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Review: CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 Cert Guide, 4th Edition

The CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 exams can be overwhelming especially for test-takers who don’t have years of experience in the technology field.   So, the test-takers first dilemma becomes where to start learning the material.  Luckily there are a few books on the market that cover the exam material.  One of these books is the “CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 Cert Guide” where you’ll find lots of photos, screenshots, quizzes, and tables. In addition, when test-takers purchase the book, they will also get access to the companion website which includes the Pearson IT Certification test engine and study materials.

If you started studying for the 220-801 and 220-802 exams with the “CompTIA A+ edition 220-801 and 220-802 Authorized Cert Guide” but now you’re planning to take the 220-901 and 220-902 exam, you’ll find a few updates to this edition.  New and expanded material includes: Linux, OS X, MacBook, UEFI BIOS, mobile devices, Windows 8/8.1/10 features, and mobile devices.


The new OS X and Linux section covers backups, system updates, patch management, and other tools.  Basic Linux terminal commands are also covered.  The OS X operating system is the primary focus of the section, but Ubuntu and Fedora also are briefly mentioned.

The section on laptops includes both Windows and Apple computers.  Photos show the different features on an Acer V5-571P (including power jack, proprietary header port, eject button for rewriteable DVD drive, USB 3.0 port, Kensington security lock port, cooling vent, HDMI A/V port, USB 2.0 ports, headset jack, Ethernet port, and VGA port) and an Apple MacBook Air (including magnetic power connector (MagSafe 2), USB 3.0 ports, headphone jack, flash memory card reader (SDXC, SDHD, and SD card), Thunderbolt 2 I/O and A/V ports, and microphones).  While the Acer V5-571P includes a DVD drive, the text notes that thin laptops (Ultrabooks) don’t include rewriteable DVD drives.

The Basic Input/ Output System (BIOS) is being replaced by the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) on newer systems. On today’s systems, you might encounter a text-based BIOS or a mouse-drive Graphic User Interface (GUI).  BIOS settings can change the boot sequences, disable ports, overclock the system, enable Wake on LAN, etc.  This section also walks readers through how to flash the BIOS.

While the “CompTIA A+ edition 220-801 and 220-802 Authorized Cert Guide” included Windows XP, Vista, and 7; the “CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 Cert Guide” includes Windows 7, 8/8.1, 10, 10 mobile, and Vista.  It’s a lot of material, so the tables for operating system differences and command-line tools will come in handy for test-takers.

The mobile device section focuses on iOS and Android devices; however, Windows 10 devices are briefly mentioned.  Screenshots show the differences between IOS and Android devices for operating system version numbers, creating folders, airplane mode, and Bluetooth.

VERDICT  The CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 exams covers a lot of material – finding a good study guide is to crucial to learning the material.  The “CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 Cert Guide” makes studying easier with photos, screenshots, quizzes, and tables.  In addition, the companion website includes the Pearson IT Certification test engine and study materials.  Between the book and the website, test-takers get a lot of bang for their buck!

Note: This review is made possible through Pearson IT Certification Review Program.  


Review: CompTIA A+ Complete Video Course 220-901

Note: This review is made possible through Pearson IT Certification Review Program.  If you’re an information technology professional, this  program is a great way to read Pearson books or watch Pearson videos in exchange for your review.  


CompTIA A+ Complete Video Course 220-901 includes four modules, 34 lessons, quizzes, and performance based exercises.  If you’ve picked up the CompTIA A+ Exam Cram book, you’re already familiar with the author David Prowse. These videos provide an excellent compliment to the information that you’ll read inCompTIA A+ Exam Cram. While you get enough the information in the Exam Cram book to pass the exam, these videos provide a much needed video compliment to the material. CompTIA A+ Complete Video Course 220-901 covers the CompTIA A+ objectives (including motherboard, CPU, RAM, storage, BIOS, network troubleshooting tools, etc.).

New technicians with limited work experience will find it helpful to see videos for the installation of a motherboard and CPU – while these videos don’t take the place of real-world experience, they are helpful to demonstrate how to correctly install these technologies.

Prowse provides lots of helpful advice (mini videos within lessons called “Tech Tip!!”) such as how verify that a case fan has been installed correctly, use the paper test: put a piece of paper against the fan to see if it’s pulling or pushing the paper.

You can watch the entire series from beginning to end or just watch certain sections.  After you finish watching a video, a yellow check mark will appears next to the video which is a helpful feature if you only have enough time to watch one video at a time.

VERDICT Whether you’re studying for the CompTIA A+ Exam or just refreshing your knowledge, these videos cover the information that you’ll encounter on the CompTIA A+ exam in bite-sized videos.