CompTIA A+ 220-901 & 220-902 FAQ

Why is a new exam version being released?

CompTIA carefully tracks technology evolution and its impact on the world of work. Together with industry we continuously review how trends change the roles that CompTIA A+ certifies – those focused on IT technical support and operations – and work to adapt the certification to industry workforce needs. The 900 series is a reflection of the current knowledge and skills needed by today’s IT professionals.

In addition, CompTIA A+ is an ISO-accredited certification which means we adhere to defined policies and practices in developing our certifications. One goal of our development standards is to ensure that current certification holders maintain up-to-date skills. The 900 series is the blueprint for up-to-date skills for entry level IT support and operations roles.

Where is the exam available?

CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 exams are available worldwide as of 15-Dec-2015. To certify, locate a Pearson VUE testing center and purchase your exam voucher through the CompTIA Marketplace.

If I complete 801, do I have to complete 802 or can I take 902 instead?

You must take (and pass) exams from the same series, i.e., either 801 and 802 OR 901 and 902. We do not support or recognize mixing and matching between different series.

What’s covered on the CompTIA A+ 900 series?

To learn more about what’s covered in the 900 series, please see the CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 exam objectives. At a high level, the exams include:

  • Security: Supporting and securing access to data by properly using authentication, access control and encryption for an organization. Help desk and technical support professionals form one of the first lines of defense for any organization.
  • Networking: Applying core concepts and protocols such as IPv4, IPv6, DHCP, and subnet mask to set up and support wired and wireless networks.
  • Operating Systems: Working with mobile, server and traditional operating systems from Android and iOS to Windows and Linux.
  • IT Operations: Utilizing the basics of virtualization, cloud computing, desktop imaging and deployment to support today’s IT infrastructures.
  • Troubleshooting: Following and using decision trees for diagnosing, resolving and documenting common hardware and software issues across a variety of devices.
  • Technical Support: Applying principles of customer service to help resolve IT issues.

How many performance-based questions (PBQs) are on the CompTIA A+ 220-901 and 220-902 exams?  How does that compare to the CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 exams?

We do not make public the exact number of PBQs on a given exam, but we encourage you to use the objectives as a guide in your preparation. Objectives with an emphasis on practical application, that is, on using knowledge to accomplish a specific task within a given scenario are likely to be best tested utilizing a performance-based item. (Hint: look for objectives that start with the phrase “given a scenario” when considering which items may have a performance-based component to them.)

Why isn’t Windows 10 covered?

  • Our certification development process relies on the expertise of our subject matter experts (SMEs) to identify the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the job of an IT support professional in the current computing environment. Their decisions, along with all the skills included in the certification blueprint, are confirmed through an extensive industry survey. Certification content is driven by the skills and knowledge that the IT industry wants validated, not by vendor impressions of what should be included in the certification.
  • The certification focuses on the skills needed to perform the job, not on the specific features and functions of different operating systems. In the future we may move away from specifying versions – this is the approach we’ve taken with the inclusion of Android (we don’t say Lollipop, not Kit Kat, e.g.), Linux (we’re distribution-agnostic), Apple (no mention of Mountain Lion, e.g.) and Windows for mobile devices.
  • Not specifically calling out Windows 10 does NOT mean a tech is exempt from knowing how to support it, only that they won’t be tested on functionality unique to Windows 10.

When do CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 retire?

The CompTIA A+ 220-801 and CompTIA A+ 220-802 retire on 30-Jun-2016.

Should I earn my CompTIA certification with CompTIA 220-801 & 220- 802 or with CompTIA 220- 901 & 220-902?

  • If you are currently studying to take the CompTIA 220-801 and 220-802 exams you should complete both exams prior to the 800 series retirement date of 30-Jun-2016. 
  • If you have completed either 220-801 or 220-802, but still need to pass the second exam to earn the certification you are also strongly encouraged to test as soon as possible to avoid having to start over with the 900 series. 
  • If you have not started studying for CompTIA 220-801 and 220-802 exams, the 900 series exams offer the best proof of your preparedness for today’s IT technical support roles. 
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