When you have made up your mind to take and pass the CompTIA A+ certification, you need to come up with a game plan for studying. The best way to study and pass the CompTIA A+cert test is by studying a few good books dedicated to the exam, using flashcards, doing labs, and studying sample questions for the exam. This means studying hundreds of flashcards and sample questions. 500 – 900 is a good goal.
Step 1 – Find a book to walk you through what you need to know for the exam.
I’ve found the All-In-One Exam Guidebooks by McGraw-Hill Education is a helpful book for studying for CompTIA specific Cert tests. The authors have their pulse on the exams and gear their studies towards questions that will be asked on the test. They have great sample questions as part of the book, and the electronic copies have 100’s of sample questions for the exam. I’d recommend using a few different books while studying for the CompTIA tests. You’ll appreciate the variety of sample questions.
Step 2 – Make and study flashcards.
You can find flash card apps like www.ankiapp.com that save your cards in the cloud so you can access them from multiple devices like your phone or laptop. It’s best to make your own flashcards on the app to study from since you are finding the question and writing the answer. AnkiApp also lets you download pre-made flashcards from different websites. This is a time saver but please note, there could be mistakes in other peoples decks. Check out different apps and different decks to see if they work for your needs.
Step 3 – Be organized and strategic.
Being organized and scheduling time to study for a certification exam are critical steps in your studying. I’d make sure to divide my flashcards or question and answers into 25 question blocks. These blocks allow you to set goals. At first, don’t try to memorize what you are studying. If you don’t fully understand what the question is asking, look it up on the internet or in one of your study guides. If you are looking at sample questions and don’t understand all of the choices, spend some time looking up what they mean. Do this for the first two passes on your flashcards and question and answers. Next, dedicate time to run through 2 blocks of 25 a day, every day, 7 days a week.
Step 4 – Rewards system Give yourself a reward system.
For example, when you finish your goal for the day, you get a half hour of TV. When you get a reward system down, you’ll see your rewards be geared to your free time. Soon your rewards will be, if you study for three hours that day, you can clean the kitchen…You will want to clean the kitchen by that point to get a break.
Step 5 – Focus on what you don’t know.
Once you have run through all of your study materials 5 times (2 taking your time to look up definitions and answers, and 3 times, just running through the questions and answers) start taking out the ones you know the answers to. By the 7th run through you will have whittled down your stack quite a bit. This full process takes me a month and a half to 2 months. Having pre-scheduled the exam to light a fire under myself, I’d time it that way. The week before the exam, run through your questions, all of them, and whittle them down one more time to the questions or topics that are causing you trouble. Write these on a piece of paper and carry this around with you everywhere. For me, regardless of the cert test, I’d always have port numbers I was trying to cram into my head before the test. Study this sheet right before you walk in the door before the exam.