Methods for passing technical exams


I’m preparing to take Comptia’s A+ certification exam, which would grant an entry-level IT certification. The exam is loaded with technical terms, most of which will be associated with numbers (speeds, versions, capacity, etc.)

Here’s an example:

SATA is a newer hard drive technology. It has the following standards:

  • SATA 1.0 has a max cable length of 1 meter, and a max transfer speed of 150 MBps.
  • SATA 2.0 has a max cable length of 1 meter, and a max transfer speed of 300 MBps.


  • USB 1.1 has a max cable length of 5m and a max transfer speed of 12 Mbps.
  • USB 3.0 has a max cable length of 3m and a max transfer speed of 5 Gbps.

Additional examples would include connector types (DVI, RCA, HD15, BNC, miniDIN, etc.), components of a laser printer, network protocols, and so on.

In short, there are a lot of acronyms and a lot of numbers!

I have tried associating each letter of the alphabet with an animal (SATA = Salamander Alligator Tiger Alligator) but it seems excessive, especially when trying to pair it with numbers. How would you try to memorize all this information?

(Silvio B.) #2

I’d try to just make one image for “SATA” since it’s something that comes up a lot. Same for USB and other common abbreviations.

SATA could be Satan
USB could be a bus
RCA could be a Racing CAr
(this is just what came to my mind, it’s best to use what you come up with if my examples seem strange to you)

Do you already have a number system? For 1-digit numbers, I’d use a number shape system (1 = candle, 2 = Swan, etc.). If you already have a PA or PAO system, the 2-digit numbers shouldn’t be a problem.

Once you have the images that represent the abbreviations and the numbers, you can just put them together in a memory palace. I’d use different small palaces for each subject.

Not sure how much of these techniques you already know. Please feel free to ask if any of my explanations aren’t clear. :slight_smile:


I’m going to try working with the acronyms that way, which should help.

I don’t have a number system, or a PA/PAO system. These three things alone should help me. Thanks, and I’ll be sure to stop in and note any successes!

(ant) #4

as the above poster said just be creative.

You only need a basic number system to memorize numbers such as this (1-1000) and honestly my system for this would just be a linear arrangement of number images 120= candle, dice, sphere for example. I know others use much more elaborate number systems but we aren’t really memorizing strings of digits here so this should suffice.

PAO system would work well for random acronyms as the above.
sata= satan, or saturn, RAM, well, that one is obvious, megabytes or gigabytes per second could be some false teeth with a clock inside of them (bites per second). use your head to differentiate mega and giga (mega= megaman holding the teeth/clock giga= giga pet or something of that sort.

Just be creative and it will make it so much easier than memorizing bland letters and numbers
DVI= diva
HD15= an HD TV with a candle and coffee pot in the screen (candle= my 1, coffee pot= my five
BNC= blue map of north carolina
miniDIN= could be a mini cooper on a dinner plate

DONT use stuff like you have in your description salamander alligator tiger alligator that is NOT easy to remember. You can put the acronym into one PAO.

good luck!