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The Definitive Practice Test Guide for the CompTIA A+ Core Series Exam

About the CompTIA A+ Core Series Test

The Comp TIA A+ Core Series exam is used to assess the skills and knowledge of those pursuing a career in Information Technology (IT). It was designed and written by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). Since 2001, the exam has been redesigned every three years to ensure that the questions and information evolve with changes in the field.

The CompTIA A+ Core Series is broken into two exams, each of which include 90 questions and a time limit of 90 minutes—allowing approximately one minute per question during the exam. The questions are generally multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and performance-based questions that require you to manipulate parts of a screen diagram to answer the question.

The first test (1001) contains the following topics and the proportion of questions related to each topic:

The second test (1002 ) covers:

The Comp TIA A+ Core Series can be a difficult exam to adequately prepare for, but adequate studying and preparation can greatly increase your chances of earning this certification on your first attempt. Taking the exam successfully often means knowing what to expect. It’s worth taking some time to understand each of the test sections in greater detail so that you can better study for the exam.

Sections of the CompTIA A+ Core Series Exam

1001 Hardware

Cables, connectors, RAM, and storage—just a few of the concepts you’ll be required to fully understand and work with when answering questions about hardware on this test. Many of the questions will ask you to envision a situation and recommend a “fix” or procedure that will help solve a problem. This section also covers printers and other devices, and the questions about this section make up about 27% of the 1001 test.

1001 Hardware and Network Troubleshooting

About 27% of the 1001 test questions relate to these areas, and they all will likely involve a “scenario” and ask for your suggestion to improve the situation, whether it is related to problems with the hardware, the network, or both. Wired or wireless, desktops or small devices, you’ll need to be able to troubleshoot them all.

1001 Mobile Devices

Test questions about this content will cover all mobile technology, from laptops to cell phones and everything in between. You’ll need to know about synchronizing devices and giving support to folks whose device has suddenly started acting “weird.” About 14% of the questions on the 1001 test will be about this content, which also covers all the accessories used with such devices and how to apply them to best advantage.

1001 Networking

Whether it’s a wired or wireless network, an IT professional needs to know everything about it and how to keep it functioning properly. Test questions about networking content will occupy about 20% of the 1001 test and will cover a myriad of topics, including configurations, hosts, connection types, and helpful tools to use. Of course, security concepts are also threaded throughout these questions.

1001 Virtualization and Cloud Computing

There isn’t a lengthy list of terms to learn in this area of test preparation, but it’s really important that you understand the ones that are involved. Only about 12% of the 1001 test is about this topic, but virtualization is a big deal in today’s computer world, and cloud use is relied upon in many industries. There are also numerous requirements to keep in mind when dealing with virtualization and cloud computing.

1002 Operating Systems

Instead of dividing Windows and other operating systems, these questions deal with a wide variety of systems and include their installation and maintenance. You’ll need to know all about the capabilities of the systems and tools they feature. It’s also important to know which type of system may be better used for certain purposes. Approximately 27% of the 1002 test is devoted to questions about operating systems.

1002 Operational Procedures

Managing IT systems is complicated and requires you to know a lot about operations and proper procedures. Knowing how to prevent a disaster is as important as knowing what to do if one happens, and doing so is always preferable. Then you’ll need to be familiar with aspects of safety and professionalism. All of these, and more, are covered in the questions about this topic, which occupy about 23% of the 1002 test.

1002 Security

These days, the IT world is all about security, and this test has stepped up its coverage of the concept, with about 24% of the 1002 test covering security concepts. Related questions will ask you to delve deeply into procedures that protect people and their information. Many times, you will be asked to imagine a certain scenario and apply what you know about security to maintain the integrity of operations.

1002 Software Troubleshooting

Also related to security is the area of tainted software, and these questions thoroughly examine proper and safe procedures and all types of software with regard to security and function. Questions like these make up about 26% of the 1002 test. It was one thing to secure a stationary device, like a desktop, but today’s world requires many additional methods since our technology is often quite small and quite mobile.

What to Expect on Test Day

The CompTIA A+ Core Series exams are administered by Pearson VUE, which will require you to register online before taking the exam. From the online portal, you can select your testing center, submit your exam fees, and review the testing policies and procedures. These policies will give you a complete assessment of the details you need to know on the day of the exam.

It’s also a great idea to leave for the exam early to ensure you have sufficient time to get to the testing location and make it through the sign-in and verification procedures. You may opt to take both tests on the same day or break them up into different days. No matter your plan, you should be prepared to remain at the testing site until the duration of the exam(s) is completed—90 minutes for each test.

The testing center will take a photograph of you during the check-in procedure in order to ensure the highest level of security and authentication.

What to Bring

It’s essential that you bring two forms of legal identification, such as a passport or driver’s license and a secondary ID. The types of identification that are accepted are found in the CompTIA’s Testing Policies information.

What Not to Bring

Do not bring any personal items with you on the day of your exam. This would include purses, bags, study guides, notes, books, computers, tablets, smartphones, or smartwatches. While some testing centers have designated space to secure your belongings, it’s best to err on the side of caution and leave anything that is not essential at home or in your vehicle. You may also contact the testing site beforehand to find out if there is somewhere to place your personal belongings.

Best Ways to Study for the CompTIA A+ Core Series Test

Take CompTIA A+ Core Series Practice Tests

The best possible move you can make to prepare for taking CompTIA A+ core series exams is taking practice tests. These practice tests are especially important for the CompTIA A+ exam due to the presence of performance-based questions. Examinees can be thrown off their game if they don’t have familiarity with this type of question prior to taking the exam. CompTIA A+ practice tests also help examinees get comfortable with the other types of questions, the subject matter, and the overall format of the exam. Practice tests are a great way to identify weak areas and ensure you build the confidence necessary to succeed on test day!

Use Alternative Study Methods

While the practice exams are a great study tool, you can definitely boost your game by adding supplemental study materials, like flashcards for the CompTIA A+ Core Series Test and study guides for the CompTIA A+ Core Series Test. These alternative study methods can help you ensure that you retain all of the information needed to ace both parts of the exam!

Simulate the Testing Experience

Another crucial study strategy is simulating the actual testing experience. Practice tests reviewed and taken on their own will give you some idea of the topics you need to study and your weak areas, but simulating the testing experience will give you a much better idea of how you will actually perform on the test day! Try timing yourself and taking both exams in one sitting. This is especially important if you registered to take them both in one day.

CompTIA A+ Core Series Test Tips and Tricks

If you are struggling with the material, take the two exams on different days.

The CompTIA A+ core series exam is composed of two tests, which may or may not be taken on the same day. While some individuals opt to schedule both tests on the same day, this might not be the best plan if you are struggling with any of the material. If this is the case, it’s best to study and focus on one exam at a time, and tackle the second one after you have passed the first.

Pay attention to the performance-based questions and your time.

There are a number of performance-based questions on the CompTIA A+ core series exams, and generally speaking, these questions take longer to answer than other questions. To answer them adequately, you will have to manage your time effectively. While the 90 minutes that is allotted allows roughly one minute per question, you will likely spend less than that on many questions and more than that on the performance-based questions. So keep an eye on the clock while taking the exam.

Skip questions you don’t know and return to them later.

As a strategy to optimize your time, you should always skip confusing questions and return to them after you have answered the ones that are straightforward. This will give you an idea of how much time you have left to spend on the harder questions.

CompTIA A+ Core Series Test FAQ:

1. How much does it cost to take the CompTIA A+ core series exams?

Each exam in the CompTIA A+ core series is $239. With two exams, this brings the total price to $478. You must purchase a voucher, either online or in-person, prior to taking the exam. Vouchers are good for 12 months after the purchase date, and both registration and testing must be completed in that window.

2. If I pass the exam, how long will my CompTIA A+ certification last?

Certification lasts for three years.

3. What kind of career can I pursue with CompTIA A+ certification?

CompTIA A+ certification is for those pursuing a career in information technology (IT). Compatible jobs include service desk analyst, help desk technician, technical support specialist, field service technician, associate network engineer, data support technician, and desktop support administrator, among others.

4. Can I retake the CompTIA A+ exams if I don’t pass the first time?

Yes, if you fail either part of the exam, you can retake that section immediately. If you fail on the second attempt, you must wait 14 days before you can take the exam again. This 14-day waiting period is required for all subsequent attempts at the exam.

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