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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.

computer-motherboard-pc-wires.jpg

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.  

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CompTIA Project+ Exam Tips

I’m studying for the CompTIA Project+ exam.  If you have experience working on projects, a lot of materials is going to sound like common sense.  But mixed in with the common sense, you’ll need to memorize some terms, lists, and formulas.  Below are a few tips that I found helpful while I was studying.

9 PMBOK Knowledge Areas 

Remember this phrase: “I saw two cows quietly having coffee and reading poetry”.

Credit: Matthew Sorvaag

Integrated

Scope

Time

Cost

Quality

Human Resources

Communications

Risk

Procurement

Project Charter vs. Scope Statement

Rather than memorizing the list of items that are included in the project charter and scope statement, memorize the items that both have in common: assumptions / constraints, objectives, and deliverables.  Then memorize the items that are unique to the project charter and scope statement.

Project Charter Scope Statement
Assumptions / Constraints

Objectives

Deliverables

Problem Statment

Project Approach

Risk

Milestones

Cost Estimates

Stakeholders

Assumptions / Constraints

Objectives

Deliverables

Boundaries

Acceptance Criteria

Priorities

Ownership

Forumlas

There are a few formulas to memorize for the exam.  While watching CompTIA Project+ videos on CBT Nuggets, I heard some good tips for memorizing cost and schedule formulas.

Tips

  1. The variance and indicator formulas all begin with EV.
  2. The variance formulas are subtraction.
  3. The index formulas are division.
  4. The cost formulas end with AC.
  5. The schedule formulas end with PV.

Cost Variance (CV) = EVAC

Schedule Variance (SV) = EVPV

Cost Performance Index (CPI) = EV / AC

Schedule Performance Index (SPI) = EV / PV