The Ultimate Guide to CompTIA A+ Certification for Dummies

Are you looking to start a career in the IT industry or take your skills to the next level? If so, the CompTIA A+ certification is the perfect starting point.

This certification is globally recognized and respected, and can help you land a job in the exciting world of technology. 

In this comprehensive guide we will break down everything you need to know about the CompTIA A+ certification.

What is CompTIA A+ Certification?

CompTIA A+ certification is an entry level certification for individuals who want to start a career in the information technology industry.

It is awarded by the Computing Technology Industry Association to individuals who demonstrate knowledge and skills in installing, maintaining and troubleshooting computer hardware and software.

Who is CompTIA A+ Certification for?

The certification is designed for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career as a help desk technician, technical support specialist or similar roles in the IT industry.

It is also suitable for individuals who are new to the industry and want to build a strong foundation of knowledge and skills.

Benefits of Getting CompTIA A+ Certified

  • Career advancement opportunities

    Obtaining a CompTIA A+ certification can help you advance your career in the IT industry by demonstrating your knowledge and skills to employers.

  • Increased job opportunities

    Many employers require or prefer candidates with CompTIA A+ certification which can open up more job opportunities for you in the IT industry.

  • Higher earning potential

    Individuals with CompTIA A+ certification can earn higher salaries than their non-certified peers, as the certification validates their technical skills and knowledge.

  • Recognition and credibility

    CompTIA A+ certification is globally recognized and respected which can enhance your professional credibility and reputation in the IT industry.

  • Enhanced technical skills

    Studying for the certification exams can help you develop a deep understanding of computer hardware and software, as well as troubleshooting techniques which can enhance your technical skills.

  • A foundation for further certifications and education

    CompTIA A+ certification is a good foundation for further certifications and education in the IT industry, such as network+, security+ or cloud+ certifications.

Taking the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam

The CompTIA A+ certification exam is designed to test your knowledge and skills in computer hardware, software, networking and security. 

1. Overview of the exam

The exam consists of two parts - Core 1 and Core 2. Each part includes 90 multiple-choice and performance-based questions that must be completed within 90 minutes.

2. Prerequisites for taking the exam

There are no prerequisites for taking the CompTIA A+ certification exam. However it is recommended that candidates have at least 9-12 months of hands-on experience in the IT industry.

3. Exam Format and Structure

The exam consists of multiple-choice and performance-based questions. The multiple-choice questions test your knowledge of computer hardware, software, networking and security concepts. 

The performance-based questions assess your ability to troubleshoot and solve practical problems related to computer hardware and software.

4. Exam Registration Process

To register for the CompTIA A+ certification exam you must create an account on the CompTIA website and purchase an exam voucher. You can schedule your exam at a Pearson VUE testing center or take it online.

5. Exam Cost and Duration

The cost of the CompTIA A+ certification exam varies by location but typically ranges from $226 to $244 per exam. Each exam must be completed within 90 minutes.

6. Understanding the Scoring Process

The CompTIA A+ certification exam is scored on a scale of 100 to 900, with a passing score of 675 for each part. The exam is not curved and the passing score is set based on the level of difficulty of the questions.

7. Policies for Retaking the Exam

If you do not pass the CompTIA A+ certification exam on your first attempt you can retake the exam after a waiting period of 14 days

You may take the exam a maximum of three times in a 12-month period. After three attempts you must wait 12 months before taking the exam again.

Domains of the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam

The certification exam covers six domains, and this guide will provide a comprehensive overview of each domain.

Domain 1: Hardware Basics (25%)

This domain covers the fundamental concepts of computer hardware, including the different types of computers, internal and external hardware components, and peripheral devices.

Domain 2: Operating Systems (31%)

This domain covers the basics of operating systems including Windows, macOS and Linux.

Domain 3: Troubleshooting and Maintenance (29%)

This domain covers identifying common problems that occur in computer systems, troubleshooting techniques and best maintenance practices.

Domain 4: Networking (20%)

This domain covers the basics of networking including network types and topologies as well as the TCP/IP protocol.

Domain 5: Virtualization and Cloud Computing (11%)

This domain covers the basics of virtualization and cloud computing including their use in the workplace.

Domain 6: Security (25%) 

This domain covers the basics of cybersecurity which typically include malware and virus protection as well as network security.

Preparing for the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam

Preparing for the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam requires a combination of studying and hands-on experience. Here are some study materials that can help you prepare:

1. Study materials

Uniontestprep | CompTIA A+ Certification

Using a variety of study materials can help you get a well-rounded understanding of the exam objectives. To get started with you preparation of the CompTIA A+ Certification, you can refer to the free series offered by Uniontestprep.

2. Official Documentation 

CompTIA | Training books

CompTIA provides paid study guides that cover the exam objectives in detail and help you prepare for same. These study materials are available on the CompTIA website and are designed to help you prepare for the exam.

3. Online Courses

TOTAL | CompTIA A+ Certification (220-1001).

This course offers an extensive and comprehensive 17+ hour guide designed to help you successfully pass the CompTIA A+ Certification exam. It provides you with the necessary skills to excel as an IT and computer technician. 

4. Practice Exams 


This article provides valuable information on the certification exam structure. Each exam has a maximum of 90 questions and lasts for 90 minutes.

The questions encompass various formats such as multiple-choice, drag and drop, and performance-based questions.  

5. YouTube Tutorials 

Professor Messer | CompTIA A+

This channel, run by Professor Messer, offers a comprehensive collection of free training videos for CompTIA certifications, including CompTIA A+.

The videos cover the exam objectives and provide in-depth explanations of various topics. 

6. Books and Guides 

CompTIA | CompTIA A+ Core 1 (220-1101) Certification Study Guide

For those passionate about books, the official study guides for both the Core 1 CompTIA A+ certification exams are available for purchase on their official website.

Tips for successful exam preparation

Here are some tips for successful exam preparation for the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam:

  • Understand the exam format and objectives

    It's important to familiarize yourself with the exam format and objectives before starting your preparation. Understanding what to expect on the exam can help you create an effective study plan.

  • Create a study plan

    Creating a study plan can help you stay organized and on track with your exam preparation. You can break down the exam objectives into smaller sections and set a timeline for studying each section.

  • Practice hands-on

    It's important to get hands-on experience with computer hardware and software to prepare for the exam. You can set up a home lab or volunteer at a local organization to get practical experience.

  • Take breaks

    Taking breaks during your study sessions can help you stay focused and prevent burnout. You can take short breaks every hour or so to rest your eyes and clear your mind.

What to expect after the exam

After taking the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam, here's what you can expect:

  • Understanding the results

    You will receive your exam results immediately after completing the exam. The results will show whether you passed or failed the exam as well as your overall score. 

  • Certifications and badges

    If you pass the exam, you will receive a CompTIA A+ certification and a digital badge that you can use to showcase your accomplishment. You can also add your certification to your resume and professional profiles.

  • Retaking the exam

    If you don't pass the exam, you can retake the exam. You must wait at least 14 days between exam attempts. CompTIA recommends that you use this time to further prepare for the exam to increase your chances. 

  • Maintaining your certification

    To maintain the CompTIA A+ certification, you must earn 20 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) within three years of passing the exam, which can be earned through various activities and training courses.

Jobs can you get with CompTIA A+ Certification

Here are brief explanations of  job roles that you can obtain with a CompTIA A+ certification:

  • System Support Specialist

    A system support specialist is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation and maintenance of an organization's computer systems, through troubleshooting and resolving technical issues.

  • Field Service Technician

    A field service technician provides on-site technical support and assistance to customers or clients. They have to install, repair, or maintain computer systems, networks and other related equipment.

  • End User Computing Technician

    An end user computing technician provides technical support to end-users in an organization. They troubleshoot and resolve issues related to desktops, laptops, mobile devices and other computing devices.

  • IT Support Technician

    An IT support technician  involved in resolving issues related to hardware, software, networks, and security as well as installing and configuring new equipment and software.


In conclusion, obtaining a CompTIA A+ certification can provide numerous benefits, such as career advancement opportunities, higher earning potential and enhanced technical skills.

To successfully pass the exam, it is important to have a solid understanding of the different domains covered in the exam and to prepare using various study materials and techniques. 

Once certified it is important to maintain your certification by meeting the continuing education requirements. 


Is CompTIA A+ worth it?

Yes, CompTIA A+ certification is worth it as it can provide various benefits such as career advancement opportunities, higher earning potential and enhanced technical skills.

Is CompTIA A+ good for beginners?

Yes, CompTIA A+ certification is a good starting point for beginners who are interested in pursuing a career in IT. It covers fundamental knowledge and skills in hardware, software and networking.

How long does it take to get CompTIA A+?

The length of time it takes to get CompTIA A+ certification depends on the individual's experience and level of knowledge. On average it takes around 3-6 months of preparation to pass the exam.

What skills do you learn from A+ certification?

CompTIA A+ certification covers various skills, including understanding hardware, software, and networking, troubleshooting and problem-solving, basic security principles and communication and professionalism.

What is the hardest part of A+ certification?

The hardest part of CompTIA A+ certification varies from individual to individual. However many people find the troubleshooting and maintenance domain to be the most challenging.

What is the highest paying CompTIA certification?

The highest paying CompTIA certification is CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+), followed by CompTIA Security+ and then CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+).

However, the earning potential also depends on factors such as location, experience, and job role.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of

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