CompTIA A+ certification is a great way to kickstart your IT career. CompTIA, a non-profit organization, offers some of the most respected certifications in the information technology industry. CompTIA A+ is for those with no previous experience in this field. This complete guide to CompTIA in 2021 will help you get a solid foundation for all things computer-related.
The Complete Guide to CompTIA A+ in 2023
The A+ certification was established in 1993. It is still one of the most popular IT certifications. CompTIA keeps its exam cycles updated every two years to keep up to date with IT’s continuous evolution. This means that you won’t need to worry about learning about obsolete topics. A+ CompTIA certification gives its holders a solid foundation that they can use to increase their knowledge and skills in networking, software, and hardware.
It is not surprising that so many people are interested in a career in IT. The IT industry is expected to have a global market worth $5 trillion by 2021. CompTIA A+ is a great way to get started and impress potential employers by your dedication and hard work.
This is all you need to know about CompTIA A+ certification exams.
CompTIA A+ Exam Broken Down
CompTIA A+ is one of CompTIA Core Certifications. The exam consists of two tests that must be passed by candidates to earn the A+ certification.
- Core 1 (220-1001
- Core 2 (220-1002
Core 1 and Core 2 can each have up to 90 questions. Each one lasts 90 minutes, and they don’t need to be taken in the same day. It might actually be more beneficial to spread them out, but not too much. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose to take first.
These exams do not require any prerequisites. CompTIA mentions that nine to twelve months experience as an IT support specialist is helpful, but it is not required. Many people have passed the exam with no prior work experience.
In 2019, the latest Core 1 and Core 2 cycles were released. Each CompTIA exam cycle lasts approximately three years before it retires. This means that 1001 and 1002 are likely to be around until 2022, when they will be replaced by the updated 2001 and 2002 versions. To obtain the A+ certificate you must pass both the 1001 and 1002 exams before the current cycle ends. You will need to pass both exams if you fail one.
Core 1 Exam
The 1001 exam is part of the series and includes five objectives. They are represented in different proportions in the exam.
- Cloud Computing and Virtualization (12%)
- Hardware (27%).
- Hardware and Network Troubleshooting (27%).
- Mobile Devices (14%)
- Networking (20%)
Scores range from 100 to 900. To pass the ‘1001’ test, you will need a score of 675.
Core 2 Exam
1002 focuses more on the software side of things than the 1001 . These are the Core 2 exam objectives:
- Operating Systems (27%)
- Operational Procedures (23%)
- Security (24%)
- Software Troubleshooting (26%)
You will need to score higher than the 1001-700 points in order to pass this test. Scores range from 100 to 900.
It’s one thing to know the type of information that you will need for each exam. But it’s quite another to face the exam question.
A+ CompTIA exams have two types of questions, plus a bonus question that should not be too concerning.
- Multiple-choice questions
These questions are likely to have been asked in many different tests throughout the years. Multiple-choice questions have multiple answers. You only need to select one or a few that are correct. Multiple-choice questions in this exam series require test takers make a judgement call. They must decide which course of action should be taken FIRST, BEST, or something similar.
These keywords must be considered. The keywords BEST, FIRST, LEAST and MOST will all make a difference in determining whether an answer is correct or incorrect. One question might have a wrong answer, but another may have a different question with slightly different words. You should carefully read and re-read the questions if necessary.
- Performance-based questions
Performance-based questions can have more than one answer. It could be a drag-and-drop type of question or a ‘fill out the blank’ type of question. Or it could even be a simulation of a real-life problem that you have to solve. Many people find PBQs intimidating at CompTIA A+. You shouldn’t.
Take a deep breath when you see a portable blanket. Do not panic. Keep in mind all of the theoretical knowledge that you have and apply it to your question. You can always skip the question if you feel you are losing time or it seems too difficult. This is a common exam strategy. Some people leave the most difficult questions at the end to save time and allow them to spend their time answering questions they already know.
- Beta questions
Beta questions are the last type of question you should be concerned about. These questions are usually placed at the beginning of an exam and could be related to exam objectives you don’t know. Don’t panic if you come across a topic that you are unfamiliar with. This could just be a beta question that CompTIA checks out before it is included in the actual exam.
These questions aren’t graded so it doesn’t matter what you answer. These questions are meant to be used as ‘practice questions’ by CompTIA. They do not count towards your total score.
For whom is CompTIA A+?
CompTIA A+ is a great certification. It can be used by anyone, but it is best for beginners. You will be able to expand your knowledge with the CompTIA A+ certification into hardware, software, and even cybersecurity.
CompTIA A+ will prepare you for any job such as:
- Administrator of desktop support
- Associate network engineer
- Field service technician
- Specialist in computer support
- Service desk analyst
- Support specialist for system
- Data support technician
- End-user computer technician
- Support desk technician and many more
Even if you have more IT experience, the A+ certification may still be required for those who want to impress their employers or continue education. The A+ certification is an entry-level certification. This means that professionals with more experience in IT will not learn much from it. CompTIA certifications that are more rigorous might be more appropriate for them.
The CompTIA A+ Benefits
Common concern is whether the CompTIA+ A+ is worthwhile. What is the best way to evaluate the value of a certification? The likelihood that you get hired. The salary rise that IT professionals get after becoming certified. Oder something completely different?
Here are some benefits to help you decide whether you want to take the A+ exam.
- Industry Standard
The CompTIA A+ exam is a common topic of conversation for IT professionals. It is the industry standard for IT professionals who want to enter the IT field. CompTIA reports that this certification is held by over 1.2 million IT professionals!
All Intel, Dell, HP and other technicians must pass the A+. It is an 8570 IAT Level 1 baseline certificate, which the US Department of Defense has recognized. It is an essential requirement for anyone who is interested in information security work.
- Salary Increase
IT professionals generally have higher salaries. IT professionals generally have higher salaries, regardless of where they live in the world.
An A+ certification can lead to a higher starting salary or better job. Employers love to see A+ certification on resumes, as we’ve mentioned. An A+ shows respect and commitment. Although getting a job or promotion is dependent on many factors, a CompTIA A+ credential will not hurt.
- Developed By IT Experts
CompTIA A+ was founded by a group IT professionals from different fields. It is constantly updated with new developments in IT, as mentioned previously. CompTIA is committed to keeping up to date with IT developments so that you don’t need to worry about whether what you are learning is still relevant.
CompTIA A+ used to favor Microsoft Windows in its operating system section. This is no longer true. A+’s new cycle expands the range of topics covered and covers many other operating systems that you might encounter in your career. This certification is generally considered vendor-neutral.
- Industry Relations
No matter your industry, networking (of any kind) is crucial for career advancement. IT professionals need to have experience, education and certifications. It is important to be able to recommend the right person at the correct time, who can either point you in the right direction or help you find a job.
You will meet people from all walks of the globe while you work towards your CompTIA+ certification. There are large A+ communities on Reddit and Facebook. You can join them at any time to build connections that could prove valuable later in your career.
How to Study For CompTIA A+
You might feel overwhelmed by all that has been described in our guide to CompTIA A+ certification. CompTIA 1001 and 1002 exams are a time-consuming and difficult exam. They require you to learn a lot of technical terms and details that you may not be familiar with.
Exam prep should not be something you are anxious about. You can make sure that you are prepared for the exam by following these simple steps.
- Gain a solid understanding of the study material.
You will need to have a thorough overview of the material in order to create a study guide. This will allow you to know how much and how long you’ll need to complete it, as well the resources that you will need.
Have a look at the objectives of each exam. Each CompTIA course has its own set goals. Although you may not be familiar with them all, at least knowing what topics and subtopics they cover should give you a good idea of what to expect.
- Choose the study method.
Are you going to do everything by yourself? Do you plan to hire an instructor, or take a class with others? It is important to determine which type of learning method suits you best. Instructors are not necessary if you prefer to learn on your own. Instructor-led training is for you if you prefer to learn in a classroom setting.
Your learning style is just as important as the environment. Do you prefer visual learning? Watch videos on all major topics and draw diagrams. Color-code your notes. You can record parts of the material to listen to later if you are better at audio instructions.
Flashcards are another study tip. Flashcards can be digitally stored on your computer or mobile device. They are useful for learning unfamiliar words and phrases. They can be used whenever you like, even while you wait in line or on public transport.
- Create a test laboratory.
You could gain certification by building a home lab. You can build a desktop configuration by disassembling it. This will allow you to memorize the acronyms RAM, GPU CPU, SSD, SSD, HDD, and others.
You don’t have to use a test lab only for hardware. It doesn’t have to be just about hardware. You can set up a network and install an operating system. Then, you can try to solve the most common problems. While theory is important, hands-on experience is the best. You’ll also benefit from a simulation that simulates your real-life performance.
- Be careful of the internet.
The internet offers valuable information and resources about CompTIA A+. Read about the experiences of others, learn how they studied, and find guides like this one. This will help you prepare better for the exam.
However, you should be cautious with the answers and questions that you find online. Make sure to verify the accuracy of any answers you find online. You should not assume that strangers online are reliable sources.
How hard is CompTIA A+? After reading our guide, you will find the answer to your question. It all depends on what you know and how experienced you are. It will take you longer to complete everything if you aren’t a tech-savvy person but have played video games, done spreadsheets or watched YouTube videos.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up on your dream of starting. The A+ was specifically designed for beginners. It will increase your chances of landing your first job or promotion. You’ll also meet other peers who could become your future coworkers.
CompTIA A+ requires you to pass two exams. Core 1 focuses on hardware, mobile devices, networking, and software. Core 2 focuses more on software, virtualization and cloud computing.
Multiple-choice and performance-based questions will be required. You don’t need to be afraid of either type of exam as long as you study hard, and you don’t let yourself get lost on exam day.
Finally, create a study schedule that you like. You can organize your time around other responsibilities and gather as many resources as you need. Perhaps even get some experience in a small lab.