- Series: All-in-One
- Hardcover: 1200 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 8 edition (August 22, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 007179512X
- ISBN-13: 978-0071795128
- Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 2.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 770 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, 8th Edition (Exams 220-801 & 220-802) 8th Edition
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About the Author
Mike Meyers, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, MCP, is the industry’s leading authority on CompTIA A+ certification and the bestselling author of seven editions of CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide. He is the president of founder of Total Seminars, LLC, a major provider of PC and network repair seminars for thousands of organizations throughout the world, and a member of CompTIA.
Top customer reviews
Mike Meyers takes a "let's start at the bottom" approach that I find ideal since I think it's easier to understand a complex subject when I get the building blocks first. I'd say the first quarter to third of the book is focused on the overview of the PC, its basic technology, and the evolution that brought us to the present day. Every chapter begins with a section titled "Historical/Conceptual" in which he will review the basic concepts of how the technology works, then become more concrete. For example, over the course of a few chapters the book covers the basis of computer language (the binary system) and how the processor physically communicates with the rest of the computer. He then applies this to describe the Intel 8088 processor, an old and very influential design, then explains how that design evolved over time to incorporate new innovations and discoveries to bring the reader to the present day's Intel Core series. The middle of the book moves into bringing the fundamentals together, and towards the end circles back to advanced/esoteric hardware implementation and networking.
Some of the material in these sections may seem to have little bearing on the A+ exam, but it's critical to really knowing the basics of computers and how they work; after all, you can't fix something you don't understand. Generally, beyond Historical/Conceptual comes "Practical Application" which will delve into implementing and troubleshooting. I found the tone throughout well balanced, with the right amount of technical detail mixed with analogies where necessary to promote understanding, and enough humor keep a reader awake. There are also a fair amount of Windows screencaps and diagrams when discussing muddy or dense subjects. Every chapter wraps up with a brief quiz to ensure you've picked up the essentials, and closes with a section titled "Beyond A+" to further expand on relevant topics or suggest continued reading or practice.
Later chapters move into what you would expect - Windows internals, hard-drives, LANs, networking, mostly with the same thoroughness as earlier chapters, though at times it does feel like the author is simply rattling off information from a list - I found the section on Windows Group Policies especially tedious, but that's Group Policies for you. Some of the analogies I thought might seem belaboured to a novice; the CPU as a man in a box flipping switches I thought was possibly confusing (like, so simple it's actually kind of obtuse) to someone who doesn't already know a bit about binary and electronics.
If you're considering purchasing this book as a beginner looking to pass the A+ exams, I wouldn't think twice. I think this alone would be enough to pass the exams, provided you spend the time needed to actually practice what you can. The specifics the book gets into about troubleshooting particular problems (and the decent index) would also make this an ok reference to have lying around a shop, though not my first choice.
I know when you're first starting out, it's hard to be patient, especially when you're making your way through a tome as hefty as this, but don't skim and don't think this book is "beneath you" (my mistake initially) and you'll have a good amount of knowledge under your belt by the time you hit the end. A+ is probably your first step, it's important that you get your first step right.
Beyond A+ comes the brunt of computing today - networking. This same author's "Network+" guide book, written with the same attention to detail, would seem to be a natural starting point but it might also be beneficial to go hands on first and try "Computer Networking: Internet Protocols in Action"; it comes with a CD containing packet traces you'll be following with an analyzing program called Wireshark. I'd also suggest a classic, "TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1" if you really want to get how networking works. You'd also do well to check out the catalog of No Starch Press, and bookmark them; you'll be coming back to their heavy stuff in a year or two.
Do I blame the book ? Nope. In fact the book is quite good. Yes, it's a back breaking 1400+ pages. But it does a very thorough job explaining the basics of what a PC Technician might encounter in their first 1-3 years on the job. Mike Meyer's wrote the book based on the current Comp TIA A+ exam objectives. So, don't be surprized if certain topics do seem to have better explanations in the previous edition. The new edition is all about presenting the current exam objectives which emphasize topics like portable computers, smart phones, networking and security.
The problem with working with computers is that the hardware and software are constantly changing. In order to keep up with the Joneses, a technician has to know a lot of small details. And that's what the Comp TIA A+ exams test you on i.e. your knowledge of those really small details. Mike Meyer's made sure that no detail was too small to be ignored from those objectives. Read and study the exam tips. They are great bullet points.
The book does cover all the objectives set out by Comp TIA. Here's the catch 22, because all the A+ prep books were written before the new tests even went live, there just are not enough "free" supplemental materials posted on the internet that a person can use to help them study. The exams are just too new. The included CD is somewhat helpful in that the test engine does mimic the exam structure exactly. However, as others have complained, 100 questions per exam aren't enough to prepare a person for the actual exam. It's a start, but you need more to pass. That's where Mike Meyer's loses a star rating. The CD will direct you to his website were you can PURCHASE extra practice questions. And the free online video tutorials, aren't free either. If you're looking for great free online videos to prepare for the A+, I highly recommend google searching for Professor Messer's website. He has excellent hardware tutorial videos posted on his website. He also has an assortment of free A+ questions you can use for practice. If you were do a search on 220-801/802, the only exam prep resources you'll find will cost you. If you can afford it, I highly recommend purchasing some of those practice question packages and there are different packages available. The more questions you can answer from the objectives, the better prepared you will be to pass the exams.
Mike Meyer's does not cover the performance questions in the book, but he does mention them on his website.