Join Steve Fullmer for an in-depth discussion in this video The exams, part of CompTIA A+ Exam Prep (220-801).
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- In this module, we're going to talk specifically about the CompTIA A+ exams. In order to get the credential, you need to get the 220-801 and the 220-802 exam testing completed and qualify for both. Now CompTIA does not really care which order you take them in, so it's kind of order, it's up to you, but I would strongly encourage that you take the 801 exam first because a knowledge of the terminology and the content on the 801 exam and preparing for it will help you to better understand the questions and respond to the questions on the 802 exam.
Now this is the layout of the content that's on the two different exams. I'm gonna be referring to the first exam, 801, throughout the video series as the hardware exam, approximately 40 percent of this test is based on hardware terminology, context, supporting PCs, and the terminology associated with the personal computing environment. The next highest category is Networking, followed by Laptops, Printers, that's the devices and the software, and Operational Procedures. The second exam, 802, is heavily focused on software.
A lot about Operating Systems, not so much applications when we say software, but operating systems, Security, much of which is set within the operating system, although some of it is physical security as well, Mobile Devices and specific Troubleshooting techniques or technologies. This is the 801 and 802 exam as they currently exist, in the exam bank that you're going to be taking it from. Now, the 801 and 802 are the current exam series, they've been present since end of 2012, early 2013, some people were still taking the 220-701 and 702 exams.
I point that out because a great deal of the material that's available to you, whether it's through Exam Cram, Amazon, etcetera, is still available for the 700 series and it's going to be heavily offered by people saying, "Here, help yourself," well, the exam content is much the same, because PCs change somewhat dramatically, but CompTIA's focused on the standards, as they move forward for this, and so I want to point this out that although some of the supporting material might be useful to you to understand and gain knowledge, it won't help you pass the exam if you get the wrong mixture as you're preparing, and I'm just doing a couple slides here for this compare-contrast capability for you.
The 701 exam, pretty much that ended at the end of 2012, in terms of opportunity to take it, had Hardware but there was a lower emphasis, and a much lower emphasis essentially on Networking, you'll note here that there's been a, you know, kind of an increase in Hardware, and a decline in the Networking, or an increase in Networking because of the cloud, the internet, so there's a lot more emphasis on both the Hardware and the Networking for you. Operational Procedures are pretty much the same. Laptops were not heavily emphasized, so laptops and mobile devices, personal devices, assistance, etcetera, those were not heavily covered so much in the 701 exam, and printers weren't in the 701 exam, they were in a separate exam category.
Security and Troubleshooting got moved from the 701 to the 702 so that, kind of the filter, what's on which test, has changed. You need to pay attention to that if you're not looking at the correct objectives, you will start preparing, although you'll know the material, you'll prepare incorrectly for the exam. The 802 exam, the one that I referred to as Software, is now heavily Operating Systems, pretty similar focus there, much higher emphasis on Security, again much higher emphasis on Mobile Devices, and where we used to emphasize Hardware, all of that got shifted, all that Hardware emphasis that was split, is now all heavily focused on the 801 exam, and Troubleshooting is now very heavily present.
Troubleshooting methodology is about 36 percent or a third of that second exam. So where in the past you kinda had to know the troubleshooting tools, you now have to know troubleshooting methodology and diagnostics and getting some sense of root cause from the symptoms placed before you on the exam. What else has changed, what do you need to focus on? Well, you got two exams, I refer to the 220-801 exam as hardware-focused, that's its primary emphasis, although not more than about half the exam, and 220-802 is software and troubleshooting, just because that's the largest emphasis on them.
Each of the exams is up to 90 questions. Now, I say up to 90 questions because some of the questions on the exam will be interactive. In other words, there'll be video pop-ups, you'll have to do some drag-and-drop, some comparing, some matching, on the software exam, in particular you're going to have to do click-by-click actions to demonstrate that you know how to navigate to certain operating system tools in the most efficient methodology, reference by a paragraph that says, "Please go do this function in the least amount "of clicks or this function by going through the control panel," etcetera.
So you'll have to know how to navigate the operating systems. The 700 series exams were purely multiple choice. And what you would typically see on those is some combination of radio buttons, like this, where you only had the opportunity to make one choice at a time, and if you picked a different one, that would erase, or, you might end up seeing a set of squares like this, which you could still see on the 800 series exam, and when you take it, if you see the squares, it might ask for more than one selection.
In some cases, you'll be really lucky and it will say, "Pick the two most "that most apply," in others it'll say all that apply, so you have to know the material well. If it says pick all that apply, and three apply, and you only pick two, you'd get the question wrong. Or if you pick four, you'd get the question wrong. So you have, effectively, 90, or up to 90 questions in exactly 90 minutes. The time scale doesn't change regardless of the number of questions. The more interactive questions that you get on the exam, with videos that you have to watch, matching and comparing, dragging and dropping, or navigation challenges that are asked of you during the exam, then the total number of exam questions go down, and the credit for those interactive questions, per question, goes up.
In order to pass the 220-801 exam, you need a score of 675 on a scale from 100 to 900. Why do they start at 100? Effectively some number of questions, eight to 12, some more in there, depends on the nature of the question on the exam, are thrown in to validate the exam question within the exam bank, so CompTIA is automatically going to give you credit for attempting to answer those questions whether you get them right or wrong, effectively that's the way it's working for them, to quantify the value of different questions as it moves forward, particularly as they start adding and subtracting content from the exam bank.
But you'll have no idea which questions those are, so answer every single question on the exam, and you need to be prepared to do that, at the pace of about one question a minute. So you have to really know the material well. That means you're going to be spending time studying, and I tell students for this and other courses I teach, after you watch the video series, or after you interact with me and the classroom, or after you do some of your own review of the content you're supposed to know as a prerequisite for this kind of course, you're going to have between 40 and 200 hours of your own time, studying, re-watching videos, preparing yourself to answer the questions at the pace required for the exam.
It's not just about whether you know and understand the material, this is pretty easy. Personal computer terminology and content, once you see it, you get it. It's whether you can recall it from your head, to answer the questions in a way that CompTIA wants you to, in the time frame alloted. So the 220-801 exam, 90 questions, you have to get a score of 675, on the 220-802 exam, because you passed, hypothetically, the 801 exam first, although the order doesn't matter, you need to get a score of 700 on the 100 to 900 scale in order to pass that.
So you got two exams you've gotta take, in order to qualify again for that A+ exam. So, when I talk about the questions, you're still going to have radio buttons, that multiple choice, or multiple selection questions, or some that require a screen scroll. Screen scroll's relatively new in the exam format. What we mean by that screen scroll is, you may have to read a very long story problem, and answer multiple questions associated with it. So, questions about a network environment, where there's multiple questions associated with it.
So be prepared for this different kinds of formats, as opposed to a simple screen multiple choice and move on. There will be performance-based questions, which is going to be, effectively, how well and efficiently can you click through and do a particular task. So you really need to understand and practice how to navigate your Windows systems. By the way, this 801, 802 series exams, the operating systems that they're based on, are still Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7. There's no Windows 8 content on the exam yet.
The 700 series also focused on Windows 2000, Windows antique content as a kind of a legacy system that had to be supported. None of that, XP is the oldest system, even though as we videotape this, XP's end of life will be April, the exam is not changed, it still includes XP content. So make sure that you practice XP navigation as you prepare for the exam. There're also be some interactive questions, effectively, kind of like fill-in-the-blank or drag-and-drop, so as opposed to multiple choice, where the answers are in front of you, the wealth of knowledge you have to have going in is a little greater, and there'll be some video questions where you have to watch a short video, typically they're going to be showing you a device, so in the classroom here, in front of this camera where I'm moving a mouse around, and some of the videos where I actually gonna put components down, so that you have a chance to look at them and be able to identify from a video, where somebody says, "Look at this and tell me what it is." We'll be doing some video work to help you with that throughout the class.
Any of the questions that are performance-based, interactive or video questions, if you're not comfortable with what you did to try to answer it, you have the ability to reset and redo those questions. That's new to the CompTIA exam for the 800 series. What that means is you can clear the exam and question and redo it again. But I point out, if you choose to clear, reset, or retry one of those exams, the clock does not reset. So you're effectively using your 90-minute time as you continue to do that, the clock runs when you reset and try any of those questions.
And so, be careful again as you do those. Pearson VUE is the only testing center that offers the exam. The reason we point that out is CompTIA used to support testing through the Prometric centers, but does not do that anymore. Make sure that if you get an exam voucher, which we'll talk about in a moment here, that you get it only for the Pearson VUE testing center. I point this out, not because I'm saying support the product but I want you to, as a possibility studying for this, if you go out and you take a look at CompTIA site, CompTIA had their own YouTube video called, "The CompTIA Candidate Experience," and if I go today to YouTube...
Let me get there for you, should have preloaded this, but we'll get there. So if we go to YouTube, and you type in the CompTIA Candidate Experience, so C-O-M-P-T-I-A, be sure you spell it right, and you'll note CompTIA Candidate Experience comes up pretty quick and click it, CompTIA used to have their own 20-minute video out there, I could not locate it prior to this class. Their video was a 19 to 20 minute video that will walk you through, or walked you through, what the test looked like, so you got a sense of the background, that's part of why I'm doing these introductory videos that's no longer available through CompTIA.
Not that I'm promoting the product, although it could be a pretty good one, Pearson IT, the Pearson VUE testing center's put together this six minute video on a particular tool they call The Simulator. It's a simulation of the 801 and 802 exams. It goes further than that in terms of allowing you to do some labs, and exam prep, particularly for some of those interactive types of questions, so that you can get a flavor for what they are. Again I'm not promoting the product, but I'm pointing out to you that you might want to go and search under YouTube for the CompTIA Candidate Experience and take a look at this little six or seven minute video.
It is a product promotion, that's not, I wanna clarify that's not what I do, it gives you a great idea of the material that's on the exam, and the kinds of questions by showing you some samples that only CompTIA or Pearson VUE can show you, because of licensing issues for the exam. So I'm just pointing it to you as a great little resource as you prepare or consider preparation for the exam. When you go to prepare for the exam, so let's go back to the CompTIA site that I brought up in a prior video, and I searched here, under essentially, Certification and got myself to the CompTIA A+ Certification here on the Exam, that's the page that I'm on.
One of the first things you're gonna want to do here, and we'll talk about this in a moment, see what the exam covers, I'm gonna have a separate module where we actually download, you got to go and put in your name, email address, then they'll allow you to download the objectives for that 801 and 802 exam. But I'm not interested in doing that right this second, what I wanna show you is, you can take a practice test or pay for the test. I wanna talk about exam vouchers for just a moment. That's the page that I did a screenshot or capture up here. You'll note that you can buy the exam voucher through CompTIA, that's 188 dollars, current US dollar price, you can take it globally, they'll show you the other currencies if you're not in the United States.
That's per exam, remember you have to take two exams. You can buy both vouchers at once, you can buy one voucher at a time, that's entirely up to you, as you buy the vouchers. You can find these vouchers available through training representatives, you can find it also available through third parties, who often buy these in bulk. What you wanna make sure, is that you get a voucher that has the expiration you're looking for. Once you buy a voucher, they're good for 12 months. You'll find a lot of vendors who buy large volumes of the vouchers, and they will sell them to you at a discount because they're nearing that 12-month expiration.
What you wanna make sure is that you have a voucher that allows you to register for the exam through Pearson VUE before the voucher expires. And the voucher is a date for your applying it to Pearson VUE to schedule. So you could end up scheduling with Pearson VUE to take a test two months out, they'll immediately apply the voucher, that's one way to expend, extend that expiration date. So, you're going to be paying for a voucher directly through CompTIA or potential third parties as you do that, typical list price is a 188 dollars.
If you see it any more than that, then what you're being asked to pay for is additional materials. If that's what you choose to do, that's great, but make sure you get what you're paying for, prepare to take this CompTIA A+ exam. So that's an overview of the exam. Because CompTIA is about a career path, unless you got the A+ certification before the end of 2011, all of the CompTIA A+ credentials are now, part of their continuing education process. What that means is, you got a choice of retaking the exam every three years, and the exam will change as the information and technology and the industry continues to grow and expand, so you can either retest, take the exam every three years, or you can continue to take education courses that enhance your career, remember that entire career path that you've looked at in the other video that CompTIA has for IT and PC careers, any courses or continuing education credits you get, every three years you need to get a total of 20 of those continuing education hours of credit, and you can pay an annual fee of 25 dollars, or you can pay a three-year period at a time for 75, to maintain your A+ credentials.
Once you've got it it's fairly easy to maintain, as long as you're an active participant in the IT arena, and that you continue to enhance your education. So that's an overview of the exams, the CompTIA A+ 801 and 802 exams, what they contain, how you're going to start the registration process and take the exam. There is no background check on this one, particularly, you simply get a voucher and register to take the exam through Pearson VUE. Great, look forward to seeing you in the classroom or online, watch the video series.
- Identify types and characteristics of PC and laptop components, including motherboards, CPU, memory, and storage, input, and output devices
- Install and configure peripheral devices and system components
- Install and configure print devices
- Install and configure wired and wireless LAN links and Internet-access devices
- Perform basic PC maintenance while working safely and responsibly
- Communicate effectively with customers
By the end of the course, you'll be better prepared to take the A+ Essentials exam.
We are now a CompTIA Content Publishing Partner. As such, we are able to offer CompTIA exam vouchers at a 10% discount. For more information on how to obtain this discount, please download these PDF instructions.
This course refers to the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. PMI is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.