CompTIA is a non-profit trade association that provides several professional certificates for the IT industry. The A+ certification is provided by CompTIA, and recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The fact that the ANSI accepted this credential has greatly increased its worth in the industry of IT. The CompTIA A+ is a certification designed as the most trusted and leading industry standard used to find out a computer technician’s software and hardware knowledge.
Importance of CompTIA A+ Certification
The CompTIA A+ certification is simply the foundation of your career as an IT expert. It is the most preferred qualifying credential for the IT operational technical support role. This certificate is not just about PC repair, it prepares the candidates to be able to troubleshoot and solve various IT problems. As a technician, the A+ certification determines whether you understand a range of issues ranging from operating systems and security to networking and mobile devices.
The CompTIA A+ certificate is designed to be basically vendor neutral. It covers a range of technologies from various different vendors, including Linux Distributions, Novell, Cisco, Microsoft, HP, and Apple. Any IT professional with this CompTIA credential is recognized as a knowledgeable and skilled entry-level computer expert. With this certification, you are a competent technician who is recognized to have the knowledge equivalent of more than 500 hours of working experience. Any IT expert who has acquired the CompTIA A+ certificate has the required knowledge to identify and understand the fundamentals of different components of computer security, technology and networking.
The A+ credential is ISO 17024 certified. Therefore, the certification goes through regular updates, especially to the exams. Because of the changes made in certificate conditions, this certification expires after every three years. The announcement to the changes on the conditions in the CompTIA A+ certificate was made in 2010. Previously, it did not have a limited validity status.
NOTE: If you are a current A+ certificate holder, and you acquired it before December 31, 2010, your credential has a lifetime validity period. However, if you hold the CompTIA A+ certification that was obtained after the specified term, then you will have to renew it after every three years.
CompTIA A+ Certification Exams
Launched in 2015, the current version of the CompTIA A+ exams is similar to the previous ones. Now it includes the 220-901 and 220-902 tests. These certification exams replaced the previous version, which contained the 220-801 and 220-802 examinations.
Each exam is computer-based and consists of multiple-choice and performance-based questions. The A+ 220-901 and 220-902 examinations include 90 questions that should be answered within 90 minutes. The candidates get their results immediately after completing the tests. You will be required to fill in a short survey before you receive your result. Filling this survey is mandatory.
A number of selected questions on the text are not normally taken into consideration in the calculation of the final score. These questions might not be within the scope of the A+ exam objectives. CompTIA A+ Practice Test uses such questions for psychometric testing. In other words, they use the questions to test their difficulty with an aim of determining whether they should be included in the later score test.
You will be required to read and accept the CompTIA exam policies before you can take the actual examination. The time limit is located for this part. However, time doesn’t count into the actual exam time. In other words, the actual time will start counting with the first question.
The CompTIA exam policies prohibit possession of mobile phones and other devices that can allow for any cheating. You must not have these devices when you are taking the test. The exam policy does not allow paper and pen. The testing centers usually provide their candidates with a marker and a material they can write on.
During the test, the candidates can go back to a given question and change the answer if they feel they answered it wrongly. You can also mark a question as unanswered so that you can review it later. The list containing all questions is made available to the students at the end of the test before they submit their exam. This allows them to go back to any unanswered questions.
Starting July 9, 2012, the A+ exams are available to the candidates only at Pearson VUE. An individual can book the exam online by phone through the Pearson official website, or directly at the Pearson VUE testing center.
CompTIA A+ Exam Objectives
Typically, the exam objectives are revised and reviewed regularly with an aim of ensuring that the content of the test is current. For this reason, the following information, such as hardware, security, networking, operating procedure, operating system and software, and troubleshooting, repair & maintenance, is not actually a complete list of exam objectives. Under these objectives, there are sub-topics that include the following:
- Direct memory access
- Practical skills concerning computer repairs. These include repair and installation of various devices, such as network cards, modems, hard drives, printers, CPUs. and power supplies.
The main prominence of the A+ certification exams is developing practical skills, but not theory. For this reason, the main objectives and the subtopics under each of them emphasize on the hands-on skills of a candidate.
The candidates who fail to reach the pass mark are allowed to retake the test. However, you will have to pay for the retake because CompTIA offers neither discounts on exam retakes nor any free re-tests. You have to pay for the examination every time you attempt it.
The applicants willing to retake the test for the first and second times do not have to wait for a particular period to make another attempt. However, there is a waiting period of not less than 14 calendar days starting from the day of the first attempt for the candidates who want to make a third (or more) try.