A+ noob

perosperos Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
I am looking for some help finding good information on A+. I have the Myers book and am using the Test-out software, but I am completely new to computers. I started studying for my A+ in January and still can not manage to pass the tests. I have been a nurse for the last 13 years so this is a big change for me. I love what I am learning, but when I think I have the info down it all must just run out of my ears at night when I sleep. At least I have figured out how to open up mail attachments. I am grateful for any help you might have.
I have very good support at home. My boyfriend tries to help but he has worked with it so long he may as well be from a different planet. He gives great answers, but I still have trouble following because I have to search for half the words he uses and then I miss the rest of what he has said. He has worked in the field for the last 10+ years and in the last year and a half has become certified in A+, Network+, Server+, Security+, iNet+, MCP, MCSA, MCSE, and CISSP. I know that I missed a few other certs in there, but you get the idea. I keep telling myself that I am taking way to long to get this done. I seem to hold myself to the progress I saw him make. I realize there is a huge learning curve, but I am begining to feel rather dense.
I just need some basic help to get this stuff to stick. I am not grasping a lot of the stuff that the authors expect you to know. I just don't have the experience.
Having worked with stress and life or death situations should have prepared me for almost anything, yet it took me two hours to figure out how to get around in a forum for the first time. I was so frustrated I almost sent the computer sailing across the room.
Thanks for all your help.

Comments

  • M4verickM4verick Member Posts: 86 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hang in there. Everyone has their own starting point, and you should by no means try to compare yourself with someone who has 10+ years of experience, but the fact that he is there as a reference can is great.

    I think a lot of IT unintentionally talk way over some people's heads. It's happened to me, and I've done it to people. From what I've seen so far, you've come to the right forum. I'm pretty new here and everyone seems real supportive of eachother. If you have questions, even ask here. I'm sure there's someone who can help.

    For the study material on this site, click on CompTIA in the list at the left, choose your exam you want to study for, and look in the tech notes for the reading material.
    Isn't it funny how after you have the certifications, you don't care about sharing them as much?
  • perosperos Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks so much. It is a place to start. I will be sure to check it out. I have been reading through a lot of the questions that are posted here too. Trying to figure out what to ask first. At least I think I have figured out this forum thing. I just might have a new addiction. It is nice to have a place to come to ask questions. At least here people don't look at me funny when I talk about IRQ's. Family and friends are not supportive at all. Then again I have very few tech friends. I have to talk to the guildies for WOW or my old EQ2 friends to get someone that has even figured out that you can get to know someone on a computer.
    I plan to find all the hidden joys of being able to bend this box to my will. It may take me more than 10 years, but I will do it. crash.gif
  • M4verickM4verick Member Posts: 86 ■■□□□□□□□□
    haha Stay determined and keep at it.
    Isn't it funny how after you have the certifications, you don't care about sharing them as much?
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    peros wrote:
    I am looking for some help finding good information on A+. I have the Myers book and am using the Test-out software, but I am completely new to computers...../.


    First, welcome.

    Second, get rid of the testing software....if you are serious about learning the material the last thing you need to learn to do is memorize test questions via repetition. I almost never recommend test software, however if one wishes to use it....use it as an initial evaluation as to where you are starting....study a bunch, then use it again later to see where you've come. It by no means should be a sit down and do an exam a night, over and over.

    Third, Meyers book is an excellent place to start as well as the Objectives from Comptia. CompTIA A+ exams are geared toward candidate with AT LEAST 500 hours experience. Since by your own description you are 'NEW' then relax....this is going to be a long ride.

    Put the books down a bit and get some old hardware. Practice setting up computers. Practice troubleshooting....maybe have your boyfriend remove a component and see if you can troubleshoot it, etc...

    After you start to see things (and hold them) for a bit, then read more of the books.....it shoudl begin to make more sense.

    I've been working with this stuff over 25 years and I can only say you just have to do it. The more you do, the more you see, the more you read the better (in theory) you will become. Reading test questions to learn this material....just won't cut it. You may skate through A+ and possibly NET+ like that, the other exams and the real world will bury you.

    If this is a new hobby or new career path then treat it with some respect and give yourself time. There is a lot out there (both to learn and material reference). Map out some timeline goals for yourself. Just like Med school, there are things you simply need to commit to memory. OTher things you'll grasp from experience. Even more once you have to explain it to someone else.


    Good luck and hang in there. No easy way through 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?
  • perosperos Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for your reply. I am using the test-out software for the simulations and the video lectures. I am a firm believer that if you are to do something you need to be your best at it. I am all for taking practice tests, but they are only there to show me how I am retaining the information. I have worked too many years in a field where you can look everything you need up; however, there is never time to go and find it. If I have to go fetch information as a nurse my patient may very well be dead when I get back.
    I do not intend to skate by on memorized questions. I will use all the tools I can, and video tutorials and computer based simulations allow me to study at work. I like to use all of my time to the best of my ability. I have actually gotten a lot out of the Test-out series. I would recommend it to anyone new to the field. I may not be able to have a case cracked open at work but this program lets me practice identifying, installing, removing correct hardware. It is also nice because they tell you why you got it wrong. You should check out their site www.testout.com.
    I do not believe that braindumps are a good or useful thing. I would never sell myself short by not learning the material. I have rather lofty goals and will work hard to achieve them.
  • bcairnsbcairns Member Posts: 280
    Plantwiz wrote:
    Second, get rid of the testing software....

    LOL - TestOut (http://www.testout.com) is just as good (if not better) then CBTNuggets (http://www.cbtbuggets.com). And not even close to a braindump.

    I used Testout video training for A+ / Network+ / Security+ / MCSA / MCSE / CISSP, and found it a better resource then CBTNuggets in most cases - damn good video training.
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    bcairns wrote:
    Plantwiz wrote:
    Second, get rid of the testing software....

    LOL - TestOut (http://www.testout.com) is just as good (if not better) then CBTNuggets (http://www.cbtbuggets.com). And not even close to a braindump.

    I used Testout video training for A+ / Network+ / Security+ / MCSA / MCSE / CISSP, and found it a better resource then CBTNuggets in most cases - damn good video training.


    I'm well aware Testout isn't a ****. My comments are based on her stating she's new and 'using' this to learn information. Taking ACT practice tests isn't teaching High School kids how to understand the material better it is getting them used to a method of testing. I don't think this is any better then cheating. So, if a person using tests as a means of prep....first to see where they have areas to they need to prepare more in...fine and possibly again just before the final exam....but to use them through out....I don't recommend it. Even I won't use them. I just don't feel it's the proper way to learn material.

    But I've not stated them as being a ****, just recommending she take the time to learn hands on, rather then reading it and getting used to it. A+ and NET+ it's easier to do this due to the material covered....however this doesn't prepare candidates for the higher level exams down-the-road. Nor does it (practice tests) represent real-world.
    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?
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    Personally for me it is all about the approach to practice tests. I generally use them as a form of leading. I start going through the test and explain to myself why I picked such an such answer until I run into a question that I don't know about or I am very curious about even if I think I know the answer. I immediately take the information from that question and start looking things up or doing a lab based off of it. After doing that for a while I go back to the test and answer the question and move on until another question strikes me like that. It is a very good way for finding scenarious I think for basing labs off of. The danger is there though that you could just start mindlessly going through the questions and just learning how to answer those particular questions. It can lull you into a false sense of security. But if you do it properly you can still learn the information there from the questions. Which is good information but it won't be everything you need to know. Thusly why you need to supplement with reading and more labs. That's just my take on practice questions.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • perosperos Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    As I said before I am using the Test-out series for the video training and the labs. After I finish a section I will take the practice test to see if I am retaining the information. Being that I have very little hands on experience I really like that I can watch a video of someone taking parts out and then reinstalling them. I have always done well in a classroom setting and that is how this series feels to me. I take my notes while the lady talks about the information, I get hands on practice with the simulations and I also get to see the actual components up close. It is one thing to read about memory, another to actually see what a stick looks like. It does me no good if I can't get my head around a 3D image of what I have to learn.
    I know that I need more time with the hands on, but I am trying to work full time on an off shift and I have family needs that take up a great deal of time, like most people. So the next best thing to opening up a computer and working on it is watching someone else do it. It has really helped me get my head around some of the stuff in the Myers book. :D You have to remember I am not a computer person. I am only just recently realizing how to work with one let alone how to fix one. In the last week I have figured out how to use a forum, it has only been 2 months that I learned how to scan stuff in for work, and still need help running scandisk.
    Trust me the testing part of the series is not my main focus. I just try them every few months to see if I am getting any of the information. Sometimes yes but most of the time no. Hell I am lucky that I can manage to play WOW. If it wasn't setup for kids to play I most likely wouldn't have that figured out yet either.
    If you give me a human body I can take that apart and put it back together. I have learned how to do this with a lot of training and years of practice. I know that I will someday be able to say the same thing about a computer, but not yet. I am willing to do the work. I am still learning the language, context, and physical components. I am looking to find others in the field who know that it is hard but not impossible. With the time commitment and practice I will do it. I was just looking for wisdom and support along the way.
    In nursing there is a saying, "Nurses' eat their young." This statement, which I have found to be true over the years, tells of the glee and pleasure that most nurses find in watching the students fail. I have even seen others go out of their way to make everything harder on the students. Nurses that will pull a student aside and tell them they should just leave the program now and not ever think of coming back. I was never this way. I believe that if the next generation in the field is well trained and encouraged it will help to raise us all up. I don't know everything. Have yet to meet anyone who actually does. So if the others in my field can work together and support each other then we make a stronger front line. It makes it harder for the boss to pick on the guy in the call center and call him stupid because there is a team that works together. Unless you can find the time to do all of the work with computers then it is still really a team effort. There is the call center that get crap from the public all day because something is not working (now if the idiot had just plugged the printer into the outlet it would have worked), the network admin that is keeping all the boxes talking to each other, the server admin that has to make sure the server is up and running, the programmers that provide the costume software and keep the different systems talking to each other (because the vendor never tells the client that the sys using SUN OS and the UNIX based programs will give you a ton of conflicts), and the field crew that has to run from one end of the company to the other because no one has yet looked at the plug to make sure it is in the wall. For most companies it is a team effort. Management rarely understands what the IT person is talking about and therefore it is always your fault. So if IT bands together, supports each other and educates the newbies life is better. So for me I am looking for the most help I can find. I want to know it, so I have to work for it. But I am also smart enough to ask for help and advice. So to anyone else out there in my shoes... I find the video training and the simulations in the Test-out course to be really helpful. I have very little time. I study mostly at work and I need something that I can get up and down form frequently. I like to read too, but by the time I find my place again I am back up. So to have a video that can be paused and restarted is helpful. I have had 9 hour shifts where I can't make it though more than 10 pages in a book, where as, I have gotten though 3 subsections of the video training.
    If anyone else out there has any other ideas I would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks so much.
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    As soon as you have some spare time take your computer apart and put it back together again. Don't wait til you're comfortable to be able to do that, the discomfort will press you to do a better job. That will do wonders for your confidence and understanding of what is going on. Don't feel like you can go that far? Then take the lid off and start identifying components. Observe how they all fit together. Eventually you'll be able to take that all apart and put it back together. Once you're comfortable with taking computers apart and putting them back together then learn the operating system basics. Don't forget to supplement all of this with the videos and book reading when you can! Finally, don't rush yourself, everyone has their own pace based off learning styles, experience and preference. You'll hit the finish line eventually.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • BeaverC32BeaverC32 Member Posts: 670 ■■■□□□□□□□
    @Plantwitz -- TestOut is actual video training, much like CBTNuggets. It also has some hands on exercises/labs (it did for MCSA/MCSE exams, anyway). Also, at the end of each section there are practice questions -- much like you see in any study guide. You do actually learn by doing based on my experience with TestOut software.

    I think it is an excellent resource to use, and although a bit pricey, definitely worthwhile.
    MCSE 2003, MCSA 2003, LPIC-1, MCP, MCTS: Vista Config, MCTS: SQL Server 2005, CCNA, A+, Network+, Server+, Security+, Linux+, BSCS (Information Systems)
  • perosperos Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks guys. I have a dead computer. It can not be hurt by me and I have taken it completely apart several times. I am not bad at the hands on stuff. I took great pleasure in pulling the CPU free from the board. I also had a Tandy when I was a kid and it booted from disk. I installed a 3.5 floppy on that, a sound card, and new memory. I derive an innate joy in the removal and inspection of parts and the forcing in of new. I am more concerned with figuring out how it all works together and remembering stats. As far as the hands on part I am not worried. It is knowing which part to pick and why. I can make something fit... and after helping to build several computers I know that most of the time you have to beat one part in at least. I just have to know why I want one part over another and that is where I am having the most trouble.
    My boyfriend just keeps telling me that I am trying to cram too much too fast because I want to answer why. I like to know how things work and what happens if you add something new or take something away. He says I am not accepting the answer that the CPU is the "brain" of the computer and it is there to do calculations. I am asking why does it get so hot, how do they get it to do calculations, is it just a on/off of current or is there software inbeded in it to allow it to intrupret the data, how does it talk to the frontside bus, and so on. I have never been happy with simple answers and I am having to slow myself down. I will get there, but I just have this burning desire to KNOW it all.
    I am not sure what I am going to do when I get some certs, but I know it will be awhile before I stop. I plan on getting A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, MCSA, MCSE, CISSP (in a few years), maybe a CNA/CCNA, I want to learn programing, and I would just love to find a way to get into integration work for cybernetics in injured humans. Just not sure what else I will find along the way that holds my fancy.
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure / Core Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016 Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    It sounds like you're on the right track. I can also give a high recommendation to the TestOut series of training, it was a lifesaver in my MCSA and CCNA studies. Helped bring the reading, the labs, and the hands-on together for me, just as you said, as if though it was a classroom setting. I can also recommend using CBT Nuggets, if you are able to get them. They're an excellent tool to help you grasp the concepts, as well. Of course, nothing beats playing with the hardware and breaking. . . err. . . "configuring" the OS of a test-machine until you've covered all the topics listed on CompTIA's site.

    Keep studying. Before you know it, you'll be putting together and taking apart computers for your friends and family. (If that's a good thing or a bad thing, is up to you. icon_wink.gif ) I'm sure you'll excel at all the material you study, you seem to have a good attitude about the work and you have an excellent resource in your boyfriend, as you mentioned.

    As for programming and cybernetics, those aren't unattainable either. You'll have to do a lot of school, (get ready for math, physics, and electrical engineering classes, on top of the programming,) but it's very doable. Lots of schools have a courses or organizations involving cybernetics and robotics, UCLA being one of them, and even the local community college down the street from my house has a robotics department. If you're willing to put in the work, there's nothing stopping you from working with whatever holds your fancy.

    Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress.

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