Helping a friend get A-Plus -- suggestions

Discussion in 'A+ Certification' started by Keegan Alex, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. Keegan Alex

    Keegan Alex Guest

    Hi...

    I've been using computers for 15+ years, and me and a friend (who
    knows little about computers) have decided to tackle the A+ test.
    I've printed out guides from several online sources, plus we've got
    two books to help, so I think we've got all material covered. Problem
    (or frustration) is that my friend knows little to nothing about
    computers beyond the average home user. He definately wants to learn,
    but he's starting to get very discouraged. The amount of info one
    needs to learn and memorize can be overwhelming, specially when you
    don't have much to refer back to.

    In my case, only details like memory addresses, some of the IRQ's and
    DMA's, SCSI details (never really used SCSI), and some minor items
    I'll need to work on, but I'm afraid I'm overlooking or
    underemphasizing something that he'll need to know on the test.

    We're just starting, but out of my junk room, I'm showing him examples
    of AT vs ATX, memory, ports, drives, you name it... I got an example
    of it. So this is helping. Also, later this week I'll have him
    install Windows 95 then Windows 2000 and get them talking to one
    another using various protocols.

    I guess my question is... does this sound like it'll help or work?
    Has anyone else gone down this road of helping someone get certified
    that knows little from the get-go? I'm no teacher, and I'm not the
    best at explaining stuff... but I've been doing this for years. I
    pass all A+ practice tests with 80% or higher, but I really want to
    make sure my friend gets to that level as well so he can get his foot
    in the IT door.

    Well, I'll close for now. If anyone has other study ideas, or maybe
    stories of how they tackled such a problem, please send them my way.

    Take care, and sorry for the lengthy post,

    Keegan.
     
    Keegan Alex, Jun 24, 2003
    #1
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  2. Keegan Alex

    Tony Sivori Guest

    Keegan Alex wrote:
    > Hi...
    >
    > I've been using computers for 15+ years,


    Sheesh, what were hard drives and RAM made of back then, flint? :)

    > and me and a friend (who
    > knows little about computers) have decided to tackle the A+ test.
    > I've printed out guides from several online sources, plus we've got
    > two books to help, so I think we've got all material covered. Problem
    > (or frustration) is that my friend knows little to nothing about
    > computers beyond the average home user. He definately wants to learn,
    > but he's starting to get very discouraged. The amount of info one
    > needs to learn and memorize can be overwhelming, specially when you
    > don't have much to refer back to.


    You're right, that is a lot to learn if you have no previous experience. I
    think it would also make a difference how many versions of Windows he has
    experience with as a user.

    That said, the A+ is not that technical, nor is it in great depth. Possibly
    the hardest part is that it is so wide ranging, covering the basics of PC
    hardware, printers, network hardware, DOS as a tool, and all versions of
    Windows except 3.x and XP.

    > In my case, only details like memory addresses, some of the IRQ's and
    > DMA's, SCSI details (never really used SCSI), and some minor items
    > I'll need to work on, but I'm afraid I'm overlooking or
    > underemphasizing something that he'll need to know on the test.
    >
    > We're just starting, but out of my junk room, I'm showing him examples
    > of AT vs ATX, memory, ports, drives, you name it... I got an example
    > of it. So this is helping. Also, later this week I'll have him
    > install Windows 95 then Windows 2000 and get them talking to one
    > another using various protocols.
    >
    > I guess my question is... does this sound like it'll help or work?
    > Has anyone else gone down this road of helping someone get certified
    > that knows little from the get-go? I'm no teacher, and I'm not the
    > best at explaining stuff... but I've been doing this for years. I
    > pass all A+ practice tests with 80% or higher, but I really want to
    > make sure my friend gets to that level as well so he can get his foot
    > in the IT door.


    I think it depends on how much motivation and persistence he has. Does he
    really want to do this, or did you prod and cajole (in a friendly way, of
    course) him into it, thinking he'd like it and it would be good for him?

    Anyway, I'd guess that a person could learn the material thoroughly in four
    to six weeks of six or eight hours a day. If it were just on weekends and
    some evenings it could easily take six months or more. That would include
    time for hands on practice, building, upgrading, troubleshooting, and hands
    on practice with the OSes. It would also help to have lots of hand on with
    both a 9x and NT flavor of Windows. I think the best two would be 98SE and
    Windows 2000.

    >
    > Well, I'll close for now. If anyone has other study ideas, or maybe
    > stories of how they tackled such a problem, please send them my way.


    It might help to have both an in depth study guide like the All In One, and
    something a lot briefer like the A+ Passport. You could go through the
    Passport to get the major stuff, the use the All In One to get the depth and
    reinforce the major points. The All In One, on it's own, is a rather large
    book, and if you're trying to take that 1200 pages in all at once, it is
    easy to bog down and get discouraged. But I wouldn't just forget about the
    All In One, as there is too much in there that any good tech needs to know.
    --
    Tony Sivori
     
    Tony Sivori, Jun 25, 2003
    #2
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  3. On 24 Jun 2003 07:36:45 -0700, (Keegan Alex)
    wrote:

    >Hi...
    >
    >I've been using computers for 15+ years, and me and a friend (who
    >knows little about computers) have decided to tackle the A+ test.
    >I've printed out guides from several online sources, plus we've got
    >two books to help,


    <snip>

    Which 2 books?

    Tom
     
    Tom MacIntyre, Jun 26, 2003
    #3
  4. On Tue, 24 Jun 2003 19:28:27 -0400, "Tony Sivori"
    <> wrote:

    >Keegan Alex wrote:
    >> Hi...
    >>
    >> I've been using computers for 15+ years,

    >
    >Sheesh, what were hard drives and RAM made of back then, flint? :)
    >


    Tony, Tony, Tony... :)

    I was BASIC programming on a mainframe at a university in 1974, and
    also in Fortran (FORTRAN?) I also did some machine coding on a Kim uP
    unit (an attache case with a 6502 uP and input and output interfaces)
    when I finished my electronics engineering technology course in
    1981-82.

    Seriously...15 years ago, a big HDD was about 20M, maybe, and RAM was
    probably 256-640k for the most part, for personal computers. We've
    come a long way in a short time...Moore's Law has even had to change,
    I think.

    Tom
     
    Tom MacIntyre, Jun 26, 2003
    #4
  5. Keegan Alex

    Tony Sivori Guest

    Tom MacIntyre wrote:
    > On Tue, 24 Jun 2003 19:28:27 -0400, "Tony Sivori"
    > <> wrote:
    >> Keegan Alex wrote:
    >>> I've been using computers for 15+ years,

    >>
    >> Sheesh, what were hard drives and RAM made of back then, flint? :)
    >>

    >
    > Tony, Tony, Tony... :)
    >
    > I was BASIC programming on a mainframe at a university in 1974, and
    > also in Fortran (FORTRAN?) I also did some machine coding on a Kim uP
    > unit (an attache case with a 6502 uP and input and output interfaces)
    > when I finished my electronics engineering technology course in
    > 1981-82.
    >
    > Seriously...15 years ago, a big HDD was about 20M, maybe, and RAM was
    > probably 256-640k for the most part, for personal computers. We've


    When you think about it, that is quite a lot of information to pack into
    flint. :)

    Or had they progressed to storing information (programs) by trying knots in
    wire?
    http://www.ddj.com/documents/s=1494/ddj0006hc/

    > come a long way in a short time...Moore's Law has even had to change,
    > I think.
    >
    > Tom


    I read somewhere that disk size is keeping well ahead of Moore's Law.

    --
    Tony Sivori
     
    Tony Sivori, Jun 26, 2003
    #5
  6. Keegan Alex

    Keegan Alex Guest

    Tom MacIntyre <> wrote in message news:<>...
    > On Tue, 24 Jun 2003 19:28:27 -0400, "Tony Sivori"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    > >Keegan Alex wrote:
    > >> Hi...
    > >>
    > >> I've been using computers for 15+ years,

    > >
    > >Sheesh, what were hard drives and RAM made of back then, flint? :)
    > >

    >
    > Tony, Tony, Tony... :)
    >
    > I was BASIC programming on a mainframe at a university in 1974, and
    > also in Fortran (FORTRAN?) I also did some machine coding on a Kim uP
    > unit (an attache case with a 6502 uP and input and output interfaces)
    > when I finished my electronics engineering technology course in
    > 1981-82.
    >
    > Seriously...15 years ago, a big HDD was about 20M, maybe, and RAM was
    > probably 256-640k for the most part, for personal computers. We've
    > come a long way in a short time...Moore's Law has even had to change,
    > I think.
    >
    > Tom


    Hi Tom,

    You're correct... My first PC (not counting the TRS-80 and Amiga
    before that) was an 8088 running MS-DOS 3.3, and a 10-20 Meg HD was a
    luxery. I remember my BBS ran on my 5.25" drive and the 3.5" drive
    was for files and messages. Made it easy to back-up :) But times
    they are a changing. Last I heard, Moore's law was that technology
    doubles every 18 months, and that's about holding true. Instead of
    processors going up by Mhz, they're increasing by Ghz now.

    But with my older XT, just like today, I could upgrade (or add) RAM,
    controllers, and in come cases (though I never did it) processors to
    the older systems. It wasn't as simple as it is today... requiring
    debuggers, peeks, pokes and other tools, but it was possible. This
    part of working on computers hasn't changed much. But it is awesome
    to be able to purchase a 512 Meg DIMM, slap it in a system, and have
    it work with no effort :)

    At any rate, the friend I'm helping with does want to learn, but I
    think my original 4 or so weeks of training was under-estimated. We
    both work full-time jobs and he's got a new baby. On that note, when
    is the test supposed to change? I heard it's supposed to be soon.

    Thanks,

    Keegan.
     
    Keegan Alex, Jun 27, 2003
    #6
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