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Trouble Spots

Many examinees find the following topics to be more difficult portions of the exams:

  • CPU architecture, motherboard components, and RAM: Topics such as CPU speeds and types of processors can be difficult to remember accurately for some examinees. The same can be said for motherboards components and RAM types. Focus on the specifics listed in the 220-1001 objectives for hardware. Be sure to take notes on these topics and quiz yourself often to help memorize them.
  • Mobile Devices: The 220-1001 series exams focus very heavily on mobile devices. Because there are many various types of mobile devices and so many details to remember, this can be a troublesome area for some when testing. Understand the various laptop, tablet, smartphone, wearable and other mobile device components and be sure you are very familiar with using and troubleshooting Android, iOS, Windows and Chrome OS mobile operating systems. Examinees should practice on all platforms and know how to configure and secure them.
  • Command-line usage: The exam can test you on a dozen or so different commands. Seeing as how many of these commands have different switches (options), it would behoove the examinee to write down each command, its description, and an example, in an attempt to memorize each of them.
  • Mac OS and Linux: The 220-1002 exam includes Mac OS (macOS) and Linux under the 1.0 Operating Systems domain. This domain makes up 27% of the exam. To pass the exam you will need to understand the common features and functionality of both of these operating systems as listed in the objectives. Practice with the listed Mac OS tools and features and install a version of Linux and practice with the basic Linux commands.
  • Security: The CompTIA A+ exams have an increased the amount of security coverage. In fact, the 220-1002 2.0 Security domain encompasses 24% of the exam! Examinees should spend time researching how to secure their individual computer, wireless router, and mobile devices. It is also highly advisable that you are familiar with 1002 3.0 Software Troubleshooting best practice procedures for malware removal. There are 7 steps listed there that you should live by. Being able to identify and mitigate security threats and vulnerabilities is an extremely desirable skill. Know the security related and software troubleshooting domains and objectives very well!
  • Troubleshooting: The exams will question an examinee on how to troubleshoot Windows—especially the second exam. Due to the sheer volume of troubleshooting scenarios, it is recommended that the examinee install operating systems on a separate computer (or within a virtual machine), and practice breaking and fixing. The exam will use performance-based questions to ensure you know where to go and how to troubleshoot specific issues. There are several types of printers, and many things that can go wrong with each. An examinee should study the various print technologies, components, and associated printer processes such as the steps included in the laser printer imaging process. Apply the CompTIA 6-step troubleshooting methodology listed in 220-1001 objectives, and really spend a lot of time memorizing the various reasons a printer could fail (especially laser printers) and how to fix those issues. 27% of the 220-1001 exam is based on hardware and network troubleshooting. 26% of the 220-1002 exam is based on software troubleshooting. Practice your troubleshooting skills with all kinds of hardware, printers, mobile devices, Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • The basics of scripting: CompTIA has included scripting in the 220-1002 4.0 Operational Procedures domain. The examinee is expected to be able to identify script files types, environmental variables, comment syntax, basic script constructs, and basic data types. If you are unfamiliar with scripting, it is highly advisable that you become familiar with these concepts before taking the 220-1002 exam.
  • Communication techniques and professionalism: Also included in the 220-1002 4.0 Operational Procedures domain is the "Given a scenario, use proper communication techniques and professionalism" objective. All the tech skills in the world are great! But communicating properly in a professional manner is often overlooked, and is just as important. If you want to be a certified A+ technician and successful tech, be sure you are familiar with the plethora of techniques listed.
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