CompTIA A+ Certification (2016)

  1. A+ Information
  2. Free A+ Study Resources

What is the CompTIA A+ Certification?
The A+ 2015/2016 latest incarnation of the popular A+ certification from CompTIA. The A+ is a long-running, entry-level, vendor-neutral certification aimed primarily at PC support technicians or indeed anyone who wishes to demonstrate a fundamental knowledge in matters pertaining to general I.T. hardware, networks, infrastructure and so on as well as complementary 'soft' skills such as workplace communication and professionalism.

The 2015/2016 version of the A+ certification replaces the previous 2012 version which has now been retired.
Who is the A+ Certification for?
The credential is ideally suited for those new (or relatively new) to the I.T. industry or for those who are looking to get started on the I.T. certification ladder. It is also ideally suited to people wishing to follow a career path that is hardware related, such as a PC technician, technical support, field service technician etc.
Are there any prerequisites required to take the A+?
No, apart from the suggested level of hands-on experience. CompTIA suggest that around 500 hours of practical work experience would be a sufficient foundation for candidates who are considering the A+ certification (although this is not compulsory).
How do I earn the A+ Certification?
To earn the A+ credential, candidates need to pass two exams (click on the respective links below to go to CompTIA's exam objectives page):

  • 220-901 (Pdf format - Covers the basics of hardware, networking, mobile devices as well as hardware and network troubleshooting).

  • 220-902 (Pdf format - Covers more advanced topics such installing and maintaining Windows and other operating systems, security basics, software troubleshooting and operational procedures).
Each exam has a maximum of 90 questions each (a mixture of multiple choice and performance-based questions), and up to 90 minutes with which to complete them. The exams can be taken in any order and on different days.
What are the passing scores for the A+ exams?
To be awarded the A+ credential, candidates must score at least 675 for the 220-901 Essentials exam, and 700 for the 220-902 Practical Application exam. Both exams are scored on a 100 - 900 scale.
How much do the A+ exams cost?
You can expect to pay around US$199 for each of the two exams (around US$398 in total), but prices may vary depending on your location and currency fluctuations. See here for a list of the exam prices in your country. If you fail an exam you will need to pay the fee again to retake it.
Where to take the A+ exams
CompTIA exams are proctored by Pearson VUE. You will need to register with them before you can take an exam. You can find more information about them here.
How long is the A+ certification valid for?
If you successfully pass the A+ exams you are A+ qualified for a period of three years. After that you can either retake the current A+ certification exams or you can take part in CompTIA's continuing education (CE) program. To keep your A+ certification active (i.e. renewed for a further three years, you have to collect at least 20 CE units (CEU's) during the three years that your current A+ credential is valid. You can earn those units by participating in any number of events, activities and training programs that qualify for CEU's.
Where to take the A+ exams
CompTIA exams are proctored by Pearson VUE. You will need to register with them before you can take an exam. You can find more information about them here.
CompTIA exam retake policy
Immediately upon completion of your exam your score is calculated and you'll be advised as to whether you passed or failed. If you fail your first attempt at the Network+ exam you can take the exam again immediately (upon payment of the exam fee), but if you fail for a second time (or subsequent times after that) then you are required to wait at least 14 days before you are eligible to try again.
Where can I find CompTIA A+ study resources?
There many great CompTIA training resources available including A+ books in this list of CompTIA certification best sellers. But, to get you started, you'll find many links to free CompTIA A+ study guides and other study materials on our free A+ study guides section.