Been working – Did Pass A+ Exams

I have been in and out of town several times since June 6th and have been busy with my money earning work and have not had a chance to get to the blog. However, I did want to make a quick post to reflect that I did indeed path both a+ exams on the 6th. I scored an 812 in the 220-701 (Essentials) exam and found it to reasonably easy. I took about a 10 minute break after the exam and then went straight to the next exam. I score a 780 on the 220-702 (Practical) exam and was a bit disappointed by that score. However, during the exam I was seriously questioning whether I was going to pass at all. I had conceded that I was not going to try and memorize two pages of CPU socket and memory types and had hoped that there would only be one question or so on that area. Unfortunately, there were several questions along those lines. There was quite a bit of coverage on the multitude of Windows utilities including recovery options and I was not strong in that area. Overall, I thought there were some less than stellar questions on the second exam. In the end though, I managed to pass with a reasonable score (not barely passing) and I am now A+ certified!

I have some more work related travel over the next week and then it is on to the ICND2 studies.

I’m a Flip-Flopper

I stated back on May 3rd that my plans for the A+ certification were on indefinite hold. Well that hold has now been removed. A situation occurred that has enabled me to purchase the exam vouchers and both exams are now scheduled for Wednesday June 6th. Today I am hoping to get the 31 Days Before Your CompTIA A+ Exams book read cover to cover. If I do not finish it tonight, I will definitely get it finished tomorrow. This is a ridiculously short prep time for an exam (2 days) but I was essentially and practically (puns intended) ready to take the exams at the end of April. I had completed the IT Hardware Essentials course in Cisco Academy and had covered the material quite a bit. The next two days will serve as a final review on the topics and hopefully I will have great news Wednesday afternoon. Wish me luck!

A+ Indefinite Hold

I recently finished my IT Hardware Essentials class at my local community college and was anxiously awaiting for a voucher discount link to appear on my Cisco Network Academy student page. After several days of waiting, I finally called Cisco Network Academy support to find out what was going on. I was surprised to learn that the program by which Cisco provided discount coupons for the CompTIA A+ exams had been discontinued over a year ago and that the Cisco document I had read on this was outdated. Bottom line is that I am not getting any voucher discounts. As I stated in my previous post, at $338 I would skip the A+ and focus on other certifications. At $144, it was a good deal but I just cannot justify the regular price as a network guy. I had hoped to take the exams in the next 7 days or so. However, A+ studies have been terminated and sitting for those exams is on indefinite hold for me. If I am able to get vouchers in the future that are at least 50% off the regular price, I may pick them up and take the exams. Otherwise, I’l forgo getting the A+ certification. The only reason it was ever on the radar was because of the class and the discounts.

Starting A+ Cram

The A+ certification is a bit of a strange situation for me. First, as a “network guy” I’ve always looked at the A+ certification as something that would be desirable for desktop support personnel. Personally, I never really had any desire to get the A+ certification for the reason I just mentioned as well as me viewing it as a very entry-level certification. However, I ended up in a situation where I needed to take the Cisco Academy IT Hardware Essentials course as part of my Associates Degree program. That course maps to the A+ objectives and discount exam vouchers are provided after completion. Basically, I will be able to take each exam for about $72 for a total of $144 for the A+ certification. The normal pricing would have been $169 per exam for a total of $338. At the latter price, I probably would have forgone the exams and focused on other certifications. However, the discounted price on top of the fact that I have been going over all the material in class for the last several months makes it too attractive to pass up.

I’ve built and maintained PCs since 1987 so I have a LOT of real world experience in this area. However, I switched to Mac in 2005 and thus Windows XP was the last version of Windows I used so I know very little about Vista and Windows 7. Therefore, I need to do some studying in those areas to prepare for the exam. I’ve decided to read two books that I have already purchased. (links to books here) The first is Exam Cram by David L. Prowse and the second is 31 Days Before your CompTIA A+ Exam by Ben Conry. The latter book is designed to be read by students who just finished the IT Hardware Essentials course and are planning for the exam. The former is more of a general A+ certification guide. I like the Exam Cram book because it is fairly concise without a lot of beginner fluff that I do not need.

I plan to get started this week on both books and want to really compress the time I spend on studying so that I can take the exams fairly quickly after receiving my voucher discounts. Unlike my previous studying for Network+ and Security+, I do not plan to do chapter review questions or take any practice tests. I feel as if I just need to review the material since I have years of experience in this area. Hopefully, I’ll do fine using this process.