The Guide to Self-Study

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by zimbo, May 19, 2006.

  1. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    I have been inspired to write about a method of studying called self-studying, the reason being is we have new members asking us quite frequently:

    Then these poor souls go take loans out for these very large amounts and are stuck with large debts and very often poor results. BUT Im not here to write about training companies nor am i saying they are all bad. Im expressing my desire to show you another method.If you feel that no i still cant self-study then by all means i don't mind you going to training companies as a lot of people have positive results.

    The number one thing people say when they hear self-study is 'i cant do that'. Why not? Thats what you are going to be doing with certain companies. On your own with the material they sent you. Yes you can! I am living proof. September 2005 i unemployed and with just an in-house A+ certification now i got a job and working towards 2 Microsoft certification and learning Linux - all by myself, with no classroom attendence.. Im not a geek or freak just a normal guy who wants to make it in the tough world of IT the best way i can.

    So you asking yourself now - OK great you learning with books you bought and doing all the hands on, BUT what if you get stuck, or confused or don't understand something? Well thats were *my tutors* come in. Yes i said tutors - not just one i have many maybe hundreds. From Australia to South Africa to the US to the UK -what am i talking about? Forums just like this one, we have been gifted with these and you should use them. If i need help I use them and i use them alot. Now that i have been helped i feel its my IT duty to help you guys out. Finding forums is easy, just use a search engine like and type the technology associated with the word forum and you will see plenty of results! Talking of Google thats another fantastic resource. Type your problem into Google and you *will* find a solution! So can you can see you too can use these tutors and with time differences you will post and quite often get an answer with a short time! Did i mention they free???? :biggrin

    Another question you are asking is where do you buy your books from, well have a look at this thread

    Because this guide is more likely to be read by people starting out with IT certifications i will stick to the more common *entry-level* certifications and tell you what resources and material you will require and how to attain your certification.

    This seems to be the first certification people do or are recommended to do. From Comptia's website:
    The books that are recommended for this exam from Amazon UK are:

    A+ Certification All-in-one Exam Guide - £19.24
    CompTIA A+ Complete Study Guide, Deluxe Edition - £32.50

    These seem to be the two main books used with the first being the most favoured. Both these books cover the 2006 objectives notably exam numbers 220-601/602/603/604.

    You might then want to get a book to revise from once you ready for the exam - just to solidify information:

    A+ Certification Exam Cram - £18.99

    Another book that will be very useful and is well worth getting is PC Technician Street Smarts: A Real World Guide to CompTIA A+ Skills - £12.99. Oh and this book is actually written by a member here on Certforums (Tripwire). An updated version of the book is advertised on Amazon to be available in October 2009.

    You might want to get a PC you can take to parts then put together and then use it for you OS exam. This can be picked up from computer fairs or from eBay for less than 100 pounds as you don't need anything fantastic.

    Exam Fees - with Prometric:

    £105.00 for the Core and £105 for the OS. This can be reduced if you can find exam vouchers from places like -buy finding bargain exam vouchers.

    GRAND TOTAL FOR A+: ~£410 (exams included!)

    Comptia Network+ Certification

    Mike Meyers Network+ Certification All-in-one Exam Guide - £23.75

    - £21.11

    Mike Meyers Network+ Guide to Managing and Troubleshooting Networks Lab Manual - £14.51

    Total for Books: ~£38

    I am afraid that due to my lack of knowledge about this certification I cant tell you exactly what you will need to do hands-on labs for it. But ill assume you will need £120 and im sorry if this is too little or too much! :biggrin

    Exam: This is very expensive infact the most expensive part, again from Prometric: £154

    GRAND TOTAL: ~£312

    Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician [​IMG]


    70-271: Self-paced Training Kit: Supporting Users and Troubleshooting a Windows XP Operating System - £27.05

    70-272: Self Paced Training Kit: Supporting Users and Troubleshooting Desktop Applications on Windows - £27.05

    Total for Books: ~£55

    You could well do with 2 PC's that can run Windows XP so about
    ~£200 for them - maybe less.

    Exams: Will be £88 each so thats £176 - again from Prometric

    TOTAL: ~£430 (will be alot less if you can find bargin PCs)

    Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)[​IMG]

    There seem to be many many books for the MCSE but i will show you the Microsoft Press ones as i feel the best books are often the ones from the exam publisher.

    70-270: Installing,Configuring,& Administering Windows XP Professional - £27.05

    70-290,70-291,70-293 and 70-294:MCSE Self Paced Training Kit: Windows Server 2003 Core Requirements - £81.51
    A 2nd edition is out in June.

    Now because of the different exams you can select ill choose these for you as an indication:

    70-284: Implementing and Managing Exchange Server 2003 Training Kit - £27.05

    70-298: Designing Security for a Windows Server 2003 Network: Training Kit - £26.59

    Total for Books: ~£170

    As for hands on you have 2 solutions:
    Real PC's or Virtual Machines. For more information on virtual machines look at
    Now because of the hardware requirements of Server operating systems you will need some good PC's - atleast three real machines OR you could *beef up* or build another one PC for your virtual machines. Either way i think £500 should be fine.

    Exams: Thats 7 exams at a cost of £88 each = £616 again with Prometric

    GRAND TOTAL: ~£1500 and you will end up with a nice new PC!

    Finally more and more people including myself are using Transcenders as a way of checking if you ready for the exam. They have practice questions and exams for nearly every certification. They are a little expensive but very worth it! These are extra and not needed if you cant afford them at the moment.

    There we go. I have tried to break down the costs as best as i can. Prices will change so please take these as approximations. Exam prices are from the Prometric site for UK exams. Prices for the books from Amazon UK. As you can see you can get certified and learn for much cheaper. If i have left anything out please forgive me and i will try update them ASAP and in the future when i learn about other certification from others here add them too. I hope find this guide helpful and eye-opening and i wish you good luck in your quest for certification! :thumbleft
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  2. Tom3

    Tom3 New Member

    Thank you very much for this great information!
    Certifications: none
    WIP: deciding
  3. Feellex

    Feellex Bit Poster

    Thank you for this. It's very useful and very motivational. Even though I am not the most self-disciplined person I feel motivated enough to adopt this approach. Now here comes the stupid question from the newbie....why is it necessary to buy so many books? I could make the assumption that not all the information is in one study guide but I think it would be useful to read your views on this. Thank you.
    Certifications: None....yet!
    WIP: Still planning
  4. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

    First - books are much cheaper than courses!

    Second - look at the actual titles (I'm taking the A+ section here as an example). You would want the All-in-one to start with, which is an excellent (and massive) fount of knowledge. Why are two books shown in that section? The second book is by a different author, and gives a different slant on things. Good to get an alternative view - it helps round out the knowledge.

    The Lab Manuals are there to guide you through actual interaction with the hardware/OS, with practical things you can try.

    Finaly - IMHO you can never have too many books (although you may find difficulty getting through the front door). Bought over time they can be a massively helpful library in your studies.

    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  5. BosonMichael
    Honorary Member Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Quoted For Truth.
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  6. Yorkie

    Yorkie Bit Poster

    thanks alot great help
    Certifications: Very bad GCSE's
    WIP: First BTEC in IT Support
  7. Dhughes

    Dhughes Byte Poster

    Now i would be really gutted about this after enrolling with Advent, but luckily my father in law just got the golden handshake as he retired from a high up position in the fire service and the cash went to his head, so i still have my cash in the bank ( not that much mind!) many thanks to him :biggrin :biggrin

    I do by books like the ones listed above still because sometimes i find something is really hard to under stand and get your head around, then you read the same topic by a different authour and due to a slight different angle or wording now everything makes sense!

    Has anyone Purchased the CompTIA A+ for dummies? Is it any good? I have other dummy books ive picked up cheap from ebay, not that i need them yet but im a sold on ebay if its cheap and ill need it in the future then ill get it, best to have the book to hand when you need it and not have to wait for days for deliverly.My local book shops are poo for A+ books, I do love forums though :@) especially ones like this one were everyone seems friendly and helpfull 8)
    Certifications: A+ Essentails, A+ Technician , MCDST
  8. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    I could never get past the title.
    Amazon is a great place to buy books. Also, if your local bookstore doesn't carry what you are looking for, chances are they'll order it for you if you ask. :wink:
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  9. BosonMichael
    Honorary Member Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    It's pretty bad. I had a former co-worker use it for her A+ studies, and she failed... twice. Scared her so bad, she gave up testing for two years. I suggested that she get Meyers A+ All-in-One, and she passed without any trouble.
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  10. nascimep

    nascimep New Member

    Today I went to check on computing school where you can get all this exams A+(£590), N+(£900) and CNNA(£690) and He give me a discount, which I was to accept but I was think on do self-Study for the Microsoft exams and A+, so I refused it. Once more thanks for your tip, cause I really needed some type of incentive and this really help me to go for self study.
    Thanks:D :blink :eek: :D
    Certifications: HND, BSc
    WIP: A+, N+, CNNA
  11. newbie23

    newbie23 New Member

    Thanks Zimbo!!
    This has been great, a mate at work told me about this method and i thought it was ridiculous but i must say i'm converted thanks to your simple explanation!

    I have been trawling the internet for a few weeks now thinking about doing a course in IT and after having a few sales people around from certain advertised companies i realised its what i really want to do although their courses sound like a con (as its alot of money to lay out at once) so what i'm going to is buy the first books you told us about and go from there! fingers crossed!
    Certifications: n/a
    WIP: a+
  12. bla

    bla New Member

    I totally agree with u zimbo on the issue of self study coz some of the amounts being talked bout in the so-called schools are unrealistic.
    I av bn trawling the net for some study materials and this TRANSCENDER idea caught my eye.
    Would u recomend the transcender software as the main study material or its just good for revision only???
  13. YinTakLee

    YinTakLee Bit Poster

    great article :biggrin! i was complety lost at what to do a day ago as iam just starting out. loving the forum just starting out been out off work for a bit but working now jus waiting for some regular cash and into some self studying for the basic entry level certs many many thanks again :oops:
    Certifications: none
    WIP: A+
  14. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    Good article.

    I'd just Like to mention PC Technician Street Smarts by Jame Pyles. I think its an excellent lab book which compliments the A+ all in exam guide by Mike Myeres.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  15. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster

    Good artice Zim, keep it up.
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
  16. Abs

    Abs Bit Poster

    Thanks Zimbo

    If it wasnt for people like you who post this info I would be in £8000 in debt doing mcsa, even though I have no experience. Thank god I had bad credit I they turned me down. I remember how sad I was that day.....thinking god why are you doing this to me. But after I found this forum I decided to go with the self study route and it's easier than I thought. You are saving desperate people like me a fortune........Thanks mate.
  17. tree

    tree New Member

    Thanks for the info zimbo! I'd actually been thinking of studying for the A+ exams this year, but didn't have too much info about them so this was a great help. Think i'll go for the self study option as well. Thanks again!
  18. Sandeep Reddy

    Sandeep Reddy New Member

    Ur message has boosted me
    I am interested in writing MCP
    I know C# and SQL Server
    which paper i should prefer
    Which material i should follow
    If u have any suggestions or material
    please send to ******

    Certifications: NA
    WIP: MCP
  19. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    You've already posted your question in this thread:

    Please look there for the answers, Sandeep. Also, I've edited your email address here and in the other thread to keep you from being spammed. Internet searchbot rove the web looking for email addresses to add to spam lists. Never post your email address in a public forum. If anyone chooses to answer your questions, they'll just reply to your post. There's no reason to email you. If someone has a private message for you, they can use the forum software to send you a private message. The forum software also allows members to send you emails using a the forum interface.
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  20. Spilly

    Spilly Kilobyte Poster

    I'll second that ......."Good artice Zim, keep it up".

    Concise & clear nice one!

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