About The CompTIA A+ Test: Exam, Passing Score, Scheduling & More

Taylor Karl
/ Categories: Resources, Modern Workplace
About The CompTIA A+ Test: Exam, Passing Score, Scheduling & More 2480 0

The CompTIA A+ is one of the most in-demand entry-level certifications in the IT industry. The CompTIA A+ certification is the ideal starting point for those beginning a career in IT, as it demonstrates competency in fundamental computer and networking knowledge and the practical, hands-on skills required for IT operational roles and technical support. It proves you not only understand theoretical concepts but can also apply that knowledge in real-world scenarios.

Candidates for the CompTIA A+ certification must be well-versed in the latest technology trends and IT infrastructure. Since the IT landscape is constantly changing, a CompTIA A+ certification proves to employers that members of their IT teams or potential job candidates have the most up-to-date knowledge and expertise.

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CompTIA A+ Passing Score

The A+ certification has two exams:

  • CompTIA A+ 220-1001 (Core 1): Minimum of 675 out of 900 to pass
  • CompTIA A+ 220-1002 (Core 2): Minimum of 700 out of 900 to pass

To be considered certified in CompTIA A+, you must pass both exams.

The basis for your score is the number of questions you answer correctly. Each question carries a specific weight, and the final score is calculated based on the points you earn for each correct answer. CompTIA doesn't publicly disclose the exact point value assigned to each question or the specific weighting methodology. However, it is safe to assume that the more complex the question, the higher its point value.

CompTIA exams use a scaled scoring system because they update continuously to ensure they cover important and emerging topics in IT. The scaled scoring system ensures fairness and consistency across different exam versions.

CompTIA A+ Pass Rate

CompTIA doesn't publish pass rates, but others have reported them around 70% to 80%. Candidates who complete the proper preparation and study will be well-positioned to pass the CompTIA A+ exams.

 

Using multiple study resources, practicing with hands-on labs, and taking practice exams will best prepare you for the CompTIA A+ exams. These are the best tools to prepare with, which will boost your confidence before you register to take them.

 

Exam Structure and Content

The Core 1 and Core 2 exams have a maximum of 90 multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and performance-based questions (PBQs), with a 90-minute time limit.

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PBQs are particularly important, as they will ask you to perform a specific task or solve a specific problem in a simulated environment. PBQs test your ability to apply your skills and knowledge in real-world scenarios.

 

Now that we have taken a high-level overview, we will look at the content of each of the two CompTIA A+ exams.

 

The 220-1101 exam includes the following domains and topics:

 

  • Mobile Devices (15%): How to successfully install, configure, and optimize components of mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
  • Networking (20%): Demonstrate knowledge of port numbers and network protocols. Know how to successfully install, configure, and optimize components of mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
  • Hardware (25%): Demonstrate an ability to install and configure power supplies, cooling, storage devices, system memory, and CPUs.
  • Virtualization and Cloud Computing (11%): Compare and contrast cloud computing concepts and set up client-side virtualization.
  • Hardware and Network Troubleshooting (29%): Troubleshoot device and network issues seamlessly to limit user disruption.

 

The 220-1102 exam includes the following domains and topics:

 

  • Operating Systems (31%): Demonstrate a working understanding of multiple operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, Android, and Linux, when to use them, and how to keep them running correctly.
  • Security (25%): Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental security concepts and practices in an IT environment, including the ability to identify common security threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Software Troubleshooting (22%): Install and troubleshoot common PC and mobile device issues, including typical OS, malware, and security issues.
  • Operational Procedures (22%): Emphasize best practices for safety, environmental impacts, communication, and professionalism.

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Exam Retake Policy

CompTIA does not offer free re-tests or discounts on retakes, which means candidates must pay the same price each time they attempt the exam. There is no waiting period between the first and second attempts to pass the exam. If you need a third or more attempts, there is a mandatory waiting period of at least 14 calendar days from the date of the last attempt.

 

Scheduling and Locations for the Exam

Either exam can be completed in person or online. Pearson OnVUE has physical testing centers where you can take your exam, as well as a remote exam proctoring service that provides a secure and easy way to complete your CompTIA certification exam online from home. When you are ready to take the exam, visit CompTIA's website, set up an account, prepare your testing environment, and schedule your exams.

 

NOTE: You must complete the CompTIA Candidate Agreement regardless of where you take the exam.

 

Online Testing

There are online testing policies and procedures related to system requirements, your exam workspace, and testing for candidates under 17. If you are taking your exam online, you will have to run a system test on the computer and network you will use to take your exam. You also required to take photos of yourself and your exam workspace to prove it meets CompTIA's requirements. That means no books or writing objects within reach, no extra monitors and computers, and you can’t have any writing on the walls within your testing area.

 

In-Person Testing

You can head to the CompTIA website to find a testing center near you where you can take the exam. On your test day, arrive at least 15 minutes early so you can sign in. Remember to bring two forms of identification. You will also not be allowed personal items in the testing room, including bags, books, notes, computers, tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches.

 

Preparation Tips for the CompTIA A+ Exam

Though CompTIA A+ is an entry-level certification, there is a wide range of topics covered on these exams, which means most candidates have a lot to learn before they're ready. You'll have to answer questions on hardware, software, and troubleshooting concepts and apply them in practical scenarios. Most people take about three months to study and prepare for the A+ exams. If you already have experience in the field, this prep time could be shorter, but if you are new to IT, the amount of study time could be longer.

 

Nothing can replace practical, hands-on experience in preparing for the Core 1 and 2 tests. The performance-based questions test hands-on skills and will challenge you to respond as if you were dealing with a real-world scenario. If you have the chance to complete labs or simulations, it can go a long way on exam day.

 

Our subject matter experts recommended the following tips to best prepare you for the CompTIA A+ certification exams: recommend the official CompTIA study guides and practice tests as the best studying materials:

 

  • Guided Training Courses: Training courses, such as the New Horizons’ CompTIA A+, are the next best thing to real-world experience regarding IT certifications. The CompTIA A+ course is an excellent resource for gaining the background knowledge and skills necessary in the workplace and to pass the exams.
  • Study Guides: There are many study guides available, but the CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide: The Official CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 Self-Paced Study Guide (220-1101 and 220-1102), is considered to be one of the best exam study guides for the CompTIA A+ exams.
  • Online Resources: Reddit and the online CompTIA forums offer great and insightful discussions about IT concepts and advice for those who plan to take or have already completed the CompTIA A+ exams. These online communities are often updated daily, with members worldwide sharing their experiences.
  • Practice Tests: CompTIA offers official mock exams to help you familiarize yourself with the exam format and identify areas needing more attention. Completing practice tests reinforces the information you've studied, exposes you to different question formats, and can boost your confidence before completing the official exam.
  • Rest: Get plenty of rest the night before you take your exam and start your day with a healthy breakfast. It is also a good idea to arrive at your testing center, or log in to your computer, early so you have time to check in and get settled before your test.

 

Conclusion

CompTIA A+ is particularly valuable to IT workers because it is regularly updated to reflect the latest IT trends and technologies. It covers foundational skills critical for various IT roles and is an essential stepping stone for anyone starting in IT. With more companies seeing their workforce evolve into half on-premises and half remote, A+-certified professionals are more in demand than ever. Take your first step towards a successful IT career and begin the process of completing the CompTIA A+ certification.

 

 

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