Taking an ASE Test is easy. Passing one, not so much. So, how do you maximize your chances for success? It’s all in the preparation.
What began over three decades ago as a modest attempt to offer four automobile certification exams on a pilot basis has grown in an industry-recognized program embraced by technicians, manufacturers, the aftermarket, and employers alike. Today the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers more than 50 certification tests in a dozen specialized areas, and nearly 400,000 automotive professionals proudly hold ASE credentials. Offered in the U.S. and Canada, and to our armed forces at military bases around the globe, ASE certification is internationally recognized as one of the best professional credentials in the automotive industry.
Research shows that ASE Certification is not only good for the individual—it’s good for the businesses that employ them. In fact, many shop owners recognize the value ASE provides and offer incentives like salary increases, bonuses and they often cover the cost of testing, provided you pass the test. For many, that’s the catch, but it’s not that difficult of a bar to reach if you know what to do.
One of the biggest challenges to overcome when taking an ASE Tests is fear. Most individuals are naturally nervous when taking any test, but many automotive professionals who are perfectly capable of doing well on any ASE test they take won’t even try because they’re afraid of failing. That’s unfortunate, because achieving ASE Certification can be one of the most important things you can do to advance in your chosen career. So how do you meet this challenge? The answer is in how well you prepare.
There are a number of different study materials produced by training organizations, trade publishers and other sources that are specifically designed to address the Content Areas and Task Lists used in the various ASE Certification areas. These materials are available in printed and electronic formats and provide expanded technical information covering the knowledge necessary to successfully pass an ASE certification test.
Preparation improves performance no matter what challenge you’re facing. It’s just common sense and in the case of ASE testing, there are several things you can do to make sure you’re ready. To help, ASE provides several preparation aids. We offer free Study Guides at www.ase.com which contain the task lists and content areas explaining what areas of knowledge are measured on each test. Test candidates can also view tutorials explaining how the ASE tests work and get valuable tips on how to take the test. In addition, ASE has launched a series of practice exams for ASE’s most popular tests to give you a chance to try out ASE-style tests before taking the certification exams, which are also available on the website.
It’s in this same spirit of responding to industry needs that ASE has also launched a quiz for service personnel who are working in the growing maintenance and inspection field, but aren’t quite ready to take an ASE test. It’s called the Maintenance and Inspection Program. Let’s take a look at both programs.
The Official ASE Practice Tests
The Official ASE Practice Tests are computer-based and mimic the actual ASE CBT certification tests as closely as possible. Once completed, the candidate submits the test for scoring and will then see a page with a printable performance report. The report shows the question numbers organized by content areas, with a brief description of the question, and indicates if the question was answered correctly or not. The report does not indicate pass or fail. The candidate has the ability to navigate back to any of the questions from this page and see the entire question plus the answer explanation of why one particular choice is correct and why the other choices are incorrect.
This new product provides an opportunity to take no-stakes online practice tests, with questions of similar difficulty and format to those used on the ASE certification exams. The practice tests are half the length of the regular ASE tests, and help prepare candidates for the test through an independent, precertification assessment of their competency, giving them an opportunity to improve their skills in areas of weakness prior to taking the ASE certification test.
A secondary goal of the Official ASE Practice Tests is to ease candidate anxiety for those with a fear of failing the ASE certification tests, and to establish a comfort level with an electronic format similar to our Computer Based Testing (CBT). The initial practice tests offered are automobile exams A1 through A8, and auto parts P2. Plans are in the works for practice tests across collision, truck and the Advanced Engine Performance (L1) areas.
The Practice Tests have been developed with subject matter experts using standard ASE practices to achieve diversity in work experiences, geographics, ethnicities, and genders. The subject matter experts are experienced ASE workshop participants with proven question writing and review skills. All are working technicians from dealerships and the aftermarket. All practice tests are assembled using the current ASE recertification test specifications and test assembly format, with ongoing question maintenance in order to keep the test relevant and aligned with current specifications.
ASE Maintenance and Inspection Program
ASE’s other new program is its Maintenance and Inspection Qualification Program. The M&I program consists of four eLearning training modules accompanied by an online quiz and is designed for prospective and entry-level maintenance personnel, as well as any service professional interested in this specialty area. The training modules in the program cover four main content areas:
1) Service Procedures,
2) Fluids, Filters, Belts and Hoses Inspection and Service,
3) Suspension, Tire and Brake Inspection and Service, and
4) Body, Battery, Charging and Electrical Systems Inspection and Service.
The new program features an active design, engaging users in the training to improve retention of all material. For additional reinforcement, “Knowledge Checks” follow the training covered in each section. Entirely self-paced, the program also includes tracking and progress features so users can review the material at their own speed and when time permits. Users can even log in and out of the program without losing their place.
The online quiz features traditional multiple-choice questions as well as others types specifically designed for computer delivery. Upon achieving a passing score on the quiz, users will receive a customized certificate of recognition, available exclusively online. (The credential from this program is not an ASE certification.) This new program has been requested by employers seeking a tool to help judge the qualification of entry-level personnel working in the growing maintenance and inspection field.
Complete information about both programs, including FAQs, Fact Sheets, and more can be found on the ASE website – www.ase.com.
Although the best preparation for taking an ASE test is still on-the-job experience, taking advantage of the wide variety of study materials from the aftermarket publishers, training organization and ASE itself is an important step, particularly if this is your first time. It’s also helpful to talk with those automotive professionals who have already achieved ASE Certification. Their experience can offer valuable insight and increase your chances of success. Remember: Preparation Improves Performance!