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Seeking advice for best way to approach A+ studying

Discussion in 'A+' started by Joe Tee, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. Joe Tee

    Joe Tee New Member

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    Hi, I've just been lurking about the forums tonight and reading alot of the posts in this forum as i'm very interested in studying for the A+. This forum seems great and I hope some of you guys with previous experience can point me in the right direction !

    I've just finished a diploma in Electronics&Engineering and passed it, but have little interested in that subject - it's just not what i thought it would be. I've always been alot more interested in being a technician - i find it very satisfying when i am able to fix my own computer or somebody elses computer. I frequently use computers and have always enjoyed the practical side of it.

    As far as my knowledge goes, i know my way around the inside of a computer, i'm confident with doing most things, including replacing RAM, Power Supply, Hard drive, Optical drives, PCI cards, AGP cards, etc. Some things i've never tried before are replacing a processor, and installing a new motherboard. I want to learn how to do everything, - basically i'd love to become a technician !

    I'm very aware of the vast amount of information i will need to learn, but i'm slightly confused about which route to take with regards to studying for the A+ exam.

    Before I visited this forum, I thought the best way would to be to pay for one of those online courses where they give you access to tons of study material (videos, powerpoint style presentations, 24/7 online support, practise exams, etc). From my research a while ago i think these kind of courses costed like £400 which was a bit offputting since the exams cost a fair amount too !

    I've noticed on this forum you guys recommend people to buy certain books rather than courses ?

    I was hoping some of you guys could tell me the best way to study for the A+. Is an online course not nessacary ? If not, book names (or even where i can buy them from) would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, how much study time would you say is required to be 'ready' for the exam - considering i'm not exactly great at revising from books. It also might be worth mentioning that I find it hard to keep concentration for long periods of time - and there's nothing i hate more than books that are just huge chunks of text with no pictures/diagrams explaining what is being said ...

    Pardon the huge post ! Any help would be appreciated, thanks ever so much ! :D

    Joe.
     
    Certifications: ND Electronics&Engineering
    WIP: A+
  2. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    Que GBL
     
  3. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Hi Welcome :)

    THere is absolutely no need for a course for any cert, only do them if you feel it will be worth for you and then I would recommend a college course and not some company like computeach or advent etc.

    Most of these places just supply you with books and tell you to read them, then they charge you for the privelage sometime thousands of pounds.

    I got the two most recommended books for the A+ which are PC Technician street smarts by James Pyles and compTIA A+ all in one exam guide 6th edition by Mike Meyers. I also got an old PC to mess with from a recycling centre, all for the grand total of £80

    EDIT: study for as long as you feel comfortable with, I usually do about 2 sessions of 20 minutes a day but no more
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    heh heh, how did you guess :blink
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  5. Joe Tee

    Joe Tee New Member

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    Oh wow, that was a quick response!

    Thanks for the heads up then, you've probably just saved me hundreds of pounds. :oops:

    I just did a practise test online for one of the topics required (hardware i think) and failed miserably! 30 correct and 50 wrong, geez! i've got some studying to do. I wasn't expecting the types of questions the practise test threw at me - seems like the test will be very technical and requrie me to memorise alot of specific numbers. Ah well, can't expect to know much when i haven't even picked up a book yet, that's like taking a driving test when you've never had a proper driving lesson !

    I will definately purchase the books you've recommended, and i'll be sure to visit the forum regularly to fish about for any helpful advice and to let you guys know how i'm getting on with the books.

    What are the books like that you recommended, are they aided by photographs/diagrams at all ? Sometimes I find things hard to understand when i can't visualise them, so books that are aided by diagrams or photos really help my learning process, that's why i ask. Books that just consist of mountains and mountains of technical text fry my brain, it's nice to read from a book that simplifies things that are hard to learn if you get what i mean (i.e. telling you methods to remember certain things). I also prefer books that have a 'relaxed' approach, where they contain everything you need to know - but aren't written in a constant serious boring manner, a bit of humour here and there goes a long way!

    Thanks again. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: ND Electronics&Engineering
    WIP: A+
  6. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Both books I recommended are written in very relaxed styles and are easy to follow, the big AIO book can be very funny. THe technician street smarts book has exercises in it but does not over complicate things which is cool. James Pyles is actual an Admin on here under the name Tripwire45.

    If you have any queries thats what this place is for :)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  7. Joe Tee

    Joe Tee New Member

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    Sounds perfect. :D

    I've just been reading reviews on Amazon and it seems a few previous editions (5th mostly) of the meyers AIO books get critisized for not covering enough to be a good enough primary source to pass the A+ with (people complained that the A+ asks mostly troubleshooting questions and the book just didn't cover it enough to prepare you).

    I take it these issues were resolved in the 6th edition, yeah ? I don't fancy reading that many pages if it's not going to fully prepare me for what's ahead, heh.

    I'll order my copy of the two books tomorrow. I look forward to reading them (i think!).
     
    Certifications: ND Electronics&Engineering
    WIP: A+
  8. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    I can't comment on 5th edition; however, I have the 6th and it is a great book (as is PC Technician Street Smarts by James Pyles). You shouldn't expect any book to fully prepare you for an exam; you also need to be taking PCs apart, and putting them back together again, learning where everything goes and what it is, for the A+.

    Good luck with the studies.
     
  9. del_port

    del_port Byte Poster

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    if you can't get into the books,and find you are taking in little information from them college starts in september,so you've got roughly 8 to 9 weeks to book up for that,i think you'll know in the next 4 weeks if the books are the route forward for you.
    I personally could not do the A+ with books,and haven't even read a book on the A+ yet.
    I taught myself off the web over the last 10 years {as well as attending college}so i have read webpages,but books don't interest me.
     
    Certifications: A+ and MCDST 70-271
    WIP: mcdst 272
  10. Joe Tee

    Joe Tee New Member

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    Thanks guys.

    I don't think I can face going back to college to be honest, just been doing a course at one for 2 years. I'm going to study from the books for a while and see how I get on. If i struggle - there's nothing stopping me from going to college the following year, or signing up for one of those online courses.

    Does anybody know the situation about taking the actual exam - like what happens if you fail, do you have to pay the full-price fee again, or do you get a discount as it will be a re-take ? Ta.
     
    Certifications: ND Electronics&Engineering
    WIP: A+
  11. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    For the A+ exams I'm afraid that if you fail one the retake will be the same price again. :ohmy

    Sometimes Microsoft makes an offer of cheap retakes for some of their exams, but I've never seen CompTIA do this for theirs.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  12. Joe Tee

    Joe Tee New Member

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    :cry: Wow, that could be a costly experience if I don't study hard enough. If that's not an incentive to work harder I don't know what is ! lol.

    ps. hbroomhall where did you take your exams ? I live not so far away from you (Cranbrook, Kent) so I imagine i'd go to the same test place you did.
     
    Certifications: ND Electronics&Engineering
    WIP: A+
  13. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    It so happens that I work in Central London - so had quite a choice of places to take the exams. For each one I took a slightly 'extended' lunch break!

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  14. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    If you go to the pearson vue website you will find where your nearest test centre is.

    If you pay pearsonvue directly the cost of the two exams will be £266 including VAT however if you buy discount vouchers from www.gracetechsolutions.com you would pay £214 no VAT to pay then you just enter the voucher numbers as payment in the pearson vue website instead of your credit card.

    EDIT: make sure you buy the international vouchers!
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  15. Joe Tee

    Joe Tee New Member

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    Cheers for saving me even more money, haha.

    Right, i'm about to order the AOI and Street Smarts book. Is it worth buying and reading the Jean Andrews book aswell as the other two books, or would that be overkill ? :blink
     
    Certifications: ND Electronics&Engineering
    WIP: A+
  16. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    The AIO and Technician street smarts books were enough for me, try those first and if you need then buy the other book.

    The AIO comes with a CD-ROM with practice exams on it which are a good way to see if your readsy for the real exams.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  17. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    I bought the ExamCram2 book, and was very disappointed with it. Avoid!

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  18. jo74

    jo74 Byte Poster

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    I'll second that.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, Sec+
    WIP: CCENT, CCNA
  19. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Since you now have spare cash, donations can be made to GBL foundation of technology and certification :D :twisted::D
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  20. Joe Tee

    Joe Tee New Member

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    I appear to have ... errr .. lost my wallet ! :p lol.
     
    Certifications: ND Electronics&Engineering
    WIP: A+

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