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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Default How on earth do people really self-study A+?

    I've seen people who have passed the A+ who have 0 experience in IT. I look at the content of the exam objectives and the popular books such as Mike Myers and wonder how does someone digest all this information and pass. And from what I've been told its not an easy exam and full of trick questions. Do you study for like a year or something?
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  3. Senior Member cyberguypr's Avatar
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    #2
    When I see posts like this I always go back and check the OP's history. Looking at your previous posts it almost sounds like you are convinced you can't pass this test. Putting mental blocks in the way of certs is extremely detrimental. You also mentioned something about not doing well in school so that got me wondering if there's an underlying issue.

    A+ is an entry level cert. Is it a lot of material? Sure! They key to this and all other certs is learning, not memorizing. You do have to memorize some stuff, but not a whole book. Don't look at it as memorizing everything, because that is almost impossible. Focus on understanding concepts and their applications. Open a PC, play with it, practice the concepts covered in the objectives. That should make it way easier.
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  4. Senior Member MTciscoguy's Avatar
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    #3
    Actually I found A+ to be one of the easiest certs I got, I have to update as some things have changed in the years since I got mine, but it is not difficult, based on the course materials it does teach you to think if you study and learn them, not just memorize it. It teaches your brain to work in a different way than what many are used to. Open your mind up, forget what you think you know and learn the material and before you know it you will pass.
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  5. Senior Member ssnyderu2's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by cyberguypr View Post
    Focus on understanding concepts and their applications. Open a PC, play with it, practice the concepts covered in the objectives. That should make it way easier.
    I could not agree more. Take apart a PC and put it back together. Maybe build a PC. Do a fresh install of Windows. Upgrade a version of windows. Run a few commands in CMD. Do that hands on stuff. It will help what you learn in books and videos stick and makes learning more fun.
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  6. Junior Member
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ssnyderu2 View Post
    I could not agree more. Take apart a PC and put it back together. Maybe build a PC. Do a fresh install of Windows. Upgrade a version of windows. Run a few commands in CMD. Do that hands on stuff. It will help what you learn in books and videos stick and makes learning more fun.
    How long would you estimate it would take a begineer to psss the A+
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  7. Senior Member ssnyderu2's Avatar
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Waka Flocka Flame View Post
    How long would you estimate it would take a begineer to psss the A+
    Hard to say. How beginner are you? What is your interest in Computers?

    For many years before I took the A+ I was building and upgrading my own computers, Installing and upgrading DOS and Windows and installing all sorts of programs. I would regularly read magazines like Maximum PC, PC Magazine and PC world. So when it came to studying for A+, I was very familiar with most of the topics. Watched the Professor Messer videos and read through an exam cram book. Spent about a months time on each of the exams.

    As i was typing this I thought I would look at the A+ objectives, they have changed since I took it. Having looked at them, have you started studying at all? If you look at the objectives you just see a long list of stuff and I think that may be scaring you off. Dont look at all that and say "I cant learn all this" Start watching Professor Messer's videos and google things you dont understand or want more info on. I think once you do that you want be intimidated.

    I have to agree with cyberguypr you sound like you are convinced that you cant learn this. I understand the feeling. Next month I start studying for my CCENT. When I look at post made by those that have that cert it sound like they are speaking Greek to me. But I have my a video series and books to study and am building a lab to practice. I just plan to jump in and start learning.
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  8. Junior Member
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ssnyderu2 View Post
    Hard to say. How beginner are you? What is your interest in Computers?

    For many years before I took the A+ I was building and upgrading my own computers, Installing and upgrading DOS and Windows and installing all sorts of programs. I would regularly read magazines like Maximum PC, PC Magazine and PC world. So when it came to studying for A+, I was very familiar with most of the topics. Watched the Professor Messer videos and read through an exam cram book. Spent about a months time on each of the exams.

    As i was typing this I thought I would look at the A+ objectives, they have changed since I took it. Having looked at them, have you started studying at all? If you look at the objectives you just see a long list of stuff and I think that may be scaring you off. Dont look at all that and say "I cant learn all this" Start watching Professor Messer's videos and google things you dont understand or want more info on. I think once you do that you want be intimidated.

    I have to agree with cyberguypr you sound like you are convinced that you cant learn this. I understand the feeling. Next month I start studying for my CCENT. When I look at post made by those that have that cert it sound like they are speaking Greek to me. But I have my a video series and books to study and am building a lab to practice. I just plan to jump in and start learning.
    I wont deny I have 0 confindence.. I am currently studying for the MTA 98-349 but that seems really easy so Im not worried.
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  9. Member John-John's Avatar
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    #8
    If you are the kind of nerd who loves computers and reads tech sites and obsesses about the latest technologies then you will not even have to study all that much. The knowledge is not all that arcane. It just covers a wide area. I don't recall any trick questions though.
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    If you lack confidence it is hard to stay focused. However this should not stop you.

    I find for a beginner the hardest part is figuring out where the author is going with the information. My suggestion is this.
    If you like videos watch an entire video series on A+ to find out what your going to be learning.
    If you like reading read an entire book from start to finish without worrying about retaining the info or taking any tests.

    After the first pass you should be comfortable with the material but no really know it yet. Now go read slowly. Take notes and practice tests. Figure out the items that require memorizing and write them out in lists or flash cards. Only you will know your best study methods or learn to develop them. Just keep in mind if you attempt to learn and understand it on the first pass you will probably go to slow and never actually get to the point that you can put the concepts together and understand the material.

    After everything try it. Find an old computer and rip the parts out. See how they fit. If it works reinstall an operating system. Test all of the commands that you read at least once. Seeing them work confirms what you are learning and will lead to proficiency.

    As to time I would expect you will need at least 3 months with a couple hours a day. That is a really rough guess but you need time to cover the material twice if you are not comfortable with it already.

    Good Luck!
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  11. Senior Member ssnyderu2's Avatar
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    #10
    Jon_Cisco gave some good advice. Another thing you could so is study for and take the 98-349. Its not a very hard exam and can be done online. Taking and passing and exam is a major confidence shot in the arm.
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  12. Senior Member Mooseboost's Avatar
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    #11
    A+ to me was fairly easy, however this is due mainly to my hobbies(micro builds/overclocking/folding). Play around with a PC, learn about current technologies - become inspired.
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  13. Member
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    #12
    As someone with very little interest in hardware, I found A+ to be a little more difficult than Network+. But I love the math and logic that goes with Networking.

    That said, I studied a month for part 1 and 2 weeks for part 2 and passed with over 800 on both parts. My biggest advice is use flashcards and memorize formulas for clock speeds and the like.
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  14. Junior Member
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by cyberguypr View Post
    You do have to memorize some stuff, but not a whole book. Don't look at it as memorizing everything, because that is almost impossible. Focus on understanding concepts and their applications. Open a PC, play with it, practice the concepts covered in the objectives. That should make it way easier.

    ^^ This.



    Truthfully, everyone learns different. Some people can just take a big 800 page book and get it. Me personally, I am a visual and hands on learner. The A+ was gibberish to me when I first started IT. It only made sense when I actually practiced what was in the book plus gain experience on the job as a helpdesk. It's always easier to learn something when you put it to the test rather than simply read and try to memorize what you read.

    just my 2 cents.
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  15. He Hate Me Zartanasaurus's Avatar
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    #14
    The same way you studied algebra in school with no algebra experience and passed the tests.
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  16. Senior Member
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    #15
    Set schedules and take bite size chunks. Focus one chapter at a time and don't rush it. Pace yourself and don't freak yourself out.

    Also, ask yourself is this what I really want to do? There are a lot of certifications out there, if you want to do one, that's not A+. Security, Programming, Networking, Project Management, Database, Servers etc.

    Are you doing this just to do it or because someone told you too? I always found I lacked confidence in these situations, are you really passionate about desktops and laptops? Then in that case I would consider doing the certification.

    You mentioned the Microsoft certification not being to bad, maybe you should look into doing another one of those is you feel the need to get another certification.
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  17. Junior Member
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    #16
    From what I've heard from those around me, it definitely isn't easy. You need to set time ahead and do a lot of work. If you're looking to self study, make sure you put in the time each day to review. I'd really recommend talking in depth to someone who both got the certification and is currently doing the work and making sure you can take this all on.

    I've taken courses before and actually take an A+ course before and that type of learning fit me best, but to each their own. I know George Mason University has an online course on this stuff that I used and it really helped me. I'll post the link here if you or others want to check it out. CompTIA A+
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  18. Junior Member
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    #17
    I self studied for CCNA and A+, not easy when working full time and having kids running around the house!!
    Passed CCNA, A+ 801, and now taking 802 next week.
    All you need is good studying plan and motivation
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  19. Senior Member kMastaFlash's Avatar
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    #18
    I also self-studied for A+ (220-701/702 exams). I agree that memorizing is important but it is not all that. Memorizing things such as processor slots/sockets and which goes to which is good for memorizing since you will probably have that on the test or concepts such as PCI/PCIe x16 bus speeds. But your should develop a method. Ex: FM2 and FM3+ are AMD processor sockets ONLY. INTEL uses LGA1156 or LGA in general. Think like that if it helps you out. But for example, you may have questions such as troubleshooting a printer that won't have the ink sticking to the paper and is sumdged. Well, if you know the 6 steps for printing(Cleaning, conditioning, writing, developing, transferring, and fusing), you can determine that most likely the problem is with the fuser and may need replacing or may not be warm enough (based on answer choices of course.) or garbled text when printing may be a printer driver issue (random winding characters) These tests are memorizing and critical thinking. The 220-801 is more memorizing. While the 802 is more troubleshooting hence the reason it is called Practical Application (real world). Most people do good on the first part and bad on the second part usually lower scores. Happened to me at least. That is why also CompTIA now has simulation questions to break the memorizing mold. Sure they may be flawed but it is to teach the overall concepts. I hope this helps you out.
    Last edited by kMastaFlash; 03-10-2015 at 07:47 PM.
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  20. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #19
    I have no professional tech experience, but I've built computers, been tinkering with hand me down dumpster pulled 68030 Macs since I was in grade school. Overclocked x86 boxes, tinkered with Arduino's, installed more linux distros than I can count, I love computers. I'm 29 now, I deliver packages as a profession and I hate it... So I scheduled the 801 exam, procrastinated on the studying, so I downloaded/converted Professor Messor's 801 videos to MP3, listened to it the day before the exam during my 10 hour delivery route. Passed with a 849/900. I was terrified I was going to fail, If you're a serious tinkerer with computers, and can sit through 10 hours of videos, good chance you'll pass (I did). Taking the 802 today, we'll see how it goes.
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  21. Member
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    #20
    I used only the labsim to study, and have experience beforehand, testout covers alot on the A+, if you score 90 or better on the labsim mock test. your gonna get certified. Know your hardware that is easy. Its all the other questions about
    about, upgrading too. that can get tricky I took two classes in 10 months total I could have passed after a month.
    Don't just cram to get A+, you will use the knowledge learned, in real world IT environments.
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  22. Senior Member JeanM's Avatar
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    #21
    A+ is one the easiest and entry level certs that you can take, granted I've gotten mine back in year 2000 I did manage to get a full 100% pass on it , it wasn't difficult. You just need to dedicate yourself to it, and be really interested in the material.

    The problem is if you are not interested, and just doing this because someone told you to get the A+ to get into IT then you would have more difficult time. It's way easier if the material interests you truly and you can grab a spare PC and mess with it, then order parts and put one together.

    Bonus points if you grab an older (10-15years old) PC and OS like dos/windows95 (or even older distro of linux where you have to untar tar.gz files and then edit config files to get your hardware detected and working right ...then compile a kernel or upgrade stuff. You miss out on the "good old days" lol imho.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by JeanM; 03-14-2015 at 06:20 PM.
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  23. Senior Member JeanM's Avatar
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    #22
    Read this post - My Experience with A+
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    #23
    A+ is pretty much the easiest certification exam out there to study for. If you think it has trick questions try Cisco CCNA.. You will have questions with multiple answers that are technically correct, but you need to know which answer cisco wants you to select because its the "cisco way" of doing things.
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    #24
    I would imagine that this individual, like myself and I am sure many others, think that it is all obscure questions that would be very difficult to memorize.

    How many pins on an AM2? What processors can be used with an AM2+?
    What are the dimensions (in mm) of a nano-ITX?

    etc...

    You get a handful of questions like that and most people would bomb it...
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  26. Senior Member xD Lucas's Avatar
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by lilmansdad View Post
    I would imagine that this individual, like myself and I am sure many others, think that it is all obscure questions that would be very difficult to memorize.

    How many pins on an AM2? What processors can be used with an AM2+?
    What are the dimensions (in mm) of a nano-ITX?

    etc...

    You get a handful of questions like that and most people would bomb it...
    For the most part, I'm confident that the practice exams scattered throughout the 'net do a good job of emulating the actual exam. I've taken 1000's of practice questions, and they don't seem nearly that specific.
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