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When it comes to starting off in the IT career field you need to have a way to get your foot in the door. For many people this comes from having a certification in the area you plan on being employed in. A certification shows potential employers that you are at a level ready to be brought on to work and learn in their environment. When it comes to the computer support and help desk work, the CompTIA A+ certification will prove you are ready to work. The part we will go over is how to get up to speed and prepare yourself to pass this exam and get ready for the workplace. We will go over the most cost and time efficient ways to go about obtaining this, including studying methods, locations, voucher deals, and my final plan of obtaining this certificate.
If you are going for this certification you will probably have some background behind the whole technology field. That is why I recommend doing a practice exam at the start of your studying. Not only will this give you a baseline for what you know before you start your studying it will also give you areas that you will realize what you are missing and need to work on to pass your actual exam. There are a wide variety of resources out there for practice exams that are free of charge and will get this process started. Once the first step is complete, the next step is the plan of attack on how you will allocate time to study. This includes what resources you will use to allow you to study with maximum efficiency.
The two exams that will need to be taken are the A+ 220-901 and the A+ 220-902. These two exams are needed for the certification and both cover different areas of the field. The A+ 220-901 exam will cover Hardware (Previously “PC Hardware”), Networking, Mobile Devices (Previously Laptops), and Hardware and Network Troubleshooting. On the A+ 220-902 exam covers Windows Operating Systems, Other Operating Systems and Technologies, Security, Software Troubleshooting, and Operational Procedures. With the outline of the exams now covered we can move to the next step.
The test format will be the following. There will be ninety questions on both parts of the exam, using a mixture of multiple choice and performance based questions. The two sections of the exam require a different score in order to pass each. For the 901 a passing score of 675 is required and for the 902 the passing score has to be greater than a 700, both of these tests contain a possible 900 points. The test has a time limit of 90 minutes and there are a few options when purchasing exam vouchers.

The packages include the following:
Basic Deal – Includes one exam voucher and costs $199.00
Deluxe Deal – Includes one exam voucher, CertMaster license, And one exam retake voucher. This is a $537.00 bundle that you get for $297.00
Premier Deal – Includes one exam voucher, CertMaster license, And one exam retake voucher, and a $100 CompTIA Marketplace e-Gift Certificate. This $637.00 bundle that you get for $382.00.
Next step is determining what will be your best way to study for this exam. Thanks to passionate people in the industry you are able to study for this exam without needing to spend and money if need be. You are also able to buy materials in many different forms to study for this exam. This includes buying training books on websites such as Amazon. You can also use paid video training such as the CBT nuggets in order to prepare for these exams. Lastly you can go to an institution such as Milwaukee Area Technical College where you can enroll in classes in order to get the proper training and studying complete. Using paid services are good for people who prefer to have direction in their training as opposed to the next option. One could easily find videos and information on the internet. On YouTube alone you will find hundreds of videos to pass any certification possible. I was able to find a popular and respected channel called Professor Messer that will give you a full training course free of charge. Professor Messer covers every single section and goes into depth.

Example: Section 1 Hardware

1.1 Bios and UEFI
1.2 Motherboards
1.3 RAM
1.4 PC Expansion Cards
1.5 Storage Devices
1.6 CPU Technologies
1.7 Interfaces
1.8 Computer Power
1.9 Computer Configurations
1.10 Display Devices
1.11 Connector Types
1.12 Computer Peripherals
1.13 SOHO Multifunction Devices
1.14 Printes
1.15 Printer Maintenance
With all the training taken care of the next step is to locate where you can take one of these exams. Via the CompTia website you can search for locations using a zip code or address, which will show you the closest locations that you can take the exam at.
Locations:
MATC
YWCA SE WI
UMOS, Inc.
New Horizons of Wisconsin – Brookfield
SoftwareONE
When it comes to how I would go about training for this certification I would use the following method. I would set my exam date six months in advance. I would use the discounts offered by MATC in order to get the exam voucher for $89.00. Now that I know my timeline and the date I need to know this I would map out the plan. First I would take a free practice exam to see where I fall beforehand. Next I would use Professor Messer as well as CBTnuggets to get adequate studying time in. I would devote one hour per day Monday thru Friday during my lunch hour to watch one or two videos and review what I have learned. Weekends would be review time for the previous week of learning. Two weeks before the exam I would take any and all practice exams I can find in order to see what areas I need to review. This is my roadmap of how to get CompTIA A+ certified in the Milwaukee Area.