Is the A+ really hard? Or just plain easy?

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  • morpheousmorpheous Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I am ALWAYS nervous before taking an exam but after about 10 min or after i feel i've aswered a few questions correct,i calm down and relax,it only the last few seconds before the program is scoring my answers that my heart rate starts pumping like crazy,just recently i took my mcp 70-270 exam on 4/25/08 and passed with a score of 826.

    I don't have any "professional" experience" as i never worked for a company or held a job in the IT field,all my experience has been me teaching myself and learning from hands on and the internet and trial and error.

    I attribute my passing of Network+,security+ and mcp from all the years i've been tinkering with pc's and operating systems and my home network.

    I see many posters on this site speak about how important experience is when taking exams but i feel you don't need to be working in the IT field persay to pass most IT exams by compita or microsoft,sure it does'nt hurt but to say you "NEED" to be working in a job's IT Dept to be able to understand and pass a exam,i don't agree with that,because when it comes down to it,its all about if your familar with the technology that your studying and also part of it is memorizing the questions and answers.

    I am attending a technical institute,this semister is A+ and i would like to know what resouces will i need other than the book that my school gave me(Comptia A+ Guide to managing & Maintaining Your PC sixth edition by Jean andrews) along with 2 TestOut software CD's i will need to prepare for the exam.

    Thank you in advance friends ^_^
    Programmers Do Not Throw Salty Pretzels Away
  • AmpdChaosAmpdChaos Member Posts: 130
    YAYYY... i passed my A+ essentials this morning...my goodness i freaked out at midnight and studied until 3 in the monring.... took the test at 9... BAD IDEA... sooo tired..
  • morpheousmorpheous Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
    conrats on the passing of A+ essentials,when are you taking 602?
    Programmers Do Not Throw Salty Pretzels Away
  • kriscamaro68kriscamaro68 A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, Win7 MCP, Server 2012 Virtualization Specialist, MCSA 2012 Member Posts: 1,186 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Well for me the tests where pretty EZ. Although I thought that the essentials was a harder test. I scored a 780 on the essentials and an 865 on the I.T. Tech exam. So I felt that first one was harder. Just know crap about enviromental procedures, and how to deal with customers when they are made and things like that. A lot of it is common sense. As for what your teacher says. He may not be familiar with the Exam objectives. He may even have an A+ but it could have been from 1998 or 2003. The exam its way different now. You had to know more about binary and irq's then. Now I think the exam is very simple because XP is so ez to use and troubleshoot. My Dad has his A+ that he got back in 2003 and I studied his books for that test and they go over older OS and Hardware. Now there is things like basic security such as NTFS permissions and networking I even got some questions about the OSI model. It's just different time now then back then. So If you feel your ready go for it. That is one thing that I regret now is that I didn't start sooner with my cert's I am 24 now and have only passed the A+, and NET+ but I should have way more but never got serious about it till later. Also check your area for basic tech jobs. I got my experiance from teaching myself at first then got a lot more once I started working and was able to get help from other techs and their experiance. Just a thought. If you are still interested just let me know and I would be happy to help you understand the material. Also like a previous poster stated teach the material to someone even if its your parents.
  • AmpdChaosAmpdChaos Member Posts: 130
    im taking 602 today which is tomorrow since my post.. i got 2 free expiring vouchers that are expiring today from school, which i only had one 5 days to cram for... so might as well. thanks for the congrats.
  • wedge1988wedge1988 Member Posts: 434 ■■■□□□□□□□
    When i did my A+ exam, i was nervous because it was my first ever proper PRO exam. My advice is to just go in and relax, it helps you a lot. i remember i had memorised like 3 pages of info which i wrote down before i answered any questions, and i didnt need any of it!

    One thing i can say is that CompTIA word their exams really strangely, sometimes it makes me wonder who wrote the thing! - but then again, the city & guilds exams were really screwed up lol. - Well done to Microsoft, theyre exams are expalined well even though they may be hard!

    - the office exams were really cool. every question (about 30) is a simulation and theyre so easy to understand because it questions you in bullet points and you answer by carrying out the action. again, well done MS!
    ~ wedge1988 ~ IdioT Certified~
    MCSE:2003 ~ MCITP:EA ~ CCNP:R&S ~ CCNA:R&S ~ CCNA:Voice ~ Office 2000 MASTER ~ A+ ~ N+ ~ C&G:IT Diploma ~ Ofqual Entry Japanese
  • krock123krock123 Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I realize this is an older topic... but I just wanted to add my two cents..

    These exams are INDEED tricky, if you haven't studied and don't know specifically what CompTIA is looking for in an answer. I know in some certs (Sec+ was the WORST), they'll give you a question with four right answers.. and you have to decode the BS to try to figure out the most right answer.
    No one I've talked to has ever made that complaint about any Cisco or MS certs..
    "The problem with troubleshooting is that trouble shoots back."
    -Author Unknown
  • downloaddandownloaddan Inactive Imported Users Posts: 29 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I would say it is and it isnt. OK Its not that hard but some of the questions are made in a slighlty tricky way. The Hardest part I would say is that there is a lot to remember alot of useless information to remember like memorizine IRQ adresses and things like that.

    The main part is remembering a lot of information if you can grasp that then it gets a bit more easyir
  • LenaireLenaire Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I just took the Essentials for the 2009 version. The minimum score is essentially 65 of 100 to pass for either Essentials or Practicals I believe. I can say that the test was moderately difficult. I scored a 75 out of 100. The test is a bit odd with the questions it asks verse the questions you expect. It doesn't always go into depth or ask questions related to memorizing numbers like "How many USB devices can be daisy chained" (though it did ask how many IEEE devices could) but it does ask a bit of practical questions surprisingly. Some questions might be "A user is having an issue with a network printer, what is the first step you would take to find the issue", or "Which of the following best describes social engineering?".

    Fortunately for this test you don't have to memorize quite so many numbers, you will need to know your port numbers, you'll need to know things like I.P address classes, how large the partition size of FAT 32 is and things like these but more often you'll find yourself comparing things in general and not necessarily needing to know the specifics (you'll still want to get to know the specifics as well as you can). An example of what I mean would be a questions like "Of the following cables which is the longest?". I didn't see questions like "How many pins does DDR3 have?" While I knew things like this the essentials was just as much a "Practical" type test as it was an essentials.

    So again I felt it was moderately difficult. For this test I took one class called CTS1131 which focused on hardware and I opted out of taking CTS1132 which focused on software. I reviewed about 75% of my A+ book used for both classes and I watched the majority of Professor Messer's videos for review. Between a text book and Professor Messer I think anyone can pass both tests. I have yet to take the Practicals because I'm waiting to find out from my school Counselor if I'm required to take it.
  • valondonvalondon Member Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Each test is a randomized 100 questions out of a pool of 1000 possible questions (at the minimum, it could be more). The poster above me is wrong also about the minimum score to pass. Each question is weighted differently, some are worth more points than others. Some in fact, aren't worth any points as CompTIA uses them as test questions for the next version of the exam to see if they're too hard or not. A+ is also a very broad subject, covering many areas of IT, which creates numerous problems for some test takers. However, all of this aside, I think the main issue with A+ difficulty is that it is most likely someone's first CompTIA test, and there is absolutely no way to prepare you for CompTIA's atrocious writing and out of the world scenarios.

    EDIT: Just noticed that the poster above me necro'd this thread. Ah well, what I said is still true =)
    A+, MTA: Networking, Net+, MTA: Security, MTA: OS Fundamentals, Security+
  • Novalith478Novalith478 Member Posts: 151
    jms_nov28 wrote: »
    I'm currently a junior in High School. We have a class named Computer Maintenance. Now I have been in that class since 9th grade. I was always top of the class, fell in love with computers since I got one back with Win95. Now since 6th grade I opened my computer, fixed them and done pretty much about everything from building to fixing. I can even code PHP and simple C++ though the A+ Objectives seem very easy for me I somehow worry I won't pass. Now that this is my last year in the class I fear I won't pass the Essentials Test. My friend passed it with a 730, but on his first try failed. My teacher says I'm not ready, but I feel I am, even though he's not willing to get me a voucher I'm willing to pay for it.

    I have been over 2 Mike Meyers books, Passport A+, Comp. Maintenance, Total Tester and Transcender.
    What else would you guys recommend? From 1-10 how hard is it really?

    Thank you for being an awesome community, and so welcoming.

    I had the same attitude as you. When I did some practice tests, I bombed them.

    You might "know your way around" a computer, but when it comes to technical stuff and memorising write rates, RAM types, PSU voltages, etc, you might want to read the books. Just read lots and then take the test. I passed on my first tries but I read a month in advance just to be sure. There's some technical stuff on there that might catch you off guard.
  • quinnyflyquinnyfly Member Posts: 243
    I thought the A+ was a tough exam, although I did both on the same day and passed with very high scores, I made a huge effort on the study, about 1 month in total. I had about 1.5 yrs exp B4 then and thought the A+ would be pretty straight forward, but as others have cited, you really need to know things like CPU pin assingments - vendors, IRQ's, basics on RAID, networking, troublshooting (CompTIA luvs that one!!). Even though you have built and repaired many computers, does this also mean you know everything about the hardware <not just how to install, repaire and configure?> Things like DMA channels, RAM types and specs, CPU specs (packages, slots-sockets, busses, POST codes, form factors etc....many techies I have worked with really don't know or even care much about that kind of thing, and when asked they are clueless!

    I reckon you have studied very well by the sounds of things, but do as many practice exams as possible, at least this way at a minimum, you can find any weaknesses in your exam preparation. The OS exam (Essentials now I believe?) was hardest for me, the Hardware side of things (Application is it now?) may be a little easier, it was for me after having some experience.

    It seems some forums have too many experts, and this is evident on here, this topic may well have opened up a real can of worms, funny you know, I must say how it amuses me that many folks I have met who say that CompTIA exams are a walk in the park, are also the very same people that never sat any!!!

    I found the Network + difficult and only studied for two weeks, I hope you soon enough gain the CompTIA trio or tri-fector, A+, N+, Sec+..

    Best of luck Mate:)
    The Wings of Technology
  • quinnyflyquinnyfly Member Posts: 243
    ststech wrote: »
    Back in 97 when I took the A+ you had to sign a form stateing that you had worked in the industry for 6 months before taking the test. Has this requirement been dropped?

    Was just the usual NDA and ID checks for mine, nothing at all about industry experience.
    The Wings of Technology
  • sys_tecksys_teck Member Posts: 130 ■■■□□□□□□□
    hi jms_nov28

    first Welcome to this forum

    I passed A+ in 2008, my suggestion, <and probably most folks will agree with me> download objectives lists and follow it step by step. make a list of your strongest/weakest points. However, there are always questions you might not familiar.

    Since you are comfortable with assembling/disassembling, and fixing PC's,
    Since CompTIA A+ is entry level, you should be ok.
    working on CCNA
  • rriker1rriker1 Banned Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    One thing that alot of people tend to forget that got their Comptia certs after 09' i think it is. You have to redert every three years, no more lifetime certs, I just got my A+ in march of 2012. For all of those lifetimers that don't have to worry about recerting, Life must be a little easier. However for all that are going cisco, three years on everything except CCIE level stuff. I'm a huge believer in cutting edge but you have to be up to date to be marketable. I sat in on an interview for a hlepdesk job, the guys A+ cert was from 02'. I was actually a little discouraged since it was 10 years old. What's more he hadn't upgraded to vista or 7 so.... legacy is legacy for a reason...
  • rriker1rriker1 Banned Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Your close man, just took and passed my A+ last month. Hardware is Essentials 701 and OS is App and is 702. I scored well on 702 and good on 701. However I am new to certification but about 15yrs in computers. I am another that believes in study of success but the range of questions that the exam covers is so wide that actually studying for every possible exam question is insanity. My best advice to the future reader is this: study hard, often and in-depth get hands on with A+ that's what its designed for, helpdesk, level 1 and 2 tech and so on. To me net+ and server+ are more knowledge then hands on some will disagree but that's my opinion.

    Best to all with A+.
  • paulgswansonpaulgswanson Member Posts: 311
    I took the A+ ce exams last year without even reading a single book. I DID however use transcender extensively. I also have a local support job in the industry. I felt that the questions where written in a deceptively easy way.

    However, that being said I did pass both 1st try (and back-to-back). Since they updated the material in 09 the test got significantly easier. They took out IRQ questions for the most part, they just want you to know about thier existence, and nothing beyond that. They barely even touch on OS requirments anymore. Its mostly troubleshooting and "what screen is this" or "what command can you use to test if the NIC is functional"

    And yes I 2nd Plantwiz suggestion, teach it to someone else. IT does in fact help. Ask me how I know :)

    p.s
    If you really want to test how ready your are, voluteer yourself at a church o help with the computer network. If you can handle anything they throw at you, then I'd say your ready.
    http://paulswansonblog.wordpress.com/
    WGU Progress: B.S. Network Management & Design <- I quit (got bored)
  • CubemasterCubemaster Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I took it today, I am a sophomore. I am in pretty much the same situation as you. Top of my class, great with computers. I failed the 220-901 with a 644. The second best guy in the class got a 634. The problem is, the A+ asks ridiculously obscure questions that you are never going to need to know. It also does not tell you what you got wrong, so I have no idea what to study for. You posted this ages ago, but I don't care.

    How did you end up doing? Any advice for my next try?
  • TjaljewTjaljew Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Not hard
    not easy
    it is all about your experience
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