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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The new “A+ 2003 Upgrade Core Hardware” and “A+ 2003 Upgrade OS Technologies” exams have arrived -- and you have some more studying to do.
Roughly 25 percent of the content has changed. The latest versions of Windows -- including both Windows XP and Me -- are now covered in detail. There’s new technology all over the place -- new I/O, new forms of PC memory, new peripherals, new wireless stuff, you name it.
Meanwhile, there’s been a quieter, maybe more important change: one that has little to do with the content. The job market has gotten tougher. Once, A+ certification was a luxury. Now, it’s a baseline necessity.
Now, let’s say you’re a reasonably experienced tech. Let’s imagine, further, that you hate studying for exams. You know most of this stuff. You know where to find stuff out when you need to. You just don’t like the whole test experience. But it’s time to hold your nose and get your credential. If only someone could make prepping less painful.
That’s where A+ for Dummies, Third Edition comes in.
Ron Gilster is great at extracting the boredom from certification exam review. He’s not only written For Dummies® books for A+, but also for CCNA, Network+, Server+, even Microsoft’s MCSA certification. He also knows the material backward and forward -- having spent 30 years upgrading, repairing, and programming computers, earning multiple CompTIA certs along the way.
Gilster’s formula makes a lot of sense. Quick, bite-size discussions (so you can review even if you only have a few minutes to spare.) Ten-question self-assessments at the beginning of every chapter (so you know where to spend your time). Hands-on labs that step you through many of the more challenging procedures you need to understand (for example, flashing a PC’s BIOS -- carefully).
And all that’s backed by twice as many exam questions as in the previous edition -- all provided on CD-ROM and delivered through the customizable Dummies Test Engine.
Gilster presents straight-to-the-point coverage of every exam objective, on both the hardware and OS exams. He starts with the “theoretical” stuff many techs never bothered to learn: the fundamentals, jargon, and properties of electronics and electricity inside the PC, and the ins-and-outs of binary and hex numbering. (Notwithstanding plug-and-play, you never know when you’ll have to mess with IRQs and memory addresses).
Then, it’s on to each hardware component covered on the A+ exam. Inside the box, you’ll find updated chapters on motherboards, BIOSes, buses, microprocessors, memory, storage, and power. Outside the box, you’ll find revamped coverage of the latest I/O ports and devices, printers, and notebooks.
What was formerly a single chapter on networking has been expanded to an entire section in this edition. You’ll find everything from LAN installation and configuration to management and troubleshooting -- as well as a full chapter on delivering Internet services. And, of course, there’s thorough Windows coverage: a chapter on the fundamentals of Windows, then drill-downs on Win95, 98, Me, 2000 Pro, and XP Pro.
Inexpensive, friendly, and mercifully concise, A+ for Dummies, Third Edition is a great way to go from experienced tech to certified tech. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.