Preparing for CompTIA A+ Core 1 (220-1001)? Here’s How Long You’ll Need to Study

by Ross Heintzkill | Published on September 12, 2022

The A+ from CompTIA is one of the best IT certifications in the world for new IT professionals. The A+ covers basic familiarity with technical skills in nine essential areas of IT. Those nine topics are split between two exams. The Core 1 (220-1001) exam for A+ covers mobile devices, networking, hardware, and virtualization and cloud computing. The CompTIA A+ is practically a necessity for new network administrators, systems administrators, help desk technicians, and field service technicians. 

New IT professionals often wonder how long it's going to take to prepare for the CompTIA 220-1001 exam. To answer that, CBT Nuggets created a LinkedIn poll and a Twitter survey to ask hundreds of IT professionals with their A+ how long it took to prepare. In the end, over 550 people answered our survey.

How long did most people need to study for the CompTIA A+ Core 1?

The results of our survey make it quite clear: the huge majority of people with their A+ took less than 3 months to prepare for the 220-1001 exam. Half of all respondents said it took them less than 6 weeks to prepare, while an additional 25% said it took them 6 weeks to 3 months for the A+ Core 1. Only 10% of all IT professionals took longer than 5 months to prepare for the CompTIA A+ Core 1 (220-1001).

how long to study for comptia a+ survey data

The 220-1001 Core 1 is one of the two necessary exams to earn the A+, and if you're planning on taking it, about 3 months of preparation time is a pretty safe bet. Newcomers with no experience who didn't take online training are likely to take more than 5 months to prepare for the 220-1001, while people who take good online training probably prepare in less than 3 months.

The 220-1001 Core 1 is one of the two necessary exams to earn the A+, and if you're planning on taking it, about 3 months of preparation time is a pretty safe bet. Newcomers with no experience may need 5 months or more to prepare for the 220-1001, but studying with online training can help test takers prepare for CompTIA A+ Core 1 in less time.

It’s safe to say the respondents who took less than 6 weeks to prepare for the 220-1001 would've had excellent study habits which they followed every day. According to Molly Billow, CBT Nuggets senior coach, you do that by rewarding yourself and your brain for following routines. 

"If the same behaviors are repeated, you create new neural pathways," Billow explains. "If it's repeated often enough, a new habit is formed."

How should you prepare ahead of taking A+ Core? 

Preparing for the A+ Core exam will take about 5 months if you study entirely on your own. But a dedicated learning path like the CBT Nuggets A+ Core 1 220-1001 online course can help you get ready for the A+ in significantly less time. We recommend setting aside 30 minutes per day for 3 months to study for CompTIA A+, but increasing the number of hours you’re able to study daily can mean you’re ready for exam day in less than 3 months.

While the average time it takes to prepare for the CompTIA A+ 220-1001 is about 3 months, you can shorten that span even further by using courses that contain video explainers for skills like mobile device synchronization, which help you understand hardware and network virtualization, and give you experience in how to actually troubleshoot hardware.

CBT Nuggets Coach Blake Pierson says that help desk professionals may be more prepared than they think for the A+. 

"If you’ve been in a help desk role for some time, try taking a practice exam first to see where your gaps are," Pierson recommends. "This can help you determine where to focus your training time in the course."

Tips to make sure you’re test-ready before CompTIA A+ exam day:

The A+ is a great certification because it tests real-world skills working with devices, network hardware, and all the other components of the IT world. The A+ is a jumping-off point for a career in any part of IT. You can get experience from hanging out in an entry-level job, or you can speed up the process with online training that comes with lots of features.

Use virtual labs

A virtual lab is a key feature of the best A+ online training courses – labs are essentially digital playgrounds where you can make updates, apply changes, and actually do hardware and software administration without any risk of breaking something.

Test yourself using practice exams

Obviously, having the skills and knowing the information that the certification covers is essential, but your skills and knowledge should be tested before you're ready to take the A+. Practice exams can help you prepare for the 220-1001 in under 3 months.

Learn from the experts

The CompTIA A+ (Core 220-1001) online training from CBT Nuggets is taught by Jeff Kish, along with Keith Barker, Jeremy Cioara, and Jacob Moran. All four of these trainers are certified experts with many combined decades of experience in helping students understand complex IT topics. Watch the first video in the CBT Nuggets A+ 220-1001 course for free.

The A+ is a well-known cert that can help new IT professionals advance their careers more quickly than if they got started without the certification. Employers look for CompTIA A+ certifications that show applicants are comfortable with all the major aspects of working with devices, networks, and virtualization. Almost half of all people who take the Core 1 220-1001 take less than 6 weeks to prepare for it – take the same courses they used to be ready in as little time as possible.

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