8 Tips to Help You Pass CompTIA Exams

Learn to pass your CompTIA exam with these tips!

No one likes failing a test. When it comes to the CompTIA A+ exam, there’s no reason why you can’t pass the first time. The exam costs $232 each for 220-1001 and 220-1002 for a total of $464! That’s a significant investment, but it can pay for itself quickly if A+ certification helps you land a job or a promotion. Give yourself every chance to succeed by using these tips on how to study for the CompTIA A+ exam and other CompTIA exams.

A digital head dumps IT information

1. “Brain Dumps” Are Not the Answer

A “brain dump” is when someone posts test questions after taking an exam, often with the answers. While this might seem like an easy option for getting up-to-date information about the test, be careful. Besides being unethical, you have no idea if you’re getting the correct answers (or questions). There’s no verification. You could be memorizing wrong answers or getting tricked entirely.

Certification tests do more than get you certified. They teach essential information that you will be expected to know in the workplace. Memorizing a brain dump won’t do you any favors when you’re trying to use the knowledge in the real world.

Worst of all, posting brain dumps can get you in legal trouble because you must sign a non-disclosure agreement to take CompTIA exams. This CompTIA Reddit thread gives an excellent summary of why you should avoid them.

A document highlights the test objectives for an IT certification

2. Memorize the Test Objectives

Let’s start at the beginning. Each test comes with an explanation of the test objectives. While this might seem like a no-brainer, studying the objectives means you’re more prepared to take and pass your test in general. It helps you organize and structure the information you’re learning as you learn it.

The other benefit of having this roadmap is it lets you know how fast or slowly you’re moving through the test. Knowing where you are in the test and how much you have left is vital for managing your time. You can adjust how much time you’re spending on each question to make sure you finish the test. Alternatively, you might be rushing because of nerves and need a reminder to take your time.

A standard desktop computer used for IT training

3. Build a Computer or Set up a Network

This is especially important for the CompTIA A+ exam and the Network+ exam. The CompTIA A+ 1001 exam covers hardware, while 1002 covers software.

It might sound daunting but building an actual computer is a great way to prepare. It will be essential in understanding not just the theory but how to apply it to your work. The same goes for the Network+ exam. There’s no better way to understand networks than to set one up yourself.

There are a few ways this helps. For one, who hasn’t realized something is more straightforward or more pronounced when performing the task than reading about it? Knowing your way around a computer or network firsthand gives meaning to the information you are studying. If you are a kinesthetic learner, building machines might be the way to get the information to “click.”

If building your machine is cost-prohibitive, taking a class can get you access to practice computers. Our CompTIA A+ courses include hands-on experience in a lab. The next best option can be online classes where you can practice in a virtual lab.

The sequence of trial and error when studying or learning

4. Take Practice Tests

CompTIA provides practice questions for almost every exam, including A+, Network+, Security+, and more. In addition to giving you an idea of how ready you are overall, you can hyper-focus on the areas you’re having problems with. passCompTIA is an excellent resource for finding practice tests.

When you’re reviewing your answers, figure out what you keep getting wrong and then redouble your study efforts in those areas. Try out the ABC method for improving your scores before moving on to the actual test.

How long should you study for the CompTIA A+ exam? Until you can consistently do better on practice tests than you want to do in the real thing.

A magnifying glass reveals what looks like weird bits or germs

5. Skip Strange Exam Questions

CompTIA tests are about managing time and are graded on a pass-fail basis. So, if a question seems too hard, just move on.

On a test like Security+, there may be questions that are being beta tested, seemingly random questions which are being tried out for a future version of the test. They are not graded, so you won’t be penalized for skipping them. The problem is that it’s hard to tell what is and isn’t a beta question, so don’t skip too many questions without answers.

Even without the beta questions, skipping a confusing question will give you more time to answer the questions you do understand. By the time you return to the question, you may see it in a whole new light or have worked out the answer in the back of your mind.

A hand grips a trophy for doing a great job at something

6. Ace the Performance-Based Questions

Performance-based questions (PBQs) ask the taker to perform a task or solve a problem in a simulation. These questions are more complex and can take time. However, if you’re prepared, they don’t have to derail your test-taking session.

First, it’s essential to know that most PBQs will come toward the beginning of the test and, while they are complex, they aren’t impossible. Preparing for these questions with online labs can give you the confidence and skills you need to tackle them. However, if you reach the problem and don’t feel confident, it’s okay to skip it for the moment and come back to it.

A community is connected by the channels that they use to talk through

7. Join an Online Community for CompTIA Exam TricksReddit CompTIA Exams

Finding a CompTIA study group online is a great way to prepare. There are many resources, study suggestions, and more in the CompTIA subreddit, /r/CompTIA. The community is full of people who have either passed their certifications or deep in the process. If you need extra help with a tricky section, ask! There’s always someone happy to share the secrets to their success and help you in your studying process.

A mindful person keeps their mental battery charged at 100 percent to take on daily tasks

8. Treat Yourself Well the Day of Your CompTIA Exam

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to show up well-rested, fed, hydrated, caffeinated, and de-stressed (at least, as stress-free as possible). While last-minute cramming can be significant, you need to leave yourself enough time to get a full eight hours of sleep. Eat well and try to manage your stress.

Ensuring you know the testing location is essential (which is why ACI Learning offers a Pearson VUE testing center for you to take the exam on-site). If you are traveling to a new location, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time in case you get lost. Finally, build up your confidence to prepare for the test. Give yourself a pep talk. You’ve done the hard work. You can do it!

Boost Your Chances With a Professional

While self-study is essential, it’s okay to need a little extra help. That’s why ACI Learning offers tech industry training with expert instructors to help you pass your CompTIA courses, get your certification, and prepare you for your career in I.T.

With classes offered during the day, at night, online, or on campus, we’ll work with your schedule and learning style. First, we’ll help you along your certification career path. Then, we’ll provide career services to assist our graduates in getting hired. That includes helping you optimize your resume and build your professional network.

As the skills gap in I.T. grows more and more every day, the industry needs professionals who are ready to tackle the challenges. Taking CompTIA certification classes can be a great way to get started. If you want to pass your test, get certified, and take your career to the next level, contact us today.


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