How Long Does CompTIA A+ Take? A Quick Guide

How Long Does CompTIA A+ Take Your Quick Guide

Are you excited about starting your career in IT with the CompTIA A+ certification but, wondering how long does CompTIA A+ take? You're not alone! 

This is a crucial question for many people who are new to IT or looking to change careers. The key is to find a way to incorporate this into your hectic lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed. 

Whether you're completely new to IT or someone with some experience, we are here to guide you through understanding how long to study for CompTIA A+. 

Ready to dive in? Let’s unravel this mystery and get you on your way to becoming CompTIA A+ certified!

About CompTIA A+

Among the various CompTIA certifications, the CompTIA A+ certification is widely recognized in the field of IT and is often considered an essential starting point for IT careers. It consists of two separate exams, each focusing on different domains of IT knowledge. 

Here's an overview of the CompTIA A+ certification to help you understand what is included in each exam, including the knowledge domains, all the exam topics, and the exam objectives of each.

CompTIA A+ 220-1101 (Core 1)

The Core 1 exam objectives primarily focus on the fundamentals of computer hardware, networking technology, and basic troubleshooting for hardware and network issues.

Number of Questions: Maximum of 90
Types of Questions: Multiple-choice and performance-based
Exam Length: 90 minutes
Passing Score: 675 (on a scale of 100–900)

Mobile Devices (15%): Focuses on installation, configuration, and management of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It also includes understanding various mobile operating systems and common issues related to mobile devices.

Networking (20%): Covers the basics of networking concepts, including types of networks (like TCP/IP, WIFI, and SOHO), networking hardware, and basic configuration.

Hardware (25%): Involves identifying, using, and connecting different hardware components and devices. It includes understanding motherboards, processors, memory, storage, and other peripherals.

Virtualization and Cloud Computing (11%): Introduces the fundamentals of virtualization and cloud computing, including configuring and managing basic cloud services and understanding virtual machines.

Hardware and Network Troubleshooting (29%): Focuses on diagnosing and resolving hardware-related and network-related issues. It involves troubleshooting techniques for common problems in both hardware and network configurations.

CompTIA A+ 220-1102 (Core 2)

The Core 2 exam objectives include operating systems, security, software troubleshooting, and operational procedures. 

Number of Questions: Maximum of 90
Types of Questions: Multiple-choice and performance-based
Exam Length: 90 minutes
Passing Score: 700 (on a scale of 100-900)

Operating Systems (31%): Covers the installation, configuration, and management of operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. It includes knowledge about various OS features and their maintenance.

Security (25%): Emphasizes foundational security skills, including setting up basic security measures, understanding common threats, and implementing best practices for securing devices and data.

Software Troubleshooting (22%): Involves troubleshooting and resolving software problems. This domain covers identifying and fixing issues with operating systems, applications, and mobile devices.

Operational Procedures (22%): Focuses on best practices in operational procedures, including safety measures, professional behavior, and effective communication in an IT environment. It also covers documentation and change management.

Legend

For a more detailed breakdown between Core 1 and Core 2, see CompTIA A+ Core 1 vs Core 2: What Are the Differences?

Factors Affecting Study Times

How do different factors affect how much study time you must spend obtaining the A+ certification? Let’s break down three areas below. 

Prior Knowledge

If you already have some knowledge of different technologies used, such as operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux), networking protocols (TCP/IP, Wi-Fi), hardware components (CPUs, GPUs, motherboards), or have some hands-on exposure to legacy systems such as older Windows OS versions (Windows XP, Windows 7), legacy hardware interfaces (like VGA, serial ports), then you already have a good head start when it comes to preparing for the A+ exam.

Experience

There is a big difference between understanding the different technologies or hardware used and actually having any hands-on experience. For instance, having an IT career as a help desk technician exposes you to real-world troubleshooting issues. 

Also, experience working in a computer repair shop provides you with interaction with hardware, the disassembly and assembly processes, and how to troubleshoot any hardware issues. The same can be said if you are the type to build your own PC. This knowledge is invaluable and will greatly help you prepare for the exam.  

Time to Dedicate

Here at StationX, we have two great courses to help prepare you for each of the A+ exams. The 220-1101 course is 15 hours, and the 220-1102 course is 17 hours. So between these two, you are looking at 32 hours of online course material. 

This initial 32-hour walkthrough provides a solid foundation. However, given the depth of the A+ exam topics, we recommend you go through these courses again with additional study time, particularly in areas where you feel less confident or have less experience. 

The amount of extra time needed can vary depending on your prior knowledge and experience in IT. 

Average Study Times

How long does CompTIA A+ take? The average study time varies widely based on your background, experience, and familiarity with the exam topic.

Most students report that by devoting two hours each day to their exam preparations, they could pass both exams in around a month if they had some prior knowledge, and in between six and eight weeks if they were relatively new. 

Here is an estimated breakdown based on experience. 

Beginners: If you have little to no background in IT, you will likely need to dedicate a good amount of time to cover all the topics thoroughly. This could be in the range of 60-80 hours per exam, totaling around 120-160 hours for both A+ exams. This estimate accounts for the time needed to understand basic concepts, study new material, and take practice tests.

Some Experience: If you are familiar with IT concepts and have some hands-on experience, you might require less time. An average of 50-70 hours per exam, totaling 100-140 hours for both, could be enough. This time would likely be spent reinforcing existing knowledge, focusing on weaker areas, and getting used to the exam format.

Ample Experience: If you have significant hands-on experience in IT, especially in areas covered by the A+ exams, you might need even less time. You could prepare adequately with around 10-20 hours per exam, about 20-40 hours. Your focus would be on filling knowledge gaps, understanding the exam structure, and taking practice exams.

These are just estimates, and your times could be less or more depending on many factors, including experience, resources, etc.

How to Prepare for CompTIA A+

In order to prepare for CompTIA A+, you need a good game plan to efficiently and effectively cover all the necessary material. Here are four pieces of advice you can use to help you in your studies. 

Know What You Don't Know

The first thing you should do for any exam that includes domain objectives, including A+, is to go through each domain and each section and highlight everything you already have a solid understanding of. 

Next, start reviewing the items you are not well versed in. 

Once you understand new concepts, go back to the domains and continue to highlight all the areas you understand. Rinse and repeat until all areas have been highlighted. 

Find High-Value Study Resources

You must ensure that all your study material is focused on ensuring you have the best chance of success on the A+ exam. Countless resources are available for free, but you need high-value study resources. 

The first place you should look is the StationX Accelerator program. We have made it easy for you to confidently learn everything you need to pass the CompTIA A+ exam. You will be exposed to mentors and access your own study roadmap to help you move through not only the A+ but other certifications depending on where you want to take your career. 

The Accelerator program includes:

  • Mastermind Program
  • Classes and Virtual Labs
  • The StationX Community
  • Career Matchmaker PRO
  • Certification Matchmaker PRO
  • The StationX Career Toolkit

Discover the best A+ certification books.

The Best CompTIA A+ Books (Updated for Latest Exam)

Study Consistently

It's important to create a consistent schedule when you are studying for certifications, including A+. This does a couple of things. It ensures regular exposure to the study material, helping reinforce and solidify your understanding. It also creates a routine to help keep you on track and reduce procrastination.

Take Practice Tests

Taking practice tests is an important part of preparing for the A+ exam. These tests not only help prepare you for the actual exam but also help identify any areas where you need to study. Find ones that contain nearly the same number of questions you will encounter on the exam. 

Another good tip is to time yourself when you are taking a practice exam. You will get used to how much time you have when sitting for the exam. Don’t take breaks or allow interruptions when doing a practice test - treat it like the real thing with the timer running.

Also, reviewing the questions you got wrong on the tests is extremely helpful. It shows you what you need to work on and allows you to reinforce the material better.

Once you score above 85% consistently on these practice tests, you are likely ready to take the A+ exam.

What types of questions can you expect on the A+?

Best CompTIA A+ Practice Questions to Prepare for the Exam

Conclusion

In this article, we have addressed an important question many who aspire to work in IT ask: How long does CompTIA A+ take?

The path you take to get your CompTIA A+ certification exam is unique to you. Whether it takes you a few months or longer, what matters most is that you approach each study session with the same level of devotion and desire.

If you keep your goals in mind and don't get too set on how fast you learn, you'll enjoy your success as a CompTIA A+ certification holder in no time. Good luck with your journey and good luck with your exam! 

And remember, take advantage of everything the StationX Accelerator program offers to help you achieve your goals quicker. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Level Up in Cyber Security: Join Our Membership Today!

vip cta image
vip cta details
  • Richard Dezso

    Richard is a cyber security enthusiast, eJPT, and ICCA who loves discovering new topics and never stops learning. In his home lab, he's always working on sharpening his offensive cyber security skills. He shares helpful advice through easy-to-understand blog posts that offer practical support for everyone. Additionally, Richard is dedicated to raising awareness for mental health. You can find Richard on LinkedIn, or to see his other projects, visit his Linktree.

>