Taking Both Exams Together vs. Separately

Discussion in 'A+ Certification' started by Joe Silver, Aug 21, 2003.

  1. Joe Silver

    Joe Silver Guest


    I have about nine months experience as a tech (I left this job
    voluntarily), and I'm currently in the beginning stages of studying
    for the A+ exams (using Michael Meyers' "All-in-One A+ Certification
    Exam Guide, Fourth Edition") in the hope of finding another tech
    position. I have purchased vouchers for the two exams, but have not
    yet made an appointment to take them.

    I had originally intended to take both exams on the same day, in the
    interest of getting them over with. However, I've read posts in this
    newsgroup from people who have taken them separately, and I have now
    begun to consider the merits of this approach. I suppose it might be
    helpful to have to study for only one exam at a time.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the advantages of one or the other of
    these approaches to taking the A+ exams? Is there a method that "most"
    people use, or is it pretty evenly divided between the
    separate/together approach?

    Joe Silver, Aug 21, 2003
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  2. Joe Silver

    Andy Barkl Guest

    Only wimps take the exams separately!
    Andy Barkl, Aug 21, 2003
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  3. Joe Silver

    Dex Guest

    I took both exams separately and recommend doing so. Reason being is that
    while niether exam is very hard, they both cover pretty broad area's of

    I'm a network admin that's been doing IT work for about 5 years and finally
    decided to start getting some papers to decorate my walls with. Anyhow, like
    I said above the topics covered on either tests are pretty diverse and a
    fair amount to remember. So, I recommend taking the tests one at a time.
    There is no harm in doing so, and lets you be better prepared.
    Dex, Aug 21, 2003
  4. Joe Silver

    Jerry Guest

    I agree with Andy. If you know your stuff then there is no reason to take
    them separately. Just take them together and get it over with in one shot.
    That way you only have to get all worked up one time.
    Jerry, Aug 21, 2003
  5. These are short exams, only 20 to 30 questions, and most people finish
    them in well under 30 minutes. You should know the stuff well enough to
    take them at the same time. The issue that may arise is that if you
    fail the first exam (and note, you can take either exam first), you may
    be sufficiently bummed out and psychologically shake that it causes you
    to fail the 2nd exam that you would otherwise have passed.

    But, on the other hand, there is a reverse effect, that is, success
    breeds success. You will be on a "high" if you pass the first exam, and
    that can also impact your performance on the 2nd exam.

    People do it, and recommend it, both ways. In the end, it's your call,
    but I did it all at once.
    Barry Watzman, Aug 21, 2003
  6. I took both betas together in June, 2000. I had about 13 years of
    sporadic experience at the time; I was never doing PC stuff 40 hours a
    week, but I was always doing something every week, either at work, at
    home, or for friends and family. My opinion...

    If your knowledge base is primarily from experience, do them together;
    if you have a course which teaches the two A+ areas sequentially, do
    them while the information is fresh in your head, unless you either
    have experience anyway, or you will be getting hands on with the first
    area taught while you are studying the second area. In other words...

    It all depends... :)

    Tom MacIntyre, Aug 21, 2003
  7. Joe Silver

    Joe Silver Guest

    Thanks to everyone for your helpful comments. After reading and
    deliberating, I think I'm going to go with "separate" - even if it
    makes me a "wimp" in Andy Barkl's eyes! :) A lot of this information
    is new to me, and I think it makes sense to study and absorb the
    material for one exam first, then take that exam, before moving on to
    the next one.

    If the exams were free, or were less costly than they are, it might be
    a different story. If that were the case, I might say "Hey, why not
    give it a shot?" However, I don't want to risk blowing the price of
    one exam (or two exams). I'd rather take things a bit slower for the
    sake of having a better chance of passing both tests.
    Joe Silver, Aug 22, 2003
  8. Joe Silver

    Pat Guest

    Not to dog on you, but "I have about nine months experience as a tech" and
    this seems rather telling, the tests are geared towards six months of
    experience, though it would vary considerably based on exactly what you do.
    The two exams do cover quite different areas, which is probably why they
    were split up.

    Someone doing strictly builds for years wouldn't be likely to be much help
    with software problems, and the tests also don't focus specifically on the
    newest hardware. They can't expect experience getting an old 8-bit seagate
    drive bios to recognize two 20MB MFM drives, chasing sporadic reboots not
    related to heat but to a flaky contact on the board, and installing the old
    sound cards with their four IRQ's, four addresses, and two DMA channels, all
    set with jumpers. Plug and play now makes things far simpler, though
    knowing what's going on is important, and can be even more so if you ever
    venture away from modern windows platforms. New machines are all but
    color-coded and numbered for assembly so lots of people call themselves
    techs based on a few upgrades or putting a pile of new parts together.
    That's all well and good, but it makes for rather large piles of unwanted
    applications for jobs where they aren't intending to train someone.

    Most of my callouts are to businesses with an onsite tech, or someone who
    talked well enough to be hired as one. Those and the places with servers
    and when you ask who the network administrator is, it's the receptionist by
    default since she's the one the contractor handed whatever data sheet they
    had on their way out the door.
    Pat, Aug 22, 2003
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