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What you need to know about the revised CompTIA A+ 220-901, 220-902 certification exams

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Published on: February 5, 2016



CompTIA revised its A+ certification credential again, and it’s time to make sure that you’re fully up to speed with what’s new and what’s changed in the exam blueprints. So, let’s start with a  quick overview and then dive right into the details.

For those who don’t know, CompTIA (pronounced comp-TEE-ah) is a non-profit trade association based in Chicago that publishes a number of vendor-neutral IT certification programs. Newcomers to the field are attracted to the A+ because its content (computer repair and maintenance) is more approachable than, say, mobile device management or cloud computing infrastructures.

The A+ certification is globally recognized and accredited, and even carries an ISO/ANSI status. This means that earning the A+ provides you with practical, respected validation of your hardware and software support skills.

To earn your A+ certificate, you need to pass two exams, one of which focuses mainly on hardware (the 220-901), and the other on software (the 220-902). Check the CompTIA A+ exam pricing page for details, but be prepared to dig deeply into your wallet to pay for your exam vouchers—they aren’t cheap.

Now, let’s get into our old-versus-new comparison between the old 801/802 exams and the new 901/902 versions.

Comparing the exams: metadata

In comparing the exam details between the 800 and 900 series certifications, I’ve adapted the following points from the Exam Details table on CompTIA’s Web site.

First off, the 801/802 exams launched in December 2012, and the 901/902 exams launched on December 15, 2015. As you know, a lot happens in IT over the course of three years. We’ll see later in this article how CompTIA has stripped away old technology and included new tech trends in its current exam blueprints.

Both the 800 and 900 series A+ exams share the same basic metadata:

  • 90 questions
  • 90 minute time limit
  • Multiple choice and performance-based items
  • 675 or 700 on a scale of 900 for passing score


The 800 series exams retire on June 30, 2016 for English language tests, and December 31, 2016 for other languages (Japanese, German, Thai, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, French, Arabic, Brazilian and Portuguese).

Finally, both the 800 and 900 series tests have a three-year expiration attached to them. CompTIA offers plenty of options for renewing your credential; check here for details.


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