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How Best to Prepare for the CompTIA RFID+ Exam

Training comes in many flavors, from semester-long courses to self-study books and boot camps. Get ready for the test by first reviewing all of the available programs.
By Marc Cantor
While the pace of this training is greatly accelerated, boot camps often cover the same information (nine exam domains) as those offered in four-day training. The advantages to this type of instruction are convenience, time and cost. If you happen to be attending a trade show and can also take part in a boot camp, you will obviously save time, but you may also enjoy a training discount, by coupling it with other events at the show. The disadvantages are that the speed of the material may be too quick for many individuals to effectively learn, and there may not be sufficient time or resources for a hands-on exploration of tags, interrogators, antennas and middleware. Furthermore, if your training is too vendor-specific, the proprietary knowledge you would acquire may not be beneficial to your exam preparation.

Self-study assumes you would not attend any RFID+ certified courses, and that you would prepare yourself for the examination utilizing a CompTIA "Quality Seal Approved" (QSA) training manual. Manuals with a QSA rating have been reviewed by CompTIA, and are generally thought to provide the tools necessary to learn the exam's nine domain objectives. In addition to learning about RFID through your training manual, you would test your knowledge utilizing CD-based practice exams (sometimes included with your manual) or by accessing online tests through such groups as MeasureUp.

You can also utilize Web-based training by purchasing different modules covering various areas of the examination. The single greatest advantage to self-study is cost. For less then $500, including the price of the exam ($258), but not including the expense of Web-based training (which varies), you can prepare for the RFID+ exam at your own pace, which offers a great advantage to those with time constraints.

The disadvantage is, in effect, all of the missed benefits afforded by the other programs. By preparing yourself, you lose out on all of the potential industry contacts, as well as on the in-depth understanding traditionally afforded through quality question-and-answer sessions. Most importantly, you miss out on the hands-on experience created by testing tags, antennas and readers in an RFID lab. Although you can visit YouTube and other sites to see tags in action, nothing can surpass an actual hands-on experience in developing an understanding of the physics behind RFID technology.

So which program is best for you, and which should you choose? One way to help answer this question is to honestly consider whether you are a tech person by choice, or by nature. People who are "tech by nature" tend to have "math brains" and learn difficult concepts more quickly. People who are "tech by choice," on the other hand, tend to require a greater amount of instruction and a tactile (hands-on) example. The time requirements and costs involved in CompTIA RFID+ preparation cannot be ignored; their differences are too varied, and their impact on your life and wallet are too great.

Prepare yourself first by reviewing all of the different programs available to you. Find out which colleges offer programs in your particular area, and determine the experience of companies that provide commercial training programs. Compare, prepare and pass the exam!

Marc Cantor is the founder of RFIDStudent.com, a vendor-neutral resource devoted to helping individuals to become CompTIA RFID+ certified.

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