[Posted 9 December 2013 by Kathy Yale]
The CompTIA A+ certification is an excellent way for any computer specialist to demonstrate his or her knowledge in the field of computers and computer technology. The CompTIA A+ certification is broken down into two separate examinations, A+ Essentials and A+ Practical Application. Each examination is 90 minutes long and consists of 90 multiple choice questions. The two exam sections cover different topics in computing, and each requires focused preparation in order to have the best chances of meeting the full certification requirements on the first attempt.
Comptia A+ Essentials—Section 220-801
The CompTIA A+ Essentials 220-801 examination of the A+ certification is comprised mainly of questions relating to computer hardware. The newest version of the examination consolidates all hardware-related topics into this section and also covers information on computer networking and basic operation. Knowledge the test-taker should possess before attempting this section includes, but is not limited to, the ability to perform the following tasks:
• Assembly and set-up of different brands of computers, including laptops
• Connection of keyboards and other control devices
• Connection of peripheral devices, such as printers and monitors
• Use of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) devices
• Connection with the internet via dial-up, wi-fi or ethernet
• Use of passwords and firewalls
• Use of USB cables and other connectors
• Installation of routers
• Use of basic networking technology
• Set-up of computer-related gaming devices and home theaters
Comptia A+ Practical Application—Section 220-802
Section 220-801 of the CompTIA A+ examination covers topics that are primarily related to the use of computers after installation and set-up. Systems configuration, security, repair and troubleshooting make up a large portion of this examination. Below is a selection of the material covered in the 220-802 examination:
• Configuration of the latest versions of operating systems and software
• Securing computers and networks, both physically and virtually
• Set-up and use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets
• Locating and repairing hardware, software and networking problems
Preparing For The Comptia A+ Examinations
The CompTIA A+ examinations do not focus on any specific brands or products, but instead include information on the array of products manufactured by many different companies. The all-encompassing nature of the material covered on these examinations may seem overwhelming, but exam preparation materials are available to make studying easier. Study materials can be purchased in a textbook or video format, and practice versions of the exams with answers are available so that an exam-taker can test his or her knowledge prior to taking the actual exams. Practice tests are also excellent resources to gauge the effectiveness of the study materials used. While not a guarantee of success, thoroughly studying the material most likely to be covered on the exams can greatly improve the chances of passing the exams on the first attempt. Extensive hands-on experience is also essential to performing well on the CompTIA A+ exams.
Mastering the information included on both examinations that make up the CompTIA A+ certification is important to any individual who hopes to pursue a successful career as a computer technician or IT specialist. As with most examinations, adequate preparation is crucial to success. High-quality study materials are available to help prospective test-takers prepare for these challenging examinations so that they are passed on the first attempt, and time is not wasted taking and re-taking them.