I passed the A+ 220-901 exam using A+ practice test software and the internet, Part 1/3

By: Robert J. Miller, A+, Network+, CWNA, MCP.

>> Click here for Part 2 of 3
>> Click here for Part 3 of 3

After sitting for the CompTIA A+ 220-901 (Hardware)

Most importantly relax! This is actually important! Aside from that the best advice I can give you in terms of preparing to take the A+ exam, and any other test of this type, is to use every last resource available to you and to use them wisely! I used the CertBlaster A+ practice test software and the Internet.

When it comes to self-test software and self-testing in general, don’t just take a test again and again until you get 100’s all the time. Small birds can be taught to do this.
When you get a question on a practice test read the question paying great attention to detail then study the responses available carefully. There will often in a self-test software be explanations. Study that explanation thoroughly and make sure you understand it fully and all its implications. If you feel shaky on any part of that explanation then do what I do: Google the main terms and get more perspective on the issues.

A+ Exam strategies

Now when you have what you think is the correct response, ask yourself: What makes it the best response? The answer to that of course depends on the question asked but also it depends on what the other answer alternatives lack that the correct response requires. Is it an interface type, capacity, resolution, voltage or speed?

Let’s assume you have a question where the correct response isn’t popping out at you. The first thing I do is to “take out the trash”. Re-read the question and discard those points that have nothing to do with the requirement or result. Eliminate the least probable response(s). If you have a multiple choice question with four possible responses, each one you rule out is worth 25%. If you can say that 2 of the 4 responses are definitely incorrect. You are now faced with a 50/50 chance and therefore twice the probability of success. Interestingly, in that process, you have demonstrated knowledge by being able to eliminate choices that others (less informed) may consider correct. Here is an example of possible question:

You work for the Bonanza Mining Company (BMC). You have repeatedly recommended to your boss, Victor that BMC should implement a RAID Solution and he finally agreed. However there are restrictions on the budget. The servers contain the HR’s data as well as all the company’s accounting data. The solution needs to be fault tolerant, so that if a single disk fails you can still recover the data but because of the budget you can only pay for two hard drives in each server. Given these requirements what solution are you going to tell Victor to go with?

RAID 0
RAID 1
RAID 5
RAID 6
RAID 10

The correct answer is: RAID 1

Your position is that RAID Level 1 Is the best choice for this application. What makes it correct? To determine this we have to consider all the information available to us this includes the requirements and limitations of each choice. As we stated earlier the more incorrect responses we can dispose of the higher our chance of success. Our specification is for a redundant RAID implementation using no more than two disks. Let’s look at the implementations. Upon examination you’ll see that there is only one configuration that meets all of our requirements, that is Level1.

RAID LEVEL MINIMUM NUMBER Of DISKS Redundant? Type?
0 2 No-Striped
1 2 Yes- Mirror
5 3 Yes- Parity
6 4 Yes- Parity
10 4 Yes Striped and Mirrored

 

The A+ Exam Objective addressed by above question is: A+ Exam 220-901 Main Domain 1.0 Hardware– 1.5 “Install and configure storage devices and use appropriate media”. Click on the link for the full A+ Exam Objectives.

RAID 1 is also referred to as disk mirroring. This solution involves two identical hard drives being used to create a mirrored set. Data is identically reproduced on both disks, so that should one disk fail, the data can be accessed and retrieved from the other disk. Because either disk can respond to a read request, RAID 1 offers a small increase in read performance. RAID 1 is mostly considered when the best compromise between cost and performance is required. In this scenario you have to have a solution involving mirroring since the data is critical (HR & Accounting). It also meets the requirement borne out of budget restrictions that you can’t use more than two disks per server.

Click here to go to Part 2/3 of this article series

 

A+ 220-901 PBQ Motherboard
A+ 220-901 Performance Based Question (PBQ) – Custom workstation assembly.

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FULL DISCLOSURE: I am an employee of dti Publishing Corp. and so work on a variety of its educational products. So, although I believe my advice above is sound it may apply differently to you depending on your background and experiences.



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