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Is The CompTIA A+ Test Right For You?

The CompTIA A+ certification is among the most widely accepted ones in the IT field. You may be wondering whether it's appropriate for you, though. Let's take a look at who should or should do the test and what they'll see when they take their first A+ practice test.

Who Should Take the Test? 

The A+ test is aimed at general knowledge regarding the construction, upgrade, maintenance and configuration of IBM-compatible PCs. These computers are generally thought of as the x86 and x86-64 computers that use processors from Intel and AMD. You generally see these sold by vendors like Dell and HP, but notably, the test is not considered vendor-specific. These are machines that we generally think of as running the Windows or Linux operating systems. Newer versions of the test also include limited testing regarding common issues with cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

If you're looking to get a job as a PC technician or a member of a tech support team, the A+ certification is a good one to have on your resume. Those who sit down with the CompTIA A+ practice test will find themselves confronted with questions about four topics: hardware, networking, mobile devices, and troubleshooting. In other words, the test lets prospective employers know that you can crack a PC open and make it work.

Folks who are looking to get into the software side of things probably won't get much mileage from the A+ certification. It also isn't considered an appropriate certification for working on Apple products, although Apple's hardware has moved closer to the PC platform in recent years. Most network technicians should get the A+ certification as they will be expected to regularly deal with PC issues and to swap components in and out of systems. It's also a common requirement for PC help desk jobs.

Staying Current

Every year, CompTIA updates the test to take into account recent developments in the IT world. Recertification is expected every three years, too.

What to Expect From the Test

A+ exams are designed as multiple-choice questions, and each one has only one acceptable answer. The difficulty of the questions is based on the assumption that the test taker has a minimum of six months of experience working as a service technician. These questions posit a range of real-world situations that someone who has experience should instantly recognize if they've worked on IBM-compatible hardware.