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passed last week after many years of procrastinating

thorshammerthorshammer Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
Essentials: 871
Practical app: 868

I've been doing computer repair for over 10 years, but in a relatively rural area that simply did not necessitate addressing any certification concerns. I considered taking the test many times in the past, and I had taken and always passed many "practice" tests over the years, confident that I would easily ace the actual certification exams when/if I ever decided to do it. But the last round of practice questions I took from the CompTIA website frightened me because several of them seemed much more difficult and vague than the ones I had encountered in the past. So I opted to do an online study course to make sure I was up to snuff on the latest material covered by the exam.

I used CBTDirect which uses SkillPort study system. My biggest complaint with them is that while their course seems well-rounded, their actual practice tests seem to pull from a very narrow sampling of questions (if you repeatedly take the practice tests you tend to get many of the same questions over and over), and their course does not cover some areas in enough detail to prepare you for some of the questions you may encounter on the exam. I also discovered and reported a few wording and factual errors in their courses, which they confirmed and corrected, but had I not been absolutely certain about the errors, I could have been misled and potentially reduced my exam score in the end. For example, one paragraph in their course concerning motherboard components stated matter-of-factly, that "all current motherboards have built-in video". A statement that is certainly incorrect.

They have simulated windows OS environments that you must navigate to complete some of the quizzes and courses, changing and setting various options step-by-step, but they are extraordinarily rigid in how you navigate them. We all know that you often can get to various menus and functions in windows using multiple methods (right-clicking for example) menus or wizards, but CBTdirect's method only considers one particlar way valid in many cases, and will flag you as incorrect if you try another way, albeit also technically valid nonetheless. It can be mind-bendingly frustrating at times, but you must un-learn your habits and learn their restrictive ways fairly quickly, and adapt accordingly. So if anyone if considering CBTdirect, keep this in mind. Their course isn't bad, but at points is can be frustrating because of the reasons outlined above.

My thoughts on the actual test:

Like many others, I was frustrated my the vagueness of some of the questions, which had what often seemed to be multiple correct answers. Read the questions as literally as possible, and don't try to read too much into the scenarios. Some of the answers tread a very fine line between being correct, and just slightly less or more correct than the answer they are looking for. Also, you can flag any question for review later before submitting the test for scoring. I HIGHLY recommend doing this for any question you have any lingering doubts or uncertainty about. Even if you get a question for which you are simply taking a wild guess, flag it for review, (even if you can't fathom any reason why you would want to revisit it) because you may encounter another question later, that will clue you in on the actual solution for the one you didn't know.

It is worth being able to easily revisit certain questions and re-approach them, even if you think you do not know the answer. Sometimes all you need is to take a more educated guess, and they may turn out to be very valuable in the end. I still have Net+ Security+ and Server+ to go. Those will be more challenging for me in all likelihood, because my personal IT experience is more limited in those areas than what the A+ exam covered. I will post my experiences on those as well. Good luck everyone.
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