A+ RAM

A+ RAM

If you’re planning on taking the CompTIA A+ exams, you should know some basics about A+ RAM (random access memory). This includes how to recognize it, how to install it, and how to troubleshoot it. I just had to troubleshoot a minor problem with a system that required me to do some basic troubleshooting with RAM and it reminded of how easy things can be if you know the right steps and can follow them.

A+ RAM Basics

First, here are some basics about A+ RAM topics used in most PCs:

  • The primary type of RAM used in a PC is Double Data Rate 3 (DDR3).
  • DDR and DDR2 are also used but have largely been replaced with DDR3.
  • You can’t mix and match DDR versions. In other words, DDR2 memory won’t fit in DDR3 slots.
  • RAM comes in memory sticks known as Dual Inline Memory Modules (DIMMs).
  • RAM for laptop computers comes in small outline DIMMS (SODIMMs).
  • Error Correcting Control (ECC) is an added feature that improves the reliability of RAM by detecting and correcting errors. However, it is rarely used in desktop or laptop PCs. Instead, it is used in high-end servers to improve their reliability.
  • Parity is another added feature in that can improve the reliability of RAM by detecting errors but it is rarely used in desktop or laptop PCs.
  • When replacing RAM, you should use the same speed. If speeds are mismatched, the RAM will operate at the slower speed. Also, if the RAM is rated at a faster speed than the motherboard can handle, the RAM will run at the slower speed of the motherboard.
  • When installing dual-channel RAM, you should install a matched set of DIMMS into the same bank. A bank will be two slots of the same color.

Calculating A+ RAM Speeds

You should also be able to calculate the names and performance characteristics of RAM based on the the clock, or identify the clock based on the name. First, there are two types of names.

  • DDR Standard Name (such as DDR3 800)
  • DDR Module Name (such as PC3 10600)

It’s important to understand these names, especially when you’re purchasing replacement RAM or upgrading RAM. DDR3 is often listed with the PC3 name. If you know what clock your system is using (you can check the BIOS), you can identify what RAM to purchase. For example, if your system is running a 200 MHz clock, you can purchase DDR3 RAM named PC3-12800 or DDR3-1600. If you buy faster more expensive RAM, it will still run at the slower speed of the clock.

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Quality test questions and flash cards on A+ 801 and 802 exams

A+ RAM DDR Standard Names

You can calculate the standard names when you know the clock with the following formulas for DDR, DDR2, and DDR3 type RAM.

  • DDR Standard Name
    Clock x 2 (double pumping)
  • DDR2 Standard Name
    Clock x 2 (Clock Multiplier) x 2 (double pumping)
  • DDR Standard Name
    Clock x 4 (Clock Multiplier) x 2 (double pumping)

For example, if the clock on a system is 100 MHz, the RAM would have the following names:

  • DDR Standard Name = DDR-200
    100 Mhz x 2 (double pumping)
  • DDR2 Standard Name = DDR2-400
    100 Mhz x 2 (Clock Multiplier) x 2 (double pumping)
  • DDR Standard Name = DDR3-800
    100 Mhz x 4 (Clock Multiplier) x 2 (double pumping)

The shortcut formulas for these DDR Standard Names are:

  • DDR Standard Name
    Clock X 2
  • DDR2 Standard Name
    Clock X 4
  • DDR3 Standard Name
    Clock X 8

A+ RAM DDR Module Names

You can calculate the module names when you know the clock with the following formulas for DDR, DDR2, and DDR3 type RAM.

  • DDR Module Name
    Clock x 2 (double pumping) x 64 (bits) / 8 (Bytes)
  • DDR2 Module Name
    Clock x 2 (Clock Multiplier) x 2 (double pumping) x 64 (bits) / 8 (Bytes)
  • DDR Module Name
    Clock x 4 (Clock Multiplier) x 2 (double pumping) x 64 (bits) / 8 (Bytes)

For example, if the clock on a system is 100 MHz, the RAM would have the following names:

  • DDR Module Name = PC-1600
    100MHz x 2 (double pumping) x 64 (bits) / 8 (Bytes)
  • DDR2 Module Name = PC-3200
    100MHz x 2 (Clock Multiplier) x 2 (double pumping) x 64 (bits) / 8 (Bytes)
  • DDR Module Name = PC-6400
    100MHz x 4 (Clock Multiplier) x 2 (double pumping) x 64 (bits) / 8 (Bytes)

The shortcut formulas for these DDR Module Names are:

  • DDR Module Name
    Clock X 2 X 8
  • DDR2 Module Name
    Clock X 4 X 8
  • DDR3 Module Name
    Clock X 8 X 8

Pass the A+ exams the first time you take them.

Troubleshooting RAM

I was just working on a computer running Windows 7 that has 12 GB of RAM installed. I added two virtual machines (VMs) with 3 GB each, but the second machine wouldn’t run. I figured with 3 GB each for two VMs, that left 6 GB for Windows 7 and everything should have been fine.

I double-checked how much RAM was installed using the Computer Properties page. (Click Start, right-click Computer and select Properties.) It showed 12 GB of RAM was installed.

I started the System Information applet (click Start, type in msinfo32 and press Enter). I looked at the system summary page and saw that the Installed Physical Memory was listed at 12 GB but the Available Physical Memory was only 8 GB.

Hmmm..

If I was running Windows 7 Home Basic, my system is limited to only 8 GB but I was running Windows 7 Ultimate which supports as much as 192 GB of RAM. That’s not the problem.

Hardware or Operating System

At this point, I know I have 12 GB of RAM, but the operating system is only seeing 8 GB. The way to tell if this is a hardware problem is check BIOS.

I restarted by system and pressed F2 to access the BIOS Setup page. (F2 and Delete keys are commonly used to access the BIOS.) When it started, I checked the System Information page and saw that the BIOS was only recognizing 8 GB of RAM. Aha! The problem is hardware.

Reseat the DIMMS

I shut down the system and opened up the case with the goal of reseating the RAM sticks.

When installing or upgrading RAM, you should follow electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage prevention practices such as with an ESD wrist strap. I didn’t have one handy and didn’t plan on touching any electrical components. However, I still did the standard self-grounding practice of touching the power supply case. I also unplugged the power from the system to ensure soft power was not applied to the motherboard.

I then slightly pushed the tab on the left side of a DIMM to push it out of the slot slightly and then I pushed it back in until I heard a click. I repeated the same step on the right side tab and then I did the same two steps on each of the DIMMs.

Next, I closed up the case, plugged it back in and checked the BIOS. 12 GB was now recognized. I booted into Windows 7 and went back to work.

Other Resources

If you plan on following up your A+ studies with Network+ and Security+ to give yourself the CompTIA Trio, check out these resources:

A+ RAM Summary

If you’re preparing for the A+ exams, make sure you know some basics about A+ RAM topics. Also, when you’re troubleshooting any PC components, don’t forget about the simple steps to verify the BIOS can recognize the hardware, and if it can’t try reseating the component. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

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New A+ Exams Released

CompTIA has announced the release of new A+ exams.

These exams have been in the works for many months so it’s not a surprise to many people. However, for some people that check the CompTIA A+ page and see the new details, they might be surprised. The new exams are:

  • CompTIA A+ 220-801
  • CompTIA A+ 220-802
You can read about some of the details about these exams here.

The current exams (220-701 and 220-702) will remain available until August 31, 2013.

You’ll have a maximum of 90 questions on each of the 801/802 exams and you’ll have 90 minutes to complete them. The difference is that the 801/802 exams will include performance based questions. CompTIA has recently posted a video on this page that gives some more details about performance based questions.

The CompTIA A+ Training Kit (Exam 220-801 and Exam 220-802) covers all of the objectives of these A+ exams and can help you prepare so that you’ll pass the exam the first time you take it.

Good luck.

 

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CompTIA Performance Based Testing

Performance based testing is one of the biggest changes in CompTIA certification exams. If you’re planning on taking the A+, Network+, or Security+ exams, you can expect to see these types of questions.

What is Performance Based Testing?

Performance based testing requires you to actually perform a task or solve a problem to answer a question. When you start the question, you’ll be in a simulated environment such as a command prompt or Windows environment. You will perform the task and then click Done to complete the question.

In the past, most CompTIA questions have been multiple choice where you pick one or more answers from a list of valid choices. Multiple choice questions are good to test certain types of knowledge but they aren’t the best if you want to verify that a person can perform a task.

Imagine if the police or military tested sharp shooters with a multiple choice exam. It just doesn’t work. Instead, sharp shooters are required to demonstrate their skills on a shooting range, by firing live bullets at a target.

Similarly, there are many technical skills that can’t be accurately tested with multiple choice questions. Instead, many certification exams require you to perform a specific task in a simulated environment.

Pass the Security+ exam the first time you take it:
CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

Performance Based Testing Example

In demos I’ve seen by CompTIA personnel, they describe a scenario where you are given a task such as this:

“You need to navigate to the c:\data folder and then change the study.txt file to read-only using appropriate commands.”

You are then prompted to click a button to launch a simulated environment. When you click it, you’ll see a command prompt similar to Figure 1.

CompTIA Performance Based Testing Fig 1

Figure 1. Simulated command prompt window.

The first challenge is changing the current folder (or directory) and you’ll need to know that you use the cd (change directory) command to do so, and you’ll also need to know the proper syntax. The following command shows how:

cd c:\data

Alternatively, you can also use this command:

cd \data

It’s important to understand there are different ways to accomplish a task because there are many times when a simulation will only accept one method. In other words, even though both commands will work in the real world, they won’t necessarily work in the simulated environment.

The screen now looks like Figure 2. Notice that the prompt shows c:\data as the current directory.

CompTIA Performance Based Testing Fig 2

Figure 2. Command prompt after changing the directory.

After changing the directory with the cd command, the next challenge is to change the file’s attributes from the command prompt.

You might know how to do this from Windows Explorer, but you won’t have access to Windows Explorer. Instead, you’ll have to use the attrib command.

In this case, you’ll need to know that you use a minus (-) to remove an attribute and a plus (+) to set the attribute. You’ll also need to know that the attribute you need to change is the read-only attribute and that the command used to change the read-only attribute is r.

The format of the command to set the read-only attribute is: attrib +r filename. The file name is study.txt so the actual command is:

attrib +r study.txt

After entering the command, the screen will look similar to Figure 3.

CompTIA Performance Based Testing Fig 3

Figure 3. Command prompt after changing the attribute.

At this point, you have successfully answered the question. You’ll be able to click the “Done” button and you can move on to the next question.

You might have noticed that the attrib command doesn’t give you any feedback when you enter it successfully. If you enter it incorrectly, you’ll see an error, but when you enter it correctly, it simply performs the command and returns the same prompt.

In real life, you can use the attrib command by itself to see the attributes for all the files in the current directory as shown in Figure 4. However, supporting the attrib command usage like this requires additional programming for the simulation, so it might work in the simulated environment and it might not. It depends on how much detail they choose to add to the simulation.

CompTIA Performance Based Testing Fig 4

Figure 4. Command prompt showing attributes.

In the graphic, you can see that the R attribute is set indicating the file is set to read-only. The A attribute is the archive attribute indicating that the file has not been archived (backed up) or has been modified since the last back up.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

SY0-501 Practice Test Questions 

Over 300 realistic Security+ practice test questions

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

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the First Time You Take It

Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Learn mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. Use this if you want to make sure that you see all of the questions. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Test mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - 75 random questions. View 75 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 75 multiple choice questions. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.

Get the full bank of SY0-501 Practice Test Questions Here

 SY0-501 Practice Test Questions


INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Three sets of performance-based questions including over 30 questions. These questions show you what you can expect in the live exam. They include drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions. See a demo here.

Bonus - Extra Practice Test Questions

New multiple-choice questions in the extra test bank. Questions are added occasionally. You can see what has been added recently here.

Get the full bank of Security+ (SYO-501) Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Click here if you're looking for SY0-501 Full Study Package

Simulated Performance-based Questions

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Simulated performance-based questions included with all

packages that include practice test questions.

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Simulated performance-based questions included with

all packages that include practice test questions.

Read the Question

As with any test question, it’s important that you read the wording of the question carefully. For example, the previous question indicated that you needed to perform two tasks:

  1. Navigate to the c:\data folder
  2. Set the attribute to read-only

In real life, you could achieve the same result in one command like this:

attrib +r c:\data\study.txt

Using this command, you’ll achieve the correct result. However, it’s very likely the question would be graded as incorrect because you didn’t do it as two steps.

Similarly, this would also be marked as incorrect:

attrib -r study.txt

This command clears (instead of sets) the read-only attribute.

How Many Performance Based Questions Should I Expect?

These questions take a lot more effort for CompTIA to create than a typical multiple choice question. A programmer has to create the simulated environment so that it looks realistic and supports multiple actions. All of this costs time and money. With this in mind, I don’t expect to see more than about five or six questions for any exam.

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New multiple-choice and performance-based questions added regularly

Pass the first time with quality practice test questions, performance-based questions, flashcards, and audio.

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Need more time? You can easily renew for another 60 days at a significantly reduced price.

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Our online Security+ study materials are the perfect complement to the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. They can also be used to help ensure you're ready no matter what study guide you're using.

This exam is expensive.

Make sure you're ready before exam day. 

Here's what you'll get:
  • All of the multiple-choice questions from the best-selling CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. See a demo here. All questions have full explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.
  • Over 40 new multiple-choice questions we've added after publishing the study guide.
  • Over 30 performance-based questions. See a demo here.
  • All of the flashcards from the study guide. View them in any Web browser.
  • All of the audio from the study guide. Listen to a sample here.
  • Access to a free discount code for 10% off your Security+ voucher.

Buy The Full Access Study Package Today

60 Days Access For Only $65.97

All materials are available online shortly after making your payment.

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Do I Get Partial Credit?

A common question people ask when taking these types of questions is if they get partial credit if they correctly perform part of the problem but not all of it. For example, if you correctly change the directory but do not change attribute, would you get any credit?

CompTIA isn’t saying, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t award partial credit for these performance based questions. In other words, the question is testing your ability to complete a task and either you can, or you can’t. Think back to the sharp shooter. Perhaps he can successfully load bullets into a gun but cannot hit a target. Should he get partial credit?

How Are These Questions Graded?

CompTIA isn’t giving any specifics about how the questions are graded but you can certainly expect them to be worth more than a typical multiple choice question. These questions are much deeper and require more knowledge to answer correctly.

If a regular question is worth 8 points on a CompTIA scale of 100 to 900, a performance based question might be worth 24 points or even 32 points. You can probably afford to get one or two of these wrong but if you answer them all incorrectly, you’ll probably fail the exam.

Performance Based Testing and the Command Prompt

The command prompt is relatively easy to simulate for a performance based question. Also, the command prompt has many similarities between operating systems so it’s easier to create vendor neutral questions. Because of this, make sure you have a good understanding of any command prompt objectives for the exam you plan on taking.

Along those lines, if you’re looking for a book that has in-depth coverage of the command prompt, you might like to check out this book: Windows 7 Portable Command Guide (ISBN 978-0789747359). It provides straightforward coverage of how to use the command prompt with a wealth of examples showing exactly what to type to accomplish specific tasks.

Performance Based Testing in the CASP Exam

CompTIA first used performance based testing in the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) exam when it was released in beta format. It has continued to be a part of the CASP exam since.

The CASP exam only gives you a score of pass/fail rather than a numerical score. This is different from other CompTIA exams and it’s not clear if they’re doing this because of the performance based questions or because of some other reason.

Performance Based Testing in the A+ Exam

Realistic practice test questions for the Network+ N10-005 exam
Available through LearnZapp on your mobile phone

The current version of the A+ exam has two exams (220-801 and 220-802). They were released in October 2012 and include performance based testing.

The command prompt is included in many of the objectives, so you can expect performance based questions using the command prompt on the A+ exams. Another strong possibility is usage of different Control Panel applets. For example, you might be tasked with launching the firewall through the Control Panel and enabling it. The exam objectives specifically state that you should be able to navigate the Control Panel using the icon or list view, so you should be familiar with how to change the view from Category view to one of the list views.

One way to ensure you are prepared for these types of questions is to get as much hands on as possible. The CompTIA A+ Training Kit (Exam 220-801 and Exam 220-802) (ISBN 978-0735662681) includes many different exercises written specifically with these performance based questions in mind. As you’re reading the book, go through the exercises and you’ll be better prepared to correctly complete these questions.

Performance Based Testing in the Network+ Exam

CompTIA added performance based questions to the current version of the Network+ exam (N10-005). The Network+ Performance Based Questions section of the Network+ Blog Links page includes links to some other blogs on these types of questions.

Just as with the A+ exam, there are a lot of possibilities with the command prompt for performance based testing on the Network+ exam. As a simple example, you might be tasked with removing a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) lease for a client and then obtaining a new lease. When you launch the simulation, you’ll see a command prompt. You’ll then need to enter the following two commands:

ipconfig /release

ipconfig /renew

The first command releases the current DHCP lease and the second command requests a new lease.

Check out these blogs for more information on performance based questions and the Network+ exam:

Performance Based Testing in the Security+ Exam

Pass the Security+ exam the first time you take it:
CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

The current version of Security+ is SY0-401 and CompTIA began adding performance based testing questions to this exam in the first quarter of 2013. The Security+ Performance Based Questions section of the Security+ Blog Links page includes links to some other blogs on these types of questions.

There are many possibilities with the command prompt.

As an example, you might be asked to calculate the hash on a file and when you click the button, the simulated environment will put you into a command prompt simulation. If you type in dir and press Enter, you’ll see the files in the directory and you might have the md5sum or sha1sum executable file.

You’ll need to be familiar with how to use these programs to calculate a hash. For example, you can calculate the Message Digest 5 (MD5) hash of a file named study.txt with the following command:

md5sum study.txt

The program then outputs something like this:

eb574b236133e60c989c6f472f07827b *study.txt

The first string of hexadecimal characters is the hash of the file, and the file name (study.txt) is after the star (*).

A similar example is in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide (ISBN 978-1939136022) in the cryptography chapter.

For an example of a Security+ drag and drop question, check out this demo.

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CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802

You Can Become A+ Certified!

CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 SuccessIf you’re pursuing the CompTIA A+ certification, you need to pass two exams.

  • CompTIA A+ 220-801
  • CompTIA A+ 220-802

You can take both exams on the same day but most people take them on different days.

Join over 900,000 people around the world who have earned this certification. 

IT professionals commonly move on to higher-level certifications and better paying jobs after starting with this certification and laying a solid foundation of IT knowledge.

CompTIA announced that the 800 series exams (English version) will expire on June 30, 2016.

This blog outlines the requirements and the domains of the CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 exams while the blog about the new A+ 900 Series Exams mentions the objectives at a high level.

Check out the CompTIA A+ Certification page for additional details on the exams including:

CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 Requirements

To become A+ certified, you only need to take and pass the two exams. There aren’t any prerequisites. However, CompTIA recommends test takers have a minimum of 12 months of lab or field work. In other words, they expect you to have been studying computers (lab work) for at least 12 months or working in an IT job (field work) for at least 12 months.

220-801

The primary focus of the 220-801 exam is on the skills required for installing and maintaining hardware. It includes objectives in the following five domains:

  • PC Hardware 40% of exam
  • Networking 27% of exam
  • Laptops 11% of exam
  • Printers 11%of exam
  • Operational Procedures 11% of exam
CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 801 Pie

220-802

The primary focus of the 220-802 exam is on operating systems and troubleshooting, including troubleshooting of hardware covered in the 220-801 exam. The 220-802 objectives include the following four domains:

  • Operating Systems 33% of exam
  • Security 22% of exam
  • Mobile Devices 9% of exam
  • Troubleshooting 36% of exam
CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 802 Pie

Significant Differences

Some of the significant differences in the CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 series exams compared with previous versions are:

  • Windows 7 Enterprise is included
  • Mobile devices (such as iPads) are included
  • Virtualization is new
  • Troubleshooting wireless is new
  • A significant amount of security is added (including wireless security, troubleshooting security, and SOHO security)

Performance Based Testing

These exams also include performance based testing. Instead of just selecting an answer from multiple choices, test takers will have to actually perform a task.

As an example, the question may state this as the question.

“Navigate to the c:\Data folder and change the StudyNotes.txt file to read only. ”

When you click the Simulate button, you’ll have a command prompt that you need to use to perform the task. Note that you may be familiar with how to do this with Windows Explorer, but it’s possible that the question will only give you the command prompt.

You would then need to enter the following two commands:

cd \data

attrib +R study.txt

If you’re able to answer this successfully, it demonstrates that you know how to change the directory with the cd command and you know how to change attributes with the attrib command.

You can expect anywhere from two to ten performance based questions on an exam. Some of these might be beta questions which don’t count in the score until CompTIA has finished testing them.

You can read more about performance based testing here.

CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 Study Resources

Many people use self-study materials to prepare for these exams. With the right materials almost anyone can master the objectives, take the exams, and become A+ certified. If this is the path you’re taking, these resources can help you.

CompTIA A+ Training Kit (Exam 220-801 and Exam 220-802)LearnZapp Mobile Apps for your mobile DeviceCompTIA A+ Rapid Review (Exam 220-801 and Exam 220-802)
 Get Certified A+ App
This comprehensive book covers all of the objectives of the CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 exams. Book includes CD with in-depth practice test questions to help you test your readiness.Quality practice test questions with in-depth explanations for your mobile devices from LearnZapp.Late stage review book. It provides short snippets of information on the objectives to remind you what is important and is an ideal complement to the in-depth A+ Training Kit.

Other resources:

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Darril Gibson’s Projects

I’ve been busy with several projects recently, including putting together the Darril Gibson website so I haven’t been able to post as often as I would have liked. However, on this Memorial Day I thought I’d jot down a few notes letting people know what I’ve been up to.

  • CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional Study Guide is off to the printer. I worked with two outstanding authors (James M. Stewart and Mike Chapple) on this project and it covers the updated objectives for the CISSP exam.
  • A+ Training Kit. I’ve been actively working on this book for the new 220-801 and 220-802 objectives. I like the way the new objectives are laid out and am pretty happy with the progress of the book. Bill Talbott is doing a great job as a technical editor and Jose Vargas has provided me with some great technical information on hardware topics and even provided input to a couple of chapters.
  • Professional Development. I’ve been taking an online class for authors that has been giving me some great information. Over the years, I’ve taken many technical courses to learn new material so it made a lot of sense for me to take a class designed for authors. One of the trainers strongly suggested creating a site with your name so I took some time to do that. You can see it here: darrilgibson.com.
  • Windows 8. I’ve been playing around with Windows 8 quite a bit in anticipation of its release. I’ve used both VMWare and Oracle’s VirtualBox to install it on virtual systems because Microsoft doesn’t have a 64-bit virtualization product. That will change with Windows 8 though. Windows 8 will include Hyper-V allowing you to install 64-bit virtual operating systems.
  • Tweets by Darril Gibson. I’m still putting out daily tips on Network+ and Security+ topics via Twitter. Thankfully, I have the help of twuffer.com to schedule them.
  • CompTIA Network+ N10-005 Practice Test Questions (Get Certified Get Ahead). I’ve received feedback from several readers letting me know this has helped them take and pass the exam. Others have liked the mobile app with practice test questions. I have some notes for a quick cert guide and worked on chapters as a supplement for the practice test questions but so far other projects are consuming my time. My brother is working on a full book and when it comes I’ll let you know.
  • CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-301 Study Guide. I regularly receive emails from people that have successfully passed the exam after using this book and from instructors that are using it to help their students take and pass the exam. Last week I heard from an instructor in Okinawa Japan which brought back memories of my time there – it’s a beautiful island. I also hear from people about how the Security+ SY0-301 Audio and the mobile app with practice test questions has helped them.
  • Updated Bio. During one of the author classes I attended, Nancy Juetten gave a great presentation on updating bios. She mentioned that you should be able to have a two sentence bio, a 50 word bio, a 100 word bio, and a 300 word bio. These are worthwhile for anyone and if you have them, you can easily plug it into a resume or cover letter. Here’s my two sentence bio:

Years ago, Darril Gibson set a goal to become a full time author and write books that help others. Since then, he has authored or coauthored more than 25 books and regularly receives emails from readers sharing their successes with him after reading one of his books.”

Give it a try. See if you can write your own two sentence bio that gives some insight into who you are.

Happy Memorial Day and good luck in all your adventures,

Darril Gibson

Read More

CompTIA Testing Changes

There are a few changes coming up with CompTIA testing you may be interested in. They are going to Pearson Vue exclusively as a testing center and the older version of Network+ will be retiring in August, 2012. Many resources including quality practice test questions for the new CompTIA Network+ exam are currently available.

CompTIA to Use Pearson VUE Exclusively

CompTIA has decided to use a single vendor for testing and has opted to go with Pearson Vue. They have been using both Pearson Vue and Prometric but effective, July 9, 2012, you will no longer be able to take a test at a Prometric testing center.

If you have a Prometric voucher to take a test, you must use it prior to July 8, 2012. After that date, it will be worthless.

Compare to Microsoft

Microsoft took a similar step a few years back, but in a different direction. You could previously take Microsoft exams at either a Pearson Vue or a Prometric testing center. They switched over to a single vendor at end of 2007 but chose to use only Prometric.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

SY0-501 Practice Test Questions 

Over 300 realistic Security+ practice test questions

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

Pass the Security+ Exam

the First Time You Take It

Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Learn mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. Use this if you want to make sure that you see all of the questions. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Test mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - 75 random questions. View 75 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 75 multiple choice questions. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.

Get the full bank of SY0-501 Practice Test Questions Here

 SY0-501 Practice Test Questions


INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Three sets of performance-based questions including over 30 questions. These questions show you what you can expect in the live exam. They include drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions. See a demo here.

Bonus - Extra Practice Test Questions

New multiple-choice questions in the extra test bank. Questions are added occasionally. You can see what has been added recently here.

Get the full bank of Security+ (SYO-501) Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Click here if you're looking for SY0-501 Full Study Package

Simulated Performance-based Questions

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Simulated performance-based questions included with all

packages that include practice test questions.

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Simulated performance-based questions included with

all packages that include practice test questions.

Compare to SSCP/CISSP Testing

SSCP and CISSP exams have been available as paper-and-pencil exams but are switching over to computer based testing. Effective June 1, 2012, you’ll be able to register to take these exams (and other ISC2 exams) at Pearson Vue testing centers. ISC2 has been using Pearson Vue for several other exams including CSSLP and CAP.

Network+ Exams N10-004 and N10-005

The N10-005 exam was released by CompTIA in December 2011 and many people are taking it now. The N10-004 exam which was released in 2009 retires August 31, 2012. After that date, you can only take the N10-005 exam. This update is in line with CompTIAs practice of updating their exams every three years.

A common question people ask is “What are the differences between N10-004 and N10-005?” This blog gives some information on these differences.

Realistic practice test questions for the Network+ N10-005 exam
CompTIA Network+ N10-005 Practice Test Questions (Get Certified Get Ahead)

Another common question people ask is “Which exam should I take?” The most important consideration is that you should take the exam that you’ve been studying for. In other words, if you’ve been using N10-004 study materials, take the N10-004 exam. If you’re just starting to study and don’t have any materials yet, your best bet is to study the newer exam. It covers topics that are more relevant today.

Also, if life events prevent you from taking the exam before August 31, 2012, you won’t have to start over if you’re studying N10-005 materials. In contrast, if you were studying for N10-004 and missed the August deadline, you’ll need to pick up new study materials.

Network+ N10-006 Practice Test Questions

The Network+ (N10-006) exam has been retired.

Pass the Network+ Exam (N10-006) The First Time You Take It

At  $277, this exam is expensive.

Make sure you're ready before exam day!

Full bank of at least 293* realistic multiple choice practice test questions with in-depth explanations to help you pass the Network+ exam the first time you take it. This set also includes several performance-based questions.

 Network+ Study Materials

30 Day Package60 Day Package
Full bank of more than 293* N10-006 Network+ practice test questions.All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.CheckCheck
Performance-based QuestionsSeveral sets of performance-based questions. Question types include drag and drop, matching, and sorting type questions. See a demo here.checksmchecksm

Bonus #1

Flashcard Set
  • 200 Network+ Flashcards to reinforce key testable concepts
  • View in random and non-random modes.
checksm

Bonus #2

Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types
  • Identify how many hosts a subnet supports
  • Identify valid IP addresses within a subnet
checksm

Get the Network+ Study Materials Here

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. This way no matter how CompTIA words the questions, you'll be able to answer them correctly.Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation.
  • Test mode. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test.
This package allows you to go through the practice test questions in multiple ways based on how you learn best.
  • Domain 1 through 5** using Learn Mode
  • Domain 1 through 5 using Test Mode (Randomized)
  • The full bank of test questions using Learn Mode
  • The full bank of questions using Test Mode (Randomized)

Test your readiness with these quality questions

Understand the important important concepts using the explanations

 Network+ Study Materials

30 Day Package60 Day Package
Full bank of more than 293* N10-006 Network+ practice test questions.All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.CheckCheck
Performance-based QuestionsSeveral sets of performance-based questions. Question types include drag and drop, matching, and sorting type questions. See a demo here.checksmchecksm

Bonus #1

Flashcard Set
  • 200 Network+ Flashcards to reinforce key testable concepts
  • View in random and non-random modes.
checksm

Bonus #2

Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types
  • Identify how many hosts a subnet supports
  • Identify valid IP addresses within a subnet
checksm

Get the Network+ Study Materials Here

Package includes several sets of performance-based questions.Two sets are simulated performance-based questions.Another set includes multiple performance-based questions using drag and drop capabilities. I love the way these new questions work. Check out a demo here.

You don't need to spend a fortune to get quality practice test questions

If you're like most people, you've already spent money on one or more Network+ books or courses. Now you need to ensure you understand the concepts and how they are tested. You can pay $100 or more for practice test questions, but you don't need to.

The set of practice test questions will give you a view of typical multiple choice questions you can expect to see on the live exam.

Get Certified Get Ahead with Network+ Practice Test Questions

 Network+ Study Materials

30 Day Package60 Day Package
Full bank of more than 293* N10-006 Network+ practice test questions.All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.CheckCheck
Performance-based QuestionsSeveral sets of performance-based questions. Question types include drag and drop, matching, and sorting type questions. See a demo here.checksmchecksm

Bonus #1

Flashcard Set
  • 200 Network+ Flashcards to reinforce key testable concepts
  • View in random and non-random modes.
checksm

Bonus #2

Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types
  • Identify how many hosts a subnet supports
  • Identify valid IP addresses within a subnet
checksm

Get the Network+ Study Materials Here

Beware of questions that do not include explanations - many people have identified errors in these and even when there aren't errors, these types of questions encourage you to memorize answers instead of understanding the underlying concepts.* Don't you hate those little asterisks. Normally they mean "forget what you just read, it's not really true." Not so here though. The bank starts with 293 multiple choice practice test questions, but I'm still adding to them. There will be more.** CompTIA identified five domains of objectives for the CompTIA Network+ exam. They are:
  • 1.0 Networking Architecture
  • 2.0 Network Operations
  • 3.0 Network Security
  • 4.0 Troubleshooting
  • 5.0 Industry Standards, Practices, and Network Theory

New A+ Exams on the Horizon

The current version of A+ exams are the 220-701 (Essentials) and 220-702 (Practical Application) exams. These were released in 2009 and an update is due in 2012, three years later. CompTIA has published the objectives for the 220-801 and 220-802 exams but they haven’t provided any information on when these exams will be live. However, it is possible to make educated guesses.

  • CompTIA does three workshops for most of their exams.
  • The third workshop for the N10-005 Network+ exam was July 18-22, 2011 and that exam went live a little over four months later on December 1, 2011.
  • The third workshop for the A+ exams was April 23-27, 2012. It’s very possible these new exams will go live a little over four months later on September 1, 2012.

Similarly, we can predict when the 220-701 and 220-702 exams will be retired.

  • The N10-004 exam retires Aug 31, 2012, nine months after N10-004 was released
  • The 220-701 and 220-702 exams will likely retire six to nine months after the 220-801 and 220-802 exams are released, perhaps at the end of March or June, 2013.

A+ Study Packages - Practice Test Questions and Flashcards

Pass the CompTIA A+ 220-901 & 220-902 Exams the First Time

Get Certified Get Ahead A+
Realistic practice test questions with in-depth explanations and easy to use flashcards to remind you of important concepts.All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. This way no matter how CompTIA words the questions, you'll be able to answer them correctly.Multiple quiz formats including more than 600 practice test questions. Questions are organized by each of the domains in the exams. Once you master the content, use the Test Your Readiness Quiz to check your readiness.

Only $59.98

Get the A+ 900 Series Study Materials Here

220-901 Practice Test Questions and Flashcards

Includes all of the content from the 220-901 Bonus Package.
  • Domain 1 Hardware.
  • Domain 2 Networking.
  • Domain 3 Mobile Devices.
  • Domain 4 Hardware & Network Troubleshooting.
  • Random Test Your Readiness Quiz. Random 90 questions from the full bank of test questions to test your readiness for the live exam.
  • Flashcards to remind you of important topics.

220-902 Practice Test Questions and Flashcards

Includes all of the content from the 220-902 Bonus Package.
  • Domain 1 Windows Operating Systems.
  • Domain 2 Other Operating Systems and Technologies.
  • Domain 3 Security.
  • Domain 4 Software Troubleshooting.
  • Domain 5 Operational Procedures. 
  • Test Your Readiness Quiz. Random 90 questions from the full bank of test questions to test your readiness for the live exam.
  • Flashcards to remind you of important topics.

Comprehensive Glossary

A comprehensive glossary of all the key terms and acronyms you need to know for the A+ exam. The glossary is available online with easy-to-use links for navigation.

Bonus with Combined Package

Access to materials for a full 120 days.

Only $59.98

Get the A+ 900 Series Study Materials Here

Comparing Security+ Exams

As a comparison, the SY0-201 Security+ exam was released in 2008. New objectives were released in 2011 as SY0-301 and there was an overlap where you could take both exams. The SY0-201 exam retired December 31, 2011 and currently only the SY0-301 exam is available. An update isn’t due until 2014.


Pass the Security+ exam the first time you take it

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide


Security+ Full Access Package

Get Certified Get Ahead Security+

Pass the First Time!

Up-to-date Content

New multiple-choice and performance-based questions added regularly

Pass the first time with quality practice test questions, performance-based questions, flashcards, and audio.

Buy The Full Access Study Package Today

60 Days Access For Only $65.97

Need more time? You can easily renew for another 60 days at a significantly reduced price.

All materials are available online shortly after making your payment.

Get the Security+ Full Access Study Package Here

Our online Security+ study materials are the perfect complement to the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. They can also be used to help ensure you're ready no matter what study guide you're using.

This exam is expensive.

Make sure you're ready before exam day. 

Here's what you'll get:
  • All of the multiple-choice questions from the best-selling CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide. See a demo here. All questions have full explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.
  • Over 40 new multiple-choice questions we've added after publishing the study guide.
  • Over 30 performance-based questions. See a demo here.
  • All of the flashcards from the study guide. View them in any Web browser.
  • All of the audio from the study guide. Listen to a sample here.
  • Access to a free discount code for 10% off your Security+ voucher.

Buy The Full Access Study Package Today

60 Days Access For Only $65.97

All materials are available online shortly after making your payment.

Get the Security+ Full Access Study Package Here

Summary

CompTIA is switching to Pearson Vue testing centers exclusively. If you bought vouchers ahead of time make sure you either purchase Pearson Vue vouchers or use Prometric vouchers before July 9, 2012. The Network+ exam has two active exams N10-004 and N10-005 and the N10-004 exam retires August 31, 2012. The A+ exams are being updated with new 220-801 and 220-802 exams coming out but won’t be live before September, 2012.

Read More
CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

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