TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The Road To Certification (Part 3)

Volume Number: 24 (2008)
Issue Number: 02
Column Tag: Professional Development

The Road To Certification (Part 3)

Increase your knowledge and build credibility on the way

by Doug Hanley

Introduction

In the first two articles in this series, we looked at Apple's IT certifications. We examined reasons for and benefits of getting certified, as well as the testing experience and the changes Apple made to its IT certifications with the release of Mac OS X Leopard. Now we are going to take a parallel path and examine Apple's hardware repair certification [OR "Macintosh Technician" certification]. This certification qualifies a technician to perform warranty repairs on Apple products while working at Apple-authorized service facilities.

Apple Certified Macintosh Technician

In the past there were two distinct certifications for doing hardware repair: ACDT, Apple Certification Desktop Technician, and ACPT, Apple Certified Portable Technician. To achieve those certifications, one had to pass the Mac OS X Service and Support Exam as well the specific desktop or portable hardware exam for the certification. Passing the Mac OS X Support Essentials Exam would also qualify for the operating system portion of the certification. As of December 2007, Apple replaced the ACDT and ACPT certifications with the unified Apple Certified Macintosh Technician, ACMT Certification. The ACDT and ACPT exams are no longer available.

The ACMT certification still requires the Mac OS X Service and Support Exam but it only requires one hardware exam: the Apple Macintosh Hardware Exam. This is an expiring certification and needs to be renewed every year. One important change to note is that the Support Essentials Exam no longer fulfills the operating system requirement of the certification. These exams are available at Prometric Testing centers. As we discussed in our first article, you are required to have an Apple Tech ID before you can register for an exam. One of the key differences in the service certification is that you need to recertify every year. The recertification exams are available online.

Categories Covered in Mac OS X Service and Support Exam

While similar in scope and content to other Apple certification exams, the Mac OS X Service and Support Exam focuses more on troubleshooting Mac OS X. There are 50 questions covering eleven topics. You need to get at least 32 of the 50 questions correct to achieve a passing score of 64%.

Here is an overview of the topics covered:

1. Introduction (5 items)

Identify assistive features of Mac OS X

Identify iChat features in Mac OS X

Identify iChat requirements in Mac OS X

Identify Safari features in Mac OS X

Identify Dashboard features in Mac OS X

2. Installation (2 items)

Determine that a specific computer meets the minimum requirements to run Mac OS X v

3. Users (3 items)

Describe security issues involved with user accounts and passwords in Mac OS X

4. File Systems (3 items)

Describe search paths, hidden folders, and system-related folders

Format a hard drive on Mac OS X

Manage the Mac OS X file system

5. Permissions (4 items)

Describe the behavior of the different permission settings on files and folders

Troubleshoot permissions issues

6. Application Environments (5 items)

Use Activity Monitor to monitor applications' use of memory and processor

Describe accessibility features in Mac OS X

Install, run, and troubleshoot native Mac OS X applications

7. Network Configuration & Troubleshooting (3 items)

Describe basic networking concepts and terms

Use Network Diagnostics, Network Utility, and Network Preferences to troubleshoot networking issues

Use network preferences to determine the state of a network interface.

8. Peripherals (3 items)

Identify what devices are connected to a Macintosh computer

List the types of drivers used in Mac OS X to communicate with peripherals

Perform basic troubleshooting of peripheral issues

9. Printing (2 items)

Use Printer Setup Utility to troubleshoot printing issues, including printer sharing

Describe the print process in Mac OS X

10. Startup Sequence (7 items)

Troubleshoot startup issues, including startup items and login items

Identify the different stages of the startup sequence and their corresponding visual or auditory cues

11. Troubleshooting (13 items)

Resolve a Kernel Panic in Mac OS X

Use tools included with Mac OS X to resolve customer issues more efficiently

Use Network Diagnostics to troubleshoot a networking issue

Determine if a task is possible in Safe Mode

Recognize what action a Safe Relaunch performs in Mac OS X

Resolve an application/framework version mismatch issue in Mac OS X

Use Disk Utility to verify the directory of a volume in Mac OS X

Reset a user password in Mac OS X

State what starting up in Safe Mode does in Mac OS X

Categories Covered In The Apple Macintosh Hardware Exam

questions in 23 sections. You need to answer 65 questions correctly out of the 90 for a 72% passing grade. In addition, there are two sections that you must pass with a specific percentage. For the ESD, Electro Static Discharge, you must pass at 80%, or 4 out of 5 items. The Technician Safety section requirement is 8 out of 11, or 73% percent correct.

Here is an overview of the topics covered in this exam:

1. Basic Computer Theory and Terms - 2 items

Identify normal and abnormal computer operation to include:

Startup, Sleep, Shut Down and Kernel Panic

2. Underlying Technologies - 3 items

Describe the function of the following technologies:

ALS (Ambient Light Sensor), ATA/SATA, Bluetooth, ColorSync, Compression, CUPSD VIEFI Ethernet, ExpressCard/34, FireWire, Infrared, MIDI, Modem, Optical Audio, Optical drives, PMU, QuickTime, Rosetta, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), SMC, SMU, Sound in/out (analog, digital, optical), Sudden Motion Sensor, USB/USB 2.0, Video in/out, and Universal Binaries

Identify common ports found on Apple computers given pictures and/or logos.

3. References - 6 items

Using the Apple Support site, locate the following resources for a specified Apple product: Troubleshooting Information Configuration (based on serial number) Warranty Status of a product User Manual Product specifications

Using Service Source, Knowledge Base, and GSX (if available), locate the following information for a specified Apple product: Service News (if available) Service Manuals Compatibility information Take-apart procedures Symptom Charts Screw Matrices Parts and configurations (If GSX is available) Service part numbers (If GSX is available) Disc images/diagnostic software (if available)

Given a specific service issue, identify which Apple reference will produce the most informative results.

4. Diagnostics - 3 items

Interpret reports from Apple Hardware Test.

Describe when to use AHT.

Identify when Apple Service Diagnostic (ASD) is used.

5. Hardware Tools - 5 items

Identify the correct hardware tools to service different Apple products.

Identify specialized tools available from Apple.

Given a specific Apple product, identify all hardware tools needed to perform a particular module replacement.

6. Troubleshooting Theory - 22 items

State the primary goals of troubleshooting.

State the general steps of the Apple-recommended troubleshooting process.

From a problem description, identify the most appropriate questions to ask a customer to help identify the cause of a problem.

State three qualities that make a repair action a quick fix.

From a problem description, identify the most appropriate quick fix(es) to use.

From a problem description, find the probable cause by applying knowledge of hardware components and functions of Apple products.

Describe the component isolation troubleshooting method.

Describe what components are necessary for a minimum system.

Given a troubleshooting scenario, determine whether a problem is hardware or software related by using recommended Apple tools and strategies.

State three reasons why you should test a full range of functionality when verifying a repair.

From a description of a repair, identify the Apple recommended diagnostic to verify the repair.

Identify common symptoms that would be considered a "no power" condition.

Identify symptoms that would be considered a "No Video" condition.

7. ESD Precautions - 5 items (MUST PASS 4 OUT OF 5 OR 80%)

Explain how electrostatic discharge (ESD) causes damage.

List seven guidelines used to reduce the risk of ESD damage.

Describe several common myths about ESD and why they are not true.

Describe the importance of each of the four essentials components of an ESD prevention compliant workspace.

Explain ESD preventive steps to be taken when working on-site.

8. Technician Safety - 11 items (MUST PASS 8 OUT OF 11 OR 73%)

State the risks of servicing CRTs.

List the eight CRT safety rules.

Describe the CRT discharge procedure.

Describe the CRT disposal procedure.

Describe precautions for avoiding shock hazards on iMac systems.

Describe precautions for working with Krytox thermal grease.

Identify potentially hazardous materials used in Macintosh systems.

9. Power Management - 5 items

Explain the different power and operating modes in Apple systems.

Describe five power saving techniques for Apple systems.

Describe how to calibrate a portable system's main battery to ensure optimal battery performance.

State which AC power adapter works with a specified Apple portable model.

10. Liquid Crystal Displays - 3 items

Describe causes of pixel anomalies.

Diagnose five common pixel defects.

Describe similarities and differences between CCFL and LED LCDs.

11. Hardware Service Issues - 5 items

Describe how to locate the AppleCare name for a Mac.

Identify the locations, physical or otherwise, of a Mac's serial number.

Identify any hardware or software requirements to use or upgrade a Mac, using the Apple Support site.

Identify special precautions when working inside an Apple portable computer.

12. Wireless Networking Part 1 - 1 item

Identify features on the front and rear of the AirPort Extreme (802.11n).

13. Wireless Networking Part 2 - 6 items

Describe basic security features of wireless networking.

Discuss appropriate probing questions when troubleshooting AirPort issues.

Determine whether to perform a Forced Reload (hard reset to factory default settings) or a Soft Reset on all models of AirPort Base Station.

Describe basic Bluetooth troubleshooting issues.

14. Mac mini - 2 items

Identify any hardware or software requirements to use or upgrade a Mac mini.

15. iMac - 1 item

Describe the use of diagnostic LEDs in iMac G5 and Intel-based iMac systems.

16. Mac Pro - 2 items

Describe how to correctly install RAM in a Mac Pro.

Explain the function of the diagnostic LEDs on a Mac Pro.

17. Xserve - 2 items

Describe equipment and precautions for Xserve hardware service.

Describe feature and functions of Server Monitor.

18. MacBook - 1 item

Describe known issues for the MacBook's MagSafe connector.

19. MacBook Pro - 1 item

Identify troubleshooting issues for MacBook Pro systems.

20. Power Mac G5 - 1 item

Troubleshoot the Power Mac G5 thermal control system.

21. eMac - 1 item

Describe the purpose of the VGA output port and its use in troubleshooting an eMac system.

22. iBook G4 - 1 item

List the symptoms and solutions for the common portable computer issues using Apple's online resources (GSX, AppleCare Service Source).

23. PowerBook G4 - 1 item

Identify which PowerBook G4 computers support hot-swapping of the battery.

Preparing for the ACMT Exams

There are a number of ways to prepare for these exams. One is to simply review the Peachpit Book, Apple Training Series: Desktop and Portable Systems, 3rd Edition (ISBN: 0321455010). The second is to purchase the self-paced AppleCare Technician Training from Apple at:

http://www.apple.com/support/products/techtrain.html

It includes one year of access to Service Source and online courses that you can go through to prepare for the exams.

A third way to prepare is through your employer, if they have access to Global Service Exchange (GSX). Via GSX, you have access to Service Source and those online courses.

Finally, the best way to prepare for the exams is to take the hands-on courses offered at Service Training and Testing Centers - Apple Authorized Training Centers that offer Service Training. A comprehensive five-day course, with hands-on experience taking apart desktop and laptop computers, is offered at several locations across the U.S. - you can find their contact information at:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.htmlartnum=305055

These classes give you the practical experience and the ability to interface with a professional instructor who has years of bench experience.

In the next and fourth article of this series, we will examine the Pro Application Certifications that Apple offers. And in the fifth article, we will provide detailed information about the requirements for the Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) 10.5 certification. We will discuss the topics covered on each of the exams required for ACSA certification, and what resources are available to help you prepare. Those resources of course will include Apple Authorized Training Center classes and books.


Doug Hanley owns MacTEK Consulting & Training, an Apple Authorized Training Center in Las Vegas, NV. His time is divided between teaching classes and wrangling servers. He has been providing support on the Mac since the early 90's. To track him down, go to http://www.mactektraining.com or email doug@mac-tek.com

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Audio Hijack 3.2.0 - Record and enhance...
Audio Hijack (was Audio Hijack Pro) drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 5.0.1 - Font manageme...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more
Calcbot 1.0.2 - Intelligent calculator a...
Calcbot is an intelligent calculator and unit converter for the rest of us. Featuring an easy-to-read history tape, expression view, intuitive conversion, and much more! Features History Tape -... Read more
MTR 5.0.0.1 - The Mac's oldest and...
MTR (was MacTheRipper)--the Mac's oldest and smartest DVD-backup app--is now updated to version 5.001 MTR -- the complete toolbox, not a one-trick, point-and-click extractor. MTR is intended for... Read more
LibreOffice 4.4.5.2 - Free, open-source...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
Adobe Lightroom 6.1.1 - Import, develop,...
Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99/month bundled with Photoshop CC as part of the photography package. Lightroom 6 is also available for purchase as a... Read more
File Juicer 4.41 - Extract images, video...
File Juicer is a drag-and-drop can opener and data archaeologist. Its specialty is to find and extract images, video, audio, or text from files which are hard to open in other ways. It finds and... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.52 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
OmniFocus 2.2.3 - GTD task manager with...
OmniFocus helps you manage your tasks the way that you want, freeing you to focus your attention on the things that matter to you most. Capturing tasks and ideas is always a keyboard shortcut away in... Read more
TinkerTool 5.4 - Expanded preference set...
TinkerTool is an application that gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into Mac OS X. This allows to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the... Read more

Rescue humanity from a Demon horde in An...
Angel Stone is Fincon's follow up to the massively successful Hello Hero and is out now on iOS and Android. You play as a member of The Resistance, a group of mighty human warriors who have risen up in defiance of the Demon horde threatening to... | Read more »
Gallery Doctor (Photography)
Gallery Doctor 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Free up valuable iCloud and iPhone storage with Gallery Doctor, the only iPhone cleaner that automatically identifies the... | Read more »
You Against Me (Games)
You Against Me 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A simple game… You. Me. Claim, steal, lock, score, win! | Read more »
Yep, it's True - Angry Birds 2 is O...
The not exactly rumors were true and the birds are back. Angry Birds 2 has come to the App Store and the world will... well I suppose it'll still be the same, but now we have more bird-flinging options! [Read more] | Read more »
You Could Design Your Own Card for Chain...
If you've ever wanted to create your own item, weapon, trap, or even monster for Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night, this is your chance. Auroch Digital is currently holding a contest so that fans can fight to the death (not really) to see which... | Read more »
Bitcoin Billionaire is Going Back in Tim...
If you thought you managed to buy everything there is to buy in Bitcoin Billionaire and make all the money, well you though wrong. Those of you who made it far enough might remember investing in time travel - and it looks like that investment is... | Read more »
Domino Drop (Games)
Domino Drop 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Domino Drop is a delightful new puzzle game with dominos and gravity!Learn how to play it in a minute, master it day by day.Your... | Read more »
OPERATION DRACULA (Games)
OPERATION DRACULA 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: 25% off launch sale!!! 'Could prove to be one of the most accurate representations of the Japanese bullet hell shmup... | Read more »
Race The Sun (Games)
Race The Sun 1.01 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.01 (iTunes) Description: You are a solar craft. The sun is your death timer. Hurtle towards the sunset at breakneck speed in a futile race against time.... | Read more »
Tap Delay (Music)
Tap Delay 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Back in the “old days”, producers and engineers created delay and echo effects using tape machines. Tap Delay combines the warm... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Worldwide Tablet Market Decline Continues, Ap...
The worldwide tablet market declined -7.0% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15) with shipments totaling 44.7 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data... Read more
TP-LINK TL-PA8030P KIT Powerline Featuring Ho...
Consumer and business networking products provider TP-LINK is now shipping its TL-PA8030P KIT AV1200 3-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit that expands your home’s network over its... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Air 2s available for u...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iPad Air 2s available for up to $140 off the price of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 128GB... Read more
Updated Apple iPad Price Trackers
We’ve updated our iPad Air Price Tracker and our iPad mini Price Tracker with the latest information on prices and availability from Apple and other resellers. Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch 128GB MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $759. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more
12-inch MacBooks in stock for $20 off, save o...
Adorama has 12″ Retina MacBooks in stock for $20 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. For a limited time, Adorama will include a free Apple USB-C to USB Adapter, free 4-... Read more
College Student Deals: Additional $100 off Ma...
Take an additional $100 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through August 8, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take... Read more
2015 13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sal...
B&H Photo has the new 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale today for $1199 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales. Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales. Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Engineering Manager, Search Relevance, *Appl...
**Job Summary** Apple 's new Spotlight Suggestions service provides fast, relevant search results from the Inte et in Spotlight and Safari on iOS and OS X. We are looking Read more
Lead Infrastructure Engineer - *Apple* /Mac P...
…of a team * Requires proven problem solving skills Preferred Additional: * Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) * Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC) Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales. Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales. Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.