? For example, Professor Messer lists socket pin amounts AND the names of the sockets. Mike Meyers just lists every processor that might have used that pin amount, while Messer kind of explains the progression of each generation of processor and so on.

I think it's all a little much, because every author has their own idea of what it means to cover something and then come test time something could be worded different and emphasize something else that you may know conceptually but did not do rote memorization for and you could get it wrong. I've decided to split up the 801 and 802 because of this, but I still seem to be stressing a lot over this, because each time I find another source to study on - something else is listed that is important that wasn't in any of the others! Does anyone have any advice on this type of inconsistency?

Comments

  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    You are over thinking things.

    Meyers text is and has been the 'bible' of A+ for 15-20 years (18 at least). Some people do not like it, but it is by far the best IMO.

    You need to know whatever is listed on the objectives. Nothing more, nothing less. The objectives also provide a clue for the approximate percentage of a topic may appear on the exam...you will notice NOTHING is 100%, so you need to be prepared for all! and know most of the material.

    Schedule your exams and take them, pass them and move on. A+ exams are the easiest(and the toughest- because they are usually the first ones folks take and there are some exam jitters happening).

    If you understand the objectives, have experience, studied Meyrs text, you are likely ready...do not over think it.
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • ImYourOnlyDJImYourOnlyDJ Member Posts: 180
    I passed A+ a couple months ago using only Meyers book (studied about week for both exams) along with experience building, upgrading and repairing desktops. I was also worried about the little details such as pin counts but thankfully I only recived a couple questions that were very specific. I would recommend printing out the objectives and writing your own notes or summary on the side. I found the exam a bit easier than I had expected so good luck!
  • ataitatait Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Troubleshooting is the core competency of a PC technician. If you need a theme to guide your study, troubleshooting is it. In other words, learn what you need to know in order to figure out what's wrong and fix it whenever one of the parts of a PC, either hardware or software, "breaks". 801 is the hardware exam, but it only takes a few minutes of the troubleshooting oriented 802 exam for you to realized why you had to learn all the 801 stuff: because you're using that knowledge to troubleshoot! And that's as it should be, of course, because that's what you'll be doing on the job.

    I think you will find that the exams are easier than you are anticipating, but conversely, you will also find that the rote memorization tasks are necessary. Not that many of the questions will have to do with socket pincounts or connector voltages, but enough of them will that it would be a mistake not to memorize the stuff, at least for the exam. That said, I think you will find that fewer flashcards will need to be made than you fear, and that it will only be an afternoons work to memorize the fiddly details.
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,775 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I sounds like you are prepared for the test and just getting caught up in the anticipation. Schedule it and go find out for yourself how bad it is. Trust me the cost of failing a single exam is insignificant in the big picture.

    It is important to understand the basis for this kind of training. Certifications are designed to both test you on knowledge and expose you to new material. The small details will not be important in a few months. Learning them for the test just exposes you to the concepts so you can make quick intelligent decisions in the real world. If you are never exposed to the small details you won't be able to properly troubleshoot them in the future.

    Good Luck!
  • oldschoolIToldschoolIT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the advice guys, I think I'm overthinking it. What I will likely do this weekend is grab charts available from various books regarding things like somewhat common things like throughput speeds, sockets, port numbers, etc and just put them on a sheet to memorize and not try to get too caught up with the ridiculous minutia I've come across. I guess when you look at something so long you get over anxious about learning it and start tripping up on questions like "oh wow I didn't know the max sampling rate of DVD-Audio!" or "Oh crap there's 13 different resolutions here, I can't remember the names and resolutions of all of them!"

    I guess that's the main thing stressing me out is that I don't know where the line is drawn and my personality is a little bit of being perfectionist about things as well.
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    Schedule the exam. ;)

    I am a fan of taking both the same day, but in your case, maybe schedule one, realize the test isn't as big of a fear as you are making it out to be, pass it, and schedule the next one.

    CompTIA exams are vendor neutral and the a+ has the lowest passing score???do not over think these tests. The are challenging, but very fair.


    My guess, based on your comments, you are ready. Passing is passing. There is no percentage grade. There is nothing cumulative (like a GPA), merely pass or fail.


    Go pass!
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • stylezunknownstylezunknown Member Posts: 46 ■■■□□□□□□□
    In my opinion, at this point you should be taking practice test. I took every 801 and 802 test online I could find. Once I was scoring high 90s on them I went in for the exams and blew both out of the water.
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    @stylezunknown,

    Taking "all" the practice tests one can find only gives a false sense of ones actual ability and understanding of the material. Practice tests should be used as a measure to gauge ones ability before study and their ability after some study. Otherwise, what's the point? Only taking tests merely conditions someone to a very narrow situation and devalues the cert in the field.

    But, you would not be the first to fall into that trap, nor the last.
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
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