Prepare to take the ASE certification tests

May 28, 2021
Take time to study, and study in a manner that works best for you.

The first step in taking ASE certification tests is deciding which tests you wish to start with. Additionally, you want to decide how many tests you can handle at one sitting. But be aware that the amount of time (testsavailable may be limited by the testing center. So even if you wish to do all the tests at once, the testing center may not have the time or seats to allow you to do that. If you are working with a deadline, I highly recommend that you start looking for a test center as soon as possible so that you have better chance of choosing how many tests you can take at once.  

Even though I always felt that I had a good handle on the information that I would be tested on when taking an ASE test, I knew that it was in the best interest for me to study for them. Another reason to study for the ASE tests was due to the fact that my employer would pay for my tests, but only if I passed them. If I failed the tests, the cost was on me. 

I advise that you start studying for the ASE tests early on. My experience has been that waiting to the last minute never really works out well. Also, starting early allows you to spread the studying out overtimenoticed that doing a little bit of study each time was more productive than trying to do marathon study sessions. 

My first step in starting to study is to scour the internet for “free ASE practice test” sites. I do this because “if it is free, it’s for me!” You will see many results pop up including the ASE Study Guides on the actual ASE website that you can download. It is not only the cost factor that makes me do this, but also the fact that I can access these guides and study anywhere. Even when having a few minutes to pass like waiting in line for lunch or something important like that. 

Be aware that with many of these practice test sites, you get what you pay for. You will find that the guides and questions might be outdated based on technology that has long since gone the way of the horse and carriage. But even with this, I still see merit in using these sites for practice in refamiliarizing myself with the different types of question formats that are used on the tests. 

Even with the great amount of available study information on the internet, I still opt to buy the study guides on each of the different categories I am taking tests on. Again, trying to save a buck, I look to buying used study guides. But buyer beware — be sure that you get the most recent editions of the books, not older versions 

Of late, I have just gone and purchased the newest versions of the study guides online. The extra expense othe purchase is offset by the reduced hassle of making sure that I am getting good books — not to mention getting books that are not marked up from others studying. Also note that some of the companies selling the books also offer online resources to use for study, too! When I have passed the tests, I will put the books up for sale for someone else to use them and recoup some of my investment. 

I sit down with the books, and right up front I take the practice tests without any studying. I do this because I want to gauge where I stand with the knowledge in my head. Additionally, I make myself aware of the clock, watching how long it takes for me to get through each test. This helps me to assess how well I am doing time-wise since the tests have time limits. 

Once completed, I go back and score how well (or not so well) I did with the test that I just took. This helps give me an idea of what subject matter I need to focus onstudy and practice. 

A couple of ASE re-certifications ago, I used this same method of study. I went through and took the study guide test for each ASE test. Going back and just grading them, I was mortified at how poorly I had done. I mean, I was really surprised at how low my scores were. At this point I went back to the books and looked at each question, noting the ones I had gotten wrong. I then looked up the correct answer and description of why I got them wrong. 

Seeing the answers to the questions I selected compared to the correct answers, I realized I knew most all the information I was questioned on when taking the test. I was confused as to why I did so badlyThen it dawned on me. I was not taking my time to read the questions and/or the answers correctlyI was more or less skimming across them, missing important hints and information that the questions and answers could give me. 

With this realization, I went and did another practice test. This time focusing on reading the questions and all the answers carefully. Even with this approach in mind, I had to stop myself a few times when I noticed that I was going through the test too fast again. 

When I went back and checked my answers this time, I did quite a bit better when I compared my answers to those in the book. I repeated the first test a few days later with the same approach and also came through with a much more decent score this time. 

The lesson learned here also brings another reason as to why you should use all the study sources you can to practice. You need to get used to the different types of questions that ASE uses on these test. As I have demonstrated above, not being careful on reading both the questions and answers can have a significantly negative effect on your score — even if you know the material! 

While we are at it, here are a couple of hints on how to approach the question types for your maximum score. On multiple-choice questions, look over the given answers. If you can eliminate one of the answers right awayeven with three left to choose from, you have a better chance of getting the question right even if you guess. Eliminating two out of four answers gives you even better odds at guessing the correct answer. 

Yes, I said, guess the answer. You never want to leave any question unanswered because it will be marked as incorrect. If you can eliminate two out of four answers, you have a 50/50 chance of guessing the right answer. I like those odds and will take them over a 0 percent chance of being right. 

Tech A-B questions can be confusing, too. (Who the heck are these guys?) My suggestion to help you overcome the question itself is to break it down. Look at the statement about what these guys are talking about. Then look at each tech’s answer individually and determine if they are correct or not. Then choose the proper answer. Breaking these questions down into little parts will help you to get the right answer and lessen making a mistake based on the question structure. 

The bottom line: Take time to study and study in a manner that works best for you. Practice taking sample tests just to get the actual testing process out of the way of getting the correct answers. The more times you do the practice tests, the more you will be able to relax when taking the real test. You will be used to taking 40, 50, or more question tests and watching the clock without panicking. You will be able to focus on the material and not the test procedure, hopefully resulting in getting the certification you want. 

About the Author

John Burkhauser

John (JB) Burkhauser has 40-plus years of automotive experience to share. He attended tech school, grew up in dealerships, worked with independent shops, taught 10 years of post-secondary automotive, and trained shops on how to eliminate daily roadblocks to their service process. In his goal to help shops become more successful, he is published in numerous publications such as this one and gives regular webinars sharing what he knows works. Email him with any questions or comments.

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