A+ is bull and would someone please clarify....

Discussion in 'A+ Certification' started by tfc, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. tfc

    tfc Guest

    This is ridiculous....
    Einstein even said something to the effect of "..never memorize
    something that I can look up..."
    Just getting ready for A+ HW.. I just did a test with Self Test
    software and got overall 76%.. Well...that was a respectable pass the
    last time I added numbers! But it says I failed! ...WHAT?!
    C'mon, do we really need to memorize some of the ultra-nerdy specs that
    I'm seeing here! What a load of bull%$#@. Yes we need to know HOW stuff
    works but not this granular. Who cares what the bus speed was on a P5/
    75mhz. Most of the shit on the testing is dead!
    Its a money grab.
    Hey! anyone hear of GOOGLE for ^%$#@ sake?!
    Yeah I probably have the wrong attitude.. whatever.
    I've been workin in Lan admin for 10 years - and I'm proof that you
    don't need to memorize this crap. Yes finally getting around to certs
    cause thanks to GD outsourcing... I'm OUT of a job..

    Anyway.. thanks for reading my small rant... Now - Can some please
    explain the relationship between the Comptia weighting, 515, 800 etc,
    and how that translates to a passing PERCENTAGE??? I saw various
    numbers all around but nothing concrete. IF 76% is a fail, then I'm
    quitting computers for good and taking up farming or fishing.. Screw
    this.. Thanks and ... oh have a nice day....

    tfc, Jun 14, 2006
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  2. tfc

    Gerard Bok Guest

    Actually, you don't. But CompTIA A+ is intended to mean
    something. Especially to future employers.
    That's why the tests are designed in such a way, that anyone with
    some experiece in the field who just happens walk in to the test,
    will probably fail.
    Otherwise, the A+ certificate would be pretty worthless.
    I guess you have. It's the same attitude that will probably piss
    off an employer :)
    Say no more...
    There is an extensive paper on this subject on CompTIA's website.
    Basically: you get 80 or so questions and need to score 65% or
    CompTIA replaces their test with an adaptive type as soon as
    practical. And that means, that you won't see all 80 questions,
    just the minimal amount of questions required to accurately asses
    your skills. (That prevents leaking sets of questions and
    Read all about it on www.comptia.org
    (Including the accurate figures; 80 and 65% are just my guess :)

    Relax, study some, write the test again.
    Wear a smile an a tie (in that order!) on your next interview and
    you'll be fine.
    Gerard Bok, Jun 14, 2006
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  3. tfc

    JohnO Guest

    The score scale is 100 to 900. The percentages are intentionally
    impossible to determine from your score, I'm told this is a test
    security measure. To my knowledge they don't explain this in any
    detail, but Gerald if you have a more precise link to that paper I'll
    be corrected.

    With your experience the A+ test shouldn't be very difficult,
    especially if you 'work' the exam. That is, eliminate obvious incorrect
    answers and choose from what's left. There are plenty of questions that
    don't pertain to random facts, so you'll be fine.

    -John O
    JohnO, Jun 14, 2006
  4. tfc

    tfc Guest

    I think its the random facts that are getting me.
    Where I come from, I never had to memorize what the default video card
    I/O address was or bus speeds on old Pentiums etc. There was no need.
    I'd just look it up if needed. Of course one would remember stuff just
    from usage. In the Lan admin world, it was about blood and guts
    troubleshooting on various levels, providing solutions to various
    issues, thinking on your feet, interfacing with customers and so on.
    The A+ I'm about to do is part of a much larger course and its taking
    up so much time to
    study its beginning to rub me ya know... thanks for the words anyway..
    tfc, Jun 14, 2006
  5. tfc

    J. Clarke Guest

    If you've got experience just go take the bloody test. If you fail it,
    _then_ worry about it. Yeah, you'll get some answers wrong. Don't worry
    about it. You have to get a lot of them wrong before you fail.

    J. Clarke, Jun 14, 2006
  6. tfc

    Gerard Bok Guest

    I was referring to an 11 page CompTIA explanation document, dated
    5-10-2000. (It's adaptive_test.pdf in my file. I cannot guarantee
    that this was also the original title.)

    Full of details and with scientific references.
    "The computation of the score is quite complicated statistically,
    and is based on the principles of Item Response Theory, proposed
    initially in the 1940s by Frederick Lord (see reference in
    Bibliography). The formula that calculates the final score can
    also convert the score into any arbitrary score scale."

    It seems that CompTIA removed it from their site.
    Gerard Bok, Jun 14, 2006
  7. tfc

    MF Guest


    IIRC, they haven't used adaptive tests in a while.

    MF, Jun 14, 2006
  8. Hmmm...I don't know if I like that reasoning...shouldn't a good test
    reward experience? Isn't this right back to the "paper cert" concept?

    Tom MacIntyre, Jun 14, 2006
  9. tfc

    tfc Guest

    Hey now that's the kind of candor we need. You must be British...
    And yes, just do it is the right approach.

    tfc, Jun 15, 2006
  10. tfc

    tfc Guest

    This is a reply to all...
    Funny thing.. I'm using Self Test Software.. purchased at discount thru
    the institution that I'll be attending, and the "score" for the test
    exams is in percentage... nowhere does it relay that to the 515 or 550
    or whatever the number is out of ( 800 or 900 ?) that is specified for
    a pass. Oh well. I still maintain that its still bullshit anyway.
    There's lots of ambiguity in the questions as I would imagine is the
    same with other vendors... I'll just play along...

    tfc, Jun 15, 2006
  11. tfc

    JohnO Guest

    They cost too much too develop, and as a bonus they received a lot of
    complaints about expensive exams that only take 15 minutes to complete.
    I felt it was a great way to do A+.

    -John O
    JohnO, Jun 15, 2006
  12. But wait...you haven't yet done the actual A+, yet you are declaring
    "it" to be bull based on the fact that the limited amount of prep
    software that you have used doesn't correlate to the actual scoring
    for it?

    Tom MacIntyre, Jun 15, 2006
  13. tfc

    JohnO Guest

    You often get what you pay for, but then again I'm more familiar with
    another brand of test prep software. ;-)

    Read my first post on the thread. You cannot determine percentage from
    the score, nor can you reliably determine score from percentage. As a
    programmer (I'm not, but assume for a moment) what logic would I use?
    Should I just make it up, and throw random scores at you? You probably
    wouldn't like that.

    BTW the pass score is about 62%, or so.

    The practice tests are often very similar to the real thing. Why? Say I
    write a bunch of psychometrically-perfect practice questions. Then you
    see the crap that comes out of the A+ exam, and there's lots of that.
    How good is my test prep in that case?

    Regardless all the BS, A+ is the defacto standard for computer techs.
    Pass that exam and move on. :)

    -John O
    JohnO, Jun 16, 2006
  14. tfc

    tfc Guest

    Well that would be stupid to do that in front of HR.. now wouldn't it.
    I'm no kid... Christ I have kids! Which is partially why I'm only
    getting around to certs now.... better late that never I s'pose..
    Anyway.. did the HW exam on Friday.... let the bell's ring out... got
    an 804. Smoked it.
    I couldn't help noticing how much easier it was compared to the
    practice tests. At least the Self Test Software anyway... hmmm. Maybe I
    just got a break. So I can put away the fact sheets on isdn, modem AT
    commands, etc. man... and move on as someone said.. after I do the OS
    part next week. Cheers;
    tfc, Jun 17, 2006
  15. tfc

    tfc Guest

    I guess it was the way some of the questions (on the practice) were
    worded. The easy ones were answer-able by a 10 year old and the
    difficult ones were ambiguous. Some not all. Oh and btw, there was a
    beep code question on the real exam. I thought that was out - isn't
    that mostly vendor specific.?
    So maybe I'm tasting some crow here, but I was studied up big time for
    this and I learned a lot - newer stuff anyway. Which is good for guys
    like me who worked in the field without a cert - a swiss cheese type of
    experience. Lookin forward to the rest of it.. mcse, etc.
    tfc, Jun 17, 2006
  16. I've been teaching an A+ preparation course for a number of years now
    and one thing I can tell you it that the 2003 A+ O/S exam is definitely
    more difficult than the 2003 Hardware exam.

    Periodically, I get feedback from previous students and they all say
    pretty much the same thing. Hardware wasn't too bad but the O/S exam was
    harder. Not impossible, just harder than the Hardware exam.

    For the most part, concentrate on Windows 2000 & XP Professional. Make
    sure you are comfortable with the "NT" boot sequence and the files that
    are required for a successful boot and where they are usually located.

    Other than that, with your LAN admin experience, you should be OK with
    the second exam.

    Good luck!

    John P. Dearing, Jun 19, 2006
  17. tfc

    Me Too Guest

    One thing the school I went to did was to give us Virtual PC and OSes so
    that we could install them on Virtual PC and play with them. The school
    has an "education" type license with Microsoft so students are able to have
    these things legally. I found it very helpful, especially with NT, to
    install and play with it for a bit.

    I'm scheduled for my hardware exam next month and will take the OS one
    sometime after that. I've used Mike Meyers book and CDs for study as well
    as TestOut. I'm hoping that since I'm scoring in the upper 80s and lower
    90s on the practice exams, that indicates that I should pass the A+ exams
    with no problems.

    Me Too, Jun 19, 2006
  18. tfc

    tfc Guest

    Aced the OS today. 812.
    Yes it was a bit harder than HW. But I have a fair bit of experience in
    the field with most of the O/S's. That really helps. I would imagine
    that anyone doing this without significant experience could be in for a
    ride. Consider that a word of experience there boys.
    tfc, Jun 22, 2006
  19. tfc

    JohnO Guest

    Dude, 812 is a huge score! Good job!

    -John O
    JohnO, Jun 26, 2006
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