A+ Exam Cram

A+ Exam Cram


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A+ Exam Cram by James G. Jones, Craig Landes

Covers full all the new exam objectives and items in the following areas: Windows 98, Windows 2000 Windows NT, version 4.0, and Linux - baseline information. Focuses on the curriculum objectives of the new A+ exam due to be launched in December 2000. Features unique editorial content that complements all A+ Certification study guides and training materials-especially the A+ Exam Prep. Provides practice-exam questions in a format similar to the actual exam and chapter-end resource sections to help readers find the best study aids available.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781576102510
Publisher: Coriolis Group
Publication date: 08/01/1998
Series: Exam Cram 2 Series
Pages: 350
Product dimensions: 6.03(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.19(d)

About the Author

James G. Jones, MCP, MCSE, MCT, CNE,CAN, A+ (Geneva, IL) has over 25 years of experience in multiple aspects of the IT industry, including systems design and development, sales, education, and management. He is also a Bay Networks, Ascend, Shiva, and Gandalf (Certified Instructor).

Craig Landes has over 10 years experience in Information Technology and is currently heading the development of The National Association of Personal Systems Administrators (NAPSA), a professional organization of technology specialists.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: A+ Certification Tests

As experiences go, test-taking isn't something most people anticipate eagerly, no matter how well they're prepared. In most cases, familiarity reduces exam anxiety. In other words, you probably wouldn't be as nervous if you had to take a second A+ certification exam as you will be taking your first one. We've taken lots of exams, and this book is partly about helping you to reduce your test-taking anxiety. This chapter explains what you can expect to see in the exam room itself.

Whether it's your first or your tenth exam, understanding the exam particulars (how much time to spend on questions, the setting you'll be in, and so on) and the testing software will help you concentrate on the material rather than on the environment. Likewise, mastering a few basic test-taking skills should help you recognize–and perhaps even outfox–some of the tricks and "gotchas" you're bound to find in A+ exam questions.

The Test Site

When you arrive at your scheduled Sylvan Prometric Testing Center, you'll be required to sign in with a test coordinator. He or she will ask you to produce two forms of identification, one of which must be a photo ID. After you've signed in and your time slot arrives, you'll be asked to deposit any books, bags, or other items you brought with you, then you'll be escorted into a closed room.

Typically, the testing room will be furnished with anywhere from one to six computers. Each workstation will be separated from the others by dividers designed to keep you from seeing what's happening on someone else's computer.

When you sign in with theexam administrators, you'll be furnished with a pen or pencil and a blank sheet of paper, or, in some cases, an erasable plastic sheet and an erasable felt-tip pen. You're allowed to write down any information you want on both sides of this sheet. As mentioned in the Introduction, you should memorize as much of the material that appears on The Cram Sheet (inside the front cover of this book) as you can and then write that information down on the blank sheet as soon as you are seated in front of the computer. You can refer to your rendition of The Cram Sheet anytime you like during the test, but you'll have to surrender the sheet when you leave the room. Keep in mind that if you've registered for both exams, you can take a break between the core and the DOS/Windows specialty exams, or you can proceed directly into the second exam. If you do take a break, you may have to turn your notes in and start over fresh on the second exam.

Most exam rooms feature a wall with a large picture window. This is to permit the test coordinator to monitor the room, to prevent test-takers from talking to one another, and to observe anything out of the ordinary that might go on. The exam coordinator will have preloaded the A+ certification test, and you'll be permitted to start as soon as you're seated in front of the computer.

All A+ certification exams are designed to be taken within a fixed time period, and there's a countdown timer on the screen showing you the time remaining. In our opinion, the amount of time is fair and generous, and it offers ample time for reviewing your responses. Each question offers you the opportunity to "mark for review" so you can return to the question at the end of the exam.

A+ certification exams are computer generated and use a multiple-choice format. Although this may sound easy, the questions are constructed to check your mastery of basic facts and figures as well as test your ability to evaluate one or more sets of circumstances or requirements.

You might be asked to select the best or most effective solution to a problem from a range of choices, all of which technically are correct. You might be asked to select the best choice from a graphic image. You might also find questions where a series of blanks represent a list of terms used to complete a sentence. All in all, it's quite an adventure, and it involves real thinking. This book shows you what to expect and how to deal with the problems, puzzles, and predicaments you're likely to find on the test.

The Sample Test in Chapter 12 is a very close approximation of the combined exams. As you'll see, we've included a sample of every type of question as well as mimicked the phrasing style of the overall exam.

Test Layout And Design

As mentioned earlier, the questions on A+ exams are multiple choice. CompTIA has specified that the 1998 revised exam will allow only one correct response to each question. Additionally, there should be no questions requiring you to type in a phrase or series of words. Some questions will provide the information in paragraph format, and others will provide an exhibit (line drawing) and ask you to identify specific components. Paying careful attention is the key to success! Be prepared to toggle between a picture and a question as you work. Often, both are complex enough that you might not be able to remember all of either one.

Each question stands alone in a windowed page. The text of the question displays near the top of the screen, and the response choices are listed below the question. Each response appears next to a typical Windows radio button, where clicking on the appropriate circle turns it black. You can change your selection at any time from within the question window. The time you take to respond and the number of times you change a response are not factored into the scoring process. At the bottom of the screen, there are several option buttons allowing you to proceed to the next question or return to the previous question. When a question includes a graphic exhibit, an additional button displays and links to the graphic. Along the top of the screen is the countdown timer and a place where you can mark a question for later review.

Review Responses

When you complete the last question of the exam and press the Next button, a final screen will offer you the option to review your responses. A listing of all the question numbers, along with your chosen response letter shows on the screen, and the marked questions have a graphic indicator. When you highlight a marked question and choose Review, the software displays the selected question.

When you review a question, you'll see a window displaying the original question and your response. You can use the window to change or verify your answer. When you're satisfied with your response, you can unmark the question by clicking on the Mark For Review checkbox, or you can proceed to the next review question. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see a Review Next button, which will take you to your next marked question (bypassing unmarked questions). The number of questions you choose to review is not factored into the scoring process.

Advantages Of Marking Questions For Review

Marking questions for review offers several advantages. The obvious advantage is that you can work through the exam one time with your eye on the clock. Generally, most test-takers get a little worried about whether they'll be able to complete the exam within the time limit. Don't worry! If you've studied this book and you're comfortable with the Sample Test, you'll have plenty of time to complete the real exam.

A less obvious advantage of marking a question for review is that some questions are answered by other questions presented later in the exam. For instance, if one question asks you something like, "Which component charges the EP drum?" and lists a number of laser printer parts, you might get thrown off track by the phrase EP drum. However, a later question might ask, "Which component writes an image to the electrophotosensitive drum in a laser printer?" As you can see, the second question has provided you with information for the first question.

A third advantage of marking questions for review is that tricky phrasing can sometimes lead to a misinterpretation. For instance, you might be asked, "Of the following items, which is not part of the boot sequence?" In your first reading of the question, you might easily miss the not and choose a response designed to catch this kind of error. We recommend that you mark any question that uses lists in its responses.

Take Your Test Seriously

The most important advice we can give you about taking any test is this: Read each question carefully! Some questions are deliberately ambiguous, offering several responses that could be correct, depending on your reading of the question. Other questions use terminology in very precise ways. We use Exam Alerts and Tips throughout this book to point out where you might run into these types of questions.

We've taken numerous practice and real tests, and, in nearly every case, we've missed at least one question because we didn't read it closely or carefully enough. For example, the use of the word requires commonly causes test-takers to answer incorrectly. Consider Sample Question 1.

Sample Question 1 -

Windows 95 requires the WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI files during the startup process in order to load device drivers and user options.

  • True
  • False
The correct answer is b, false, because the WIN.INI file isn't required.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with the tendency to select an answer too quickly:

  • Read every word in the question! If you find yourself jumping ahead impatiently, go back and start over.
  • Schedule your exam on a day when you don't have a lot of other appointments and errands. This should help you feel a little more relaxed.
  • As you read, try to rephrase the question in your own terms.
  • When returning to a question after your initial read-through, reread every word again—otherwise, you might fall into a rut. Sometimes, seeing a question fresh after turning your attention elsewhere enables you to catch something you missed earlier. This is where the review option comes in handy.
  • If you return to a question more than twice, try to explain to yourself what you don't understand about the question, why the answers don't appear to make sense, or what appears to be missing. If you ponder the subject for a while, your subconscious might provide the details you're looking for, or you might notice a "trick" that will point to the right answer.
Finally, try to deal with each question by thinking through what you know about hardware and software systems. By reviewing what you know (and what you've written down on your Cram Sheet), you'll often recall or understand concepts sufficiently to determine the correct answer.

Question-Handling Strategies

Based on the tests we've taken, we've noticed a couple of interesting trends in exam question responses. Usually, some responses will be obviously incorrect, and two of the remaining answers will be plausible. Remember that only one response can be correct. If the answer leaps out at you, reread the question to look for a trick–just in case.

Unfamiliar Terms

Our best advice regarding guessing is to rely on your intuition. None of the exam topics should come as a surprise to you if you've read this book and taken the Sample Test. If you see a response that's totally unfamiliar, chances are good that it's a made-up word. Recognizing unfamiliar terms can help narrow down the possible correct answers for a question. For example, Sample Question 2 shows how you can use the process of eliminating unfamiliar terms to arrive at the correct answer.

Sample Question 2

Which is the most useful tool for checking a circuit?

  • Differentiometer
  • Benchmark analyzer
  • Multimeter
  • Integrity meter
The correct answer is c. Chances are that you've at least heard of a multimeter before, thereby enabling you to take an educated guess at this question.

Last Minute Guesses

As you work your way through the test, the exam indicates the number of questions completed and questions outstanding. Budget your time by making sure that you've completed one-fourth of the questions one-quarter of the way through the test period. Check again three-quarters of the way through. If you're not through with the test at the five-minute mark, use the last five minutes to guess your way through the remaining questions.

Guesses are more valuable than blank answers, because blanks are always wrong. A guess has a 25 percent (one in four odds) chance of being right. If you don't have a clue regarding the remaining questions, pick answers at random, or choose all A's, B's, and so on. The important thing is to submit a test for scoring that has some answer for every question.

Mastering The Inner Game

In the final analysis, knowledge breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success. If you study the materials in this book carefully, review the Exam Prep questions at the end of each chapter, and take the Sample Test in Chapter 12, you should be aware of all the areas where additional studying is required.

The appendix provides a reality check in terms of how well you've retained most of the critical concepts. If you find yourself scratching your head and wondering about some of the configuration material, then make a special note to go back and read about that area in earlier chapters.

Additional Resources

By far, the best source of information about A+ certification tests comes from CompTIA. Because products and technologies–and the tests that go with them–change frequently, the best resource for obtaining exam-related information is the Internet. If you haven't already visited the CompTIA Web site, do so at www.comptia.org. There's always a way to find what you want on the Web, if you're willing to invest some time and energy. As long as you can get to the CompTIA site (and we're pretty sure that it will stay at www.comptia.org for a long while yet), you have a good jump on finding what you need.

Third-Party Test Providers

Even though CompTIA offers the best information about its certification exams, there are plenty of third-party sources of information, training, and assistance, including the following:
  • Your local college or junior college might offer an A+ certification course. Usually, these are very good courses, with a reasonable cost factor.
  • Transcender Corporation is located at 242 Louise Avenue, Nashville, TN, 37203-1812. You can reach the company by phone at (615) 726-8779 or by fax at (615) 320-6594. Trancender's URL is www.transcender.com, and you can download an order form for their materials online (but it must be mailed or faxed to Transcender for purchase). We have found their practice tests to be useful, but somewhat expensive. The tests cost from $89 to $179 if purchased individually, with discounts available for packages containing multiple tests.
  • Self Test Software is located at 4651 Woodstock Road, Suite 203-384, Roswell, GA, 30075. The company can be reached by phone at (770) 641-9719 or (800) 200-6446 and by fax at (770) 641-1489. Visit their Web site at www.stsware.com, where you can order their products on line. STS's tests are cheaper than Transcender's (STS's exams cost $69 when purchased individually, $59 each when two or more are purchased simultaneously), but they're otherwise quite comparable–making them a good value.

Table of Contents

Introduction ..... xiii
Self-Assessment ..... xxi
Chapter 1: A+ Certification Exams ..... 1
Chapter 2: Motherboards ..... 9
Chapter 3: Processors ..... 35
Chapter 4: Memory ..... 57
Chapter 5: Peripherals: Input Devices ..... 83
Chapter 6: Peripherals: Storage Devices ..... 111
Chapter 7: Peripherals: Output Devices ..... 141
Chapter 8: Networking ..... 179
Chapter 9: Cables and Connectors ..... 205
Chapter 10: DOS ..... 221
Chapter 11: Booting, Windows 3.11, and Memory ..... 279
Chapter 12: Windows 95, 98, and ME ..... 343
Chapter 13: Windows NT and Windows 2000 ..... 397
Chapter 14: Troubleshooting ..... 445
Chapter 15: Sample Test ..... 467
Chapter 16: Answer Key ..... 489
Glossary ..... 507
Index ..... 521




Welcome to A+ Exam Cram! This introduction is very much like the "Quick Setup" reference section for a software application, and we use it to give you some important insights into the exam. The purpose of this book is to get you ready to take–and pass–the 1998 Computing Technology Industry Association's (CompTIA) A+ certification exam. In the following pages, we've outlined the CompTIA A+ certification in general, and we talk about how Exam Cram can optimize your knowledge of PCs and focus in on critical exam topics.

New job listings often require applicants to be A+ certified, and many individuals who complete the program qualify for increases in pay and/or responsibility. If the job requirements don't require an existing A+ certification, many corporations require that you complete the certification process within 90 days of being hired.

This book is aimed strictly at exam preparation and review. It will not teach you everything you need to know about a topic. Instead, it will present and dissect the question topics that you're probably going to see on the exam. We've drawn on material from CompTIA's own listing of requirements, from other preparation guides, and from the exams themselves. We've also drawn from a battery of third-party test preparation tools and from our own experience with microcomputers, going all the way back to the Altair. Our aim is to bring together as much information as possible about the revised A+ certification exams.

Our explicit purpose in writing this book is to stuff as many facts and technical answers about computers as possible into your brain before you begin the test. The A+ exam makes a basic assumption that you already have a very strong background of experience with PCs, hardware, and Wintel operating systems. On the other hand, we think that microcomputers are changing so fast that no one can be a total expert. We think this book is the most up-to-date analysis of the 1998 A+ exam on the market.

Depending on your experience with PCs, we recommend that you begin your studies with some classroom training or that you visit the CompTIA Web site (http://www.comptia.org) for a definition of what it means to be A+ certified. We strongly recommend that you install, configure, and generally "fool around" with the DOS, Windows, and Windows 95 operating environment that you'll be tested on. Nothing beats hands-on experience and familiarity when it comes to understanding the questions you're likely to encounter. Book learning is essential, but hands-on experience is the best teacher of all!

Perhaps a quick way for you to decide where you stand in relation to the current certification process is to turn to the end of the book and examine the Sample Test (Chapter 12). This is a highly accurate representation of both the test format and the types of questions you will encounter.

The New A+ Certification Program

The A+ Certification Program has been extensively revised as of July 1998 and now includes two separate exams. You will be required to pass both the PC core module and the DOS/Windows specialty module in order to receive your A+ certification. Additionally, there are a number of questions concerning customer service.

Many people feel that the two exams are so closely related that they should be combined into one. Whether or not they're eventually combined, we recommend you treat the two components as one exam. In fact, we have organized this book as if they were one exam and urge you to sign up for both exams at the same time. Taking both exams in one session saves you money as well.

The PC core exam tests your knowledge of microcomputer hardware, including motherboards, processors, memory, peripherals, IRQs, electronics, and buses. The Windows/DOS specialty exam tests your knowledge of the three most widely-used operating systems in the current market. Customer service questions do not have a pass/fail consequence, but they do produce a score notation on your A+ certificate. Thus, potential employers will be able to use your customer service score in an interview and hiring decision.

Taking A Certification Exam

Unfortunately, testing isn't free. You'll be charged $100 for each test you take, whether you pass or fail. It isn't necessary to take both tests at the same time, but if you do, the discounted cost of the combined tests is $165.00.

Note: CompTIA is evaluating the pricing of these tests, and it may change prior to your enrollment in the exam. We are sure the price will not go down, so the sooner you sign up the better.

The United States and Canadian tests are administered by Sylvan Prometric. Sylvan Prometric can be reached at 1-800-77MICRO (1-800-776-4276), Monday through Friday, between 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM (Central Time).

To schedule an exam, you must call at least one day in advance. To cancel or reschedule an exam, you must call at least 12 hours before the scheduled test time (or you may be charged). When calling Sylvan Prometric, please have the following information ready for the sales representative who handles your call:

Your name, organization, and mailing address

The name of the exam(s) you wish to take (A+ core, and/or DOS/Windows specialty module)

A method of payment

The most convenient payment method is to provide a valid credit card number with sufficient available credit. Otherwise, payments by check, money order, or purchase order (PO) must be received before a test can be scheduled. If the latter methods are required, ask your sales representative for more details.

Keep in mind that if you choose to pay for your exam by a method that involves the postal service and banking system (i.e., check, PO, etc.), you'll have to call to schedule your exam much earlier than one day in advance.

Arriving At The Exam Site

On the day of your exam, try to arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time slot. You must bring two forms of identification, one of which must be a photo ID. Typically, a driver's license and credit card are valid forms of identification. Insurance cards, birth certificates, state ID cards, employee iden-
tification cards, or any other legal identification can also be used. If you're not sure whether your identification is acceptable, ask the person you schedule your exam with.

You will be given a user ID code as an identification number for your test, which you enter in the computer at the time you begin your exam(s). The exam is fully computer based, and is all multiple choice. Ordinarily, your ID number is the same as your Social Security number, though it may be different. Your ID number will be used to track your session.

In The Exam Room

All exams are completely closed-book. In fact, you will not be permitted to take anything with you into the testing area other than a blank sheet of paper and a pencil provided by the exam proctors. We suggest that you immediately write down the most critical information about the test you're taking on the blank sheet of paper you're given. Exam Cram books provide a brief reference (the Cram Sheet, located in the front of the book) that lists essential information from the book in distilled form.

Each question will offer you an opportunity to mark that question for review. We strongly suggest that you mark any questions about which you have any shade of doubt. Each exam offers a generously fair amount of time to complete the questions, and by marking questions for review, you can go back without the pressure of worrying whether you'll complete the whole session.

The time you take to answer the questions is not factored into scoring your test. Your answers can be changed at any time before you terminate the session, and the review option is not tracked for scoring. Many terms and words are easy to mix up, so take time to review your work.

When you complete the exam, the software will tell you whether you've passed or failed. All tests are scored on a basis of 100 points, and results are broken into several topical areas. Even if you fail, we suggest that you ask for (and keep) the detailed report that the test administrator prints out for you. You can use the report to help you prepare for another go-round, if necessary. If you need to retake an exam, you must call Sylvan Prometric, schedule a new test date, and pay another $100 per exam.


When you've passed the core and specialty exams, you will be A+ certified. It's a good idea to save the test results you are given at the conclusion of the test, as they are your immediate proof. Official certification normally takes anywhere from four to six weeks, so don't expect to get your credentials overnight. When the package arrives, it will include a Welcome Kit, a certificate (suitable for framing), and an identification lapel pin.

As an official recognition of hard work and broad-based knowledge, A+ certification is also a badge of honor. Many organizations view certification as a necessary foundation for a career in the information technology (IT) industry.

How To Prepare For An Exam

A+ certification requires an extensive range of knowledge about the entire field of microcomputers. Preparing for network certification, Windows 95 certification, aerobics certification, or even driving certification (driver's license) is somewhat simpler. In these cases, the area you're being certified in is a limited subset of everything in that field. A+ certification, on the other hand, has no boundary limitations. Anything at all about a PC is a valid subject for testing!

By using this book in your preparation efforts, you'll be able to concentrate your efforts on the areas considered to be the most important in understanding PCs. We've "been there, done that" so to speak, and we'll point you in the right direction for your studies.

At a minimum, preparing for the A+ exams requires a good test guide (this book) and detailed reference materials addressing the information covered on the exams. We've attempted to make no assumptions whatsoever about your current knowledge and to cram between the covers of the book as much information as possible about PCs. However, our main focus is to get you through the exam. Using the self-study method, you might consider us as virtual tutors, coming to your site at your convenience and stuffing the facts between your ears.

In the past, candidates have used many individual reference books that, taken together, cover most of the required material on the exam. This avenue is still open to you, and a good professional should always have a solid reference library as a matter of course. See the "Need To Know More?" sections at the end of each chapter for our lists of recommended references.

If you like a little more structure, there are several good programs available in both a self-paced and classroom format. However, you must be sure the program you select has been developed for the revised A+ requirements released in July 1998. Consider too that the cost of structured class instruction is significantly higher than the price of this book.

The A+ certification exam is constantly being updated so as to reflect the ever-progressive developments in the microcomputer industry. The best source of current exam information is CompTIA's website at http://www.comptia.org. If you don't have access to the Internet, you can call or write CompTIA directly at:

Computing Technology Industry Association

450 East 22nd Street, Suite 230

Lombard, IL 60134-6158

Phone: (630) 268-1818

About This Book

Each Exam Cram chapter follows a regular structure, along with graphical
cues about especially important or useful material. The structure of a typical
chapter includes:

Opening Hotlists Each chapter begins with lists of the terms you'll need to understand and the concepts you'll need to master before you can be fully conversant with the chapter's subject matter. We follow the hotlists with a few introductory paragraphs to set the stage for the rest of the chapter.

Topical Coverage After the opening hotlists, each chapter covers at least four topics related to the chapter's subject.

Study Alerts Throughout the topical coverage section, we highlight material most likely to appear on the exam by using a special Study Alert layout that looks like this:

This is what a Study Alert looks like. A Study Alert stresses concepts, terms, software, or activities that will most likely appear in one or more certification exam questions. For that reason, we think any information found offset in Study Alert format is worthy of unusual attentiveness on your part.

Even if material isn't flagged as a Study Alert, all the content in this book is associated in some way to something test related. The book is focused on high-speed test preparation; you'll find that what appears in the meat of each chapter is critical knowledge.

Sidebars When we discuss an exam topic that may be based on common knowledge among people in the IT industry, we've tried to explicitly describe the underlying assumptions of the discussion. You may have many years of experience with PCs, or you may be just starting out. Your certification shouldn't depend on "secret knowledge" that you're supposed to "just know" somehow.

Something You May Not Know

A sidebar like this is a way to step outside the flow of the discussion to provide you with "insider" information that you may not have heard before. A sidebar is a way to increase the saturation level of your knowledge and apply some "fixative" to help keep topical facts from slipping out of your ears.

Notes This book is part of the overall reference material pertaining to computers. As such, we dip into nearly every aspect of working with and configuring PCs. Where a body of knowledge is far deeper than the scope of the book, we use Notes to indicate areas of concern or specialty training.

Note: Cramming for an exam will get you through a test. It won't make you a competent IT professional. While you can memorize just the facts you need to become certified, your daily work in the IT field will rapidly put you in water over your head if you don't know the underlying principles of computers.

Useful Knowledge Tips We provide tips that will help build a better foundation of knowledge. Although the information may not be on the exam, it is highly relevant and will help you become a better test-taker. Many of the Customer Service scenarios, for example, are structured as tips, since the subject matter is so subjective.

This is how tips are formatted. Here's an example of a tip: You should always choose the custom or advanced option, if the setup routine offers one. In every case we've ever seen, there is a default setting for any steps in the program where you're given a choice. In situations where you don't know what you're looking at, you can choose the default. However, in places where you do know what you're looking at, you may often disagree with what some faraway programmer has decided to do to your system.

Exam Prep Questions This section presents a series of mock test questions and explanations of both correct and incorrect answers. Each chapter has a number of Exam Prep Questions highlighting the areas we found to be most important on the exam.

Need To Know More Every chapter ends with a section entitled "Need To Know More?" This section provides direct pointers to resources that offer further details on the chapter's subject matter. In addition, this section tries to rate the quality and thoroughness of each topic's coverage. If you find a resource you like in this collection, use it, but don't feel compelled to use all these resources. On the other hand, we recommend only resources that we have used on a regular basis, so none of the recommendations will be a waste of your time or money.

The bulk of the book follows this chapter structure, but there are a few other elements that we would like to point out:

Sample Test A very close approximation of the 1998 A+ exam is found in Chapter 12.

Answer Key The answers to the sample test appear in Chapter 13.

Acronym Glossary This is a fairly extensive glossary of acronyms.

The Cram Sheet This appears as a tear-away inside the front cover of this Exam Cram book. It is a valuable tool that represents a condensed and compiled collection of facts and numbers that we think you should memorize before taking the test. Because you can dump this information out of your head onto a piece of paper before answering any exam questions, you can master this information by brute force. You only need to remember it long enough to write it down when you walk into the test room.

You might even want to look at the Cram Sheet in the car or in the lobby of the testing center just before you walk in to take the exam. Keep in mind that if you take both tests together, there is a break between the core and the DOS/Windows specialty exam. The Cram Sheet is divided under headings, so you can review the appropriate parts just before each test.

Using This Book

If you're preparing for the A+ certification exam for the first time, we've structured the topics in this book to build upon one another. Therefore, the topics covered in later chapters will make more sense after you've read earlier chapters. In our opinion, many computer manuals and reference books are essentially a list of facts. Rather than simply list raw facts about each topic on the exam, we've tried to paint an integrated landscape in your imagination, where each topic and exam fact takes on a landmark status.

We suggest you read this book from front to back for your initial test preparation. You won't be wasting your time, since nothing we've written is a guess about an unknown exam. If you need to brush up on a topic or you have to bone up for a second try, use the Index or Table of Contents to go straight to the topics and questions that you need to study. After taking the tests, we think you'll find this book useful as a tightly focused reference and an essential foundation of microcomputer knowledge.

If you have a lot of experience with PCs and their operating systems, you may want to read those sections of the book and then try the sample test in Chapter 12. We do think, though, that because the A+ exam covers an extremely wide range of information, you would be better served by taking the time to go through the book chapter by chapter.

Contacting The Authors

We've tried to create a real-world tool that you can use to prepare for and pass the core and specialty exams. We are definitely interested in any feedback you would care to share about the book, especially if you have ideas about how we can improve it for future test-takers. We will consider everything you say carefully and will respond to all reasonable suggestions and comments.

We would like to know if you found this book to be helpful in your preparation efforts. We'd also like to know how you felt about your chances of passing the exam before you read the book and then after you read the book. Of course, we'd love to hear that you passed the exam, and even if you just want to share your triumph, we'd be happy to hear from you.

You can reach us via email at jimjones@jamesgjones.com or at clandes@napsa.net. Please include the title of the book in your message (i.e., A+ Exam Cram); otherwise, we'll have to guess which book you're making suggestions about.

For up-to-date information on A+ certification, specifications, and other preparation materials, visit the Certification Insider Press Web site at www.certificationinsider.com. You're always welcome to stop by the authors' Web site, too, at www.jamesgjones.com (note the "g" in the middle).

Thanks for choosing us as your personal trainers, and enjoy the book! We'll wish you luck on the exam, but we know that if you read through all the chapters, you won't need luck–you'll ace the test on the strength of real knowledge!

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A+ Exam Cram 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Core took me about 3 minutes to finish without anything wrong. Disappointed, it took me about 5 minutes for Dos/Windows.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The information contained within this book is very accurate and informative. This was the the main book that I used to obtain my A+ Certification. I will use the Exam Cram line to obtain my MCSE, CCNA, CNA, and Net+.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read the book thoroughly and then learn everything on the cram sheet included with the book. You should have no problems passing the tests.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am 13 and now have my A+ certification, i tried 4 different books and i tried each test twice. Th A+ Exam Cram Book was defiently the book that made me pass the tests!
Guest More than 1 year ago
..I recommend that you have some background in PC repair, building and/or troubleshooting before venturing into it. A lot of people tell me that the A+ is too broad of a certification, yet it's the only certification to certify someone as an industry recognized System Technician, so don't expect it to be easy. If you have only a very basic knowledge of PC's, I suggest you get some hands on building, formatting, installing and repairing experiance in addition to reading this excellent work. Good luck on the exams!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great resource for anyone looking to take CompTIA's A+ Certification exam. I have been a computer tech for 6 years and FINALLY got around to taking the test. This was the only book I could find in my area. I'm glad it was this one! I just wish I had purchased it at Barnes and Noble! (I would have saved about $6.00.) The only thing I would like to see changed is the addition of more practice tests. There is only ONE test included. (This company shrewdly sells an exam pack separately.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a great help! I passed the test with flying colors!
Guest More than 1 year ago
the a+ cram book is the only book i read to pass the hardware exam...you can count on it
Guest More than 1 year ago
this a great book. and it is very well writen. i recommend it to any one that wants to pass the exam and wants to read only one book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have had about 2 years experience working with computer repair, etc. This book helped fill in the holes, and helped bruch up on older things like DOS, WIN 3.1 Great Study book
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the only book I read in order to pass both the A+ exams. I did have five years experience in the computer field before the exam but this book did perpare me for the obsolete questions which was a bulk of the questions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I used this book to study the week before the test. I passed easily! I am a college student and took the test to see how much I'd learned in some of my classes. This book refreshed my memory completely.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book, and studied occasionally for about 2 weeks...test was easy. The book covered most of the topics that were on the test. Good book for studying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! I had some prior knowledge but I read and studied this book for about 20 hours one weekend and then took and passed both exams. I highly recommend it! The only area that was on the test that wasn't covered very well in the book was on modems. The book includes a great 'cram' sheet with the main points. I studied this for 30 min right before the exam.