A+ certification help

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A+ certification help

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:41 am

Hey guys I have been working in IT for years but I do not have my A+ cert. I am now required to get it and I am trying to find a book to use as a study guide. Can anyone recommend the best from the comptia A+ test. Hopefully from amazon.com
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:50 am

I've been confused on this myself. Do they still force you to answer questions about hardware from the 90's?
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:08 am

Honestly if you have been working in IT for years, you should have zero trouble passing the exam. There are a few questions still on the exam about stuff that is a little older, but it's not like the whole thing is about parallel cables or something. You can find practice tests online along with some study materials. I wouldn't spend money on a book if you don't really have to. The exam is fairly basic.
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:15 am

I remember it asking about components of laser printers. Corona wire and whatever the heck else. That was quite some time ago so perhaps it isn't as oddly in-depth about some things anymore.
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:09 pm

SpartanCaptain wrote:Hey guys I have been working in IT for years but I do not have my A+ cert. I am now required to get it and I am trying to find a book to use as a study guide. Can anyone recommend the best from the comptia A+ test. Hopefully from amazon.com


I'd suggest one of the official cirriculum study guides directly from CompTIA. They are the most comprehensive and map the closest to the test. Fair warning though, there are always questions on the test that deviate from the cirriculum. The test developers like to see how much real world knowledge you have. Those type questions are relatively small in the overall scope of things.

http://www.comptiastore.com/category_s/28.htm



Omniman wrote:I've been confused on this myself. Do they still force you to answer questions about hardware from the 90's?


Yes, very old hardware is still on there. Like Hubs for example, knowing what BNC is, what Baby AT is, etc. Thing is some of these hardware pieces still live in dark corners of the world. Like in churches or even some small businesses. Getting their cheap owner to replace them can be challenging.

DancinJack wrote:Honestly if you have been working in IT for years, you should have zero trouble passing the exam. There are a few questions still on the exam about stuff that is a little older, but it's not like the whole thing is about parallel cables or something. You can find practice tests online along with some study materials. I wouldn't spend money on a book if you don't really have to. The exam is fairly basic.


While it is entirely possible to pass the exam cold turkey, the first exam 220-701 can be incredibly challenging to a person who has never worked in a mom and pop shop. You need a vast and deep hardware knowledge that spans back into the 90s. You need to know every variant of CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, RAM and how to determine it's bandwidth spanning from DDR3 all the way back to SDR (SIMM knowledge doesn't hurt either), etc.

That may be easy for many of us here, but for those who have always lived in a corporate environment where after diagnosis of a dead part we simply called Dell and gave the service tag number to get the replacement part. Well, those inidividual tend to find themselves in a world of hurt. As that workstyle allows you to ignore what lives in the machine. Many people do this type of work as a job, not as a hobby as well. So their knowledge of the coming and goings of hardware is very limited.

Scrotos wrote:I remember it asking about components of laser printers. Corona wire and whatever the heck else. That was quite some time ago so perhaps it isn't as oddly in-depth about some things anymore.


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Laser printers were at one time a staple of the exam. Including tiny things like not putting them on an UPS, knowing the major parts, and knowing the stages of the printing cycle. All these items have since been retired from the exams.
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:09 pm

I got mine in '92 when I was maybe 18,it was a specialty in Windows 3.11 and DOS, then my MCSE in 1999 .. I think i'm getting to old to study anymore, I've been studying for the CCNA on an off for over a year now.. i'm about 75 percent there I think, just need to find motivation to finish it..
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:34 pm

I know when I took mine back around 2003 ish, I had to answer tons of questions about all sorts of crazy and obsolete stuff, even back then. Thicknet, token ring...hey I lost my token, how do I get it back?, microchannel, obsolete hard drive interfaces, you name it..it was on the test. Fortunately even back then I knew enough about obsolete hardware to be dangerous, although my collection was a lot smaller lol.
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:12 pm

Starfalcon wrote:Thicknet, token ring...hey I lost my token, how do I get it back?


It must be in the Ethernet!
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:58 pm

I just went to Barnes and Noble and bought a cup of coffee or two and flipped though a couple of books.
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:15 pm

My experience is dated, but in 2000 I passed it from just reading through the Dummies guide and doing some practice tests that were on a CD included with the book. If you're pretty familiar with computers in general, it should all be pretty easy to pick up.
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:02 pm

Omniman wrote:I've been confused on this myself. Do they still force you to answer questions about hardware from the 90's?


It's been awhile since I took it (2004), but they were still asking a lot of questions about DOS, POST error codes, serial/parallel ports, floppies, etc. It had almost no relevance to anything I've ever done in the real world, and it's more about your ability to memorize useless information. I worked with someone who had their A+ certification but didn't even know how to join a Win2k PC to a domain.
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:59 pm

travbrad wrote:It's been awhile since I took it (2004), but they were still asking a lot of questions about DOS, POST error codes, serial/parallel ports, floppies, etc. It had almost no relevance to anything I've ever done in the real world, and it's more about your ability to memorize useless information. I worked with someone who had their A+ certification but didn't even know how to join a Win2k PC to a domain.


Joining a PC to a domain is a concept outside the scope of the A+ exam.

It's unfortunate that you took the exam when you did as you were in a bridging period. DOS was finally dying away (9x being replaced with XP), serial and parallel ports were starting to be retired off motherboards, and floppies were falling out of relevance. The concept of POST error codes remain today and does have some value. You were probably also challenged with items like memorizing the IRQ maps, another item that was in the midst of becoming irrelevant as ACPI took hold and the Intel 8259 started being replaced with more modern APIC controllers.

A+ is an entry level exam, the purpose of the exam is to prepare you for the wide variety of hardware that exists in the world from ancient to modern. It also is meant to teach you basic troubleshooting skills and customer service skills. It is a fundamentals exam.
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:44 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:Joining a PC to a domain is a concept outside the scope of the A+ exam.


Fair enough. I was mainly just pointing out that an A+ cert means almost nothing when it comes to being able to work in the field. You have to have an actual interest in it, not just memorize some stuff and show up for an exam. I knew how to do something that basic long before ever going to college or taking certification tests, and that person had a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology :o

Ryu Connor wrote:It's unfortunate that you took the exam when you did as you were in a bridging period.


So does that mean the current A+ exam is more relevant to current hardware/troubleshooting? Not that I'm going to retake it, but it would be interesting to know.

Ryu Connor wrote:You were probably also challenged with items like memorizing the IRQ maps


Yep, yet another thing that has been completely erased from my memory due to the fact I've never had to use that knowledge in the real world.
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Re: A+ certification help

Postposted on Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:13 am

travbrad wrote:So does that mean the current A+ exam is more relevant to current hardware/troubleshooting? Not that I'm going to retake it, but it would be interesting to know.


Yes. You are still challenged on some old hardware, but that hardware does sometimes still linger in interesting places. It presently teaches Windows 7, hardware knowledge, troubleshooting fundamentals, safety fundamentals, and customer service.

It is an entry level exam. Once A+ is complete you're supposed to springboard into Microsoft or Linux based exams to start further fleshing out your software knowledge.

Field training rounds out your troubleshooting, safety, and customer service (Jr. Admin/Help Desk positions as a sort of apprenticeship).

travbrad wrote:Yep, yet another thing that has been completely erased from my memory due to the fact I've never had to use that knowledge in the real world.


Meanwhile they were a staple of my field work for years.
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