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So, you’ve decided that you want to pursue your A+ certification. Good for you! Anyone working in the IT industry will tell you that being certified can lead to more career opportunities and a better salary. However, you may be wondering what steps are required for you to get certified. This article is meant to assist you with getting your A+ certification in the Milwaukee area.

The A+ exam, furnished by Comptia, is meant to test your ability to manage, troubleshoot, maintain, and operate Windows-based personal computers. Of course, the first step in preparing for the exam is to practice and study. I spent several years throughout high school and into my early 20s troubleshooting and fixing PCs and still found myself learning a lot as a result of the course I took in preparation for the exam. Your local career or community college would most likely have a class that could prepare you. My personal recommendation would be to check with Milwaukee Area Technical College. If you would prefer to study using a book, I have found that the CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide (ISBN 125958951X) is the best. It is comprehensive and has all the information you could need. I used it to supplement the class I took at MATC and was very happy with it.

If you are in a place where you feel as though you have the knowledge required to pass the exam, the next step would be to locate testing centers in your area where the exam may be taken. Testing centers may be found on CompTIA’s web site at https://certification.comptia.org/testing/test-locations. Which center you use is entirely up to you. The test will be the same regardless of where you go. Keep in mind that each exam does cost money, in the $195 range, so it’s in your best interest to only take the exam when you’re certain that you will pass it. Also keep in mind that if you are taking a preparation class at a college, discounted exam vouchers may be available. You will want to speak with your teacher for more information.

After you have located a testing center, my next suggestion would be to practice. None of the exam is hands-on so using online practice exams would be the best course of action. There are many practice exams available online but it’s important that you use one that is up-to-date. With things in IT changing so quickly, you wouldn’t want to practice using an exam containing outdated information. The test I used to practice was found through http://www.certblaster.com. They have a comprehensive database containing over a thousand questions that is current and up-to-date. It does cost money to use but I found the extra expense to be worth it in the end.

The day of the exam, I strongly recommend mapping out your route. I know this sounds simple but the day that I took the exam, I didn’t do this and ended up almost missing the start time due to construction. Even if you map it out and never look at it again, at least you will have an idea if there are any traffic delays or other issues. Like the rest of the world, I suggest using Google Maps at http://maps.google.com to accomplish this.

Now, it’s all over but the exam itself. This can be stressful but if you’ve taken the time to study and practice, concentrate, and go in with confidence, you should pass without any problems. Remember to bring a photo ID with you and keep in mind that cell phones, other electronic devices, and food and drink are not permitted in the testing area. Also, should you not pass the exam, you can take the test a 2nd time as soon as the opportunity is available. If you don’t pass the 2nd time, you then will have to wait 14 days before taking the test again.

Getting your A+ certification can be a stressful but exciting time. I am confident that if you focus, study hard, and follow the steps outlined above, you should not have any problems passing the test. Good luck!