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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Default 220-901 Am I Not Getting IT?

    Note: I don't have a background in IT.

    Purchased Mike Meyer's 220-901 course on Udemy and went through all the videos and took notes on them. I then went through about 80% of Professor Messer's 220-901 videos and took notes as well. I reviewed my notes after finishing each section to try and make the material stick while it was still fresh. I also made flash cards to memorize port numbers as well.

    I then took the first 220-901 practice exam in Prowse's practice question book and scored 61%. I subsequently reviewed each question, the reasoning behind the correct answer, and the reasoning on why the other answer's were not valid. I took it again and scored 90% (obviously easier when you become more familiar with the same questions).

    I then decided to try the second practice exam a day later, and I literally scored 61% again.

    I feel slightly demoralized that after two and a half weeks of hard study I can't even pass the first part of the most basic IT practice exam. Am I studying incorrectly? Am I just not "getting it"?

    My goal was to complete the 220-901 in one month, but maybe I am putting too much pressure on myself? I have this weird mindset where if I can't compete with others who have completed the same exams in a specific time span than maybe I am not cut out for it. This is obviously irrational, but maybe it's my 'little brother syndrome' (always trying to catch up to the person who is a little stronger/faster, a little wiser, a little more experienced...etc.).

    Should I just change up my study habits and be more patient with myself?
    Last edited by Hunter91; 01-19-2017 at 08:00 PM.
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  3. There is no spoon. p@r0tuXus's Avatar
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    #2
    The A+ is a pretty big feat for people new to IT because it covers so many new concepts and a lot of rote memorization, definitely not easy for someone who didn't grow up on some kind of IT. It will just take a little more work/time for things to click, but keep at it. Even a 91% after becoming familiar with the answers isn't a bad thing, considering you read why the answers were what they were, it means you are learning. Just keep at it!
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  4. They are watching you NetworkNewb's Avatar
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    #3
    If you're scoring around 60% on practice exams, it means your probably rushing through the material before your fully understanding and comprehending what you just went over. Which I would most likely guess is the case since your trying to get through it within one month, with zero previous IT experience. You're probably reading everything on the topic and could've even took notes on it. But a good test is to see if you can explain the topic to someone else without looking at materials. It really doesn't have to be to someone else but at least in your head, try and go over what you just read and explain to yourself each topic and how they work. If you can't do that, reread the subject and try again until you can.

    Those A+ books are not small and there is alot of material to cover in them.
    Last edited by NetworkNewb; 01-19-2017 at 08:29 PM.
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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    You need to be more patient. As a former instructor for the A+ program, I can say that the new objectives are pretty extensive. CompTIA recommends "6 to 12 months of hands-on experience in the lab or field." That being said, it is more important for you to understand the concepts that will help you to be a more proficient technician, than merely passing an exam. Yes, it is true that other people can just see the material once and "get it," but if that isn't you, it just means you have a different way of learning. Do NOT let that beat you down or demotivate you. I am EXTREMELY jealous of the people like Petr Lapukhov, who earned 4x CCIE in less than 2 years. Or Neil Moore, who has 8x CCIE and CCDE. I could keep going.

    Remember this: there will ALWAYS be someone else out there that is smarter than you. Be the person who strives to be better every day, and do whatever you can to get there. Be patient, concentrate on the areas that are giving you issues, and eventually you will "get it." In the end, just be happy to do what you do. IT may not give you everything you want, but it is truly rewarding when it helps you get there.

    ---------
    Now that my motivation rant is over...

    As far as study habits, let me tell you what worked for me. I give myself a goal (not overly aggressive), such as "I will be A+ certified within one year" (just an example). In that year, I will say something like "in 4 months, I will achieve 95% on all 901 practice exams." So to reach that goal, I give myself either a time-limit of study time each day, or objective-based, such as 2 or 3 chapters of reading per night, or videos, whatever you have. Give yourself flexibility, and reward yourself when you reach milestones. Celebrate small victories, and use the practice exams to guide your study focus.

    I haven't used any of the materials you listed, but I have heard that Professor Messer's videos cover all the objectives that you need. Best of luck, and keep us informed of your progress!
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  6. Senior Member shochan's Avatar
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    #5
    I would suggest getting a few older pc's and break them down & put them back together...try loading some older OS's on them so you can grasp some of the hardware/software concepts. IMO.
    2017 -> Cloud+ beta (Oct), Linux+ 103 (Dec)
    2018 ->Linux+ 104, CCNA CyberOps (July Cohort)
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    on professor Messer's site you can sign up for the aplus study group and that would probably help
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  8. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #7
    A couple of tips, that should help on the practice and real exams.

    Read the question slowly or multiple times. Decipher what they are truly asking. IT exams are notorious for starting out with wordy irrelevant material such as "John is an IT administrator...." or "Lisa is a Desktop Technician...". While it makes the question read smoother, its not important to the question being asked. If you know what they are really asking, its going to make it easier to select the correct answer or answers. This style is also typically copied on practice exams.

    Second, questions are often worded in such a way that they expect you to know more than just the correct answer. For example, a question might have more than one answer that is technically correct, but they are looking for the best answer. This requires you to identify that there is more than one correct answer, and select the one that best fits the scenario presented. These can be challenging, but they are designed to test your knowledge.

    Also, eliminate incorrect answers first whenever possible. This narrows the field of choices, and if you are in a situation where you have to guess, it significantly increases your chances of selecting the correct answer or answers to a particular test question.

    I originally took my A+ exam in 2000 and have worked in IT for several years in various capacities. I am retaking the current exam due to a requirement of my returning to school to finish my Bachelor's degree. Even I find many of the questions, particularly those that require good old fashioned memorization, difficult. Stick with it. It sounds to me like you've got a solid plan for study, but the time constraint you have placed on yourself is requiring you move through the material too quickly. Slow it down and make sure you understand the material. Its good to have a goal in mind, but do not be afraid to adjust that goal if you aren't making progress. If it was easy, everyone would have an A+, and it would lose its value. Good luck on your exam!
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  9. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by PCTechLinc View Post
    CompTIA recommends "6 to 12 months of hands-on experience in the lab or field."
    This has always made me chuckle. There is some material in the exam that I either never used in my career, or wouldn't have gotten in the first 1 year. In some companies, it is rare a person with a year of experience would get to get near a router, server, or mess with RAID. I'm not saying it isn't valuable to know this stuff, but I have always felt that CompTIA overestimates the hand-on requirement someone would need to have to just walk in and take the exam with no studying. I still have trouble with the memorization of memory and cpu socket types. And don't get me started on "select all that apply"...
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  10. Junior Member
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by p@r0tuXus View Post
    The A+ is a pretty big feat for people new to IT because it covers so many new concepts and a lot of rote memorization, definitely not easy for someone who didn't grow up on some kind of IT. It will just take a little more work/time for things to click, but keep at it. Even a 91% after becoming familiar with the answers isn't a bad thing, considering you read why the answers were what they were, it means you are learning. Just keep at it!
    Thank you, I'll definitely have to take my time with this one. Just eager to get into the workforce lol!

    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkNewb View Post
    If you're scoring around 60% on practice exams, it means your probably rushing through the material before your fully understanding and comprehending what you just went over. Which I would most likely guess is the case since your trying to get through it within one month, with zero previous IT experience. You're probably reading everything on the topic and could've even took notes on it. But a good test is to see if you can explain the topic to someone else without looking at materials. It really doesn't have to be to someone else but at least in your head, try and go over what you just read and explain to yourself each topic and how they work. If you can't do that, reread the subject and try again until you can.

    Those A+ books are not small and there is alot of material to cover in them.
    Yes there is definitely a wide net of knowledge that has to be understood. I'll be slowing down and really trying to understand each section more before moving onto the next. Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by PCTechLinc View Post
    You need to be more patient. As a former instructor for the A+ program, I can say that the new objectives are pretty extensive. CompTIA recommends "6 to 12 months of hands-on experience in the lab or field." That being said, it is more important for you to understand the concepts that will help you to be a more proficient technician, than merely passing an exam. Yes, it is true that other people can just see the material once and "get it," but if that isn't you, it just means you have a different way of learning. Do NOT let that beat you down or demotivate you. I am EXTREMELY jealous of the people like Petr Lapukhov, who earned 4x CCIE in less than 2 years. Or Neil Moore, who has 8x CCIE and CCDE. I could keep going.

    Remember this: there will ALWAYS be someone else out there that is smarter than you. Be the person who strives to be better every day, and do whatever you can to get there. Be patient, concentrate on the areas that are giving you issues, and eventually you will "get it." In the end, just be happy to do what you do. IT may not give you everything you want, but it is truly rewarding when it helps you get there.

    ---------
    Now that my motivation rant is over...

    As far as study habits, let me tell you what worked for me. I give myself a goal (not overly aggressive), such as "I will be A+ certified within one year" (just an example). In that year, I will say something like "in 4 months, I will achieve 95% on all 901 practice exams." So to reach that goal, I give myself either a time-limit of study time each day, or objective-based, such as 2 or 3 chapters of reading per night, or videos, whatever you have. Give yourself flexibility, and reward yourself when you reach milestones. Celebrate small victories, and use the practice exams to guide your study focus.

    I haven't used any of the materials you listed, but I have heard that Professor Messer's videos cover all the objectives that you need. Best of luck, and keep us informed of your progress!
    Thank you for the motivation and practical advice, I really appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by cptpizza View Post
    A couple of tips, that should help on the practice and real exams.

    Read the question slowly or multiple times. Decipher what they are truly asking. IT exams are notorious for starting out with wordy irrelevant material such as "John is an IT administrator...." or "Lisa is a Desktop Technician...". While it makes the question read smoother, its not important to the question being asked. If you know what they are really asking, its going to make it easier to select the correct answer or answers. This style is also typically copied on practice exams.

    Second, questions are often worded in such a way that they expect you to know more than just the correct answer. For example, a question might have more than one answer that is technically correct, but they are looking for the best answer. This requires you to identify that there is more than one correct answer, and select the one that best fits the scenario presented. These can be challenging, but they are designed to test your knowledge.

    Also, eliminate incorrect answers first whenever possible. This narrows the field of choices, and if you are in a situation where you have to guess, it significantly increases your chances of selecting the correct answer or answers to a particular test question.

    I originally took my A+ exam in 2000 and have worked in IT for several years in various capacities. I am retaking the current exam due to a requirement of my returning to school to finish my Bachelor's degree. Even I find many of the questions, particularly those that require good old fashioned memorization, difficult. Stick with it. It sounds to me like you've got a solid plan for study, but the time constraint you have placed on yourself is requiring you move through the material too quickly. Slow it down and make sure you understand the material. Its good to have a goal in mind, but do not be afraid to adjust that goal if you aren't making progress. If it was easy, everyone would have an A+, and it would lose its value. Good luck on your exam!
    Thank you for the tips cpt! I'll be sure to implement them when taking future practice exams!
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  11. Junior Member
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    #10
    First and fur most get that insecure mindset out of your mentality, it wont do you any good. Don't beat your self up, there are gonna be so many people thats gonna be better than you, and those who are inferior than you (Facts of life). You cant compare others success with yours because of the many different factors that contributes to success. With that being said lets get you in the right track in passing this A+. You have the right materials, and the goal you set out for you self is do able. It is possible to achieve the A+ in less than a month.

    I will give you my story maybe it might help. I don't have a IT background either, I had been working retail my entire life and I finally decided to do something about it. What I first did was, I downloaded both the A+ objective's from both CompTIA website and made my self familiarize with them. Then I bought the Examcram 220-901/902 book by David L Prowse and studied a chapter a day and took extensive notes. I told my self I wouldn't move on to the next chapter unless I understood the concept. Be hungry, just don't read it but question it and learn everything about it. I would then review those notes after every two chapters that I finish. After finishing the entire book, I put those reviews in a visual form by watching professor messer videos. I also made flash cards for port number/cable lengths/sockets/ram etc. I was able to finish everything within a month both the 901/902. Then I finally decided to take the 901 even though I thought I was going to fail, I ended up passing the test with a 721. I will be taking the 902 next week and you have to review, review, review, and practice. You do not have any prior experience so its much harder for you to retain all information so just practice as much as you can and you will pass with flying colors. If i can do it you can do it. Lastly please don't compare yourself to anyone and go on your own pace, we are all different 1/1.
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  12. Junior Member
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by parbatparajuli View Post
    First and fur most get that insecure mindset out of your mentality, it wont do you any good. Don't beat your self up, there are gonna be so many people thats gonna be better than you, and those who are inferior than you (Facts of life). You cant compare others success with yours because of the many different factors that contributes to success. With that being said lets get you in the right track in passing this A+. You have the right materials, and the goal you set out for you self is do able. It is possible to achieve the A+ in less than a month.

    I will give you my story maybe it might help. I don't have a IT background either, I had been working retail my entire life and I finally decided to do something about it. What I first did was, I downloaded both the A+ objective's from both CompTIA website and made my self familiarize with them. Then I bought the Examcram 220-901/902 book by David L Prowse and studied a chapter a day and took extensive notes. I told my self I wouldn't move on to the next chapter unless I understood the concept. Be hungry, just don't read it but question it and learn everything about it. I would then review those notes after every two chapters that I finish. After finishing the entire book, I put those reviews in a visual form by watching professor messer videos. I also made flash cards for port number/cable lengths/sockets/ram etc. I was able to finish everything within a month both the 901/902. Then I finally decided to take the 901 even though I thought I was going to fail, I ended up passing the test with a 721. I will be taking the 902 next week and you have to review, review, review, and practice. You do not have any prior experience so its much harder for you to retain all information so just practice as much as you can and you will pass with flying colors. If i can do it you can do it. Lastly please don't compare yourself to anyone and go on your own pace, we are all different 1/1.
    I will do my best. I'm in an almost identical situation as you lol. Thanks!
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  13. Senior Member NetworkingStudent's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by shochan View Post
    I would suggest getting a few older pc's and break them down & put them back together...try loading some older OS's on them so you can grasp some of the hardware/software concepts. IMO.
    This is gold!!! See quote


    I have taken the A+ exam and it's no east feat. Videos are not enough. Passing the exam in 1 month is way to fast.


    Are you doing any labs?

    Have you looked at the Mike Meyers book and the Exam Cram Book? I used these when I was preparing for the A+ exam.

    Get some computers and take them apart. Once you have done this a few times, then have someone remove a cable or change something in the computer. Now you have to figure out how to fix the computer, so that it will function normally again. Find family and friends and offer to fix their computers.

    The most important skills you can learn from the A+ exam are troubleshooting and soft-skills. Both of these skills are essential to being successful in IT.
    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
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  14. Junior Member
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkingStudent View Post
    This is gold!!! See quote
    Have you looked at the Mike Meyers book and the Exam Cram Book? I used these when I was preparing for the A+ exam.
    I have Mike's book and it's huge at 1300+ pages. I'm thinking about buying Prowse's study book (already have his practice Q book) and using that as my main study book, and using Mike's book on topics I am not clear on.
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