[Posted 23 October 2013 by Kathy Yale]
The A+ certification is a good way for an individual looking to get started in the information technology (IT) field. The test is two separate examinations, 220-801 and 220-802 covering a broad range of topics dealing with computer hardware, peripheral devices and systems. An individual completing the certification will possess the basic knowledge needed in the IT field. With this knowledge, a person can use the training for an entry-level computer repair and troubleshooting position or leverage the certification to further their IT training in Networking+, Security+ and other areas.
Individuals using their A+ certification can expect to make a median average salary of $46,260 ($22 per hour). The examinations are administered by CompTIA, a non-profit trade association for the IT industry located just outside of Chicago in Downers Grove, Illinois.
CompTIA A+ 220-801
The first exam of the two, CompTIA A+ 220-801, is based on five objectives. These objectives are: PC Hardware, which accounts for 40 percent of the exam; Networking (27 percent of the exam); Laptops, Printers and Operational Procedures, each section which is 11 percent of the exam. The exam contains about 90 questions and individuals are given 90 minutes in which to complete the questions. Questions are both multiple choice and performance based, that is, given a set of conditions, you will be required to perform a specific task or solve a problem. The passing score for this exam is 675 out of a scale of 900.
CompTIA A+ 220-802
The second exam is the CompTIA A+ 220-802. In this exam, there are four learning objectives that you are expected to know in order to successfully complete the exam. The four sections of the second exam are: Operating Systems (33 percent); Security (22 percent); Mobile Devices (9 percent); and, Troubleshooting (36 percent). The 220-802 exam has a format that is similar to that of the 220-801 exam. There are approximately 90 exam questions and a test candidate has 90 minutes in which to complete the exam. In order to pass you will need to obtain a score of 700 out of 900.
How to Successfully Obtain Your A+ Certification
There are no prerequisites or coursework that has to be completed before you sit for the two exams. Taking and successfully passing the A+ certification exams requires you to register for the exam and schedule an appointment at a testing center. The cost for each exam is $183 and once you receive a voucher to take the tests, you have up to 12 months in which to do so.
Preparation is one of the best ways to quell your nerves and successfully pass both exams. The more familiar you are with the exam material the better you will feel when attempting your A+ certification.
Some other tips that may be helpful:
It is not necessary to take both exams at once. This will help you focus on each test individually and reduce any pressure you may feel in having to complete both exams immediately. Plan your study time; make sure you allow yourself ample time leading up to the exam to study and go over the five objective areas of 220-801 and four objective areas of 220-802.
Take the 24 hours off prior to your exam date. Find some activity that will relax you and take your mind off the exam. If you put in the time and effort to prepare, you will find that being relaxed will help you perform better on the exams.