Difference between A+ 220-801 and 220-901 exams
- 17th March 2016
- Posted by: Stacie Jansen van Vuren
- Category: Technology
When looking at the top ranking IT certifications, there is no doubt that CompTIA is right up there as a notable force in the market. CompTIA offers certifications in various areas and their A+ certification, in particular, is fast becoming one of the most sought after to those who are looking to break into the IT profession. A large percentage of job adverts these days state that the CompTIA A+ certification is a prerequisite and this is only increasing the popularity of this particular certification.
• CompTIA stands for Computing Technology Industry Association
• CompTIA states that they reinvest all proceeds into beneficial programs
• CompTIA contributes to education and philanthropic organisations
• CompTIA offers a Green IT certification focusing on technology that is environmentally friendly
• CompTIA does not sell products – they only offer training, testing and certifications
Why is CompTIA releasing the new 900 series?
CompTIA prides themselves on constantly keeping track of the latest advancements in technology and how this impacts the needs of the working world. In an effort to meet these needs and maintain the pace set by technological evolution, CompTIA adapts their certifications to reflect the changes in technology. This ensures that CompTIA certifications remain relevant and continue to provide the necessary skills and knowledge to the students who study their training courses and write their certification exams. One of the ways in which this can easily be seen is the introduction in December 2015 of the new CompTIA A+ 900 series exams. Here we will discuss the difference between the CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-901 exams.
Firstly, it is vital to mention that passing either the CompTIA A+ 220-801 exam or the 220-901 exam will not result in earning the official CompTIA A+ certification as awarded by CompTIA. In order to achieve this certification you will need to pass both exams for either series as follows:
• CompTIA A+ 220-801
• CompTIA A+ 220-802
• CompTIA A+ 220-901
• CompTIA A+ 220-902
Another important factor is that mixing and matching between the two exam series is neither supported nor recognised by CompTIA as an acceptable route to certification. In order to achieve your CompTIA A+ certification, you will need to pass both the exams in one series. The CompTIA A+ 800 series is due to be retired at the end of June 2016 and after this time only the 900 series exams will be available in order to earn your CompTIA A+ certification. CompTIA has recommended that any students who are currently studying towards their CompTIA A+ certification should ensure that they have passed both exams prior to this date as failure to do so will result in them having to begin again with the CompTIA A+ 900 series.
What is covered in the CompTIA 220-801 and 220-901 exams?
There is a tremendous amount of information that is covered by the CompTIA A+ training courses in order to ensure that you are fully prepared for both of the certification exams that are required for the CompTIA A+ qualification. The certification exams aim to test your knowledge on as many of these aspects as possible and that remains true with the release of the 900 series exams. However, as we are only discussing the 220-801 and 220-901 exams here, not all of the changes to the exam content will be examined.
The CompTIA A+ 220-801 exam covers:
• Computer technology fundamentals
• PC Installation
• Mobile Devices
• Safety Procedures
• Prohibited Content
The CompTIA A+ 220-901 exam covers:
• PC Hardware
• Mobile Device Hardware
• Troubleshooting Hardware
• Troubleshooting connectivity issues
• Operating Systems
• IT Operations
• Technical Support
What can I expect from each of these CompTIA exams?
Exact exam formats are kept as a closely guarded secret by CompTIA to ensure the integrity of the certifications achieved. However, they do provide certain pieces of information to provide a general idea of what to expect during the CompTIA certification exams. The release of the CompTIA A+ 900 series exams has not actually brought about a change in the exam format; it is the content that will be tested on that has changed to cover the addition of new topics and the discarding of out-dated aspects.
The CompTIA A+ exams generally contain a maximum of 90 questions and the student is given 90 minutes to complete the exam. These exams contain a mixture of multiple-choice questions and performance-based questions which test the ability to practically apply the knowledge and skills that have been taught during the CompTIA A+ training courses. The pass mark remains identical between the 800 series and the 900 series and for the 801 and 901 exams; the required score to achieve a pass is 700 on a scale of 900.
What are the biggest changes to the objectives in the CompTIA A+ 220-901 exam?
There are four domains in the CompTIA A+ 220-901 exam and there are a few significant changes to each of these.
Domain 1.0 – Hardware
This domain makes up roughly 34% of the exam content and the main changes here are:
• Printers no longer have their own domain and are now included under hardware – with the inclusion of virtual printers in addition to the traditional types
• This was formally known as “PC Hardware” but has been renamed to focus on all desktop devices
• Minor technology updates have been made
Domain 2.0 – Networking
Making up 21% of the 220-901 exam from CompTIA, this domain has been updated as follows:
• A few less popular technologies have been removed (e.g. Wi-MAX) with newer ones taking their place (e.g. 802.11ac)
• Network technologies have been updated to reflect the focus on networking from the computing device perspective
• Exam objectives related to IP classes have been completely removed
Domain 3.0 – Mobile Devices
The mobile devices domain makes up 17% of the exam content and the changes here are minimal:
• Previously this dealt with laptops but it has been updated to include mobile phones, laptops and tablets
• Technology refresh has now also become a part of this domain (e.g. the addition of USB adapters and the removal of PCMCIA)
Domain 4.0 – Hardware and Network Troubleshooting
Accounting for 28% of the CompTIA A+ 220-901 exam, this domain has the greatest functional change:
• In the 800 exam series there was a large overlap in exam objectives (across the two exams) when it came to troubleshooting and this has been addressed in the 900 series which enables the ability to focus on one exam at a time
• This domain now includes command lines in the exam objectives
As can clearly be seen, the updates included in the CompTIA A+ 900 exam series are fresh, modern and bring the certification up-to-date according the advancement of technology. This is a credit to CompTIA and proves that their certifications remain cutting edge.