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Ramblings about the world of technology and certification.

Looking for the Best Way to Demonstrate Your Tech Prowess? Consider the A+ Certification Exam

0 February 6, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 6 February 2014 by Kathy Yale]

The A+ Certification is an entry-level certification obtained by PC computer technicians. People who pass the exam are certified in installation, maintenance, customization, and operation of personal computers.

In the past, an A+ certification was considered a lifetime certification; however, in 2011, the certification was changed to one that needed to be renewed every three years. This is typically done by retaking (and passing) the A+ Certification test. Another option is to obtain CEU units: certification holders may maintain a valid certification by paying a CEU (Continuing Education Units) fee.

The Benefits of A+ Certification

Obtaining the A+ Certification is highly beneficial from both a career and financial standpoint. Some of the benefits associated with this certification include:

Offers Career Advancement

An A+ Certification can open the door to a new career or allow you to advance at a present job. The certification can also allow you to go after other job opportunities. Many open computer positions now require – or at least prefer – those with certifications; by having one, you won’t be limited to where you can apply. This gives you the chance to pick and choose until you find a job that will be both challenging and satisfying.

Those with professional certifications typically see an increase of 10 to 20 percent in salary. The A + Certification can also allow you to pursue jobs that are higher paying and perform consultant work on the side.

Demonstrates Commitment

Obtaining an A + Certification demonstrates commitment to a profession. It allows your employer (or your clients) to see you are dedicated to your work, willing to go the extra mile, and in for the long haul. This can make you appear dedicated in the eyes of those who you work for as well as those who are considering hiring you. The A+ certification also provides a morale booster, giving you the confidence and skills to pursue career options you might not otherwise pursue.

Offers More Flexibility

For those who desire to start their own company and work for themselves, an A + Certification can help in a few ways. By being certified, contractors and consultants are able to charge more that companies with no certifications to their name. The more clients you amass, the more successful your company will become. This, ultimately, can result in a schedule that is highly flexible, allowing you to set your own hours, choose your own projects, and answer to only yourself.

The A+ Certification is an excellent way to further an already existing career or gain new prospects and be hired for better, high-paying positions. It is an internationally recognized certification and will ensure you are up-to-date with the latest technologies in IT. Because technology is constantly advancing, CompTIA makes sure that the A+ Certification exam is always updated with the latest information. By initially taking the exam and making sure your certification is updated, you can demonstrate your tech prowess and become a force to be reckoned with in IT industry.

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The Keys to Being Prepared for Your A+ Certification Exam

0 January 28, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 28 January 2014 by Kathy Yale]

The A+ Certification is required by many employers, and it gives applicants an important edge when they’re applying for jobs. There are two parts to the exam, and test-takers have reported that the exam can be difficult. Whether an individual is getting certified before entering the job market or to meet the changing demands of their employer, most people want to pass the test and become certified on the first attempt.

Updates Done Regularly

Technology changes rapidly, and the A+ Certification exam is regularly updated to remain current with the changing times. While there are several exam preparation systems available, it’s important to choose one that actively reviews the exam and the preparation material to ensure that they’re still compatible. Preparation packages that are only updated once every few years aren’t as effective as a plan that updates regularly to remain current with the certification exam. Packages purchased through Total Seminars will ensure that all materials and information are up-to-date with the most recent information on the exam.

Customized to Learning Needs

Some individuals prefer to read the information while others like to see examples in a video format. There’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to preparing for the exam and there are a variety of study options available through Total Seminars. The material is comprehensive, and available in a range of formats to help test takers prepare themselves for the examination.

Relevant and Interesting

Most people retain information better when it’s presented in an engaging and interesting way. Some of the information on the A+ exam can be dry, but the material found at Total Seminars will help test takers apply the information in real time which will make it easier for them to understand. Learning the steps along with real-world applications increases retention and the chances of a test taker passing the exam.

Practice Tests

Taking the time to sit down and go through a practice exam can help test takers prepare for what’s coming. When they know how questions are phrased, they’re more likely to remain in control during the test and work their way through in methodical manner. Total Seminars offers a variety of practice tests, online courses and seminars that can help individuals study.

Teach to the Test and Beyond

The point of the A+ Certification is to show employers that a job applicant is prepared for the world of information technologies. The test covers an extensive range of knowledge, but Total Seminars won’t just focus on what’s in the test. While they go to great lengths to help test takers prepare, they also offer information that goes beyond the test. They’re looking at what employers want, so test takers don’t have to worry about being ill-equipped for the work place.

The A+ Certification is an investment in an employee’s future. It’s a great way to advance a career and make a great impression on management. However, test takers don’t want to take this test more than once if they can avoid it. With the Total Seminars by their side, they can walk into the testing center with confidence that they’ll earn the certification.

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Your Career as a Computer Technician Begins with an A+ Certification

0 January 21, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 21 January 2014 by Kathy Yale]

Computers aren’t just here to stay; they’re becoming a dominant feature in modern life. Computers are used in almost every field from car repairs to home improvements, and the individuals who know how to effectively use and work on them are in high demand. Most employers want people who are computer savvy, and they’re looking for evidence of these skills before they compile a list of possible applicants to interview. One way to make a strong first impression on potential employers is to receive an A+ Certification by working with Total Seminars.

Save Time

The A+ Certification exam is intensive. The test is broken into two parts, and each one lasts 90 minutes. It can take months to prepare for the exam, and there is a fee to sit and take this valuable test. While candidates are rewarded with better job prospects, most people don’t want to spend more time studying than necessary, and they certainly don’t want to pay to take the test multiple times. Total Seminars offers an effective way to study and prepare for the exam. The skills are mastered faster, and increase an applicant’s chances of passing the test on the first attempt.

Avoid Frustration

Total Seminars is committed to helping their customers prepare for this test. They update their information frequently based on how the test changes to keep up with technology, and they know how the questions on this test are phrased. Test takers can better prepare for what they’ll find on the test, and that helps them succeed when the time comes. Rather than spending months feeling frustrated by practice materials that aren’t as effective or taking a test that seems foreign, test takers who invest in the Total Seminars method are better prepared and can avoid the frustration.

Be Prepared for the Market

The great benefit of the A+ Certification is that it prepares job applicants for a demanding market. This is a popular credential among employers because they don’t have to waste time administering their own tests or risk hiring someone who isn’t qualified. The certification is becoming a requirement for anyone in the user-support arena of computer technology, and most companies are now requiring that all of their technicians and support staff carry A+ certification. Having it on your resume ensures that you’re ready for the demands of the job market.

Make the Right First Impression

Employers are busy, and they often don’t give a resume more than a cursory look. Applicants who can add the A+ Certification at the top of their resume will get more attention. It entices hiring agents to look beyond the initial paragraph of a resume and see what else applicants have to offer. It makes a great first impression, and it can make the difference between getting a call for the interview and having a resume tossed in the shredding file.

Anyone who’s in the computer field can benefit from this certification, and it’s a requirement for those working on the support side. The certification is valuable because the exam is comprehensive and can be difficult for many test takers. This is why it’s important for test takers to prepare ahead of time by investing in practice materials. Total Seminars is dedicated to helping test takers reach their goals by offering high-quality materials, effective training aids and the most thorough system available.

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Haven’t Taken a Test Recently? Tips for Your A+ Certification Exam

0 January 14, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 14 January 2014 by Kathy Yale]

The thought of sitting down and taking a test can be terrifying for some individuals. Knowing that the results of a test can drastically affect your life will only increase the anxiety level. However, there are ways to prepare for the test and ensure that the test results come back as high as possible. With the right preparation materials, most people can walk into the A+ certification exam feeling ready and confident. 

Learn What is Required

The key to succeeding is setting appropriate goals and working towards them. With the A+ certification exam, that starts with knowing what to expect and what’s required. This exam is broken into two sections, and testers are allowed a maximum of 90 minutes for each one. There are multiple choice and performance-based components. The passing score for the 220-801 is 675 out of 900, and the passing scale for the 220-802 is 700 out of 900 possible.

Work with Updated Information

It’s also important to keep up with changing information on the exam. This is a technology based certification, so it’s updated regularly to keep up with changing technology. One example would be the removal of Windows 2000 and the incorporation of Windows 7 and various mobile devices. The most updated preparation information is required to ensure that people are ready to take this test and perform well on it.

Practice Problems

Knowing the information is important, but it’s also important to know how information will be presented. It’s possible for someone to be confident with all of the details and still answer incorrectly because they read the question wrong. With quality practice materials, potential test takers can work on problems that are very similar to what they’ll see on the test. They’ll make a few mistakes in the practice sessions, but they’ll go into the actual examination ready for the types of questions and scenarios that will be presented. 

Flexible Learning Materials Suit Every Test Taker

No two people are exactly the same, and one test taker will learn the material more quickly by watching a video while another will prefer to read the information. The top preparation materials understand this simple fact and offer flexible materials that are ideally suited to each test taker. The best systems will allow individuals to choose between written materials, videos and practice tests that are based on the actual examination. They’ll also have instructors standing by who can answer questions and provide test takers with the extra assistance they need. The materials will work together seamlessly and allow test takers to prepare in the way that best suits their learning style and needs.

The A+ Certification is required by the Department of Homeland Security, Dell, Ricoh and Lenovo all require technicians to have this valuable certification, and it gives job applicants an important edge when they’re applying for any job that uses computers on a constant basis. The test itself is not terribly expensive, and taking it can make a difference in how far someone is able to take their career. The stress level associated with this test can be high, but test takers can decrease that stress by investing in preparation materials that will help them pass this test the first time around. It’s a small expense to pay to ensure that test takers are ready for the test and will handle the examination with the minimal amount of stress.

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What Kind of Preparation Do I Need for the A+ Certification Exam?

0 January 13, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 13 January 2014 by Kathy Yale]

Even the most knowledgeable, trained computer expert needs help preparing for an important test like the CompTIA A+ certification examination. Fortunately, Total Seminars has everything you need to get ready for the A+ and most other CompTIA certification exams.

Earning Your A+ Certification

The A+ certification was introduced by CompTIA in the early 1990s and was one of the first methods of computer knowledge certification to be widely recognized. Since its inception, the exams and certification process have been updated regularly in response to changing technologies. The current A+ certification requires an individual to successfully pass a series of two examinations, Sections 220-801 and 220-802. Each exam lasts 90 minutes and consists of 90 multiple choice questions. The test also includes a hands-on section delivered to the test-taker in real-time. This portion of the exam is designed to test the ability of an individual to tackle common issues that computer technicians may encounter on a daily basis. Other general topics covered by the exams include basic computer hardware and software, installation, networking, mobile devices and problem-solving.

Test Prep Tailored To Your Needs

Whether you need a full course or just a brief review of the material covered by the A+ exam series, Total Seminars is ready to help. We provide a comprehensive textbook, the All-in-One CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Guide, that includes the information an examinee will most likely encounter on both the 220-801 and 220-802 sections of the certification. This textbook is also accompanied by a computer disk to facilitate studying. The material covered in the book is available in a video series that contains over 200 different installments, each of which addresses in detail a different computer technology topic. Practice tests that can be used for review purposes or to become familiar with the format of the test and the phrasing of questions are also available for purchase. In addition to being sold as individual products, our high-quality study products are bundled into money-saving packages that contain just the materials you’re looking for. Exam vouchers that provide admission to an approved testing facility in your area can also be found at Total Seminars and are even included in some of the pre-packaged bundles with the study books, videos and practice tests.

Newly Updated Study Guides

The team at Total Seminars makes it our business to stay abreast of changes and reformatting of CompTIA certification examinations. In response to the most recent revisions to the A+ examination series, our study guide and related materials were revised in August 2012, just ahead of the changes. Our new materials were updated to reflect revisions to the exams that included expanded questions on mobile devices and the latest in computer hardware and software. Although previous editions of A+ study guides will contain some of the information you’ll need to prepare for the exams, purchasing the most up-to-date versions of the study materials and practice tests ensures that you’re fully prepared and gives you the best shot at passing this challenging set of tests.

In any type of career, professional certification can give a distinct advantage to individuals who expend the time and effort necessary to achieve it. If you’re interested in becoming a computer technician or working in any field related to computer technology, don’t wait to start working on your A+ certification. Contact Total Seminars for more information about our high-quality study materials, and start preparing today to become A+ certified.

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The A+ Certification: Your Key to a New Career in 2014

0 January 7, 2014 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 7 January 2014 by Kathy Yale]

The A+ certification exam is a staple test for those interested in pursuing a career in technology. Jobs such as technical support specialists, IT support administrators, IT support specialists, or field service technicians use the A+ certification as a tool for measuring an individual’s competency regarding computer-related issues. The certification can be a great starting place for a person hoping to begin a career in IT. The examination provides employers with a tool for measuring an applicant’s skill set and is a prerequisite for many computer-related service jobs in the United States. If interested in technology jobs, taking the A+ certification exam serves as the launching pad for a new career in 2014.

What’s on the Test?

The A+ certification exam is a 90-minute exam that covers the basics of PC operating systems, basic networking, laptops and computer hardware, and computer software and installation. In addition to multiple choice questions, the exam also assesses test-takers’ knowledge base through the use of performance-based challenges and fill-in-the-blank questions. These questions challenge testers to solve problems or tasks in an environment that simulates real-world problems and trouble-shooting situations.

Preparing for the Exam

Before taking the exam, it is recommended that test-takers have at least 6 months to 1 year of experience in a related field, or have a strong understanding of computer operation, set-up, and trouble-shooting. Once a firm base of knowledge in computer-related sciences is established, a person can study through the exam in a variety of ways: A+ certification books are available; online resources and study guides are a great option; and a person can even enroll in an A+ preparatory course. While a preparatory course is not required to take the exam, it is recommended if experience is limited. In addition to thoroughly studying for the exam, practice tests are available online. Taking many timed practice tests is a suggested method of adequately preparing for the test.

Benefits of Receiving an A+ Certification

The certification is valid for three years with the option of keeping it current through continuing education programs. If the test is completed with satisfactory marks, it serves as a career promoter for those in the technology field or those hoping to pursue a career in IT. An A+ certification qualifies recipients for the jobs of a help desk technician, a field service technician, a PC technician, and many manufacturing positions. With an A+ certification, applicants can search for jobs in a variety of other fields, too, including hardware, administration, and development. Typically, an A+ certification also comes with a salary increase for those who pass the examination. For most people, an A+ certification is the perfect way to start a job in entry-level positions, assuming a person has a limited amount of experience and does not already possess a degree in computer science. However, for those who do have a degree in computer science, the A+ certification may still be key for a new career for entry-level positions, promotions, or in order to move into a higher-salary bracket.

The A+ certification is a great way to kick start a career in 2014. It can result in hiring opportunities for new applicants in the IT field and it can be the certification needed for a promotion to a new position. Start the New Year off right with the A+ certification exam.

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New CompTIA Exam Prices

0 January 7, 2014 in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ by

CompTIA has raised the prices for their exams effective January 1, 2014.

You can save money by purchasing discount exam vouchers from Total Seminars. Visit http://www.totalsem.com/exam-vouchers/ to buy your vouchers and save.

Effective January 1, 2014 the new CompTIA exam prices have increased as follows:

CompTIA A+ Certification – The prices for both the CompTIA A+ 220-801 and CompTIA A+ 220-802 exams have been raised from $183.00 to $188.00.

CompTIA Network+ Certification – The price for the CompTIA Network+ Certification exam has been raised from $261.00 to $269.00.

CompTIA Security+ Certification – The price for the CompTIA Security+ Certification exam has been raised from $284.00 to $293.00.

You can always save money by buying discount vouchers from Total Seminars but we are holding our discount prices based on the old CompTIA exam prices for a few days. Get your vouchers now before we have to raise the prices to reflect the new CompTIA prices.

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Hardware: The Basics of this A+ Certification Category

0 December 24, 2013 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 24 December 2013 by Kathy Yale]

The A+ Certification Exam has become the standard for those who want to show their computer skills to potential employers. The CompTIA A+ Test consists of several sections, including PC Hardware, Networking, Laptops, Printers, Operational Procedures, Operating Systems, Security, Mobile Devices and Troubleshooting. It is designed to provide a comprehensive view of a candidate’s knowledge, skills and experience so that employers can hire those who are proficient in the computer field.

Hardware Objectives

While it is important to understand how software causes a computer to operate, it is also important to know exactly how the hardware supports the operation of the computer. Without functioning hardware components, no programs will work. Therefore, the CompTIA A+ Certification test focuses a portion of its questions on PC hardware.

On the first part of the test, 38 percent of the questions focus on hardware objectives. Test takers are asked questions relating to installation, maintenance and repair of storage devices. Test takers must understand HDD, including SATA, PATA and Solid State storage; FDD; optical drives, including CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and RW; removable storage and external storage.

Regarding motherboards, questions may be included about jumper settings; CMOS batteries; advanced BIOS settings; bus speeds; chipsets; firmware updates; socket types; expansion slots; memory slots; front panel connectors; and I/O ports, including sound, video, USB, parallel, modem and PS/2. Successful testers must also understand wattage and capacity; connector types; and output voltage of power supplies.

In addition, questions include the areas of socket types; speed; number of cores; power consumption; cache; front side bus; and 32 bit v. 64 bit processors. Test takers must be conversant with the basic hardware associated with computer memory. Graphics cards, sound cards, storage controllers, I/O cards, wired and wireless network cards, capture cards and media readers are also all covered on the test along with cooling system components including heat sinks, thermal compound, CPU fans and case fans. 

Not only should test takers be familiar with how to analyze, repair and maintain all of these components; they should also be ready to select and use the following tools properly:

• Multimeter
• Power supply tester
• Specialty hardware and tools
• Cable testers
• Loop back plugs
• Anti-static pad and wrist strap
• Extension magnet

Test takers will also be asked questions about printers, including how to analyze and repair paper jams, junk printing, out of memory errors, lines and smearing, blank paper and ghosted images.

How Can I Prepare for the Hardware Section of the A+ Certification Exam?

One of the most common suggestions made to those who are preparing for the A+ Certification Exam’s hardware section is to take apart and put back together a computer, printer and other devices covered on the test. This is one of the easiest ways to familiarize yourself with the parts of the machine and to see how they work together. 

While this is invaluable practice for some people, others also prefer to review schematic diagrams or read preparatory materials. There are many books and other items that are devoted to the topic of hardware that can be found at Total Seminars. It may be especially helpful to read preparatory materials while working on a hands-on repair job on a computer or printer.

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CompTIA Exam prices are going up.

0 December 23, 2013 in Uncategorized by

CompTIA is raising the price of all their exams effective January 1, 2014.

The price of the CompTIA A+ Certification, Network+ Certification, Security+ Certification and all the other CompTIA exams will go up 3% starting in the new year.

Discount vouchers based on the old prices are still available on Total Seminars’ web site.

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Learning More about Mobile Phone and Tablet Categories on the A+ Certification Exam

0 December 17, 2013 in CompTIA A+ by

[Posted 17 December 2013 by Kathy Yale]

The A+ certification is an important credential for those who want to start or advance their IT career.  It is an internationally recognized benchmark utilized by the computer industry to ensure IT professionals achieve a basic competency in concepts and skills employees would need to be successful. Technicians are expected to demonstrate knowledge of a range of topics including installation, upgrading and troubleshooting. An understanding of network configurations and operating systems is also necessary.

The A+ certification was developed and is supported by the Computing Technology Industry Association. Major computer companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Apple and IBM embrace it because it provides standardization of qualifications across the entire industry in the United States and internationally. This means employers in an increasingly globalized economy will have a better idea of the capabilities of each job applicant they interview and will be able to find the best fit for their positions. The certification ensures that individuals will be skilled in the latest technology including tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.

The Growing Need for Mobile Device Certification

This attention on mobile devices is partially a result of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) policies. Because it is increasingly common for employees to bring their own smart phones and tablets to the office, businesses are beginning to have employees use them as their primary work devices. As a matter of policy, many companies are beginning to use mobile technology as a primary means to operate their business. Industry professionals across the board are utilizing iPhones, iPads and tablet devices and, as a result, it is becoming increasingly necessary for IT professionals to become trained on the inner workings of these devices.

Apple offers a consultant network made up of private contractors to provide companies with onsite IT support for its products. These Apple contractors must be A+ certified as a basic qualification. As mobile devices continue to improve and proliferate, IT technicians will have to stay abreast of the latest developments.

Mobile Modifications to the A+ Certification Exam

The A+ Certification exam consists of two modules: the first module is Essentials, basic IT information that all technicians are expected to master. The second module gives the individual the ability to choose from three concentrations. These include IT Technician, Remote Support Technician and Depot Technician.

In 2012 CompTIA released a revised version of the exam called A+ 800 that reflects recent trends in technology as well as feedback from employers. One change is the addition of performance based questions that require test takers to perform tasks and demonstrate skills rather than simply answer multiple choice questions. Another big change in the test is the increased emphasis on iOS mobile devices including the iPad Touch and iPhone. IT technicians are also expected to show proficiency dealing with the security issues common to smart phones and tablets.

As mobile technology continues to be a fixture in the IT industry, CompTIA will continue to grow their exams to meet the needs of the industry. The A+ certification exam will evolve and adapt to the changing circumstances in the corporate world as it adopts the latest innovations in IT.

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