A+ Second Edition Exam Cram 2, by James Jones and Craig Landes, edited by Ed Tittel

Reviewed by: Thomas V. Kappel, March 2004, send e-mail
Published by: Que Publishing, go to the web site
Requires: N/A
MSRP: $29.99

The Exam Cram 2 series of books are study guides for various areas of technology certification. This book, with accompanying CD, is the study guide for the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+ certification exams. These exams are 220-301 and 220-302. This 2004 copyrighted edition is the latest information for the latest versions of the test and is designed to prepare you for certification that is recognized and highly regarded by government and industry.

The Book

This nearly 1000 page book is divided into two parts, one for each exam, with each section roughly 500 study pages. The first part is the A+ Core Hardware Exam information and the second part is the Operating System Exam information. In other words, this book is all about computers and the operating systems that run them. Each section of the book also comes with a 70 question sample test at the end of the final chapter.

As the Exam Cram name implies, this book is designed around specific areas of technology where you will most likely be tested. This book is more than a compilation of the detailed notes you'd have if you sat through a large number of classes, but is somewhat similar. It is a refresher course for those with solid industry knowledge, as well as a guide and preparation for the very tough certification exam. So be aware that the entire Exam Cram 2 series of books, including this one, are not for beginners wanting to learn and study their way up to taking the exam. The user level of this book, as is stated on the back cover, is intermediate to advanced.

What you are paying for and getting with this book are short, concisely formatted reviews of all aspects of the hardware and operating system technology covered by the test. The book also provides special little highlighted sidebars that are extremely valuable for exam preparation. The sidebars contain tips, cautions alerts, and notes. Especially valuable are the alerts which advise you on what you may need to memorize for the exam, what are big deals needing more in-depth study and exam tips such as trick questions.

To enhance your knowledge and test preparations, the end of each chapter features an average of ten sample exam prep questions. As mentioned above, each major section also has a 70 question exam prep test as well. And then there’s also the included CD.

The CD

The CD includes one PrepLogic practice exam with about the same number of questions that are on the actual exam. The authors do push you to buy the Premium exam tests in addition to this free one. The Premium Exams have a little over 200 questions each and there are three available. Frankly, the best thing about this PrepLogic exam is the flash card mode. In this mode you get a question and can prompt for the answer to test your knowledge. I do like this much better than multiple choice answers to the question as it actually does force you to examine the depth of your knowledge and not your ability to pick the right answer out of three or four provided.

In addition, the complete A+ book is provided in PDF format so you can study and read right off your computer. This is great for travelers as they don't have to carry a great heavy 1000 page book if they're already lugging around a laptop.

I used the Exam Cram series of books to obtain my CompTIA IT Project + certification and I'm currently using their Exam Cram 2 PMP book to study for the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification test from the Project Management Institute (PMI). I'll certainly be using this book and CD as I prepare for the A+ exam as well. They represent a great material review and exam preparation resource at a reasonable price. If you're thinking about certifications to help you get a promotion, a job or an interview, believe me these books do all of that and more. They give you a certain amount of respect immediately when you begin a new project or job. So consider obtaining a certification in your field of interest by using the Exam Cram 2 books to help you. This one will certainly help you obtain the computer A+ certification, that’s for sure. Highly recommended.

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