What Is The Difference Between CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2?

CompTIA A+ is one of the best ways to start your IT career. So, what's the difference between the CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 exams? We’ll answer it for you.

April 25, 2022

The CompTIA A+ test is now included in CompTIA’s Core Certifications as of 2022. This certification is essential for anyone just starting out in the IT profession because it shows a strong commitment to the field and gives a good basic knowledge of computer systems. Core 1 (220-1101) and Core 2 (220-1102) are the two exams that make up the CompTIA A+. So, what’s the difference between CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 exams? Let’s figure out the answer in this article!

CompTIA A+ Core 1 Exam

difference between comptia a+ core 1 and core 2

First, we will go through the overview of the CompTIA A+ before discussing two parts of it.

CompTIA A+ is a CompTIA vendor-neutral IT certification that evaluates applicants’ knowledge of a variety of fundamental technologies, including security, networking, virtualization, and more. Vendor-neutral means you’ll demonstrate knowledge of a wide range of topics that can be applied to a variety of vendors or platforms.

This certification is one of the best IT certifications for beginners with at least 12 months of hands-on experience working as a help desk support technician, desktop support technician, or field service technician.

The CompTIA A+ Core 1 exam is the first of two required exams, which will assess the candidate’s mastery of hardware and software technologies, as well as their ability to diagnose and resolve technical issues. This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of what to expect from the exam and how to prepare for success.

Exam Content and Format

The CompTIA A+ Core 1 exam is a 90-minute examination that comprises 90 questions, ranging from multiple-choice to performance-based. The exam will test the candidate’s understanding of various hardware and software technologies, as well as their competency in diagnosing and resolving technical problems. The exam is computer-based and can be taken at authorized testing centers located across the globe.

Key Topics Covered

The CompTIA A+ Core 1 exam is designed to cover a wide range of hardware and software topics, including:

  • Hardware technologies: An in-depth exploration of computer components, such as the motherboard, CPU, memory, and storage devices.
  • Networking: An evaluation of the candidate’s knowledge of networking concepts and protocols, such as TCP/IP, DNS, and DHCP.
  • Mobile Devices: A coverage of the basics of mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, and their operating systems.
  • Hardware and Network Troubleshooting: An assessment of the candidate’s ability to diagnose and resolve hardware and network issues.

Job Roles and Responsibilities for A+ Core 1 Certified Professionals

The CompTIA A+ Core 1 certification is aimed at IT professionals who are responsible for installing, configuring, and maintaining hardware and software technologies. Some of the key job roles and responsibilities of A+ Core 1 certified professionals include:

  • IT Support Specialist: Providing technical support to end-users and resolving hardware and software issues.
  • Field Service Technician: Installing and repairing hardware components, such as motherboards, CPUs, and memory modules.
  • Network Administrator: Configuring and maintaining network systems to ensure their smooth operation.
  • Mobile Device Technician: Repairing and maintaining mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

CompTIA A+ Core 2 Exam

Exam Content and Format

The CompTIA A+ Core 2 Exam represents the culminating step in the journey to attain A+ certification. A performance-based evaluation, it demands a high degree of proficiency from candidates, as they navigate the complexities of hardware and software technologies through multiple-choice questions and performance scenarios. Conducted entirely online, the exam format is designed to assess a candidate’s mastery of the subject matter.

Key Topics Covered

The CompTIA A+ Core 2 Exam addresses a range of key topics that are of the utmost importance for IT professionals working in the field. These topics include:

  • Security: Delving into the fundamental principles and best practices of computer security, this section covers threat management, data protection, and access control.
  • Software Troubleshooting: A candidate’s understanding of the methods and tools used to diagnose and resolve software issues is put to the test in this section.
  • Operational Procedures: This section evaluates a candidate’s familiarity with standard operating procedures and best practices in the IT industry.
  • Mobile Devices: Configuration and troubleshooting of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are the focus of this section.
  • Cloud Computing: Candidates are assessed on their understanding of cloud computing fundamentals, including deployment models, security, and management.

Job Roles and Responsibilities for A+ Core 2 Certified Professionals

The A+ Core 2 certification attests to the skills and knowledge of IT professionals in various roles and responsibilities, including:

  • IT Support Specialist: Providing technical support for hardware and software issues, troubleshooting problems, and assisting users with technology-related needs are the hallmark responsibilities of these professionals.
  • Technical Support Engineer: Technical support engineers are the go-to individuals for technical support and assistance, troubleshooting hardware and software problems, and installing and configuring hardware and software.
  • Field Service Technician: As the on-site experts, field service technicians install, maintain, and repair hardware and software systems, and perform routine maintenance and upgrades.

Network Support Specialist: Network support specialists are responsible for ensuring the reliability and performance of computer networks through maintenance and troubleshooting.

What is the Difference Between CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2?

The CompTIA A+ certification program requires the completion of two exams: Core 1 and Core 2. Although seemingly disparate, the two exams share a common foundation for eligibility and format, as well as certain similarities in their content. However, the Core 1 and Core 2 exams are not without their differences, which are significant in both their focus areas and corresponding job roles.

Eligibility Requirements and Exam Format

To be eligible for the CompTIA A+ certification, both the Core 1 and Core 2 exams must be taken and passed. The eligibility requirements are straightforward, with candidates needing to be at least 18 years of age and possess a foundational understanding of computer hardware and software technologies. The exams themselves are computer-based and consist of multiple-choice questions, timed at 90 minutes each. The questions are designed to evaluate a candidate’s technical knowledge and practical application, covering topics such as hardware and software technologies, security, cloud computing, and operational procedures.

Focus Areas and Job Roles

The Core 1 exam delves into hardware and software technologies, testing the candidate’s ability to install, configure, and maintain computer systems, as well as their knowledge of software and security concepts. This exam is suitable for IT professionals interested in technical support or helps desk roles. On the other hand, the Core 2 exam focuses on advanced topics such as network security, data protection, cloud computing, and mobile device management. This exam is ideal for IT professionals interested in security, network administration, or mobile device support roles.

In conclusion, the CompTIA A+ certification program requires the completion of both the Core 1 and Core 2 exams, each with its unique focus areas and corresponding job roles. Understanding the similarities and differences between the two exams is crucial for making an informed decision and charting a successful study strategy, regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced IT professional. The A+ certification provides the necessary knowledge and skills required to succeed in the IT industry.

Preparing for CompTIA A+ Certification

Aspiring IT professionals, looking to validate your technical abilities and gain recognition in the industry? Look no further than the CompTIA A+ certification program. Achieving this certification requires passing both the Core 1 and Core 2 exams, but the benefits are well worth the effort. 

difference between comptia a+ core 1 and core 2

Benefits of Obtaining A+ Certification

  • Industry Credibility: The CompTIA A+ certification is widely acknowledged as a hallmark of competency in the IT field. This credential showcases your knowledge and skill set, making you a standout candidate among job applicants.
  • Career Progression: The A+ certification provides an avenue for career advancement and enables you to explore new job opportunities. It also helps you stay current with emerging technologies and industry trends, keeping your skills sharp.
  • Increased Earning Power: Certified A+ professionals are in high demand and often command higher salaries than non-certified peers. This certification gives you leverage in salary negotiations and better benefits packages when seeking new employment.

Study and Preparation Strategies

  • Exam Format Familiarity: Familiarizing yourself with the exam format is key to success. Make sure to review the certification objectives and the types of questions included in the CompTIA A+ exams.
  • Study Material: A plethora of study materials are available for the A+ certification, including books, online courses, practice exams, and lab simulations. Choose the resources that suit you best and maintain a regular study schedule.
  • Hands-on Experience: Participating in hands-on labs provides practical experience and reinforces your understanding of the material. It also prepares you for the lab-based questions on the exams.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Regularly taking practice exams helps you gauge your knowledge, identify areas for improvement, build confidence, and become familiar with the exam format.

Tips for Achieving Success in CompTIA A+ Exams

  • Scheduled Study Time: Allocate dedicated study time and stick to a consistent schedule to avoid last-minute cramming and stay focused.
  • Stay Ahead of Technology: Keeping up-to-date with the latest technologies and industry trends not only helps you pass the exams but also elevates your value as an IT professional.
  • Focus on the Task at Hand: During the exam, stay alert and avoid distractions. Read each question carefully and take your time to think through the answer before responding.
  • Time Management: The CompTIA A+ exams are timed, so efficient time management is crucial. Prioritize the questions and tackle the areas where you excel first, then focus on areas where improvement is needed.

Read more >> CompTIA A+ Passing Score & The Best Study Tips

Difference Between CompTIA A+ Core 1 and Core 2 – FAQs

Is A+ Core 1 or Core 2 easier?

I’ll just say this. Since the questions in core 1 are only questions, studying for them is simpler. The questions in core 2 are trickier since they are more like problems that can be resolved in a variety of ways.

Can you take CompTIA A+ Core 2 before Core 1?

To earn the CompTIA A+ certification, you must pass both tests in the same series.

Do you take Core 1 and Core 2 at the same time?

Candidates can enroll in Core 1 and Core 2 at the same time. If they pass both exams, they can then enroll in two electives concurrently.

What is the hardest part of the A+ exam?

The A+ certification exam’s most challenging topics, in comparison to the other topics, are fundamental networking, installing, configuring, and upgrading. upgrading, setting up, and installing: This will be regarded as the most challenging subject by the majority of candidates.


Your previous experience and knowledge of a desktop computer’s workings, PC hardware, computer networks, security, numerous mobile devices, and related topics will determine how tough the CompTIA A+ will be for you. Work experience in the IT industry is not required, but it will benefit you because you will gain a better understanding of the technology.

You must pass two tests to earn this certification: Core 1 and Core 2. They cover diverse topics, with Core 1 emphasizing hardware and Core 2 emphasizing software.

You’ll have to learn about different operating systems, troubleshooting techniques, and how to put together and take apart a PC configuration. It’s helpful to have more experience with cloud computing and transferring data from an offline location to the cloud.

The A+ requires you to know a lot of technical terminology and acronyms so that you don’t get them mixed up on exam day.

That’s all about the difference between CompTIA A+ core 1 and core 2.  Reach out to our website if you’d like to learn more about the CompTIA A+ or if you’d want some assistance in preparing for the certification exam. We are excited to guide you through this certification process!