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A+ and N+ Training - Who to use ?

Discussion in 'A+' started by Ecuyetx, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Ecuyetx

    Ecuyetx New Member

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    I am looking to study and take exams for A+ and N+. But am running in circles trying to decide what format to take and who to use. I nearly signed up with SkillsTrain (Scheidegger) and then read a whole host of negative comments on forums which has put me off.
    I have looked at Computeach and they seem to offer very similar stuff. I have spoken to a guy at Gateway IT, who claim to be the only "CLA Approved trainer". I'm not sure of the relevance of this but they sound very professional but it involves classroom work in Devon (which is a long trip for me) and costs £1700 just for A+ which seems a bit steep.
    I have looked at two colleges in London. Oxford House and Bickenhall both of which are charging £500+ for 4 or 5 days classroom plus books, plus practice time on site. Unfortunately I cannot find any independant views about either of these people and don't know if they are any good. Does anyone out there have any knowledge or views ?
    I am concerned that if OI just buy the Mike Meyers book I won't have the discipline to study (it's been a while).
    Cheers,
     
    Certifications: None
  2. Dream_In_Infrared

    Dream_In_Infrared Nibble Poster

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    I am currently doing the A+ via the self study route. I have set myself weekly targets of a given number of pages and that is broken down into daily targets. My week is planned out with time allocated for study and chill time and various other things. [real life stuff] May sound dull but I have tried various approaches and have found that doing this helps me the most. The key is to find what works best for you.

    The Mike Meyers "All in One" book is great, very clearly explained and very memorable. You will probably need to use another book to fill in odd gaps. I am going for the Exam Cram book. Also access to lots of practice questions will be of use later on.

    In addition, the key is to do as much pratical work as you can, rather than just read about the subject matter, actually have a go. To this end you could consider some of the following:

    a. Mike Meyers Lab Manuals, one for hardware, one for software. [He does N+ books too though I cannot advise you on these because I have not used them]
    b. If you have a PC that you can play with without worrying about the implications of doing so, find out how it is assembled, change software configuration settings, etc. [this could be an old PC you already have, an old one bought off eBay or one a friend can donate to your cause.]
    c. If you have the money, build your own PC from scratch. You will learn lots doing this.
    d. Use different operating systems to learn how to maintain, configure and troubleshoot them. I have ordered various ones from eBay and am going to set them up on my PC in different partitions so I can access them first-hand while going through the relevant A+ subject matter.
    e. Look into night-school classes at your local college. Check out the short-course options. My local college offers two decent courses, one on PC building and upgrading and one on fault finding.
    f. Once you have some knowledge and experience of the A+, search your local area for work experience. Offer your services voluntarily. Certain organisations may give you a break and take you on for a few hours each week.
    g. Save your cash and try by yourself for a while. If you feel you will lack discipline doing it by yourself I can guarantee you will be faced with the same dilemma if you sign up to a distance learning provider. I went with Computeach, I have experience. Ultimately, whichever way you go it is down to you. If you really want to do it you will find a way.
    h. If you feel you need some help with one-to-one tuition, I would suggest you still do the background work yourself. Give yourself a basic grounding in the A+ first. Intensive courses are probably aimed at those in the indutstry with experience already or people who want to 'top-up' their learning. To give yourself a chance at succeeding in such a situation it would be best to know more rather than less so that you are not swamped.
    i. Post here and ask for help. People here are cool, very supportive and friendly. Honest. ;)

    Good luck with whatever you decide. :D
     
    Certifications: None :(
    WIP: A+
  3. Ecuyetx

    Ecuyetx New Member

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    D_I_R,
    Thanks for the comprehensive reply. It's nice to speak to someone who is actually doing the studying now, and has tried one of these distance learning people. I guess you did not get on with the Computeach course, as you saidf you tried it and are now going your own way. They do keep phoning me and the price has gone down a couple of times already which always worries me. I guess these guys are working on commission and keen to get a sale, which is a shame because it makes them too "pushy" sometimes.
    It looks like the Mike Meyers book is a "must have" whether I go it alone or not.
    I am about to vbuy all the bits I need to build my own PC. I have replaced my Motherboard and CPU before so I've done about as much as you can do without starting from scratch, but my PC is probably about at the end of it's lifespan anyway, and as you say I think it would really help to build one from scratch. I had not thought about loading the different OS in different partitions but that is also a good idea.
    Thanks for your help, Tony E.
     
    Certifications: None
  4. Dream_In_Infrared

    Dream_In_Infrared Nibble Poster

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    Glad to help in any way I can Tony. You will find quite a few people here doing the A+ at the moment, all at different stages. I did study with Computeach but tackling the work using their approach did not work for me and I often found their support lacking. Since finding this place I have changed tack and followed the advice of people here and know I am making better progress.

    The key to self-study is partly self-discipline but you also need to make it interesting. The Computeach approach was very book-orientated and theoretical. People here advise you to improve upon this with hands-on experience. Not only does this make learning the material more interactive and memorable, it makes it fun and that motivates you to want to find out more. Hands-on experience also teaches you odd little things that even the best books do not cover. With hindsight, distance learning is simply self-study but it costs you more!

    The Mike Meyer’s “All in One” book is THE A+ book but, as I said before, supplement it with something else to ensure you cover everything. Once you have read a few chapters of MM’s book check out another book and see what it mentions on those topics. There will be some disparity in coverage.

    Building your own PC should be a cool self-study exercise. For it to succeed you will need to have knowledge of a variety of issues which are covered in both the hardware and software sections. Keep the old PC and use that for any experimentation that you wish to carry out without jeopardising your new poot.

    Have fun and good luck. :D
     
    Certifications: None :(
    WIP: A+

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