Most employers assume applicants can perform basic tasks on a computer, but some are looking for a higher level of skill. A+ certification is a great way to prove you have more than the basic end user skills. Sitting the exam is pricey, so it’s worth it to plan your study strategy in advance; the best way to save money on the A+ exam is to pass it the first time you try. If you don’t know enough to pass the exam, no worries. With an internet connection and some study time set aside, you’re on your way.
There are four resources that will determine how fast you can learn what you need to know: free study materials, study materials you buy, time, and hands-on experience. If you have time and you’re good at disciplining yourself to use it, you can probably get away with not paying for study materials. To do this, start by assessing how much you need to learn. Go to the Comp-tia A+ website, look at the test rubric, and make a list of topics and skills you need to cover before the test. This is your personalized study guide.
Once you know what to study, the internet is your best friend. Read the articles about terms you aren’t familiar with, and then consolidate your knowledge onto notes or flash cards. To learn skills like configuring operating systems or installing hardware, look for videos on YouTube or Google Video. Hands-on experience is the best way to solidify your knowledge. If you don’t have a computer to take apart, rebuild, and experiment with, look for a free one using internet communities like Craigslist and Freecycle. For software skills, learn to create a virtual machine on your computer using programs like VMware and Virtual Box.
By following these strategies and using your study time well, you can be sure to only take the test once, and you could save a bundle on study materials. And, of course, investing in yourself is always a good choice in a competitive workforce.