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How to best structure my studies?

BasedThotBasedThot Member Posts: 14 ■■□□□□□□□□

Firstly I'm curious to know how many of you had a background in IT before studying for the A+ and how long it took you to be ready? Some people say they took only two months for preparation. I've been studying for over one month and couldn't imagine taking the test in a month! I feel like I'm at the base of Mt. Everest here. There is SO much info I feel like there's no way I'll be able to retain enough to pass an exam on it. Mike Myer's All-In-One exam guide is about 1,200 pages and Professor Messer has a ton of videos (nine on printers alone!). Which brings me to my main question.

I started out using the Myer's exam guide and Udemy video series, currently on chapter 8. Recently started Messer's video series on top of that. Liked that he teaches to the test and doesn't give you a bunch of fluff like Myers. Do you think it'd be best to follow the Messer video series and reinforce it with the corresponding Myer's Exam Guide chapter or should I just continue doing each separately? Myers jumps around from Core 1 and 2 all over the place where as Messer teaches to the test objectives as they're written but is often scant on details. Both have their own way of leaving me confused. 

Trying to get certified by October before I'll be forced to take the new edition and the task feels insurmountable. I've studied for over a month and feel like I haven't learned nearly enough.

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    SteveLavoieSteveLavoie Member Posts: 1,133 ■■■■■■■■■□
    edited June 2022
    I am managing a MSP and VAR business and for many years I am managing the training of our technicians. We are asking our technicians to get A+ or Net+ in the first year of job. It is part of their first year goal . Most technician going for the A+ are fresh out of school (trade school/community college level,  not a 4 years degree school), the average time to get the first exam is 6-8 month. The second exam usually follow a few week afters.  I have seen people doing both exams in less than 2 month but most get them both exam in 9 to 16 months. I dont expect them to even start studying before 3 month (adaptation time of having a new job).

    Remember also that A+ is a test validating the experience of 6 month of desktop support... not 10 years. Many technicians are acting like a drama queen about failing the exam. Remember it is only 240$ for the exam, and failure is part of the processs, sometime. Also, allowing yourself to fail is sometime a very good way to relieve the pressure. Finally, failing an exam is only a time and money waste.. there is no one who will shame you. Most people dont even care that you are A+ certified. Another trick, don't tell everyone that you will do your exam a particular day.. so if you fail, nobody will know about it and you will not have to tell them about your failure.

    On the training itself, maybe I am old but I still prefer books above video, most of my technician use the Myers's guide. IMO, video is too slow, the ratio time/content is not good. I will watch a video only for some part of the subject or if I want a second or third source of training. Reading the book help you get a visual memory of the acronym, so when you see them in a question, it will help you   

    Finally, read the book,  do all review question in the book. Do a practice test and evaluate your readyness... Return to your weak area... redo the practice test. Do this cycle until you feel confident. This exam is easier if studied intensively for a few week, dont drag it for 6 month.  

    Don't forget 6 month experience, not autistic level photomemory with 10 years of desktop support. You can do it :) 
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,026 Admin
    It helps greatly with motivation to study if the student is really interested in the topics and sees understanding the exam objectives as necessary for success on his/her career path. If someone doesn't regard the knowledge and skills as interesting or necessary then studying for the exam is just more work for them to do for their job. Find a way to make the learning fun and interesting!
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    DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Member Posts: 2,753 ■■■■■■■■■■
    JDMurray said:
    It helps greatly with motivation to study if the student is really interested in the topics and sees understanding the exam objectives as necessary for success on his/her career path. If someone doesn't regard the knowledge and skills as interesting or necessary then studying for the exam is just more work for them to do for their job. Find a way to make the learning fun and interesting!
    To me this is fact.  I have this preconceived notion that I have to learn x, y, and z.  But I am interested in g.....   g might only lightly related to my role or it might be something I already know very well but I like it so much I continue on.....    At the end of the day learning things I am not "that" interested in doesn't work for me.  
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    latverian45latverian45 Member Posts: 7 ■■□□□□□□□□
    edited June 2022
    i cant speak for anyone else  but me personally when I started out  I just  developed a passion for IT.  I watched ZDTV/tech tv daily. Leo Laporte was very entertaining back in those days.  I grabbed a phone book and I would call every PC shop in town over and over and over begging for someone to give me  a chance to get my foot in the door and get experience.  That hard work eventually paid off  and I got my first gig. 

    On a good friends advice who was more experienced and advanced in IT  and who went from a 10th grade drop out  to now being a Senior Network engineer for the United states army. (on contract he is not  enlisted) his father was a retired Sgt Major so that with his extensive experience i imagine got him his great job.  But  I set up a lab at home. I bought many books.  would watch CBT nuggets, I had  said friend to call when and if I had a question and trust me i had tons and called him many times just to ask questions.

    first key to success in IT is you truly have to enjoy it and have a passion for it.  Passing my A+ was easy.  my Network+ i failed by a few questions on my first attempt but  i nailed it on my second try..

    and always  remember a cert is just a piece of paper.  there are many paper techs and you dont want to be one of those.  You want your certs but you want and need the knowledge and experience behind those certs. anyone can memorize a book and pass a test.  Learn why and how things work. Learn why they are in place and how one thing can affect another thing. Dont stress yourself out when you come across a problem.  Turn that problem into a learning experience that will add to your knowledge. 

    I wish I could offer more advice  but I dont know what area of IT you want to get into.  Go for a cert that interest you and then choose other certs that compliment the one or ones you have. .

    A lot of what you re going to need to pass your A+ you really will rarely if ever even come across  in your  daily job duties but everything is there for  reason.. The little nuances will get you far if you dont just memorize them but learn their practicalities .
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    BasedThotBasedThot Member Posts: 14 ■■□□□□□□□□
    JDMurray said:
    It helps greatly with motivation to study if the student is really interested in the topics and sees understanding the exam objectives as necessary for success on his/her career path. If someone doesn't regard the knowledge and skills as interesting or necessary then studying for the exam is just more work for them to do for their job. Find a way to make the learning fun and interesting!
    Oh, that's troublesome for me. I don't find the field particularly interesting, I'm just looking for a decent career and the medical field, law enforcement and marketing are all a hard pass from me so I figure tech is my best bet. This is very much work for me. Do you find that most people in the field have a passion for this stuff?
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    SteveLavoieSteveLavoie Member Posts: 1,133 ■■■■■■■■■□
    BasedThot said:

    Oh, that's troublesome for me. I don't find the field particularly interesting, I'm just looking for a decent career and the medical field, law enforcement and marketing are all a hard pass from me so I figure tech is my best bet. This is very much work for me. Do you find that most people in the field have a passion for this stuff?
    Successul people in IT have a passion in IT.

    No passion for IT, you will burnt out in a few years, IT is hard if you dont really love it. That's my main criteria when I hire people, I want people who love IT.  You need to be constantly learning if you want to stay relevant. 

    If you want a steady job that pay well and one that you dont need to love it as much as IT look at some trade work(carpenter, auto mechanic, hvac ....)
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    DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Member Posts: 2,753 ■■■■■■■■■■
    BasedThot said:

    Oh, that's troublesome for me. I don't find the field particularly interesting, I'm just looking for a decent career and the medical field, law enforcement and marketing are all a hard pass from me so I figure tech is my best bet. This is very much work for me. Do you find that most people in the field have a passion for this stuff?
    Successul people in IT have a passion in IT.

    No passion for IT, you will burnt out in a few years, IT is hard if you dont really love it. That's my main criteria when I hire people, I want people who love IT.  You need to be constantly learning if you want to stay relevant. 

    If you want a steady job that pay well and one that you dont need to love it as much as IT look at some trade work(carpenter, auto mechanic, hvac ....)
    I would also add just one thing if you don't mind.  IT is a large genre of technical work.  I honestly don't care for IT as in reading technical articles about ALL types of IT, but I do love data integration and writing SQL and some Python.  Coding pipelines to capture and pass data from one system to another really does it for me lol.  I really really like it.  
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    SteveLavoieSteveLavoie Member Posts: 1,133 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Sure I agree. IT is a very large domain, with many niche, and it is normal to have our preference. I wont compete with you on data integration.. not my bag at all :)

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    DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Member Posts: 2,753 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Sure I agree. IT is a very large domain, with many niche, and it is normal to have our preference. I wont compete with you on data integration.. not my bag at all :)

    My friend and I at work always chuckle questioning if we are in IT.  We call ourselves the druids of the dark realm.....  The business rarely understands us (however we have to understand them) and other IT teams don't either.  It's something you usually fall into and you are either good at it or you are not, very rarely is there in-between.  

    Generally speaking we are either labeled Business Intelligence, Business Systems, or Integration.  It's very niche and once you are in, it seems you are in for life.  0 opportunities to move to other teams....  


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