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November 30, 2007

My First IT Certification! Part 14: CompTIA A+


Learning the A+ Language

I think I’ve reached a point in my CompTIA A+ training, where I feel like I’m learning a totally new language. I almost feel like I’m not speaking English anymore. The vocabulary is definitely my biggest hurdle and something that is consuming a lot of my time.

At the beginning, when I was just starting out with the videos, I made an Excel spreadsheet for all of my A+ acronyms, vocabulary words, and their definitions. This has been very helpful, but there’s still something missing.

CompTIA A+ Learning the A+ Language

What I want to do (and feel like I need to do) is write down the relationships of all these words, and how the terms interact with each other.

What I’m trying to say is that even though I know that DIMM stands for dual inline memory module, and I know that it is a form of RAM and that the DIMM chip can be single or double sided — what do I really know?

Is this going to be enough for me to pass the exams? Or better yet, is knowing just these few pieces of information going to be enough for me to properly function as an IT technician?

I know that memorization is a big part of this exam, but it’s also only the beginning. Technical skills – or knowing how to perform the tasks is just as important as knowing all the terms and their definitions. But does this lead to understanding all of this information? Does it lead to knowledge?

To me knowledge is something more — it’s not about memorizing a word and being able to come up with the definition, it’s not about just knowing the information — it’s about knowing how to apply this information in the real world, and understanding the relationships between pieces of information.

And this is what I’m having a hard time with. The vocabulary terms themselves are just half the battle. Seeing the meaning behind the words is what I strive for. But with nearly 300 acronyms is this even possible?

Is anyone else out there having the same problems?

Today I made it through video 16 of the CompTIA A+ training — the advanced part about Laptops and Portable Devices. If you haven’t been following along, I’m up to the IT Technician Exam objectives, which in this video included:

  • 2.0 Laptops and Portable Devices
  • 2.1 Identify the fundamental principles of using laptops and portable devices
  • 2.2 Install, configure, optimize and upgrade laptops and portable devices
  • 2.3 Use tools, diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques for laptops and portable devices

See you next week as I try to go beyond memorizing words to understanding …

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About the Author

served as the editor-in-chief of the TrainSignal blog from 2007 - 2012. In addition to covering a variety of topics, including IT certification, training and technology news, Kasia was also responsible for the content strategy and website management at TrainSignal. You can connect with Kasia on Twitter @kasialorenc.