A Plus Notes

Maddy left a comment asking about what I found most useful in preparing for the A+ exams. Here go a few thoughts:

First, as I’ve told you before, I read two books. I would recommend reading at least one book covering the current versions of the exams, even if you’ve been working with PC’s for years. It’ll give you a good background and cover what’s going to be on the exams, and it’ll sort out details that you’ll need to memorize. (A good 75% of what you need to memorize to pass the exams is stuff you would look up in a real-world situation.)

Secondly, I found some of the exam notes from places like Study Notes or Cramsession are useful in that you can print them and bring them with you. Then whenever you find yourself with time to kill, (riding the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office, etc.) you can whip them out and review for the exams for a few moments. Or, if you have a PDA you can turn some notes into eBooks and read them where ever and when ever.

Next are the practice exams. Both books came with a practice exam and they were pretty decent, but it wasn’t long before I simply had all the questions memorized. Find and use lots of different practice exams so that you can be sure you know the concepts, not just the memorized answers. Some places I found free exams online:


Network Designer



Note that some of these practice exams, especially the Network Designer ones, were much harder than the actual test was. That’s good for your preparation but may lead to some undue stress as well. *L*

Lastly, go familiarize yourself with the questions listed at BrainDump Central. Some of the exact same questions showed up on my exam, and it was nice to have been familiar with them. I wouldn’t just try to memorize these questions though, because each exam is different, you may end up with completely different questions from what’s on the site, or the site may have some questions worded incorrectly. On the other hand, it’s a nice resource to see what you might expect on the exams.

A personal note. I’ve always been a very quick test taker. The test is between 20-30 questions and you have 30 minutes to complete it. I finished in plenty of time, but if you’ve always been a slow test taker, make sure not to dally over questions you’re unsure about. If you don’t finish the test in the allotted time, you will be assigned a score of 0. I had not read that anywhere until I saw it on the exam instructions that day. Don’t panic, 30 minutes should be more than enough time if you know your stuff, but be aware of it going in and don’t waste time on any 1 question.

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