Testing is a Tool

Testing is a Tool

Testing sure has become a lot easier with time.

Courtesy of TechShop by Eric Garbe

I‘m not going to tell you when I took my first ASE test…I date myself enough as it is. But, I will tell you that for a long time, you could only take them quarterly, and you had to register way in advance.

In my area, the tests were usually held at a local college or career center, and it was a different undertaking than today. There weren’t too many different locations, so you sometimes had a 30- or 40-minute drive, and you didn’t want to forget your #2 pencils.

All I can say is it sure is a lot easier now, and last year the release of the new ASE renewal app seemed like it would be the icing on the cake. Since my certifications were expiring mid-2023, I decided to try it out. One of the advertising points of the new app was that you could learn and stay current with new technology while earning an extension of your certification.

I wasn’t sure how it would all come together, but once I purchased the app and got going on the tests, I realized the value in it. My first impression was that the questions were harder. Technology has been changing fast, evidently faster than I’ve been able to keep up with. Talking about it is one thing. Knowing it on a diagnostic level is another. So, as you can imagine, I’ve gotten some answers wrong.

A frustration I’ve had in the past is knowing my score, but not knowing which specific questions I got wrong, so I wasn’t able to “learn” from my mistakes. Compared to the traditional ASE test, what differs drastically with the renewal app is when you get a question wrong, you see why right away, and you get an explanation of both the right and wrong answers. You can also comment on the questions and see what other technicians have said.

So, when I miss a question on the app, I have one of two reactions. I’m either mad at myself because I realize I made a stupid mistake by not reading the question carefully enough, or I admit I just didn’t know enough about the subject matter.

Not only does having the explanation of answers help you understand an incorrect one, but to promote additional learning, you receive a second-chance question related to the same subject matter. This gives you time to research and study. For me, it’s been everything they promised, and it’s been one of the most useful tools I’ve used lately. You can’t learn until you discover what you don’t know.

Every technician who has taken ASE tests knows there’s always discrepancy over some of the questions. You may not always agree with how they are worded, and that’s still the case with the app. But, I must point out that when I really concentrate on the explanations over the ones I’ve missed, I honestly feel that the correct answer according to ASE, was indeed the best answer. And, that’s what they always say, Choose the “best” answer. Are some of them tricky and elusive? Maybe. But, so are cars and so can be the diagnosis of any problem. I’d rather get practice of a diagnostic mindset on one of these tests, than getting burned on a job! TS

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