Differences between old and new A+ exam

Certification: CompTIA A+ - A+


CompTIA A+ certification is the first step that a professional takes before entering the IT word. It makes you aware about the advances in the industry, hardware and software parts of the computer, how to installation of computers, troubleshooting methods and maintenance of computers. The certification is recognized we all ever the industry, helping the person who are about to enter the industry with better job opportunities, giving them a good start or raise in their work profile if they are already working.

History of A certification

A+ certification  was first developed in 1993, since then there have been five updates of the certification, 1993, 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012 versions, these are divided into two different exams. The five versions of the A+ certification had undergone many updates. The 2012 version is the updated version which every professional have to qualify now. The 2009 version required the students to qualify two exams Essential and Practical. The 2012 Version also requires to qualify two exams Essentials and then practical exam, but this version has some major changes, that include some new topics and deletion of some topics.

Old version i.e. 700 series

This test series of A+ certification was available till 31st December 2013. It comprises of two exams one computer essential (220-701) and second a practical paper (220-702). Both the paper contains 100 questions which you have to compete in 90 minutes. The passing score for essentials is 675 whereas for practical it is 700. The 220-701 is a bit easier to clear, because it the first test that a person entering the field encounters which consists of questions related to windows, troubleshooting windows, security and networking in computers, while the 220-702 have more difficult questions based  on problem solving that you have to answer on  your practical knowledge. So CompTIA suggest everyone who sits for the test to have lab work experience or field work experience for at least 12 months.

New version i.e. 800 series

This is most updated certification of CompTIA consisting of two papers 220-801 essentials and 220-802 practical. The 220-801 focuses on skills that are required for the installation and maintenance of computer hardware. These include five areas of expertise:

  • 40%  questions concerns hardware
  • 27%  questions concerns networking
  • 11%  questions concerns laptops
  • 11%  questions concerns printers
  • 11%  questions concerns operational producers

The 220-802 focuses on the operating systems and the trouble shooting hardware of operating systems. It consists of four areas:

  • 33% of questions are from operating system
  • 22% of questions are from security
  • 9% of questions are from mobile devices
  • 36% of the questions from troubleshooting of the operating system

The passing mars and the time slot for the test is the same as 700 series. The difference lies in the fact that no. of question were fixed in 700 series whereas the no. of questions varies in 800 series.

Difference between both the series

  • 800 series is more exhaustive than 700 series
  • 800 series includes questions from mobiles and tablets
  • 800  series have more emphasis on windows 7
  • 800 series expect you to have 1yr experience of lab work

Difference between old series 220-701 and 220-801

  • Now CompTIA 801 contains laptops and printers as new additions, it doesn’t cover OS, its troubleshooting and security.
  • Hardware configuration is more focused than its installation, have the same contents along with more info on BIOS, gaming support, support for virtualization, understanding consumer needs on hardware.
  • Networking is more or less like Network+ certification and contains same content as 702 including installation of router, hardware specifications related to laptops.
  • Printer section has similar content as in hardware section of 701 including topics including Operational procedure, impact and control of environment.

Difference between old series 220 702 and new series 220 802

  • Now the 802 contains cell phone devices and troubleshooting of operating systems, it doesn’t contain hardware networking.
  • It comprises material from 701 but now doesn’t support ME or windows 2000 rather emphasize on security, windows 7, and command line tools like BOOTREC, ROBOCOPY, and SHUTDOWN etc.  Covers more topics like features that are unique to windows 7, VISTA and XP.
  • The topic security has some added content like, disposal and physical security, security threats like malware, spyware, phishing, SOHO network securing.
  • 802 contain mobile devices and troubleshooting as a new section. It deals with mobile operating system like android and iOS, deals about hardware differences between tablets and laptops. Troubleshooting many topics from 701, but the difference is that, this contains more practice questions and theory than earlier. Deals with various troubleshooting methods related to hardware and software along with operating system.
  • The new series have question that you have perform like changing the attributes of a file, changing a file location through command prompt etc. this type of questions were absent earlier.

Need to upgrade from old to new

The coursework of CompTIA update itself after 3 years to follow its accreditation. This accreditation is responsible for the status of CompTIA A+ certification in the community. The change are made to make the individuals industry ready and equipped with the latest changes and skills that an IT professional should now. The course work of A+ certification has changed remarkably from 700 series to 800 series, making the students to be updated with the recent advancement and upcoming technologies. The most remarkable change that CompTIA made in 800 series is the performance based questions that are required to solve in real time environment, for which you have to be we versed in lab work and be confident to solve it practically. This problem solving will show the aptitude of the candidate towards applying the skills learnt in real time environment.


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