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Self-Study Examined:

Self-Study is defined as reading a CompTIA RFID+ Quality Seal Approved Manual, in conjunction with utilizing the 175 Question Quiz CD, and listening to the RFID Vocabulary Terms.

If you never attend an RFID class, never see tags & readers in action, never meet anyone in the RFID industry, can you still pass the CompTIA RFID+ exam?

Yes!  No!  Probably!  I have no idea!  The truth is, it all depends on what type of student you are.  Can you learn difficult concepts out of a book?  Do you already have a complimentary background that lends itself to understanding RFID?  Do you have the necessary discipline to do it all on your own?  

If I were pressed, I would say yes, you could definitely pass the exam without ever stepping into a classroom.   Is it the best choice?  Probably not, but lets assume its the path you would like to take, and lets figure out how to get you there.

Step 1: You need to expose yourself to RFID to gain a high level understanding of how the technology works.  The easiest way is to go to a site like YouTube and search on "RFID".  YouTube (and others) have many videos that demonstrate how the technology works, how it is currently being applied, and the future impact and applications related to RFID.  I would suggest you kick back, and watch as many videos as are available.  It's easy learning and will help with other things that will make a lot more sense down the road.

Step 2:  Search the web!  New companies, and the old established companies are forming new RFID operations everyday.  Do a search on "RFID", and visit some of these websites.  Some of the information and applications won't make any sense to you at this time, but that's ok.  Down the road when you've been studying for a while, it will come back to you, and you'll have an epiphany like "Oh I get it now", and it will serve as a great confidence builder on how your knowledge has expanded.  Visit sites like RFIDJournal.com, which explores the market and future of RFID.  Read the definition of RFID on Wikipedia.com, look around...don't be bashful!

Step 3: Time to start reading a book!  My introduction to RFID was through RFID For Dummies.  For me, it was a great book because it was well written, assumed very little requisite knowledge, and used easy to understand terms.  However, it is not necessary for strictly passing the CompTIA RFID+ exam, and can be skipped should you choose to do so.  You will need to purchase at least one CompTIA Quality Seal Approved RFID+ Manual.  In theory, everything you need to pass the test should be contained in this book.  For the most part, that's true.  However, you may determine that reading a second CompTIA Quality Seal Approved RFID+ Manual by a different author provides a greater explanation or an easier explanation.  If you are confused by your first manual, or feel you need more information, don't be afraid to purchase a second manual.

You can see my review of the two CompTIA Quality Seal Approved RFID+ Manuals I read here, or you can see our listing of all CompTIA Quality Seal Approved RFID+ Manuals here, or visit the RFIDStudent Book Store here, (through Amazon).  You will need to purchase at least one approved manual.  In addition, your manual MUST include the 175 Question Quiz CD, or you MUST arrange an alternate means for access to these or very similar questions.  

Step 4:  Study!  Study!  Study!  If you learn difficult concepts quickly, kudos to you, and you may not need the redundancy I outline here.  However, this is the approach I took, and I felt it was very beneficial. 

Read the detailed domain requirements for the CompTIA RFID+ exam, available here.  They will probably not all make sense to you at this time but that's ok, when you come across them later in your manual, they will jump out at you.

Read your entire CompTIA RFID+ manual cover to cover, including the vocabulary section.  Take the sample tests at the conclusion of chapters (if they are available) as you move along.   Re-read the entire manual cover to cover, this time highlighting the areas that are difficult, seem important, and are specifically listed in the domain requirements.  Begin taking the CD quizzes, non-timed, with about 50 questions on each test.  Take 2 or 3 quizzes, and slowly review all of your answers, whether correct or not.  

Go back and read the vocabulary section in your manual.  One really big advantage I found in learning vocabulary was to digitally record the vocabulary terms and play it back later.  It was almost like a freebie, where I could lounge around and still learn.  You can record the vocabulary in your own voice, or you can download a copy (in my voice) here.  

Take a break!  Give yourself a day off, a weekend off, without panicking that you will forget everything.   You've earned it, and you WILL NOT forget everything!  

All right slacker...get back to work!  Do 2 or 3 of the CD quizzes.  Slowly review ALL of your answers.  Sit down, lay down, whatever, and listen to all of the vocabulary terms.  Listen to them again!  Now crack open the manual, and quickly flip to only the sections that have posed difficulty for you.  Maybe its the different types of antennas, maybe its the rules and regulations, whatever, just concentrate on your difficult concepts.  Do a few more CD quizzes, re-read the detailed domain requirements, and listen to the vocabulary another time.

Step 5:  While the videos, book(s), and CD have given you great exposure to understanding the mechanics behind RFID, nothing can surpass "hands on" knowledge.  If possible, visit an RFID lab at a college or visit an organization currently utilizing RFID.  If you can find a lab, it will most likely be filled with college students, who are more then willing to spend a few minutes with you.  Look, listen and try!  Waive a tag in front of a reader.  Encode a tag if you can.  Ask a lot of questions!  Build relationships, and be grateful.

Step 6:  Field trips over...time to get back to work...exams coming up!  Get back to those CD quizzes.  Do a lot of them!  Over and over and over!  Take them timed and un-timed!  Slowly read the answers you are still missing.  Crack open your book and figure out why!  You need to score 100% on the CD quizzes at least twice before even considering taking the CompTIA RFID+ exam.  Listen to the vocabulary, over and over and over.  Read the vocabulary over and over and over.  Read the highlighted sections of your manual, start committing things to memory.  Test yourself!  Put the book down, close your eyes and start reciting the rules and regulations, the different types of antennas, testing procedures, the different types of tags, installation procedures, etc.  Re-read the detailed domain requirements.  Determine where you are weak, where you are strong.  More CD quizzes, more vocabulary.  Take a break!  

Step 7: Repeat step 6.

Step 8: Pick a date to take your test.  Find a provider in you area, search here.

Step 9: Repeat step 7 (no break).

Step 10: Take and Pass the test!  

Bonus: In addition to the above studying and attending 2-Day - Training, I also read two CompTIA Quality Seal Approved RFID+ Manuals, and utilized two software CD's.  If you are not getting what you need from your current manual, consider purchasing another one. 


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