How to Take and Pass the ASE
Certification Tests
Jim Halderman
Topics to be Discussed
Why take the ASE tests?
How questions are written?
Who writes the questions?
How to prepare for the tests
Tips and tricks
Why Take the ASE tests?
• Dealers- All warranty work
must be done by certified
• Independent shops -being
ASE certified is a huge plus
and can make a difference
when it comes to be hired
• Gives new technicians an
advantage over those who
do not have certification
Who writes the ASE questions?
• All are “subject matter
experts” (SMEs)
coached as to how to
write good questions.
• Questions are
submitted and
approved by the
• Checked for proper
wording and grammar.
Experienced-Based Questions
• ASE will not ask for
• Questions are vehicle
brand and neutral
• Includes questions such
as “What can cause
lower-then-normal oil
How do you take a test?
• Do you rush? (normal)
• Do you hate tests?
(normal…no one likes tests)
• Are you nervous? (again
normal reaction)
• All you want to do is go
home (right?)
How do you analyze questions?
• Do you read every
question twice?
• Do you skim read the
• Do you stop at the first
answer that sounds
• Try the next series of
Test question #1
Which is the correct answer?
A. xx
B. xxxx
C. xx
D. xx
Answer to Question #1
Often B.
• With instructor made tests, it is very common
for the longest answer to be the correct
• ASE asks the subject matter experts (SMEs) to
try to keep all answers to the same length
Test Question #2
Which is the correct answer?
2. Question……..
A. 3
B. 5
C. 8
D. 12
Answer to Question #2
• When a list of numbers is presented, it is
common practice to delete the high and low
and then guess if the correct answer is not
• This increases the chances from 25% to 50%
(doubles) your chances of getting the right
answer by guessing.
• ASE tries to avoid doing this by making the
answers random.
Test Question #3
Which is the correct answer?
3. Question……
A. xx
B. xx
C. xx
D. xx
Answer to Question #3
• If you have no idea, select “C”.
• Many instructors want to “bury” the answer
so they avoid making the correct answer the
first or second one in the list.
• In fact, studies have shown that “C” is right
about 33% of the time compared to 25% of
the time in a normal random test.
• ASE tries to avoid doing this by making the
answers random.
Nurses and Technicians
• Told that in some
testing, nurses were
given an automotive
test and technicians
were given a nursing
• In some cases, some
nurses and technicians
passed using basic test
taking skills.
The “KEY”
• The key is the correct answer
• ASE states that there is only one true correct
The “Distractors”
• The distractors are the
other answers that are
NOT correct.
• They are reasonable
and might be close to
the correct answer but
are not correct.
• ASE wants technicians
to pass
• The pass rate is “about
70%” of those who take
the test with a score of
about 65% or higher
• Distractors should be
selected by at least 10%
to be a good distractor
TECH A and B Questions
• Hard for many
• Just two true and false
• Look at each one
• Do not try to figure out
what both are saying
How to take the tests
• Read and understand
each question.
• Read each answer
• Try to eliminate the
wrong answers
Two technicians are discussing the cause of low oil
pressure. Technician A says that a worn oil pump could
be the cause. Technician B says that worn main or rod
bearings could be the cause. Which technician is
a. Technician A only
b. Technician B only
c. Both Technicians A and B
d. Neither Technician A nor B
Answer to Sample #1
• The answer is C (both technicians are correct)
• Technician A is correct because a worn oil
pump could cause low oil pressure.
• Technician B is correct because worn main or
rod bearing will cause excessive leakage and
therefore lower than normal oil pressure
All of the following components can cause excessive
play in the steering wheel except:
a. A worn U-joint between the steering gear and
the steering column shaft
b. A worn outer tie rod end
c. Loosened steering gear attachment bolts
d. Over tightened center link retaining nuts
Answer to Sample #2
• The correct answer is d.
• The question asks which answer would NOT
cause excessive play in the steering wheel.
• Answer A can cause play
• Answer B can cause play
• Answer c can cause play
The front of the vehicle dips downward in the front
during light braking. Which of the following is the most
likely cause?
a. An internally leaking master cylinder
b. A defective metering valve
c. A defective proportioning valve
d. Air in the lines
Answer to Sample #3
• The correct answer is b.
• A defective metering valve could cause the
front brakes to be applied sooner than the
rear causing the front to dip down.
• Answer a cannot cause this to occur
• Answer b cannot cause this to occur
Answer c cannot cause this to occur
If a component such as a dome light has power
(voltage) on both the power side and the ground side
of the bulb, this indicates ________.
a. A defective (open) bulb
b. A short-to-ground
c. A corroded bulb socket
d. An open ground-side circuit
Answer to Sample Question #4
• The correct answer is d.
• Voltage is available up to the point of an open.
• Answers a, b and c would not cause voltage to
be at both sides of the bulb.
• Look at the answers and
try to match up the best
one as the key.
• Look for key words such
as: always, never, could
(rather than will), such
as this could cause that
Do not relate questions
to a recent repair
• This is hard NOT to do.
• You just had a similar
situation on a white
Chevy and the problem
• Try to avoid doing
thinking about your
recent experience
Do not read anything
into the question!
• Very common for test
takers to read into the
question more than
what was included.
• “Now if this was this,
then that would
Analysis Paralysis
• You can talk yourself
into almost any answer
if you think about the
questions too long.
• Read and understand
the question.
• Pick and select your first
Never change an answer
• Unless you now realize
what the answer is or
you misread the
• Changing an answer is
likely to result in
selecting a wrong
• Best to stay with your
first choice
Watch your time
• But don’t let the time
tell you what to do.
• Plan on one minute per
• If spending a lot of
time, move on.
• The program will let you
know which ones you
• Should I guess if I don’t
know the answer?
• Yes
• Is each test the same
every time I take it?
• No
• Can I skip questions I
don’t know and come
back to answer later?
• Yes
• Get a good nights rest
• Do NOT eat a big meal
before the test.
• If possible take a nap
before the test….. being
rested and alert is very
Resources from ASE
• (Tips for taking the ASE tests)
• (Free downloadable study guides)
• FREE sample ASE test
questions WITH
answers and
• 15 for each area
• 120 total questions
Resources from Pearson
Teach an ASE prep class
• Adds interest in your
• Increase your income
• Can be for credit or
• Use this Power Point
and the Halderman
1. Tests are written by SMEs
2. Each question has only one key
3. The distractors are written to be incorrect
but plausible.
4. Take your time (one minute per question)
5. Do not “read” anything into the questions
6. Arrive rested
Good Luck
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How to Take and Pass the ASE Tests