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Discussion in 'A+' started by fireblade179, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. fireblade179

    fireblade179 New Member

    Hi all,

    I know this might sound like the ranting and raving of a guy with a battered ego, but I seriously don't know what to do about the exams.

    I've studied Mike Meyers AIO fully, then when I reached the end, I studied it again. Then I studied his Passport twice, and revised using the AIO book again. I've read some of the Dummies guide but stopped halfway through because the information seemed somewhat basic. Oh, then there were a few hundred practice questions as well.

    Anyway, I took both the 601 and 602 exams today - passed the 601 with 775/900, but in the lovely little 602exam, i only recognised maybe half of the questions from the material I've studied. It's hard to give you examples of questions because I hardly remember any of them, since I'd never encountered any information about them before in the first place. One example I can remember:

    Removed to prevent a breach of the NDA

    Without giving the nature of the botched upgrade, how am I supposed to know? As many common upgrades are Memory, I could say that the problem lies with the new DIMM, or the technician doing the upgrade might have damaged the motherboard without proper ESD protection. Heck, it could even be one of the Peripherals malfunctioning, causing the error. Without knowing the beep codes or the nature of the error, HOW am I supposed to diagnose the problem?

    Then there was something like,


    I appreciate that bad ram causes reboots, but how am I supposed to diagnose bad ram by just looking at it? Apparently, the answer is that there have been burst capacitors causing this problem, but I wouldn't have known that unless I had googled it just now. Again, no study material mentioned it.

    Then there were questions about all sorts of things I'd NEVER heard of in my life, NONE of which were in any of the study material. Something to do with extra bits being added to or subtracted from backed up data. I'd be happy to say, "Gee, I just don't remember what the study material said about this particular subject," because the study material never mentioned it in the first place.

    I appreciate that the information must be out there SOMEWHERE, but where do I find it so I ensure I pass the second time around? I don't believe CompTIA were fair in asking some of these questions, but I don't know what to do about it. What should I do? I only got 640/900, and if I felt the questions were fair I'd GLADLY rewrite when I felt better prepared.
  2. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    The AIO was fine for me but I took the A+ a while back.

    Its A for the second question btw! :biggrin

    Perhaps purchase some legit test questions?
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  3. Carrobes Rob

    Carrobes Rob New Member

    Sometimes this comes down to looking for key words/phrases in the question. Even if the correct answer has not been included in the study material if you have spent time around PCs and studying you should be able to pick up on these key words/phrases if you are looking for them.

    For example, Question A contains the key phrase "MOST likely to cause the problem"

    This one is fairly straightforward because it even emphasises part of the key phrase - MOST likely. Out of the four, three are likely to cause POSTing issues, however as you may have learned either through study or experience RAM is more liable to fail through either ESD or production faults than either Motherboards or Peripheral cards. (This might not make sense now I've removed the actual question...)

    As for question B, the key phrase here is VISUAL inspection. Now this one might be harder as you state that the answer isn't in the study materials you have, although when I was teaching the A+ I seem to recall that it was in the A+ In Depth book so it isn't missing from all study books out there.

    What I think a lot of people forget, and I found quite often while teaching the A+, is that the study materials are not the be-all and end-all of your learning. You NEED to spend time with the hardware/software, you NEED to be keeping up to date with the news on the web (Slashdot, the Register, etc). For example the capacitor issue was big news a while back and should still be fairly easy to come across. What you really should be doing before sitting the exam is running through the CompTIA objectives because they and only they dictate what will be in the exam. You also need to remember that the objectives (and questions!) for the 601 exam can be used to some extent for the other exams too.

    To emphasise this, question A would have come under part of objective 1.2 in the 602 objectives (Identify and apply basic diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques) and also objective 1.3 in the 601 objectives (Recognize and isolate issues with display, power, basic input devices, storage, memory,
    thermal, POST errors (e.g. BIOS, hardware)). Question B would have come under the same 602 objective and a different part of objective 1.3 in the 601 exam (Apply basic troubleshooting techniques to check for problems (e.g. thermal issues, error
    codes, power, connections including cables and / or pins, compatibility, functionality,
    software / drivers ) with components for example:
    o Motherboards)

    With regard to your other frustration ("Something to do with extra bits being added to or subtracted from backed up data"), I can't be 100% sure what you're referring to but I make the assumption that it is Archive bits in backing up data. This could potentially come under three areas in the 602 objectives:
    Two different parts of objective 3.1 - Identify concepts and procedures for creating, viewing and managing disks, directories
    and files on operating systems
    o Files (e.g. creation, attributes, permissions)
    and Locate and use operating system utilities and available switches for example:
    o Disk management tools (e.g. DEFRAG, NTBACKUP, CHKDSK, Format)
    Objective 3.4 - Perform preventive maintenance for operating systems
    • Demonstrate the ability to perform preventive maintenance on operating systems
    including software and Windows updates (e.g. service packs), scheduled backups /
    restore, restore points​

    Basically, if you work through backups you would need to know about Full/Incremental/Differential/etc backups which would lead you to archive bits and their implimentation. Obviously if I have misinterpreted your point then disregard the specifics of this info, but the principal remains the same.

    I really hope that you don't take any of this as a rant against you because that's not how it is intended. My aim has been to show you some ways in which you can read the questions to better answer them, along with how to maximise your study to ensure you have all the information you need.

    If you have any further queries regarding the exams you sat, just ask.

    (PS, you really shouldn't post actual exam questions - big no-no!)
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, MCSA, MCTS

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