As of October 9, 2012 the latest and greatest versions of the CompTIA A+ exams are now live. Numbered 220-801 and 220-802, these new exams catch PC technology up much closer to the present day, and provide a more representative mix of what IT professionals are likely to encounter in the modern workplace.
In looking over the two exams I observed that 801 zeroes in on PC hardware, networking, laptops, printers, and operational procedures. 802, on the other hand, zooms in on operating systems, security, mobile devices, and troubleshooting. All the modern Windows versions get mention in the 802 exam, for example, from Windows XP, to Vista, and Windows 7 (with Windows 8 due out in two more weeks, it's ironic that the exam will lag behind almost as soon as it becomes available -- but that's the technology exam biz these days).
The objectives for the exam are available for download from the CompTIA web site (registration is required). Each provides voluminous detail on topics, tools, and technologies covered under the various headings. Those objectives don't indicate to what extent emphasis is placed on newer versus older platforms (for example with XP still in use on nearly half of corporate desktops, you'd expect XP to get equal emphasis with Windows 7, with very little specific Vista coverage).
There are plenty of new books out on these new exams, however, so you should be able to pick up the details and nuances from these worthwhile tomes, including:
There's even a Network Simulator product on the way for December 2012 along with LiveLessons (video training, available now), both under the Pearson IT Certification imprint. This should give aspiring candidates plenty of ammunition to prepare themselves for this pair of popular but demanding exams.
And for those who may have already started studying for the 220-701 and 220-702 exams: don't despair. These older exams will remain available until August 31, 2013, so you still have more than 10 months to prepare for and take them as I write this blog. Get going!