How to Get CompTIA A+ Certification: 2024 Guide

How to Get CompTIA A+ Certification The No-Nonsense Guide

So you’re searching high and low on “how to get CompTIA A+ certification” and get up to speed with everything you need to know from exam preparation to exam day? You’ve come to the right place.

This article is a systematic walkthrough on obtaining your CompTIA A+ certification. We’ll cover the CompTIA A+ certification and A+ exam domains, requirements, prices, registration, and preparation. You’ll also get important exam tips, the next steps after getting your A+, and answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Let’s learn how to get your CompTIA A+ certification without further ado.

What Is CompTIA A+?

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is an internationally recognized organization for certifying, educating, and connecting people in IT. It helps individuals navigate tech careers and organizations to train and hire IT professionals.

CompTIA A+ is an entry-level IT certification. The exam broadly tests your knowledge of various IT basics and the latest core technologies, from cloud infrastructure and IoT device security to data management and command-line scripting. Mobile devices are part of the syllabus, too.

The latest exam objectives of CompTIA A+ emphasize software troubleshooting, network troubleshooting, and the remote diagnosis and resolution of network and hardware issues.

1. StationX Roadmaps Comptia A+

Are There Any Requirements for CompTIA A+?

Good news: A+ has NO prerequisites. You can take it at any stage in your IT career or journey.

The CompTIA A+ Exams

CompTIA A+ comprises two certification exams:

  • Core 1 focuses on hardware, cloud computing, and networking technology, and
  • Core 2 is about software, operating systems, and cyber security basics.

Here’s the detailed breakdown of the latest Core 1 and Core 2 domains:

2. CompTIA A+ Exam Domains
CompTIA A+ Exam Domains

The latest CompTIA A+ certification exam codes are 220-1101 for Core 1 and 220-1102 for Core 2, and you must pass both to obtain the CompTIA A+ certification. On a scale of 100–900, the passing scores for Core 1 and Core 2 are 675 and 700, respectively.

Each Core examination has at most 90 questions, and you must complete each exam in 90 minutes. You can take the A+ exams in any order at separate times.

How Do I Register for CompTIA A+ Exams?

Pearson VUE hosts both CompTIA exams. You can take each certification exam in the comfort of your home using Pearson VUE’s online testing service or at a Pearson VUE testing center. For more information on both options, go to the “What Can I Expect on Exam Day?” section.

To register for CompTIA A+, you can create an account and purchase an exam voucher via the CompTIA website. If you’re in a pinch, CompTIA offers voucher discounts.

When you register for the exam at Pearson VUE, you may pay by credit card or voucher. Select “voucher” and type in the voucher number you purchased. The listed price of these exams is $246 USD each (two exams required to pass).

Pearson VUE will provide you with available exam time slots. Feel free to reschedule your exam within 24 hours of your original time slot if you need more time; you won’t be charged anything for rescheduling.

What Can I Expect on Exam Day?

Each CompTIA A+ certification exam is a closed-book computer-based assessment in which you use simple computing operations (click, type, or drag-and-drop) to answer questions. You can not access reference materials during the exam, including cheat sheets, notes, or books.

The exams include two types of questions:

  • Multiple-choice questions, which may admit single or multiple answers; and
  • Performance-based questions (PBQs), including drag-and-drop items. They’re crucial for testing your ability to solve problems in a simulated environment, making CompTIA A+ such a valuable certification demonstrating one’s excellence in practical IT skills. Anywhere from one to 10 PBQs appear at the start of the A+ exam. See the example below.
3. Troubleshooting Model
CompTIA A+ PBQ Example

Online Exams

If you’re taking the CompTIA A+ exams from home, a proctor monitors you through a webcam and microphone. As Pearson VUE can’t control your home, the conditions for a successful at-home exam experience are far more stringent than attending an exam center. You must:

  • Test the connection and proctoring software in advance,
  • Ensure you won’t be disturbed under any circumstance, and
  • Get comfortable with a strict exam-taking regimen. Interruptions such as background noise, moving your lips when reading, or shifting your sitting position will prompt a proctor to open a chat window and send you warnings.

If your home isn’t an ideal environment as an exam venue, consider going to an exam center, as we’ll explain below.

In-Person Exams

If you take the CompTIA A+ exams on-site, a closed-circuit television system and human proctors will watch you as you sign in to the venue and take the exam.

Before the exam:

On each of your exam days:

CompTIA A+ Exam Tips

If you’ve set your sights on getting your CompTIA A+ certification, here are some strategies to boost your confidence while preparing for your certification exams:

  1. Add an acronym to a list separate from your main notes whenever you encounter it. A common CompTIA exam question begins with “Which of the following…” and they have obvious answers for candidates who remember the acronyms. Refer to our CompTIA A+ cheat sheet.
  2. Find someone who will quiz you based on your notes. Have them use open-ended questions such as “Explain the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 hypervisors,” and not “What does VDI stand for.”
  3. Take practice tests as if they’re the real thing. Set a timer if there isn’t one. Keep your notes out of reach. Don’t take breaks or allow for distractions. After your practice exam, review your answers and take notes on the practice questions you got wrong. 
  4. Do the performance-based questions first: They take more time to complete and have variable scores attached. Although some folks advise flagging all of them at the beginning of each exam, the time pressure you face during the A+ exams means you’re unlikely to return to them.
  5. Flag multiple-choice questions you don’t know how to answer at first glance: Every minute matters to your exam. Instead of hesitation over a question, keep moving on to questions with answers of which you’re sure, and you’ll reap two benefits:
    • You can now see exactly how much time you must dedicate to the questions you must think about.
    • You will often find unintended hints in the phrasing of other questions. For example, in a question with RAID as an option, you could either ponder what RAID means or read the next question, which asks which RAID type is optimal for redundancy and performance. Now you have a better idea of what RAID is.

What's Next

Once you’ve passed your A+ exam, congratulations! You can qualify for entry-level jobs in IT or get a higher certification which renews your A+ certification.

Job roles

Your newly earned A+ certification can accelerate your transition into an IT career, especially if you come from a non-IT background. It prepares you for various entry-level IT jobs, especially in technical support (average annual salaries in USD in parentheses):

  • Help Desk Technician ($33K – $62K)
  • Desktop Support Technician ($36K – $59K)
  • IT Support Specialist ($44K – $75K)
  • Field Service Technician ($40K – $65K)
  • Computer Repair Technician ($40K – $64K)

For details, refer to our companion article on CompTIA A+ jobs.

Other certifications

As an A+ holder, you’re now ready to prepare for the next level of IT proficiency, namely networking-related certifications such as CCNA and CompTIA Network+. Network+ can completely renew A+, which otherwise expires after three years (as do many CompTIA certifications). It’s an excellent next step to gain new skills while keeping your A+ valid.

Conclusion

We hope this article puts to rest your search into “how to get CompTIA A+ certification,” and now you’re more than ready to get this important entry-level certification. For more information on the CompTIA A+ exam, check out our CompTIA A+ cheat sheet

If you’re currently preparing for this or other exams, consider a StationX Membership. We provide mastermind groups, exam and career advice, and mentorship, as well as courses and practice tests like the ones listed below. 

Last but not least, if you plan to take the A+ exam soon, we wish you all success.

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  • Cassandra Lee

    Cassandra is a writer, artist, musician, and technologist who makes connections across disciplines: cyber security, writing/journalism, art/design, music, mathematics, technology, education, psychology, and more. She's been a vocal advocate for girls and women in STEM since the 2010s, having written for Huffington Post, International Mathematical Olympiad 2016, and Ada Lovelace Day, and she's honored to join StationX. You can find Cassandra on LinkedIn and Linktree.

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