By Andrew Markel
BRAKE & FRONT END Magazine
I have been studying for the ASE exams this month. I have been reading test prep guides, books and articles to prepare. It was getting late one night and the test took on a life of its own.
Technicians A and B were really getting on my nerves. Then their buddies at the parts store down the street, Parts Specialists A and B, started discussing how to read edge codes. Machinists A and B called from the machine shop saying that they can not decide who was correct on the proper removal of gallery plugs.
As I drifted off to sleep, I wondered, “who are technicians A and B?” Are they technicians from the witness protection program? Why don’t they use their real names? I often imagine technicians A and B are an old married couple who have been married for more than 35 years, willing to argue at the drop of a hat.
Like it or not, we have all been technicians A and B. Sometimes we are wrong and sometimes we are right, but we need to learn and keep up with new technology. This is the real importance of the ASE tests.
Like many things in life, you get out what you put in. The same is true for ASE testing and certification. Many technicians can answer 70 percent of the questions right on a test without studying. But, being wrong 30 percent of the time is no way to make a living on flat rate or on a salary. Also, guessing at answers like blindly swapping parts, you may solve the problem, but a comeback is always waiting around the bend, or in five years.
If you use the study guides and other materials, it is a great chance to evaluate your skills. This is your opportunity to improve yourself and potentially make more money. While doing my own preparation, I realized I needed to work on my understanding of metering, quick take-up and proportioning valves. It prompted me to look at my own diagnostic skills and actively seek out new training sources before being confronted in real life.
There are some technicians who like to down play ASE certifications. They make the argument that anyone could pass them. Most of these people have never tried to take an ASE test. Ironically, they are the ones who could benefit the most. At their core, most of these people are terrified they will not pass the tests.
One of the important things I learned was to slow down and read the questions. After taking one of sample tests, I realized that 90 percent of my mistakes were not because of ignorance, but because I was going too fast and not properly reading the question.
Since 1973, Technicians A and B have been saying the right and wrong things on the ASE tests. They are symbols of a continual progress and learning in our industry. By being ASE certified, it shows that you are committed to the automotive repair industry, even if technician A and B get on your nerves.