How difficult is the exam usually?
Is it worth buying the A+ exam with a retake, or should I buy just the exam?
Use all the free practice tests online and the free resources found on the internet especially on YouTube, the down side to using YouTube its not structure like a paid online course like ITProTV or VTC.com where these instructors have years of experience with the technology they use, plus they offer practice tests or labs that you can use.
If your aiming for the A+ certification, here's my suggestions
- ITPro.tv (premium user) use the labs and the IT Kaplan Test
- Measureup Practice tests
- gocertify.com (search for the A+)
6)Testout/Labssims use this and the CBT Nuggets in the past for my A+ Cert (700 and 800 Series) and passed both exams.
I for one wouldn't waste the money on the A+ Retake Exam, maybe on the Microsoft and or Cisco Exam since these exams are more harder and expensive, but not so much on the CompTIA Exams. Make sure to read and review the A+ Objectives and check off the sections that you are 90-100 % sure of . I hope these suggestions help and best of luck on your A+ Exams and Studies.
If you do your diligence and study, study, study - you should not need the retake exam. Just give yourself enough time to prepare. My co-workers and I had to all become A+ certified for our jobs back in 2016 as part of a requirement from corporate. We gave ourselves a few months to prepare and scheduled the exams for a set date so we could set up a study timeline. We agreed which chapters to read each week on our own, and spent 3-4 hours a week going through all the questions at the end of each chapter together, then went through a bunch of practice exams online once we were done with the book. In the end we all passed the exam on the first try, aside from Dave who just left his book on the shelf and was conveniently not present during our study groups.
So first, read and understand each chapter. Familiarize the scope of the exam and what you will be tested on. Know where to look in the study material when you don't know an answer. Watch videos and take notes on materials that are geared towards A+ certification specifically. You're going to need to memorize things like port numbers, and device speeds, and cable lengths and types and troubleshooting steps. If you're not 100% confident on these items, keep going over them time and time again until you remember them. Some things will be easy to understand and you'll find you don't need to go over them more than once. Some things you just have to keep going over until you understand, or at least memorize the answers. There's going to be a lot of terminology thrown at you that you need to know for the exam. (Although, to be honest I've forgotten most of it since taking the exam).
The best way to test your knowledge is to take practice exams and see how you feel taking them and see what your score is at the end. Practice exams will show you where you are still weak and need to study, and where you are good. They will also go over topics that you learned weeks ago that were starting to fade and reinforce your knowledge of those areas. Once you can comfortably take practice exams and understand most of the items, then you can be confident you'll pass the certification. But make sure you're studying and keeping your memory fresh right up until the exam. Even up to the very end I was learning a few things a day that I know helped me out.