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147 of 151 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Ok. There have been some negative reviews about this book and I wanted to add my 2 cents to this. It is possible to pass the A+ Certification exams using little more than this book. I should know, as I personally did it. It wasn't easy, it took a lot of studying, and my scores weren't the greatest, but I did pass using little more than the book and practice exams that came on the CD with the book. I got a 574 on the Core and a 619 on the OS. Not impressive, but I'm not saying this book will make you incredible, I'm just saying you can pass using very little besides this book.

My strategy went as follows:

1) Read the book staight through for about 2 weeks, reading 150-300 pages a day while TAKING NOTES. Writing the information physically on a sheet of paper helps a lot.

2) Memorize the notes you took. Ingrain everything you think is important into your brain. And this isn't just necessarily facts. Its the concepts behind the facts. This book did a really good job with those and because of it, I was able to correctly guess a good number of the questions on the OS exam that would have otherwise stumped me.

3) Read the Objectives off CompTIA's website! This will help you catch anything that the book missed.

4) Take the practice exams with the book. I left one exam for Core and OS until I felt like I was done studying and just wanted a confidence boost. Don't underestimate this. Attitude can make a big difference. Also, don't underestimate the value of the practice exams. They are about as tough as the real thing. Some questions easier, some harder, but overall about the same difficulty.

5) Retake those practice exams until everything you missed is ingrained into your mind. There were at least 6 or 7 questions on each test I ONLY got right because I remembered getting them wrong on the practice exams.

6) Find any practice exams or questions online that you can. I opted to use some free ones, many of them only being about 10 questions or so, but they gave me other perspectives and ways to ask questions that I hadn't seen.

7) If you can, get some hands on experience. If the book is going over the Recovery Console, do it yourself. If you can picture doing things on the computer in your mind, it will help when it comes to test time.

8) Good luck! The more info you can get, the better, but with this book and your wits, you should at least be able to do better than I did. It took me about a month total of solid studying, and this is from someone who one year ago didn't even know how to build a PC, and had only made 3 before taking the test.

So overall, I think this book is worth it. I can't say anything about the competition because I haven't used it, but for about 50 bucks, this book is well written and easy to read, tells you at least MOST of what you know while being a little entertaining at the same time, and will come in handy as a great reference book. I've given it 5 stars not because its the most amazing thing written, but that it did what it was supposed to: get me to pass the A+ Exam.

I hope this review is helpful to those of you considering getting your certification!
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I find alot of the previous reviews extremely negative towards this book, and I have to disagree with them. I will admit there were a couple of questions that I had no clue how to anwser, but I would state that at least 90% of what I saw on the A+ test could be answered straight from the book.

I studied the book throughly, then began taking the practice exams, once I completed them I went to the author's homepage [...] and purchased test vouchers/practice exams. Basically you get 1100 more A+ Cert. questions and both of your vouchers to take your exams for less than the list price of the exams.

Now before I started taking the additional test questions I thought I was a week away from taking the test. However I found myself blown away the questions, but as I would study out the questions after I completed the test I found all the correct answers in the book, but those just didn't stick to my brain or weren't as highlighted as they probably should be. However once I was aceing the tests I signed up and passed both A+ exams the first time with 750+ scores.

I didn't study any other materials for the test. However I do get to do some PC repair with my job (but it isn't my main duty).
BOTTOM LINE:
1) BUY THE VOUCHERS/TEST QUESTIONS FROM [...] - most the questions on the extra test questions are more difficult than what you will see on the real test. And when you finish the test go back through it question by question see what you got right and find out why others were wrong (reference back to the chapter and re-read the page or two about that specfic topic)
2) GET SOME HANDS ON TIME - if you don't get to repair PC's for a living then go out and pick up some junk garage sale PC, you can usually find them for less than $25 (it's ok if it's outdated and you never plan to use it) walk through some of the book's examples, tear the thing down and build it back up. Most of the A+ material covered older or extremely generic PC components anyways.

I believe if you do what I stated anyone should be able to pass the A+.
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318 of 370 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have heard rave reviews about the Michael Meyers All In One A+ Certification Exam Guide. Everyone (most people had used the 3rd or 4th editions though) told me it was the only thing they needed to pass the A+ with flying colors. Obviously, none of them had passed the 2003 Objectives with the 5th Edition though.

I've spent the past 2 months studying and taking notes from the book and eagerly signed up to take the test as soon as I finished. I felt fairly confident that the book had prepared me, and after taking the exams in the back of the book, I also felt fairly prepared.

I went ahead and downloaded a few PDF files from the site where I bought my voucher from, but they only went over the 2001 Objectives. Needless to say, there was a *LOT* of information missing from the 5th Edition book that was covered in those PDFs. Specific command line diagnostic tools and switches, modem diagnostic codes, a lot more in detailed stuff, etc.

Mainly, the book in general was too broad. It covered and hit all the topics, but nothing in-depth detail, except for maybe SCSI, the history of CPUs, and network types. Granted, if you're trying to become A+ certified, you should obviously at least be somewhat decent with computers and know some of the information.

However, the A+ is all about testing you on a wide variety of different scenarios, with scenarios being the key word here. Meyers claims the A+ is for a tech with less than 6 months of experience. I'll throw the book at any tech with less than 6 months of experience, and can guarantee 85% will not pass. The A+ consists of "John Doe has a problem with component X, what's wrong with it?" along that sort of lines. The book only really prepares you for the conceptual information. The conceptual in turn does help you with those scenario questions, but much more emphasis could have been placed onto that than just concepts.

A very good way to describe this book is as follows: imagine picking up a book to become a mechanic. If this Meyers book was a book about cars, it would teach you the history of cars - the big block high HP days of the '60s and early '70s, the need for fuel efficiency in the late '70s, the SUV/truck boom in the '90s, and the return of high HP/high performance cars in today's world. It would teach you what a tire does. It would teach you what springs and shocks do, and what aftermarket coilovers do. It would teach you how to work the radio, and how to identify the coolant reservoir, the radiator, the AC compressor, the engine, the engine mounts, the rear sway bar, the driveshaft, headers, etc.

You read the book, you take the test, and your heart drops in your throat when the questions are about how to diagnose the car not starting up, what the clicking sound is coming from the right front wheel well when you turn, why the car drips water when you turn it off on a hot day, etc. You're unprepared because the book decided to focus more on the basics than the bread and butter. The book covers the basic troubleshooting, but the number of pages devoted to it a 1100 page book is probably less than 75. That is exactly what the Meyers book does in terms of computers and the A+. It is NOT to say that every troubleshooting question you have no idea about. Obviously, through practical and real world experience, you will know how to do a lot of troubleshooting, or else you wouldn't be trying for your A+. Some of the more in-depth ones or ones you don't deal with on an everyday basis, or ones with a particular solution you'd only know about if you read about it, are the ones I am speaking of.

To give a fair assessment of how much in particular the book applied to the test: my breakdown is:

2003 OS Core Objectives: 30%
2003 Hardware Core Objectives: 50%

That is my honest assessment of what the book covers and/or is useful to the exam. It's a nice reference tool and taught me a lot (historically speaking) about computers that I wasn't aware of, and even taught me a few things I should have known but didn't. But the book is seemingly useless to the exam. The passing scores were a 505 and a 515 on the OS and Hardware, respectively. I received a 652 on the OS and a 696 on the Hardware. I can honestly say - I would *NOT* have passed if I had not done outside studying. I spent this entire week cramming and learning so much from the few other sources I had access to. I would have taken the test later; unfortunately, the vouchers I bought were set to expire in less than 2 weeks after purchase, so I couldn't put off taking the test because Mr. Meyer's book ill-prepared me for the test.

I crammed for the test as much as I could using other resources. Given time, with those other resources/other books, I would have done a lot better. The OS portion - my score was expected, but not the hardware. I only had to stop and think about maybe 7 of the questions on the hardware. Maybe I just rushed through the test too fast because I had a false sense of security. It would be completely unfair to blame my scores solely on the Meyers book, but it is one reason why I didn't do as well as I had hoped. (If you pass the test, you have to wait a minimum of 1 year before retaking it again for a higher score)

In summary, the book only prepares you for the conceptual parts of the test, and a little bit of the troubleshooting. (Percentages listed above) The majority of the A+ is about troubleshooting. Meyer's book only devotes a very small percentage to the end of every chapter to troubleshooting. Maybe 10% of the chapter is devoted towards it. That's it. 10% doesn't cut it when probably 75% of each test is about troubleshooting. I believe the previous editions were a lot more indepth in terms of the information it covered, which is why so many people raved about the 4th Edition. (2001 Objectives) Meyers took a step back with the publication of the 5th Edition. This book was released as a poor effort to cash in on someone studying for the A+ 2003 Objectives.

I can't say what other books available are better than this one, or which one would guarantee/help you pass the test better, but this is not the one to get. If you read all the other reviews of this book - the ones that gave it a positive "yea it's great" - the majority of them haven't even taken the test. They seem to offer little more than "oh it's a thick book so it must be good!" The ones that did "pass" the A+ noticeably didn't list their score. The scores I had were average - I expected at least in the 700s/800s. Sure you can make the point that I passed with 150+ points over the passing grade, but that was in addition to the cramming from a few other sources before the test. My experiences in IT have been probably 8+ years, including building/fixing computers for family/friends, admining and being the sole tech support guy for a Win2K Domain (2 servers) + WinXP client computers, and working in the IT department of a fiber optic drafting branch of Verizon. I would consider myself fairly knowledgeable, and am also currently studying for my MCSA/MCSE.

This book is nice to have for a general overview or a "I never knew that about computers". To pass the A+, if you do insist on using this book to study for it, being that you ignored everything I wrote in my review, do yourself a favor and find at least one other source to review/study. The tests are $91 a piece using a voucher, and $58 for a retake. You can buy this book only, but be prepared to shell out that $58 for the retake voucher. Or, you can buy a totally different book, pass it on the first try by a sizeable margin, and be proud of your accomplishment. Shame on you Meyers, for trying to pass off this book as (in your own words): "...a proven strategy for preparing to take and pass the A+ exams. Try it. It works." Sorry Mike, you failed your readers. You should take your 5th Edition back to the drawing board, actually sit down and look at the A+ w/ 2003 Objectives, and then come back with a 6th Edition that lives up to the "supposedly" legendary status your books have when it comes to the A+.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the only book that i used to pass the A+ certification tests. I am not a tech, i have no experience as being a tech and nor do i have want to be a tech. But being a college student and trying to break into the IT field can be daunting without experience and/or certifications. This A+ was the ice-breaker. After acheiving this certification and posting my resume, i literally received multiple calls a day for open positions and was offered a very good job in 2 days. Without experience this certification is basically your building block to breaking into the field as well as stepping stone for other certifications. I recommend reading this entire book once and then again taking detailed notes on things that are unfamiliar to you. I spent maybe a couple of weeks studying day and night. I do not guarentee that you will pass using just my method as i am a very proficient user and have extensive knowledge of hardware and software but i'm positive that with strict commitment to reading this book, the test will be a piece of cake.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The author writes very well about subject matter that is inherently confusing and highly technical. He manages to guide you through how most important aspects of computer hardware / OS work. He does so in a clear and easy-to-understand method.

This book is the one book I would suggest to any person who wants to know more about computers and is considering IT as a career. IT starts with A+ (lame pun intended).

Forget the long winded reviews that say bad things about this book. If you can read, and you have even the slightest bit of a technical aptitude, then you will have no problem passing the test using this book. Just make sure you get the latest addition.

Well done Mr. Meyers.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There's a reason why Mike Meyers' All-in-one Guides are the best-selling A+ books: quite simply, they work! I passed the OS technologies test with a 608 score (passing mark was 505), and the hardware with a 629 (passing mark was 515). Other than some online practice tests, and hands-on experience (especially with the various Operating Systems), this was the only material that I used to study.
Be warned - at 1,100 pages, this is a thick book! However, it is a very easy read compared to most other certification books. Mike Meyers does an excellent job of explaining some very technical aspects of computing in a very non-technical manner, and without over-simplifying anything. I actually read through this book twice; the first time I took very thorough notes, and the 2nd time, I just skimmed through it in the days leading up to my test. As long as you do this, you should easily pass your exams! :)
The only bad thing about this book is that there are some various obvious typos/mistakes. Thankfully, most of the time it's obvious what the author meant, and you can find corrections to these errors on Mikes' website - [...]
In conclusion, some people might not like all the "extra" stuff in the book, but you *must* understand the historical/basic stuff before you can understand the advanced A+ topics. Also, this book is not going to help much if you don't sit in front of a computer and "play around (in the case of the OS), or practice taking apart your computer (for the hardware test). OTOH, if you have a lot of experience with servicing/repairing PCs, then you can probably get by with the much shorter "passport" version of this book. Otherwise, you should go with this book. There's no reason to fail if you study thoroughly enough!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ive been building computers for years and ive taken my A+ classes in college back in 2001 and recently a job opportunity was coming my way and I needed to get some certifications and I decided to get A+ certified and knowing my luck the exam was just updated for some new 2003 objectives. So I was in a bind of needing to get some study material and since I had mike Meyer's network+ book I figured might as well get his A+ book since ive heard such rave reviews. So here's my review.
The book is VAST and covers topics in great detail ( for example he has and beyond A+ section in the book that goes into advanced topics - though sadly not enough detail on those - such as the cipher command in windows XP which helped me with my MCSE 70-270 studies ) And will help keep you up at night as his writing always does. The operating system section has to be one of the best sections as well as a few others.
Now time to talk about the bad parts of the book.
Mike has a way of explaining things in a way that either you will get or you won't know what the heck he is talking about. What I mean is he comes up with these crazy analogies that make hardly any sense at all ( such as the section on the CPU ) I wont to learn about the CPU process I can do without an analogy of a little man in a box turning on light bulbs come on this isn't an elementary school class type of book its a college+ book!
Also the book doest cover all you really need to know in a way that clicks all you need for the A+ exam and takes the privilege of drilling into your head useless information that the exam isn't even going to ask about and skims over the topics the A+ exam cares about ( kind of like comptia read all a+ books and made sure no book covered half of the test! )
Also the questions are simple at best and the learnkey videos require internet connection to use ( I got dial up and sadly cant wait all day to view free movies =\ especially sad when I paid as much as I did for the book that I need to register some part to view a "FREE" video ).
However id be remiss if I didn't say that this book is a great reference book and anyone starting out in computers should really read it and take it to heart hence why im giving it a high score even though it doesn't include 100% of what you need to know to pass the a+ exam. If passing the exam is your prime objective id recommend getting exam cram 2 book ( doest cover all you need for the test and also drills in useless information that isn't covered on the test as it seems most all a+ 2003 books are doing ) because it is cheap and the preplogic tests are always nice. Then id recommend either class training or some training videos such as cbtnuggets videos by Christopher Rees he truly can explain this subject in granular detail, enough for the basic concepts to be learned anyway. As I feel you cannot even try and take this A+ test and not have worked on a computer or at least seen someone else work on one ( I mean why would you! ).
Bottom line this is a good book to read and for reference just not " all you need " for the a+ exam. ( and yes I passed both tests in 3 weeks of study time and I know that the topics drilled in my head by both books were a waste of time and the topics I skimmed passed were heavily focused on the exam - KNOW YOUR SCSI! ) And of course you can look on the bright side as you only need to score a 500ish score out of 900 which means you can still miss a whole lot!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend the All-In-One A+ Certification, Fifth Edition. I have been a computer teacher for approximately 10 years. I incorporated A+ Certification courses into the curriculum in June of 2000. The Mike Meyers All-In-One A+ Certification books have always been my first choice for text. I credit Mike Meyers for my own success in A+ Certification. I own every All-In-One A+ Certification book starting with the one published in 1998, some used for personal use, majority for in the classroom use. I only purchase quality.

I find the All-In-One A+ Certification, Fifth Edition, to be the best book yet. Mike Meyers presents easy to understand analogies that even the most beginning student can understand and apply toward the computing. The students appreciate the easy to read format of the book and find the examples such as "the man in the box" to be very helpful (if you really want to understand CPUs and registers you really must become acquainted with "the man in the box"). The All-In-One A+ Certification, Fifth Edition clearly presents learning objectives, illustrations, notes, tips, and warnings as well as areas that are historical and conceptual, test specific, and the areas beyond A+. I have found both personally, when I was studying for A+, and for my students that this type of format is invaluable.

No book is going to be the perfect book. I find the All-In-One A+ Certification, Fifth Edition to be as close as you are going to get to a perfect study guide. I do not understand those who complain about this book. A+ Certification test preparation takes effort. The All-In-One A+ Certification, Fifth Edition provides an excellent study tool. If an individual takes time to read the book and put their own effort into assimilating the material presented they should have no problem passing the test. Those who I see fail, want everything handed to them - they want to memorize questions and answers. They do not really want to actually learn the material. The computer field is very inductive/deductive and you must be able to think for yourself. The All-In-One A+ Certification, Fifth Edition book aptly covers both core hardware and operating systems A+ topics, as well as providing an excellent overall picture of the computer field, that provides the serious computer student or technician the perspective needed for success. The test questions at the end of the chapter tend to highlight important learning objectives, and the CD included with the book provides test questions that are excellent representations of A+ test questions.

After incorporating the All-In-One A+ Certification, Fifth Edition text book in January 2004, many students have returned to report that they have passed both A+ tests and that they couldn't have done it without the Mike Myers All-In-One A+ Certification, Fifth Edition book. I say this success speaks for itself. I highly recommend this book, and as the rumors start to circulate about new Comptia A+ test changes I look forward to Mike Meyers All-In-One A+ Certification, Sixth Edition.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I just wanted to say that although I passed both tests first time, I found that there was several questions on the test that were not covered in the book at all. If it were not for my previous personal experience with computers I would of been hard pressed to pass. To sum up, If you have a solid tech background, this book with lots reading can help you to pass. If your starting from scratch, you need more to find more info.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I just passed both A+ exams today, and used this book (5th edition) as my primary source of study. I also had Ron Gilster's dummies book, but was less than impressed with that one (see review there also).

As for Michael Meyers, this one is the one you want! Meyers presents the information in a very easy way, without making you feel stupid. It's a great introductory as well as a great review for someone with experience as well. Loads of pictures in the book will assist anyone who has less experience at recognition of hardware. This will also prove to be an invaluable tool for any tech in the field as well, IMHO.

The CD has great resources, as well as an awesome test engine. The interface was very professional and the test questions contained quite a few graphics to assist. At the end of the practice tests you are given a score as well as identifying which areas you need to study to improve your score! Overall this is an awesome resource that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone studying for your exam!
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