How I Achieved my CompTIA A+ Certification

When studying for professional qualifications you need to commit 100% effort, through continuous study and revision to pass any required exams. This is challenging when juggling work and personal commitments (e.g., childcare) that can place additional pressure on yourself.

After finally passing my CompTIA A+ certification recently after two years, my learning experiences have given me plenty to reflect upon.

My journey started back in November 2019 when I attended the CompTIA A+ courses in Manchester, before booking the online exams (Core 1 and Core 2) shortly after. Despite revising and preparing as much as possible, I took the Core 1 exam in February 2020 and narrowly failed, before suffering another setback with the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. This meant all subsequent plans to retake the exams put on hold for the near future, meaning this was a hard blow to take, all whilst dealing with the ongoing uncertainty.

Despite this setback, I remained positive and vowed to myself that I would retake both exams and achieve my CompTIA A+ certification.

Finally in April 2021, I picked up the gauntlet and began the long and arduous process of studying and revision. This time however I was determined to do better, by creating a detailed revision plan and making use of the techniques below:

  1. Using multiple learning resources (videos, e-books, presentations, Udemy courses) from training providers including Professor Messer, ITProTV, Total Seminars and Dion Training.
  2. Evaluated and assessed my knowledge and understanding through quizzes and practice exams.
  3. Used the CompTIA A+ practice labs on ITProTV.
  4. Practiced writing a daily crib sheet of key processes, methodologies and terms.
  5. Relied less on handwritten notes and flashcards.

Although progress was initially slow, I applied and dedicated myself to my studies, whilst working in IT support full-time. Through meticulous organisation, managing my time, revising, testing myself and reviewing progress, I was not leaving anything to chance. Eventually through my efforts, I felt more prepared and confident enough in my ability to sit the exams. Finally in May 2022, I took the plunge and booked the exams at the assessment centre in Manchester.

In the final weeks and days leading up to the exams, I felt nervous but also confident in my ability to take and pass them. This was because I was aware I had worked extremely hard with revising, studying and preparing for the exams with a vigorous intensity, that I felt better equipped to pass second time around.

Eventually the outcome was that I was successful in passing both exams to achieve my CompTIA A+ certification. This was achieved with scores of 753 for Core 1 and 785 for Core 2, which meant I had achieved my goal of successfully attaining certification. The moment I found out that I had passed both exams to finally achieve this was a proud moment personally, as the realisation of putting in those long hours and days of dedicated revision, study and testing had paid off in successful triumph.

So, what did I learn on journey to CompTIA A+ certification? As already mentioned, I have reflected on my experiences, of which I learned valuable lessons going forward, that you can apply to your own professional career development:

I have listed these lessons below as follows:

  1. Identify learning resources before starting any course or qualification.
  2. Always read the course syllabus and note any exam objectives.
  3. Create a revision plan.
  4. Watch revision videos from more than one training provider (if possible).
  5. Use techniques such as writing mnemonics and creating mind maps.
  6. Refresh and assess your subject knowledge or a regular basis.
  7. Identify any gaps in your knowledge.
  8. Write a brief list of key facts and memorise them daily.
  9. Make regular use of relevant practice exercises if available.
  10. Take time to relax and enjoy personal hobbies by taking a revision break.

Studying for and successfully achieving my CompTIA A+ certification has been one of the greatest moments in my professional IT career. Writing about my journey, my experiences, and responding to setbacks to eventually achieve my certification, has been very satisfying personally.

Finally, I would like to wish you good luck and every success, before concluding with these three important words.

Never give up!

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