Taking Tests

Jason Dion • 200,000+ Students Worldwide
A free video tutorial from Jason Dion • 200,000+ Students Worldwide
CISSP, CEH, Pentest+, CySA+, Sec+, Net+, A+, PRINCE2, ITIL
4.6 instructor rating • 23 courses • 251,495 students

Lecture description

This lesson covers the top tips and tricks for you to use to increase your score and your chances of passing the exam on your first attempt.

Learn more from the full course

CompTIA A+ (220-1002) Test Prep, Exams and Simulations

Pass the CompTIA A+ (220-1002) Core 2 exam with help from an expert in the field!

03:27:19 of on-demand video • Updated October 2020

  • How to pass the CompTIA A+ (220-1002) Core 2 exam on your first attempt
  • How to become a better certification exam test taker
  • How to answer the Performance Based Questions (PBQs) and simulation style questions
  • What your weak areas are in the CompTIA A+ curriculum so you can restudy those areas
English -: We're going to start out early and get you some essential test taking techniques so you're ready to hit the ground running. The first thing I want you to see is this. I want you to change your paradigm. Look at the picture on the screen. I want you to think yourself, what is it? What is it look like to you? Now some of you are going to think that this looks like a vase. Now that I said that's a vase I bet the people who didn't think it was a vase originally now think that it's a vase. And now I want you to think about this, what did the other half of the people think it was? Did you think it was two people looking at each other? Maybe even two people trying to kiss each other? Now that I said that I bet the rest of you are seeing that as well. You see, it really did change your perspective and caused you to have a paradigm shift. That one image didn't change at all, it remained the same but the way you saw it is what changed. That's what I'm going to attempt to do in this section of the course for you as we go through and prepare for the CompTIA A+ exam. I'm going to change your foundational framework, your basic assumptions, the ways of thinking that you already have and the methodologies that you've been using and then I want to change it to the way that you need so that you can see how the exams are really done so you can be successful. The first thing I want you to think about is how you read the question itself. Many of us read the question just like it's written and these questions are written to trick you. So the biggest mistake that we make is reading a question when it comes to having a negative question in it. A negative question is any question where you see the word not. So for example if the question ask which of the following is NOT a file system type supported by Windows 10? A) NTFS B) FAT-32 C) HFS or D) ExFAT This seems like a pretty simple question right? Now you're probably going through this question and in your head you're starting to think okay which is and which one isn't blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This is how most people attempt these types of questions, but the problem is that most people get these types of questions wrong. If you get a negative or a not question on the exam the first thing I want you to do is change that question to the affirmative. I want you to think about which one of these is a file system type supported by Windows 10 and therefore you're eliminating that word not in the question. Now each time you do this I want you to turn each answer choice into an affirmative statement until you can say no, that's just isn't right. So let's go through this as an example. First, NTFS is a file system type supported by Windows 10. Yes, that sounds right. In fact Microsoft uses NTFS as the default file system type in Windows 10 so we know that one has to be right. Second, FAT-32 is a file system type supported by Windows 10. Yeah that sounds right too. Now I know that older Windows systems used to use FAT-32 by default but they moved to NTFS back in Windows XP and because of that I know that a lot of the newer stuff still has backwards compatibility for the older system that we used to use which was FAT-32. So I'm going to say yes, that one is as well. Third, HFS is a file system type supported by Windows 10. This one doesn't sound quite right to me. It just isn't really ringing true to me so I'm going to skip that for now and we're going to come back to it and instead let's look at the last option. ExFAT is a file system type supported by Windows 10. Yeah, that one sounds right too. Now I know that it's supported because recently I bought a four terabyte hard drive and it was formatted as ExFAT because that is supported by Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. And so we've now got the right answers of A, B, and D, so that means C is the only one that I wasn't really sure of and therefore it has to be the answer. And actually in this case HFS is what's used by MAC operating systems using OS X and therefore it is not supported by Windows. Now most of us when we get asked a question that has which one is not we'll get that answer wrong because our brains aren't wired to work that way. Instead I want you to say the other one, which one is, and then you can check them all off until you find the one that you can't say it is. Make it a search for the truth instead of trying to identify the false choice. This will help you get these questions right. Another big issue you're going to be facing on the exam is that you're racing against the clock so you can't waste your time when you're taking one of these exams. The A+ exam for instance only gives you 90 minutes to complete the entire thing. That's just one and a half hours. Since you can get up to 90 questions on the exam you have to keep a phase of about one question per minute to be able to finish them all. So you have to really think quickly. So if you don't know a question what I want you to do is skip it, you can hit mark for review, hit that little flag review and then move on, we'll come back to it at the end of the exam if we have time for right now I don't want you to waste your time on questions you don't know. Another big issue that I see with brand new students who take these certification exams is that they're trying to answer the question in the order that the test delivers it. So if you take the A+ exam and you have 90 questions on it you don't have to take it by starting on question one and then taking question two, three, four, and so on up to 90. Now that's not the way that you need to be taking this exam. Why? Well if you remember I said that the PBQs or simulations are the first three to five questions on the exam and these question are the most time consuming and the hardest questions on the exam. So what I want you to do is I want you to skip them when you first start the exam, hit the little flag, mark it for review, and move on until you get to your first multiple choice question. This will speed up your efficiency during the exam and students who do this tend to see their scores raise by about 10% higher than students who take the simulations first. So I'm telling you skip the simulations and save them for the end of the exam. Another great thing about the way the exam works is that you can skip around and take questions at any order you want. At any time you can go forward or backward going on to another question if you get stuck. Now this is helpful because many times I see similar questions on the exam. For example on the A+ exam you have to memorize your seven steps for malware removal. I guarantee that you're going to get at least one or two questions on these steps for malware removal on your exam and possibly even a dragon drop simulation where you need to put those seven steps into the correct order. Competency tends to consider this to be a pretty important concept on the Core 2 exam. So when you're taking the exam and you see a second question about removing malware you should be thinking to yourself, self, haven't I seen a question on this same topic before? Why? Well because sometimes you can get a hint or even the answer for an earlier question on the exam by paying attention to questions you're getting as you go through the exam. For example if I have an exam ask me what is the third step to perform when removing malware and that might be question 21 and later on I get to question 63 and it says something like remediate the infected system is the fourth step of the malware removal process, what is the next step? This tells me that these two questions are related. You can see how they relate to each other and we can actually use one to help answer the other because if remediate the infected system was an option for the first question you know it's an incorrect answer because question 63 just stated as a fact that the fourth step of the malware removal process was remediate the infected system. Conversely if you already answered disable system restore in Windows as the third step in question 21 then it can't be the answer to question 63. So if you aren't sure of a right answer remember, you can reference things that were stated as facts in other questions to help you eliminate some answer choices and give you a better shot of guessing the right answer. This is a great test taking technique because it's a good way for you to check your answers and it's a good way to make sure you're getting the maximum points possible. Next I want you to be on the lookout for keywords. There are keywords that you should know during your studies. I'll give you an example. For the CORE 2 exam you're going to get questions regarding computer security. For example if you get asked about encryption you need to remember that is focused on ensuring data remains confidential. So any time you hear the word confidentiality you should be thinking about encryption. Similarly if you're asked about encryption you should be thinking about confidentiality. So if you get a question that says your company is concerned that they might be a victim of data breach. They've asked you to go ahead and select an appropriate solution to maintain the confidentiality of data in case a breach occurs. Which of the following technologies should you select? Well since this is asking about maintaining confidentiality of the data you should immediately be thinking that the answer has something to do with encryption. So if you see the word encryption as an answer, or you see some type of encryption like AES, the Advanced Encryption System as an answer that would be the answer you need to select. Having this immediate association with keywords can really help you answer a lot of questions on the exam. Another good example is associating malware with terms like ransomware, trojan, keylogger, rootkit, virus, botnet, worm, and spyware. All of those things are malware. Or if we talk about social engineering, anytime you see the words like phishing, spear phishing, impersonation, shoulder surfing, tailgating, and dumpster diving I should be thinking these are social engineering. As you go through your A+ studies you should see these types of keywords that they're going to continually come up over and over again and you need to make sure you're making a note of them and make that association in your head. This is what I mean by associating your keywords, you need to figure out those keywords during your study because it's a great way for you to increase your scores and help you pass any certification exam. All right, the next thing I want you to do is look for wrong answers. When I go through an exam I'm not just looking for the right answers but I'm also looking for things that are wrong because if I can eliminate the wrong answers it helps me find the right answers easier. For example here's a question from a previous A+ exam. Where do you go on a system to configure the Wake up on LAN? A, from the Command Prompt. B, the Device Manager. C, the WOL jumper. Or D, the CMOS. Do you know the answer? Well maybe you do and maybe you don't but we're going to be able to figure it out together by figuring out which ones aren't right and therefore we can identify the one that's left and that will be our correct answer. So if I wanted to configure the Wake Up on LAN what do you think I would have to do that from? Will I do it from the Command Prompt? Mm, that doesn't sound right. How about doing it from the Device Manager? Probably not as well. Would I do it using the WOL jumper? Now I personally have never heard of a WOL jumper. Most mother boards have a battery jumper and a reset jumper. That's about the only jumpers that I remember reading in my A+ textbook or watching a video course when I studied for A+. So guess what? That means that only leads us to the answer of CMOS because I can throw away the other three options. That's how we can apply this idea of looking for wrong answers to be able to identify the right answer. My next tip is for you not to read too much into your questions. Often, especially with True/False or A, B, C, D, questions people want to read too much into it. You don't want to fight the exam instead you need to make sure you're being careful not to add additional things into the question that simply aren't there. This is really really important when you're taking certification exams. In fact some certification exams don't have a single right answer but instead you have to choose the best option out of the four choices available. For example let's consider this question. Which one of the following is the most important security consideration when selecting a new facility for a data center? Should you A, consider local law enforcement response times. B, the adjacent competitor's facilities. C, aircraft flight paths, or D, utility infrastructure. Now some students are going to think to themself hmm, what is the most important security consideration? Well I don't want to get robbed so I want to make sure the police can get there quickly so A seems like a good option. But I also don't want competitors to be around because that can hurt my business too. But wait, I also don't want to be near an aircraft flight path because that can be noisy or dangerous if a plane is going to crash on landing. And you start going down this rabbit whole by reading too much into each option and how it might affect your future business. This can get you into a spiral where you can't figure out the right answer anymore. Let's look another look at this question and consider it as simply as we can. We are talking about computers here and we're talking about a new data center facility which means a server room. What would be an important consideration from that perspective considering that this is a serer room containing computers. Well if I'm talking about a computer facility I want to make sure that I have good power, water, heat, and cooling. This is all about utility infrastructure. They're trying to throw you off by saying the important security consideration in the question but here's the thing if you lose power your doors won't stay locked, your alarms won't go off and people can break in. Oh wait Jason, if we're talking about people breaking in shouldn't law enforcement response times be really important then? Well the fact is, law enforcement response times don't help you much because they're going to be after the fact and it's responsive in nature, not defensive. This is the idea here, you don't want to read too much into these questions, look at it at a surface level, find the option that is correct the most often in the most amount of situations and select that one. Now my last trick here is for you to read the answers back into the questions. This can help clarify the answers in your head by making them into a statement. If I look at the previous question for example we had, which one of the following is the most important security consideration when selecting a new computer facility? Instead of asking it as a question though I might state each option as a factual statement much like I did when I did the not questions earlier in this lesson. So starting with option A I would say local law enforcement response times is the most important security consideration when selecting a new data center. Or I might use option D, utility infrastructure is the most important thing when selecting a new data center. As you read those answers in sometimes it'll help your mind go ah, that sounds like something I read in my textbook which was stated as a fact and therefore I remember it and it must be the right answer. In this case utility infrastructure is again our right answer and even stating it as a statement makes you think yeah, that sounds right to me doesn't it? So the real key to exam success, what is it? Well I know you're all dying to know. You have to remember that the exam is all about recognition after all you don't need to memorize everything, you just need to be able to recognize everything that you know from your book. That's the idea here with all these tips and tricks that we covered in this lesson because what I'm trying to do here is help you pick out the right answer from four choices on the exam. The certification exam is not about memorizing anything at all, it's all about recognition on exam day. What do you recognize here and from the instructor in your video course? What do you recognize from your textbook readings? What do you recognize from reviewing your own notes before the exam? That's what you need to be able to do on the exam. You need to be able to recognize things based on your prior studies which is an easier task than recalling it from memory or filling in a blank. When you see a keywords or a concept on exam day you should be thinking to yourself yes, that looks like something I recognize from my studies, I'm going to pick that one. (slow music)