Cisco Academy - IT Hardware Essentials vs. The real CompTIA Exam

Carl_S_901Carl_S_901 Member Posts: 105
I am currently in Cisco Networking Academy and am just about to finish the IT Hardware Essentials course which currently maps to the CompTIA A+ objectives. I have a LOT of real world experience with this type of material having built my first PC back in 1987. However, I find in the course that the years of experience actually hurt me a little compared to some of my classmates that have basically no experience. I don't blindly accept some of the information in the text and notice inaccuracies and dated material. In any event, I've manage to average 92% on the assessments in the course.

My main questions are:

1. Has anyone here taking the Cisco course and then taken the exam?

2. If so, did you feel the Cisco questions were on par with the real exam or was it (as I suspect) fairly easier than the Cisco questions

3. How well did you do on the real exam vs. your assessments in the course?

Thanks

Carl
Carl S.

Check out my personal certification journey blog
http://carlscertjourney.wordpress.com/

Comments

  • spiderjerichospiderjericho Senior Member San DiegoMember Posts: 839 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I took the A+ exam prior to taking IT Essentials, so I guess I'm a bit backwards. I took the IT Essentials for my last job to become my an instructor. I'd say you're probably going to be fine for the first exam, especially if you have prior PC experience and did well on the exams; however, the Cisco questions don't really align with the CompTIA's. The way they ask their questions are different. CompTIA questions I'd say are straightforward, as long as you know the topics/objectives. Cisco is more tricky. Also, for the second exam (whichever one you take), the IT Essentials doesn't seem to be a good primer for them. From looking at statistics at our academy, the students tended to do poorly/fail on that exam. So if you're taking the IT exam, Essentials doesn't really cover customer service/protocols/behavior. If you're getting a free voucher, then it doesn't hurt to take them. But if you're paying for it out of your own pocket, I'd definitely look at the objectives of the exam you're not familiar with or possibly invest in say the Sybex study guide. If you don't want to pay money, you can try Professor Messer's website: Professor Messer, CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Microsoft Certification Training
  • Carl_S_901Carl_S_901 Member Posts: 105
    I have two books I am going to read before the exams. The Exam Cram book by David Prowse and 31 Days before your A+ by Ben Conry. I looked at some other books but they were just way to wordy and aimed at someone coming at the material for the first time. (in my opinion)

    Personally, I feel like I could pass both tests without studying or without even being in the Cisco Academy class. However, I am not going to leave things to chance even if I have been working on PCs for a few decades now. :)

    Glad to hear the Cisco questions aren't what I am going to see on the real exam. I feel some of them are just totally wrong and my biggest beef is with ones that ask for an exact answer to a problem that can be a multitude of things.

    For example, here's a paraphrase of what one of the Cisco questions might look like:


    A computer won't boot and you see nothing on the screen, what is the problem?

    A. Bad Motherboard

    B. Bad Video Card

    C. Bad Hard Drive

    D. Operating System is corrupted



    These questions drive me crazy. There isn't enough information to be definitive yet they think there is. At least that has been my experience with their assessments.

    The other thing I see in the Cisco assessments is them asking for paths to things in each of the Windows flavors. (i.e. How to you get to Printers in XP, Vista, and Windows 7). In my mind, if it changes in every release then perhaps not something you should be testing on and better just to know that Printers is the area to do XYZ task.

    Finally, how much "useless info" memorization stuff should I see on the test? (talking about things like minimum system requirements for every OS, all the flavors and speeds on memory, minimum HD space for every OS install, etc.)

    Thanks


    Carl
    Carl S.

    Check out my personal certification journey blog
    http://carlscertjourney.wordpress.com/
  • Carl_S_901Carl_S_901 Member Posts: 105
    Much to my surprise, Cisco discontinued the discount CompTIA vouchers for A+ exams for Cisco Academy students who pass Hardware Essentials. They stated that the program was discontinued about a year ago.

    Therefore, my plans for A+ on pretty much indefinitely on hold unless I found some vouchers at 50% off or greater.
    Carl S.

    Check out my personal certification journey blog
    http://carlscertjourney.wordpress.com/
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