Build, tear apart and/or reassemble your own desktop computer
CompTIA A+ Certification exams will test the students on a large amount of hardware knowledge. One of the most rewarding experiences you can have in IT is the satisfaction of building your first computer. Few things are so intimidating and yet so simple. Building a desktop computer is an exhilarating way to familiarize yourself with hardware and components. The muscle memory and time-intensive process teaches you in a way that reading and watching just can’t. Building a desktop helps clarify what the RAM, HDD, SSD, GPU, CPU, Motherboard and a host of other acronyms mean. CompTIA A+ exams have MANY questions covering a large spectrum of hardware and software knowledge that is required at an entry-level Information Technology job. Building a desktop gives you experience in setting up an OS, running through a BIOS/UEFI, hardware differences, selecting case and motherboard type, and much more. Knowing that the hardware portion of the CompTIA exam not just in theory but with real world practice is a great way for the students to feel confident on exam day. In addition, it is extremely beneficial to their future as they hold the practical knowledge when interviewing and/or entering a new career.
Set up a CompTIA A+ test lab
Experience matters. While a significant amount of time can be spent on CompTIA A+ certification preparation, the best study guide is experience. Nothing prepares you more for a test than fixing a computer and running through the operating system to get a feel for it. A test lab is easy to set-up and requires very little in terms of money. Use Windows 10 Enterprise supporting Hyper-V and setup up a VMM to include VMs of Windows 8.1, Windows 7 and Linux.
A typical test lab would contain, a monitor, a desktop computer, networking components and a current OS covered by the 220-901 and 220-902 Exams. With this basic set-up, your students can start to tinker and practice for the 220-901 and 220-902. Don’t just set-up a lab, USE IT. Practice complex tasks like partitioning the hard drive, overclocking your CPU and becoming an expert at BIOS/UEFI management. For CompTIA A+, the test is a general knowledge test, vast in span but not very deep. Using a test lab will help solidify concepts in your student’s mind.
Use and share alternate sources of studying
The internet is full of beautiful videos that help illuminate aspects of computers. In this Get Certified website, you will find MP4s on each domain. These are Professor Messer videos and have been proven to be an extremely effective learning tool. Feel free to use these in your classroom. While you can’t always interact in a way that leads to real-life practice and solidifies concepts, the visual aspect is a great way to understand something before diving in deep.
CANVAS Practice Tests
Nothing builds confidence like a practice exam. Learning to ace the CompTIA course with REAL questions that can be found on REAL exams is a huge boost to morale. Practice exams for the CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 are available through this GetCertified website. Registration is found under the Exam Prep menu tab. Once registration is submitted through the GetCertified website, a link will be sent to the student (within 24 hours of their registration receipt) via email for access to the practice exams on the Canvas website. Holding a 85% competency level on the simulation exams will help your students feel cheerful and bold on Exam day, instead of fearful and stressed.
Be a Mentor
This is an undervalued step in being successful in the IT world. Often a question is beyond the scope of a student until they learn foundational knowledge. Yet without that foundational knowledge, they may not know what you need to study in order to answer the question. This creates a terrible cycle of feeling confused and leads to being unable to achieve success. This is where the Mentor is invaluable. Having someone to talk through hard to understand problems and discuss IT is one of the most powerful tools you can have for passing the exam. You need to take the time to be that mentor from the University and information technology field.
Read the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Objectives
It is astounding how many people attempt the CompTIA A+ 901 and 902 Exam without taking the time to simply read through the test objectives. The Computing Technology Industry Association has laid out a pretty explicit and easy to read list of necessary objectives and steps required to pass the exams. Not only do these give a glimpse into what can be found on the test, they are great windows into the world of CompTIA A+ exams. The tests are updated roughly every three years and continually drop old legacy items from the needed knowledge as well as look forward toward new technology. A good sign that your students can pass the exam, is when you feel confident they can do all the objectives laid out by CompTIA.