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on September 25, 2004
Re: 3rd Edition only
First off, I have to say that I do not work in the IT industry and have never taken a single computer-related course in my lifetime. My experience with computers (hardware or software) comes strictly from my own general interest and use. With only that level of experience and this book as a resource, I passed both Core A+ exams on my first attempt, though I certainly did not score highly. I took the CompTIA tests for my own interest's sake. Using that as a guide, you may judge for yourself whether the book may help in your own certification.
Pros: The book is easy to read, explains important concepts well, and is organized so that you can find what you are looking for quickly. It helps that there is a pdf version of the book included on the CD. It covers MOST of what you need in order to pass the tests. The assessment, chapter, and bonus tests on the CD (also in the text) give you a rough estimate of your progress in understanding the concepts.
Cons: There are a few significant gaps in the coverage at some points, particularly involving newer technologies. For example, Firewire is briefly explained a couple of times, but it neglects to mention the important point of a limit on how many devices can be connected to the system at one time (a question that appeared on the test). Also, the book has a focus on covering facts without providing enough of a resource for troubleshooting, which makes up a good portion of each test. For example, Chapter 18, which makes up 25% of the OS Technology exam (troubleshooting OSs), is one of the smallest chapters (29 pages) and does not often explain how various tools can be used to fix specific problems. If you don't have experience in troubleshooting, this can be a real problem. There are also some errors (in the text and on the CD) so be sure to check the Errata at Sybex's website.
In the end, I'd recommend this book for anyone who plans on taking the A+ Core tests for certification. If you are taking the exams for career advancement, I would suggest making sure you have experience and/or other resources to back it up. Do not rely on this book alone. However, if you happen to be like me and are simply interested in learning about concepts you may not be exposed to in your daily life, this is an excellent read.
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on September 29, 2004
About six months ago I prepared for the Core Hardware exam and got a 579/900 (passing is 515). So I barely passed, and I used a different book (A+ Certification Study Guide, Fifth Edition by Michael Pastore) and I was not satisfied, and I feared that I might not pass the OS technologies exam. So I went out and bought this book because it seemed that Sybex published a book for every certification out there so they have to have pretty decent books.
Well, it's not a bad book, but it's not that great either. I did pass with a 573/900 (passing mark 505), but I did use the questions from the other book as well. I have been using for computers for at least five years, I've been a network administrator at an organization with >400 computers, and computers are basically second nature to me.
I understand that CompTIA is making their A+ tests harder now, however this should only mean that the book has to provide more training so that one can do better than barely pass.
In conclusion, I would suggest that if you are fairly new to computers, try another book, and shop around. Read the reviews of what people have to say, especially the crtical ones, because those are the most helpful. If you already have a lot of computer experience, then this book is alright and will probably help you pass the test.
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on June 27, 2004
I passed both A+ exams on the same day. I did not get the best score but it is impossible for a book to give you all the answers. I passed using this book exclusively. I read the book cover to cover 3 times over a period of 2 months, took the exams, and now I am A+ certified.
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on April 13, 2004
Spent nearly two weeks reading this 800+ page beast. It gives you EVERYTHING you need to know about the material on the A+ exam and a whole lot of extra material (most useful, some not, but all informative). It covers every word in the exam objectives to the 't' without a doubt the best a+ book i have (i have 3 others). Havent taken the Exam yet, but I have taken 2 practice exams, including one in this book and have scored almost perfectly both times.
The only major fault with this guide was that the author found it necessary to repeat things frequently (i believe the phrase "check the documentation that comes with the hardware" appears about 100 times in this book). It also has a few MINOR overcites (ex: diff. between SIMM and DIMM isnt clearly explained - who cares?)
Overall a FANTASTIC BOOK if you can ignore the above. Either take a few week long course or buy this book.
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on September 21, 2004
I read this book from front to back and did all the pre-tests and bonus exams and all the flash cards too. I failed the hardware exam with a 485 (515 is passing).

This book is best with tech's who already have plenty of on hands experiance and are finially taking there test after a year or so of working in the field.

I read the sybex lab manual as well. I should have gotten the Fast Pass book instead of the lab manual. I will get that and maybe a network+ book too.

Be warned there are way too many networking questions on the A+ exam then there should be. You might need get network+ exam cram just to pass the A+ exams.
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on January 2, 2006
I recently passed the A+ exam and found this book to be a real asset in combination with the Exam Cram 2 books (the Cram book and Practice questions for 220-301 and 220-302). This book was well organized and the information flowed very smoothly from chapter to chapter. There were a few "huh?" moments with some of the answers not matching the question, but they were very few by comparison with the total number of questions. What this book also has over the Exam Cram 2 book is the information on Operating Systems minimum system requirements, which is on the exam. I highly recommend getting this book, AND the Exam Cram 2 Study Guide, AND Exam Cram 2 Practice Questions. After the exam, they make great reference materials.
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on October 3, 2004
Hey..I just came back from the testing center and I passed with 769 out of 900..anyway, the exam wasn't that hard, mostly had some tough questions, but not 2many of'em...the book is well organized and the practice tests are good, but I don't recomend depending on only one resourse.therefore, I think that a second guide should be used..the key to pas the exam besides hard studying is to solve as much practice questions as u can...Test King questions are great...

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on January 19, 2007
This was a very comprehensive book that covered more than what was actually in the A+ exams. I went through it with a fine-tooth comb in less than three weeks and passed with a 785 in the Essentials exam and an 855 on the the IT Technician exam. I was until last year a Mac user, am just of average intelligence, and this book has been very helpful for me. My only problem with it was with the tests on the CD. There were literally DOZENS of errors on it, and I wondered how it went to press without anyone testing it. Other than that, the book is five stars and the CD is one star.
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on March 23, 2006
I think this book is worth buying. It builds on a foundation of basic computer knowledge and takes you into more advanced topics. It covers all of the objectives for the A+ exam but I would recommend that you use it in conjunction with other exam readiness material. Again, this book is not a waste.
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on December 3, 2010
Bottom-Line: Informative, up-to-date, and comprehensive, the "A+ Complete Study Guide" is a must have for anyone preparing the ever expanding A+ certification track.

I teach A+ Certification classes at several different local colleges and training companies throughout the year. Usually, the place(s) I am slated to teach has designed or developed their own curriculum developed, but occasionally I must write my own. And on those occasions I turn to the "A+ Complete Study Guide, Third Edition" written by David Groth, and published by well known technology publishing house Sybex.
Sybex's "A+ Complete Study Guide" is a comprehensive and complete text that will prepare the reader for the Computing Technology Industry Association's (CompTIA) A+ (220-301 & 220-302) Exams, and is divided into two parts emulating the two different parts of the A+ exam; i.e. Part 1: Hardware Service Technical Exam and; Part 2: Operating Systems Technologies Exam. Checking in at 954 pages, the book contains the most up-to-date content needed to study for and pass the A+ Core exams with coverage of motherboards, processors, memory, bus, peripherals, wireless technologies, OS fundamentals, Networks, etc.
The accompanying CD at the back of the book contains an advanced testing engine with adaptive testing capabilities; i.e. the test can gauge your knowledge level by your answers to the question and adapt the test accordingly. In addition the CD contains four bonus exams, electronic flashcards for PCs and Palm devices, and the complete book in PDF file format.
"A+ Complete Study Guide" also offers authoritative coverage of all exam objectives, including:

Core Hardware
* Installation, configuration, and upgrading
* Diagnosing and troubleshooting
* Preventive maintenance
* Motherboards, processors, and memory
* Printers
* Basic networking
* Networking and the Internet
* Bus Communications

Operating System Technologies
* OS Fundamentals.
* Installation, configuration, and upgrading
* Windows Optimization
* Diagnosing and troubleshooting
* Networks
The author's teaching style combines explanatory text together with illustrations, photos, screen shots, notes, and procedures. Groth also makes extensive use of brief sidebars for factoids (practical knowledge gained through practical usage), and tables for such data as command-prompt commands, ATA standards, processor comparisons, ISA Bus IRQ Defaults, etc.

By following the book chapter by chapter, I am able to outline and write a lesson plan (including illustrations and PowerPoint presentations) that covers everything a student will need to take and pass A+ Exams 220-301 & 220-302. Of course it helps if the student has a copy of the book to broaden his or her understanding of the material being taught.

Although I use "A+ Complete Study Guide" to teach from, I would highly recommend the text for anyone who want to broaden their understanding of computer hardware and Operating Systems, weather or not you are taking preparing to take the A+ Exams or not. Informative, up-to-date, and comprehensive, the "A+ Complete Study Guide" is a must have for anyone preparing the ever expanding A+ certification track.
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