Everything You Ever Wanted to know about Personal Computers, and More Besides!
So...you think you want to work for Geek Squad or for Best Buy, eh? Boy do I have a message for you! Geek Squad requires an A+ certification to work for them.
We once had a student (who shall remain nameless) who, in the course of two years, did absolutely no (I mean, nada, zip, zero) work in TestOut toward his A+ certification.
But then, after he graduated high school, he got a job at Best Buy. Guess what they did? They required him to obtain the A+ cert!!
Today's A+ exam is highly distributed across a variety of different computing topics such as: networking, hardware, Windows operating system (OS), security, other OSs (such as Mac OS, Linux, mobile OS), troubleshooting (network and hardware), and even operational procedures. Not to mention the original intent of A+ - to be tested on computer hardware.
Two - Two - Two Exams in One!!
A+ actually consists of two separate exams: 220-901, and 220-902.
The 220-901 exam covers PC hardware and peripherals, mobile device hardware, networking and troubleshooting hardware and network connectivity issues.
The 220-902 exam covers installing and configuring operating systems including Windows OS, iOS, Android, Mac OS X, and Linux. It also addresses security, the fundamentals of cloud computing and operational procedures.
CompTIA Exams are a Weird Bird
The average CompTIA exam does not just consist of a bunch of multiple-choice questions. You can also expect "drag and drops," meaning that you have to drag and drop various boxes into specific slots in order to get the question right, as well as "performance-based" questions in which you are provided a scenario, and you have to figure out the most appropriate approach to the solution.
The 220-901 and 220-902 exams are separately priced. They are both pass/fail. Currently, the exams cost $211 USD apiece. If you fail one, kachink! You have to plunk down another $211 skins to take the exam again.
There is good news, however. Because we are a CompTIA Authorized Academy Partner, an A+ exam voucher will only cost you $97 (current price as of this writing). Quite the savings.
Mike Meyers, a long-time author of study guides for the A+ certification exams has some advice for you as you begin to think about preparing for your A+ exam. (See YouTube video below).
A Friendly Warning
Most (but not all) of you that are coming into Computer Tech I or Cybersecurity I think "Ah, I've got this!" You will think that you can just go sit for the 220-901 exam, no problem, because you have assembled a cool gaming PC. Let me give you an early warning:
Unless you thoroughly (and I really mean thoroughly) study for the A+ exam, you will likely fail it!
Trust me: I have had some really powerful technologists come into my class. Not one has been able to just willy-nilly sign up for the A+ exams and go pass them on the first try. (Not without having gone through a study guide or two, that is.)
Your best option is to:
Plan on failing the 220-901 and/or 220-902 exam(s) the first time.
I tell my students that I took the Windows Server exam (back when Lincoln was president) and failed it not once but six times. These exams are really, really difficult! That is why they mean so much when you are able to put an A+ certification on your resume!