CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Overview
The current active A+ certification exams are:
CompTIA A+ 220-901 & 220-902 launched in December 2015. Similarly to the previous release of the exam (220-801 & 220-802), this exam is scheduled to retire approximately three years from its release date.
CompTIA A+ 220-801 & 220-802 launched in December 2012. English version of this exam retired June 30, 2016 and is no longer available for test takers. The scheduled retirement date for other language versions (Japanese, German, Thai, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, French, Arabic, Brazilian, Portuguese) is December 31, 2016.
CompTIA exam objectives are revised every three years in order to make them up to date with the current technologies. The 220-901 & 220-902 series offers the most up to date coverage of those topics. There is no formal requirement when it comes to the choice between the two available versions of the exam - certification obtained under any set of the current objectives (either 220-801 & 220-802 or 220-901 & 220-902) remains valid for three years from the date when the exam was passed.
Each of the current A+ certification exams consists of two separate tests. There is only one A+ certification document and it can only be obtained by passing both exams. Each exam requires a separate fee. There is no formal requirement when it comes to the order in which the two A+ certification tests should be taken, but both tests must be passed before the entire exam retirement date and must come from the same set of objectives.
CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Update
With the release of the 800 series, the formula of the CompTIA A+ exam has been changed. Apart from the typical, multiple choice / multiple selection types of questions, both 220-801 / 220-802 and 220-901 / 220-902 exams include the so-called performance-based questions that require executing tasks / troubleshooting problems in a simulated IT environment (one example of such question might be a task based on typing in commands in an emulated Windows Command Prompt).
Bridge Exams, Educational Versions of the A+ Exam, And Lifetime Certifications
Bridge exams for all CompTIA certification programs retired on December 31, 2010 and are no longer available.
The educational versions of 220-801 & 220-802 exams are coded JK0-801 & JK0-802. The latest iteration of the CompTIA A+ certification exam uses the same 220-901 & 220-902 coding for both the regular and educational version of the exam. The educational versions of the exam are available exclusively for the CompTIA Academy Partner Program (CAPP) training partners and their students. They are identical in all aspects, except for the differences in exam code (in case of the 220-80x series) and the fact they can be accessed by using discounted E2C vouchers provided by the CompTIA authorized training partner.
Starting from January 1, 2011, all new CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, and Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certifications are labeled with the +ce (Continuing Education) suffix, and in order to remain valid they must be renewed within three years from the date the candidate is certified. Candidates certified on or before December 31, 2010 are still considered certified for life, but further lifetime certifications for CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ are no longer available.
A+ Certification Test Details
Both, 220-801 / 220-802 and 220-901 / 220-902 exams are computer-based, multiple-choice / multiple selection / performance-based question tests consisting of 90 questions each. Each test has a time limit of 90 minutes. Exam results are available upon completion of the test and after filling in a short, mandatory survey.
Some of the questions on the actual A+ exam are not taken into account while calculating the final score and they might be out of the scope of the exam objectives. Those questions are used by CompTIA for psychometric testing (one explanation to this might be testing of the new question difficulty for the possibility of its later inclusion in the scored test).
Before the actual test candidates are asked to read and accept CompTIA's exam policies. There is a limited amount of time to complete this part, but this time does not count into the exam time - the actual exam starts with the first test question. Exam policies do not allow mobile phones and any other means or devices that would allow for cheating on the exam, and they must be left somewhere at the office before sitting for the exam. The same applies to pen and paper, but testing center should provide a marker and something to write on.
During the test, answers can be changed by going back to any given question; exam questions can also be marked as unanswered for a later review. The list of all questions is also available at the end of the exam before submitting completed test, so it is possible to get back to any of them at that point as well (unanswered questions are marked red). Test results are displayed after submitting answers and going through a short, mandatory survey.
From July 9, 2012, CompTIA exams are available only through Pearson VUE testing centers. Exams can be booked online through the Pearson VUE website, by phone, or directly at the testing center.
Exam Retake Policies
CompTIA does not offer any free re-tests or discounts on any exam retakes, and candidates must pay the exam price each time they attempt the exam. There is no waiting period between the first and second attempt to pass the exam, only before the third or any subsequent attempt there is a mandatory waiting period of at least 14 calendar days from the date of the last attempt.
CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Resources
CompTIA A+ 220-801 Exam Domains
CompTIA A+ 220-802 Exam Domains
CompTIA A+ 220-901 Exam Domains
CompTIA A+ 220-902 Exam Domains
Free Online CompTIA A+ Practice Exams
Professor Messer's CompTIA A+ Video Training Course