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Exam Profile: CompTIA A+ 220-901 & 220-902

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This article profiles the CompTIA A+ exams (220-901 & 220-902), which test competency in comprehensive vendor-neutral PC hardware and peripherals, mobile device hardware, networking and troubleshooting hardware and network connectivity issues, installing and configuring operating systems including Windows, iOS, Android, Apple OS X and Linux, security, cloud computing fundamentals, operational procedures and communication skills. Pearson IT Certification provides a variety of exam preparation tools to help our customers in their quest for certification. As part of our service to you, we have developed this Exam Profile series. Each profile is developed based on the testing experience of one of our trainers or authors. You won’t get exact questions or answers, but you will get a real feel for the exam. Each profile describes question forms, trouble spots, hints for exam preparation, and recommendations for additional study resources. Find out what you can expect to see on the exam and how you can better prepare for it from industry leading professionals who want you to succeed!
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The CompTIA A+ certification is globally recognized, industry-supported, and trusted by governments, businesses, and many potential employers. It is designed to prove that an exam candidate has competency with PC hardware and peripherals, mobile device hardware, networking and troubleshooting hardware and network connectivity issues, installing and configuring operating systems including Windows, iOS, Android, Apple OS X and Linux, security, cloud computing fundamentals, operational procedures, and communication skills. The exams are comprehensive and vendor-neutral, which means that the certification does not focus on just one company's products. Instead, the certification objectives range across many technologies, services, hardware and software ranging from traditional devices and operating systems to the plethora of mobile devices and technology in use today. It has great value in the marketplace as an indicator of a prospective employee's skill level, proving to employers that a job seeker has the necessary computer knowledge and communication skills to complete their tasks with minimal supervision.

Exam Details

In order to become CompTIA A+ certified, you must pass two exams: the 220-901 and the 220-902. (Note: The CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 exams (English versions) retire on June 30, 2016). Details listed here are accurate as of December 15, 2015, and are subject to change. Please verify these details at the CompTIA website.

  • CompTIA A+ 220-901 Exam Description: The CompTIA A+ 220-901 exam covers PC hardware and peripherals, mobile device hardware, networking and troubleshooting hardware and network connectivity issues.
  • CompTIA A+ 220-902 Exam Description: The CompTIA A+ 220-902 exam covers installing and configuring operating systems including Windows, iOS, Android, Apple OS X and Linux. It also addresses security, cloud computing fundamentals, operational procedures and communication skills.
  • Number of Questions: Maximum of 90 questions for each exam
    The exams each consist of a maximum of 90 questions and are known as "linear exams." This means that you can go backward or forward within the exam, mark items, and change answers if necessary. You can also review your answers when you are finished with all 90 questions, as long as there is time left on the exam clock.
  • Types of Questions: Performance-based and multiple-choice
    The exams consist of multiple-choice questions where you will simply click the letter of the corresponding correct answer, and performance based questions (CompTIA calls these PBQs) where the test requires you to click your way through a simulated environment. CompTIA recommends these tips for handling the PBQs:
    • Manage your time wisely. A clock will be visible when working on multiple choice questions but cannot be seen during performance-based questions.
    • If you don't feel confident about answering a performance-based question, move to the next question. Click the “done” box if you have completed any work toward the answer, then mark the question for review and come back later. Your work will be saved.
    • Many performance-based questions appear at the beginning of the test. Use this knowledge to help manage the amount of time you spend on each item.
    • Learn more about PBQs and try a sample PBQ at the CompTIA site.
    • CompTIA reserves the right to change the bank of questions, while still adhering to the objectives. The tests are administered on a computer within a very easy-to-use program. The exams can be taken in many languages including English, Spanish, German, French, and Japanese.
  • Passing scores: 675 for 220-901, and 700 for 220-902
    The passing score for the 220-901 exam is 675 (on a scale of 900). The passing score for the 220-902 exam is 700 (on a scale of 900). This equates roughly to a required passing score of 72% and 75% respectively, though it is difficult to compute the exact worth of each question. Many candidates will prepare with practice exams and attempt to score 85% or higher in order to be ready for the real exams.
  • Time Limit: 90 minutes for each exam
    You have a full hour and a half to take each exam. If you finish early, you can (and should) return to the questions and review your answers. Although it is possible, it is not recommended to take both exams on the same day.
  • Pricing: $199 USD per exam (subject to change)
  • How to Register: All CompTIA certification exam testing is provided by Pearson VUE. After you have completed your training and are ready to take your exam(s), visit the Pearson VUE website at pearsonvue.com/comptia to schedule your exam(s) with the nearest authorized testing center.
  • More details: For more information including exam details, preparation, renewal, and other CompTIA certifications, visit www.comptia.org.
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