Join Mike Meyers for an in-depth discussion in this video How to pass the A+ exams, part of CompTIA A+ Cert Prep (220-901 and 220-902): The Basics.
(fun rhythmic music) - Hey everybody, it's Mike Meyers, your favorite nerd here, talking about the Comptia A+ exams. Now, what I want to talk about in this episode are three things, number one, I want to talk about, what are the exams like? You've probably heard that they're multiple choice, or maybe you've heard the word performance based, we're going to really break that down in this episode.
Number two, we're going to talk about what does it take for you to actually schedule the exams, to sign up, to pay the money, to show up at the right place, to take the test, all of those mechanics. Number three, I'm going to show you how to study, so that you can successfully pass the A+ exams. So, let's start with number one, what are the exams like? Both of the Comptia A+ exams are computer based exams, where you sit down at a computer, and you go through some questions, and at the end, either you pass or you fail.
These exams are administered exclusively by an organization called Pearson Vue. So, you go to a Pearson Vue testing center, at a scheduled time, you sit down, you take one, or both of the exams, and then you're A+ certified, if you pass. Now, the exams themselves consist of multiple choice, and performance based questions. The multiple choice questions could be standard multiple choice questions, or they could be multiple choice questions with schematics, diagrams, to help you answer the question, or they could even be things like drag and drop, but they're all multiple choice.
Now, along with that, are performance based questions. Performance based questions actually make you do something, and you've got to work at a command line, or you've got to click within Windows or something to actually get some kind of job done. Both of these tests will give you a maximum of 90 questions, although it could be far fewer. The reason they say 90 or less, is because of the number of performance questions you may get. As we're shooting this video, some people are getting as few as three, sometimes as many as six performance based questions, but as you can imagine, a performance based question's going to take a little bit more work, than a regular multiple choice, and Comptia compensates for that for you.
Now, to give you an example of a few of these, what I got here is my total practice products. I've got my practice questions, and I also have my total sims, which are designed to emulate performance based questions. So, let me just give you a couple of screen shots to show you what these might look like. Now, keep in mind, these are not from Comptia, this is my product. So, here's an example of a multiple choice questions, and you click on the multiple choice, and you get the answer, and then you move along. Now, here's a performance based question.
Now, with my performance based questions, I need to warn you, I actually will help you along with it, that does not happen on the real exam. So, you can actually go and click on some stuff, and it will get you to where you need to go. So, these can be quite challenging. Now, you get 90 minutes for each exam, so that's usually more than enough time for most people, although if you have a disability, or something like that, or a language issue, you can actually ask for more time, but you've got to do that ahead of time, while you're actually registering for the exam.
The important thing is that at the end of the exam, when you're done, well first of all, they make you go through this big long questionnaire, but after the questionnaire's done, you just click, and it will say whether you've passed or not. So, that's as easy as it is. Either you pass, or you don't pass, and if you don't pass, you just try it again later. It's not that big of a deal. All right, now let's talk about actually scheduling the exams, it's not as easy as you think. If you want to get A+ certified, you've got to actually sit down and take the 220-901 and 220-902, which means, you're going to have to schedule the exams.
Now, remember, that you actually take the exams at a Pearson Vue testing center. So, these testing centers are all over the world. What you'll do, is you schedule the exam, you pay money, and you show up for it. So, getting money is the important first part. Now, the manufactured suggested retail price for each A+ exam, at the time of this video, is $199 each. However, you can usually get it for a lot cheaper. You've got two choices here, your first choice is to find somebody who sells what we call discount vouchers.
A voucher, in fact the piece of paper means nothing, it's the number on here that's important. This voucher number is something you can use at the Pearson Vue website, instead of a credit card, when it asks you to pay, you type in the voucher number, instead of a credit card number, so it's as good as money. So, what you do is you buy a voucher instead of using your credit card. So, you can get discounted vouchers from lots of people. My company, Total Seminars, sells discount vouchers at a really good discount, but there's lots of people out there who do it.
Secondly, if you are affiliated with a school that is a Comptia academy, you can get very, very discounted vouchers, so, if there's any chance you're affiliated with a Comptia academy, definitely go that route, you can get incredibly good deals, better than anybody's with a discount voucher. Okay, so you either have a credit card on you, or you've got a voucher number, what you do is you go over to the Pearson Vue website, and you register. There's a couple of little tricks about that registration you need to be aware of.
Number one, when you're registering, it's going to ask you for a Comptia ID, if you've never taken any A+, or rather, if you've never passed any A+ exam, you just say, I don't have one. Otherwise, you need to have that Comptia ID. So, the first time you go in, just say I don't have it, but if you have to retake, or if you want to take other Comptia certifications, you really need to keep that number on you. Now, if you pass the A+, you'll be given a little card with your Comptia number, but me personally, the moment that shows up, you write it down, you keep it documented someplace because I can't tell you how many times I've lost my Comptia ID number.
Anyway, don't do as I do, do as I say. So, you go ahead and get scheduled. Now, Pearson Vue is all over the world, so you really want to take some time picking a location you like, keeping in mind, that like, I live in Houston, Texas, and we have a zillion Pearson Vue testing centers. So, the closest one may not always be your best bet. They have different hours, they have different days of the week they're open, and if you're like me, and you take a lot of certifications, you like the ones with the more comfortable chairs, so take some time and figure out the right testing center for you, and get scheduled.
Once you're in, and you're actually taking the test, keep in mind that there are going to be certain rules, but they'll be clearly documented to you ahead of time, in terms of what you can bring and what you can't bring in. Remember, once you take the test, after it's done, you just hit, "I'm finished," and after a long questionnaire, you will instantly know whether you have passed or failed the exam. All right, so we know what the exam's like, and we're knowing how to schedule ourselves, so let's do the big one, how to study for the Compita A+.
I'm assuming that part of the reason you're watching these amazing videos on Lynda is because you want to take the A+ exams and you want to pass them, good for you, I'm extremely proud of these Lynda videos, and I think they're exactly a tool you need to pass the A+. However, this isn't exactly like learning how to cook eggs, or something like that, these are IT certifications, and you're going to be taking tests. So, like any other type of situation where you're taking a test, it's probably a good idea to have some additional materials.
Now, the additional materials I recommend are, first of all, going to be practice tests. Now, there are lots of people who sell Comptia A+ practice tests, but I got to tell you, I'm pretty proud of my total tester product, and I think that this is a great additional product, that along with your Lynda videos, will really help your chances of passing the 901 and 902, greatly, greatly improve. I love these practice questions. Secondly, but equally importantly, is that these Lynda videos are based on my very, very popular McGraw-Hill Comptia A+ certification books.
Now, there's two different books, there's what we call the all in one book, and then there's also the Managing and Troubleshooting PC's. Little nice light books for you to do whatever you need to do here, now both of these books, even though they look different, they're actually the same. One's designed more for self study, this gold hard covered book, whereas the darker book, is actually more for classroom study. But the chapter numbers and everything are the same, and more importantly, they track very, very closely, if not, most of the time identically, to Lynda videos.
And I think you might find that incredibly convenient. The last thing I want to suggest to you are my Totalsims. Now, the Totalsims are exclusively an online product. But the Totalsims do a great job of covering some of the more interesting questions, the more performance based questions, some of the drag and drop questions, that you'll see on the A+ 901 and 902, and I think you're going to really like them. Okay, so that's how you study. Now, a couple of little things and then I'm going to let you go. Number one, I think it's very important for you to schedule your exam, at least three months ahead of time, but schedule your exam before you start doing the deep studying.
If you don't schedule the exam, if you don't put the money down, you're not going to take the exams. Number two, remember, that with an A+, the number one reason people fail the exam, isn't for lack of knowledge, it's simply test anxiety. In our world, we take lots and lots of exams, and you just got to get used to the idea of taking these tests. Remember, these little certification tests aren't like taking some college entry exam. If you fail, it's no big deal, you just retake it, other than the cost and the inconvenience, it's not that big of a deal.
Folks, good luck on your exams. I know you're going to do a great job. Give me a holler and let me know how you did. I'm going to put my email right here at the bottom, so that you can let me know how well you performed on the Comptia A+ exams.
Mike Meyers is the industry's leading authority and bestselling author on CompTIA certifications. In this short course, he explains why anyone looking to get hired in IT should earn A+ certification, and how to go about studying for and passing each 90-question exam.
When you're done, check out our CompTIA A+ Exam Prep (220-901) and CompTIA A+ Exam Prep (220-902) series for targeted lessons on each domain of the exams.