If you're a problem solver looking to pursue a career in the ever-growing industry of Information Technology, then you'll want to obtain a CompTIA A+ certification. The CompTIA A+ certification exam is a globally recognized credential that validates the foundation-level skills necessary for a successful career in IT.
This guide will cover everything you need to know to pass the CompTIA A+ exam on the first try.
The CompTIA A+ Certification Exam is a two-part exam that tests your knowledge of basic information technology topics, such as hardware, software, and security forensics. It is designed to measure your ability to install and maintain technology systems while troubleshooting and resolving problems.
Those taking the exam should have the knowledge required to:
Assemble components based on customer requirements;
Install, configure, and maintain PCs, mobile devices, and software for end users;
Understand the basics of networking and security forensics;
Properly and safely diagnose, resolve, and document standard hardware and software issues;
Apply troubleshooting skills;
Provide appropriate customer support; and
Understand the basics of scripting, virtualization, desktop imaging, and deployment.
The CompTIA A+ exam is intended for entry-level IT professionals with about one year of hands-on experience as an IT support specialist. Therefore, taking the CompTIA A+ certification exam is an excellent way to get started if you're serious about pursuing a career in IT.
CompTIA is a global leader in IT certification. They offer certifications in a variety of disciplines, including networking, security, and cloud computing. The CompTIA A+ Certification is their entry-level credential.
While there are technically no requirements to be eligible for the exam, CompTIA recommends that candidates have at least nine to twelve months of experience working with computer hardware and software.
The CompTIA A+ Certification Exam is divided into two sections—Core 1 and Core 2. Each section is 90 minutes long and includes 90 questions.
You can expect to see two kinds of questions on the exam:
Multiple Choice - These are standard questions that assess your knowledge of the material covered in the objectives.
Performance-Based Questions (PBQs) - These items are designed to test your ability to resolve issues in real-world settings through simulations and virtual environments.
With 180 questions total, the exam may seem daunting at first glance. But here's the good news—it's split into two exams, so your brain gets a break between testing sessions. So here's what you can expect to see on each part of the CompTIA A+ Exam.
Mobile Devices - 14%
In this exam section, you will be tested on your knowledge of mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. You'll need to know how to troubleshoot common problems, as well as how to set up and configure these devices. Some objectives in the Mobile Devices section include:
Given a scenario, install and configure laptop hardware and components;
Compare and contrast characteristics of various types of other mobile devices; and
Given a scenario, use methods to perform mobile device synchronization.
Networking - 20%
The Networking domain tests your knowledge of networking basics, including how to set up and configure a network. Be prepared to demonstrate knowledge about how to troubleshoot common networking problems. For example, you'll have to:
Compare and contrast TCP and UDP ports, protocols, and their purposes;
Summarize the properties and goals of services provided by networked hosts; and
Explain common network configuration concepts.
Hardware - 27%
The Hardware domain of the exam assesses your mastery over computer hardware, including motherboards, processors, and memory. You should be familiar with troubleshooting common hardware problems and how to install and configure hardware components. Some objectives you'll encounter include:
Given a scenario, install RAM types;
Configure SOHO multifunction devices/printers and settings; and
Identify common connector types.
Virtualization and Cloud Computing - 12%
For the exam's virtualization and cloud computing portion, you'll see topics like virtualization technologies, cloud types, and deployment models. Be sure you know how to troubleshoot common problems associated with these technologies. Objectives in this section are short and sweet:
Compare and contrast cloud computing concepts; and
Given a scenario, set up and configure client-side virtualization.
Hardware and Network Troubleshooting - 27%
The final domain of Core 1 tests your ability to troubleshoot hardware and networking problems. You should be able to identify the cause of a hardware or network problem and its solution. For instance, you'll demonstrate mastery over objectives such as:
Given a scenario, troubleshoot hard drives and RAID arrays;
Given a scenario, troubleshoot video, projector, and display issues; and
Given a scenario, use the best practice methodology to resolve problems.
Operating Systems - 27%
The first domain of Core 2 covers installation, configuration, and troubleshooting for popular operating systems, such as Windows, MacOS, and Linux. You'll need to know how to work with standard tools and technologies associated with these platforms. Expect to encounter objectives like:
Compare and contrast common operating system types and their purposes;
Summarize general OS installation considerations and upgrade methods; and
Given a scenario, use Microsoft operating system features and tools.
Security - 24%
The security domain of the exam tests your knowledge of common security threats and how to mitigate them. You'll need to be familiar with topics like cryptography, access control, and malware. Some objectives for this section include the following:
Summarize the importance of physical security measures;
Explain logical security concepts; and
Compare and contrast wireless security protocols and authentication methods
Software Troubleshooting - 26%
The software troubleshooting section covers a variety of software applications, including productivity suites and internet browsers. Be prepared to demonstrate mastery over topics, such as:
Given a scenario, troubleshoot Microsoft Windows OS problems;
Given a scenario, troubleshoot and resolve PC security issues; and
Use best practice procedures for malware removal.
Operational Procedures - 23%
For the Operational Procedures section, you'll demonstrate your knowledge of operational procedures, such as incident response and change management. You should be familiar with common best practices to complete this exam section. For example, you'll have to:
Explain the processes for addressing prohibited content / activity and privacy, licensing, and policy concepts;
Given a scenario, use proper communication techniques and professionalism; and
Identify the basics of scripting.
There are a few other things to remember before taking the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam. One of the things that can trip up test-takers is the abundance of acronyms and terminology. Be sure to familiarize yourself with CompTIA A+'s list of abbreviations and common terms.
You can register for the CompTIA A+ Exam through their website. Unless you're enrolled in an institution, such as MedCerts, that will cover the cost of the exams, you will need to purchase the vouchers. The CompTIA A+ exam cost is $226.
MedCerts offers students the option to pay tuition in full or in monthly installments. That means you can get started with an industry-leading online CompTIA A+ Certification course for as little as $239/month.
If you have a high school diploma or GED and a web browser with an internet connection, you're ready to get started with MedCerts. You can enroll whether you have real-world experience in IT or just get started—no prior experience is needed.
Enrolling with MedCerts gives you access to expert-led video-based training, competency assessments, and your national certification exam fee. The best part? Your schedule is 100% flexible and on demand 24/7.
The current CompTIA A+ exam cost is $226. You will need two vouchers to take both sections of the exam.
The CompTIA A+ exam length for Core 1 and Core 2 is 90 minutes each. There are no scheduled breaks, and if you leave your computer for any reason during the exam, your proctor will end the session. As a result, you won't be able to continue the test, and you will forfeit your exam fee.
There are 90 questions on both sections of the CompTIA A+ exam for a total of 180 questions. Both exams are scored on a scale of 100 to 900. To pass Core 1, you must score at least a 675. A passing score for Core 2 is 700 or higher.
Once you pass the CompTIA A+ exam, your certification will last for three years.
You can retake the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam as often as you like, so don't stress too muxh if you fail the first time. There is no waiting period between attempts, and there is no limit to the number of times you can take the exam. However, you do need to purchase a new voucher with each attempt, so be sure to come prepared.
Many test takers choose to complete the exam online at a location of their choosing with a virtual proctor. Exams are also available in person at a Pearson VUE testing center.
As a technical support professional, you'll be responsible for maintaining, managing, and repairing IT systems. You'll also assist in troubleshooting hardware and software issues.
Help desk technicians are responsible for providing first-line support when it comes to providing technical support and assistance. You'll need keen attention to detail and problem-solving skills to assist others struggling with their computer hardware and software.
Technology specialists oversee support services for IT systems and components. You can look forward to overseeing your organization's configuration, implementation, and maintenance of technology.
Desktop support specialists are responsible for providing technical assistance to users who are having problems with their computer systems. This hands-on role includes installing and repairing hardware and troubleshooting problems.
As a technical and software support specialist, you'll be responsible for identifying and troubleshooting challenges with software, networks, and computer systems. You'll need to be a logical thinker with excellent problem-solving skills to succeed in this role.
Are you looking for a CompTIA A+ Certification Exam course to help you pass the exam on your first try? Look no further than MedCerts. With our flexible, on-demand course, you can study at your own pace and start your IT career sooner than you think.Learn more about enrolling with MedCerts today.