Introduction to A+

Welcome to the ITFreeTraining free course on CompTIA 220-1001 and 220-1002 exams otherwise known as A+. This free training course will take you through all the exam objectives for the A+ exam and help you get ready to take the exam.

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Who is CompTIA?
0:18 To start with, who is CompTIA? CompTIA’s full name is Computing Technology Industry Association, but everyone just calls them CompTIA for short. CompTIA was founded in 1982 and offers certifications to the IT Professional just like a lot of vendors do – for example, certifications offered by companies like Microsoft and Cisco.

Unlike vendor-based certifications, CompTIA was founded based on their certifications being vendor neutral. That is, these certifications are not tied to any one vendor. CompTIA certifications look at technology as a whole across the entire IT industry. If you have complete certifications like Microsoft and Cisco, these certifications will be heavily based on their products. You would expect this, as these certifications are provided by the vendor that made the product. However, if you want to learn just networking or just about hardware from all vendors, completing a vendor certification will primarily assist you only with that vendor’s products.

As CompTIA is vendor neutral, the topics they cover are not tied to one vendor. The idea behind this is that they give you the skills that you can later apply to any vendors’ products. You will, however find that CompTIA tends to stick to the main vendors. For example, when required to use a device or operating system, CompTIA will generally use Windows, Linux, Android and iOS.

CompTIA uses test centers all around the world and, thus, certifies in over 120 countries. CompTIA to date has certified over 2.2 million people. Thus, a CompTIA certification is a well-recognized certification to have in the IT industry.

What is A+?
2:07 So, what is the A+ certification? The A+ certification is the entry level technician certification. It is the certification that many IT professionals will obtain first when starting their IT career. To give you an idea how long the A+ certification has been around, the first certification was obtained in 1993. The certification has changed a lot since then and gets updated approximately every three years. This ensures that it is up to date with the current industry and technology.

I will have a closer look at what the A+ certification covers later in the video, but a basic run down is that it covers hardware, networking, operating systems and mobile devices. You will find that many IT jobs require or at least ask if you have a certification. Since the A+ is an entry level certification it is a good place to start.

A+ is considered one of the top certifications to have, particularly when you are starting your IT career. Of course, there are other certifications out there that are harder and attract higher incomes. However, if you are just starting your IT career, the A+ certification is a good place to start.

CompTIA certifies over 220,000 people a year with the A+ certification. If you are looking to start in the IT industry, the CompTIA A+ certification is definitely worth looking at.

Two exams
3:35 The CompTIA certification is a little different to other certifications in that, in order to obtain one, you need to pass two exams. These exams are 220-1001 and the 220-1002 otherwise known as Core 1 and Core 2.

These exams were released on 15 January 2019 and are expected to be retired about 2022, most likely in January. At that time, CompTIA will most likely release an updated A+ certification.

Once you complete both exams, you will have earned your CompTIA A+ certification. You can take the exams in any order; however, it is recommended that you take Core 1 before Core 2. Core 2, although covering different topics to Core 1, assumes that you know Core 1.

Traditionally the first exam was called the hardware exam and the second exam the software exam. You can see that the Core 1 exam is still mostly hardware – covering the areas of mobile devices, networking, hardware, virtualization, cloud computing, hardware and network troubleshooting.

The Core 2 exam covers operating systems, security, software troubleshooting and operational procedures. You can see why you would normally take Core 1 before Core 2, as troubleshooting software problems generally assumes you know how to configure things like networking and hardware.

Even though the exams have different objectives, the format of the exams is the same. Both exams have a maximum of 90 questions. You may be wondering why the number of questions is not fixed. To understand why, consider that the test contains multiple-choice and performance-based questions. The exam has questions of different difficulty and type. Since the questions are of different difficulty and types, they are scored differently. Because of this, different test takers may get a different number of questions, however the maximum number of questions will be 90.

The time limit for the exam is 90 minutes. If you consider that you may have 90 questions, this does not seem like a lot of time, but most of the questions are multiple-choice and not too lengthy. In a moment I will have a look at an example question.

CompTIA recommends having 6 to 12 months of experience in the lab or in the field before attempting either of the exams. The passing score is 675 for the 1001 exam and 700 for the 1002 exam. Both exams will scale the result to 900. Your level of experience and how fast you learn will determine when you will be ready to sit the exam.

Each exam costs approximately $219 US dollars. Remember you have to sit two exams, so about $438 US dollars. The cost may vary depending on which country you are in. Let’s have a look how you can save some money on exams.

Save on Exam Costs
6:32 It is possible to get exam vouchers which can make the costs of the exams cheaper. If you look at these two web sites, you can get discounts on exam vouchers. Often training courses and books will have exam vouchers included making the exams cheaper. Unfortunately, as this course is free, we cannot offer you any exam vouchers, but if you are planning to purchase any products, have a look to see if they include any vouchers. CompTIA has a number of bundle deals on their web site. Even if you are not planning on buying a course, you should be able to get a discount.

7:08 There are some basic prerequisites that CompTIA recommends before starting this course, but nothing major. First, have some basic computing skills. For example, be able to complete some basic tasks in Microsoft Windows. Nothing too advanced; just be able to get around Windows and use some applications.

Next, search and access information on the internet. Nothing too difficult; being able to use Google and do things like access online sites like internet banking is enough.

Also, having some basic knowledge of computing concepts. You don’t need to know a lot of detail, but have a basic understanding of how to switch a computer on, login, use the mouse and run some applications.

If you find that you are lacking those skills, you may want to consider the CompTIA IT Fundamentals course. This course is optional if you are new to computing. It is a pre-career certification that helps gain basic competency for computing. Also, it’s not a bad course to look at if you are not sure if the information technology field is the right career for you.

The IT Fundamentals course is an optional course and aimed at the beginner or for students in middle school or high school. It covers the foundations of IT, but if you already have an idea of how to use a computer and a basic understanding of computing you won’t need to do this course.

Study Material
8:29 In order to start studying the CompTIA A+ exam you will need some study material. I would recommend a good training course, like this one. In this training course we cover all the exam objectives, but it is always good to supplement a course like this with a good book. We would recommend the all-in-one CompTIA A+ certification by Mike Meyers. Mike Meyers is a well-respected industry expert and always delivers quality training material.

If you want another free training course on A+, have a look at Professor Messer who offers an excellent A+ training course. I would next recommend that, once you have completed your study, to obtain some sample exam questions. There are many different places you can obtain these. Doing some sample exam questions will give you an idea of how well you know the material.

Lastly, obtain the exam objectives from CompTIA. You want to do this when you start studying and before sitting the exam. This is because the exam objectives can change. Our course does cover all the exam objectives from when the course was created, but best to check in case something has changed.

Example Question
9:36 Let’s have a look at a sample multiple-choice exam question. Given the following different types of networking, which could be blocked by a person walking between the two devices communicating? By having an understanding of the different ways that networking devices work, it is easy to eliminate the wrong answers. Out of all the different types of networking, IR or infra-red can be easily blocked by a person or object blocking the signal, so C is the correct answer.

The exam will contain multiple -choice questions as well as performance-based questions. Let’s have a look at a performance-based question.

Performance-Based Question
10:15 This example is from the CompTIA web site, so feel free to visit their site and give the question a go yourself. The question is interactive in nature. Don’t worry too much if you don’t understand the technical side.. Once you have completed this course you will better understand what the question is asking.

Be sure to read the question carefully. This question is essentially saying some changes were made after a cyber attack and now one of the executives cannot access the internet. To answer this question, it requires you to have some understanding of how networks operate and how to troubleshoot them.

Below this you can see the instructions. Make sure you read them carefully. In a lot of questions, it will say the solution must only meet certain criteria. Thus, there may be multiple solutions, however only one will meet the required criteria. In this case, changes to the access control list must be made to allow all computers to access the internet and only correct the connectivity issues. In other words, only fix the access to the internet, don’t allow or deny other services in the process.

Many questions, not only the performance-based questions, will allow you to hide or show additional information. For example, in this case I can hide the left part of the screen to show the complete diagram. Make sure you look out for extra buttons or tabs that may contain critical information before completing the question.

Many interactive questions will have areas that you can click on to access additional information or tools. If I click on the workstation icon this will open a command prompt. To see what commands I can execute, I will enter in help and press enter.

A lot of these simulations will have a partial set of commands implemented but not all. To start troubleshooting, I will enter in IPConfig to get the network configuration of the computer. The question says there is a problem accessing the internet so I will attempt to ping Google. The ping comes back with a response so I know this computer can access the internet, at least for ping commands.

I will next click on the second workstation and run the IPConfig command to get the network configuration. Like before, I will run the ping command. Notice this time a response is not received back from Google. This must be the computer that is having problems accessing the internet.

I will next click on the router to get some information about it. This will give me some network information. Notice that there is a second tab which has the access control list. Always make sure you have a good look around for extra tabs or buttons. The last thing you want to do is get a question wrong because you missed something.

Later in the course, we will go through the content required to answer this question. For the present, know that to answer this question I need to remove a rule that is causing the problem. In this case, I know that the rule is this one.

Once I have deleted the rule, notice that if I go back to the previous computer and run the ping command again, this time I will get a response back. Although these simulations don’t have all the features and tools an operating system would have, you will be surprised how realistic they can sometimes be.

Performance-based questions will have this format. You need to click, click and move, or run certain commands to fix a problem. This tests if you know the course material, as well as being able to apply it.

To see how I did, I will now press the submit button. Notice that after a short delay I got four out of four for this question.

Performance-based questions will often be worth multiple marks. If you get some of the question correct you may get partial marks. You can see why you may not get 90 questions in the exam. The number of performance-based questions you get and how much they are worth will change the total number of questions you will be asked.

Course Organization
14:12 Regardless of what questions are asked and how they are asked, we are confident that this course covers all the exam objectives. However, we don’t present them all in the same order they appear in the exam objectives. We, instead, present them in an organized way that we feel provides the best building blocks to learning. But, don’t worry, we cover them all.

The objectives will be broken down into topics for quick access. This means more videos, but also means you won’t be having to look through a very long video trying to find the bit that is relevant to you. In some cases, there may be an overlap of material. Every video is designed to be able to be viewed without watching the others, so sometimes we need to quickly mention something that was talked about in a previous video. However, you will find a specific topic on a particular video will go into a lot of detail about that topic. For example, one video may quickly mention all the different types of connectors a computer may have, while another video will go into a lot of detail about how that connector can be used.

Where to Take the Test?
15:12 When you are ready to take the test, all you need to do is go to the Pearson VUE web site and book the exam. Pearson VUE has test centers in over 120 countries and you will be able to perform a search to find a test center near you.

Before booking the exam, check the requirements for the exam. Most exams have the same requirements, no personal items like books, phones or calculators. You won’t be able to take any bags into the exam either. The test center should have an area to leave your personal items or, if you’re lucky, a locker to store them in.

You will need two forms of ID when you sit the exam. One will need to be a photo ID. It is best to check before attending the exam if your ID will be accepted or not.

You won’t be able to take a pen or paper with you; however, you will be given something that you can write on. Usually it will be a dry erase board and a non-permanent marker to make notes on.

Make sure that you arrive at least 15 minutes early. Usually if you arrive early, they will let you start early. You will only need to wait if all the computers are in use, but I have never seen that happen. In one case, I attended an exam and the testing center did not have a copy of the exam on their computers. They then had some problems downloading it; lucky I was early!

Before you sit the exam, go through an updated list of the exam objectives. Exam objectives are subject to changes, although this does not happen that often. But going through the exam objectives will also serve as a checklist to make sure that you have not missed anything.

The exam will also have a mark question feature. Generally, with these exams I run through the exam doing all the questions that I know straight away. Any questions that I am not sure about or have to think about I mark. You will be able to go back to all the questions that you have marked at the end of the exam. Remember it is pass or fail, so get all the easy questions done first and then spend the rest of the time on the difficult questions.

Before finishing, I would like to share a story of the first exam I ever sat. This was a Windows NT exam and back then there weren’t many testing centers. I had to travel about an hour by train to get there. So, after I finished work, I took the train up to the testing center.

I located the entrance to the testing center and had some free time before the exam. I did some last-minute studying and then decided to enter the testing center. I went through the door and up the stairs and found my way to a closed door. No windows, no door bell, nothing. I then called the testing center and because it was outside business hours, I got a recorded message. I had no idea what to do.

Then after a few minutes the door opened and someone walked out. I quickly saw my chance and entered to find myself in a computer lab. I found a staff member who showed me to the computer to do the test.

What I know now and did not know then, is that sometimes these testing centers will be part of a training organization. The students who use the computer lab had access, but I did not. If I attended during business hours this would have probably been o.k. So, something to think about before attending your testing center. Are you sure you know exactly where it is and how to get in? If it is outside hours, is there a special way to get in? This is particularly important because you pay a lot for these exams, and you want to make sure you are in the right place and you can get in.

This is only the first video in the CompTIA A+ training course. I hope to see you in the other videos from us and if you take the exam, best of luck.

“The Official CompTIA A+ Core Study Guide (Exam 220-1001)” Chapter 2
“CompTIA” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CompTIA
“IT Certifications” https://www.comptia.org/about-us/our-story/certification
“BUSINESS PROFILE | TODD THIBODEAUX” http://napervillemagazine.com/2016/08/ceo-profile-todd-thibodeaux/
“CompTIA A+ Celebrates 20 Years and Nearly 1 Million Certified” https://certification.comptia.org/it-career-news/post/view/2013/03/19/comptia-a-celebrates-20-years-and-nearly-1-million-certified
“Performance Based Question” https://simulation.comptia.org/
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“Slide 6 background” https://www.pexels.com/photo/library-photo-1319854/
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Lesson tags: comptiaaplus
Back to: CompTIA A+ > Installing and Configuring PC Components

Welcome to the ITFreeTraining free course on CompTIA 220-1001 and 220-1002 exams otherwise known as A+. This free training course will take you through all the exam objectives for the A+ exam and help you get ready to take the exam.


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