Sunday, June 24, 2012

New CompTIA A+ Exams 220-801 and 220-802

There are some changes coming to the CompTIA A+ exam with exams 220-801 and 220-802. If you're currently studying for the 220-701 and 220-702 exams, don't worry - you'll have plenty of time to complete it. These exams will continue to be available until August 31, 2013.

New Exams

Unlike previous exams, the new exams don't have any names but instead are just identified by the numbers: 220-801 and 220-802. They are expected to be available in late September or early October 2012 and the CompTIA A+Training Kit by Darril Gibson covers all of the objectives for these exams.


To become A+ certified with the new objectives, you need to take and pass the 220-801 and 220-802 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.


This is the fifth version of A+. Previous versions came out in 1993, 2003, 2006, and 2009 and over 900,000 people around the world have earned this certification. IT professionals commonly move on to higher-level certifications and better paying jobs, but start with this certification to lay a solid foundation of IT knowledge.


The primary focus of this 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


The primary focus of this 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

Significant Differences

A difference between the 800 series exams and the 700 series is that includes Windows 7 Enterprise, mobile devices (such as the iPad), and a significant amount of security.
Some of the significant differences in the 800 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

New exams will 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.

CompTIA isn't saying how many questions will be performance based, but these take a lot of effort to program so don't expect more than five to ten questions of this type.

CompTIA A+ Exams

If you plan on studying for the CompTIA A+ exams stay tuned. I'll post more information on these exams in this blog in the future. If you've finished the A+ certification and have moved onto the Network+ or Security+ exams, Microsoft exams, or the SSCP or CISSP exams, check out for more resources to help you take and pass these exams the first time you take them.

Good luck.

Darril Gibson