It’s quite possibly the most nerve-wracking moment for a young information technology professional: CompTIA A+ exam day. It’s the culmination of weeks of hard work and study, after months or years of work experience and preparation: the day you try to pass the A+ exam, obtaining that elusive certification that will help you start your IT career on the right foot.
But what if you blow it? What if you didn’t study enough, or forget?
After registering for your exam, it’s all about practice, practice, practice. Read vendor websites and watch tutorials online to get valuable information on answering correctly. While you prepare, be sure you are trying to get some real-world experience on the job as well, whenever possible. Take practice exams until you’re passing them easily.
Be sure you are studying and practicing properly. Avoid so-called “brain dump” websites that promise you actual exam questions and answers. CompTIA regularly refreshes their bank of questions, and they consider those types of sites cheating, which means you run the risk of having certification revoked. Stick to traditional study methods.
First things first: before you leave for the testing site, be sure you have prepared: get a good night’s rest, and eat a healthy breakfast. This will prevent hunger and fatigue from distracting you, and help you achieve the focus you need.
Arrive at the testing site early, and have all the materials you need. Be sure you have two forms of identification for your exam, and leave electronic devices at home. You’ll be required to surrender all electronic devices during your test, including smartphones and smartwatches.
You will begin taking the exam at your designated time and location. You have up to 90 minutes to complete the exam, and you must score 850 or higher to pass.
Exam questions are delivered in five different types:
|Multiple choice: Choose the correct answer from a list of 4-5 possible answers.|
|Multiple response: Choose all of the correct options from a list of possible answers.|
|Fill in the blank: Complete a statement by filling in the correct response in the blank.|
|Drag and drop: drag correct responses to the appropriate location.|
|Exhibits: Questions may display a graphic or video as an exhibit.|
|Performance-based: Simulate an environment or technology and require you to perform a task in the virtual environment.|
Use test-taking techniques to improve your odds. For multiple-choice questions, if you aren’t sure of the answer, be sure to eliminate obviously wrong responses. Performance-based questions have a “reset” function that allows you to start over if you get stuck or too far off track. Be aware, though, that every time you reset, the clock continues to run. Make sure you don’t overuse it!
It’s important to note that while there is a timer running, it will not always be visible on your screen. Be mindful of the time you have remaining, and don’t allow yourself to fall too far behind. If you are stuck on a question you can skip it and move on to the next one. You will be able to return to questions you have skipped, as long as you don’t select “End Review” once you are finished. Once you select “End Review,” your responses are locked and you will not be able to make any additional changes to your responses. Be sure you manage your time well!
Finishing the A+ Exam
Once you complete the exam, you will see your exam score immediately. If you passed, you will receive a congratulatory email from CompTIA Certmetrics with instructions on how to access your record. Be sure to keep records of your score report, which includes your exam registration number and instructions on accessing, and the email address you used to register for the exam.
If you do not pass the exam, remember you can take the exam again. Keep your score report handy to understand which areas you need to improve upon, and focus your study in those areas. You can also use the CompTIA CertMaster to address gaps in your knowledge. Once you feel ready, you can re-take the exam and earn your certification!
By being prepared, diligent, and taking the process seriously, you can earn your CompTIA A+ certification and position yourself for career success out of the gate! Remember the success you find in your career relates directly to your skills and knowledge. Getting A+-certified is the first step in professional credibility you need, setting the tone that can follow you throughout your career.