The E3 certification, Auxiliary Power Systems Installation And Repair, deals specifically with pneumatics and hydraulics in commercial truck applications. It focuses on three areas: hydraulic systems, which accounts for 67 percent of the test; mechanical systems, 29 percent of the test, and pneumatic systems, 24 percent. The hydraulic systems portion of the test covers pumps; filtration/reservoirs (tanks); hoses, fittings and connections; control valves; actuators, and general system operation.
For technicians to prepare for the E3 certification, as with all ASE certifications, the organization provides a study guide that contains a summary description of the content covered by the test, a Task List that describes the actual work performed to properly install, diagnose, service and repair auxiliary power systems and sample test questions. This gives technicians some insight into what they might be tested on, says Molla.
He advises those preparing for a test to carefully review the Task List, looking for anything that is unclear or uncertain. "This self-evaluation can help identify those areas where a technician might want to brush up on his knowledge."
There are also aftermarket study guides available that use the ASE Task Lists as their outline and offer training materials in each specific area. "However, the best preparation for an ASE Test is still shop experience," says Molla.
In early September, ASE launched online practice tests with questions of the same content and format as those used on ASE certification examinations. The intent is to allow technicians to take practice tests to help them prepare for the regular ASE certification tests, he explains. This affords them an opportunity to improve their skills in areas of weakness prior to taking the real tests.
The practice tests are half the length of the regular ASE tests and provide useful feedback to the user in the form of a performance report and explanations for correct and incorrect answers.
At this time, practice tests are currently only available for Automobile Technician Tests A1 through A8 and Parts Specialist test P2. However, Molla says there are plans to eventually roll out practice tests for truck equipment technicians as well, along with the entire ASE Truck Series.
Written ASE certification tests are conducted twice a year, in the spring and summer, at more than 750 locations nationwide. Additionally, selected tests are offered in a computer-based testing program at more than 200 sites over a five-week period each summer and winter
The next written test for ASE E3 certification is scheduled for May 6, 11, and 13, 2010. Registration deadline is March 31. Contact ASE for details.
ACT administers ASE tests in the field. Formerly American College Testing, ACT is a non-profit corporation engaged in test development and administration and in educational and vocational research.
There is no set passing grade for any ASE certification test, Molla says. After each test administration, a pass score study workshop is held where the passing score is set based on the national test results. This generally ensures the same degree of difficulty every time a person takes an ASE test.
Should a technician not successfully complete a truck equipment ASE test, the next available opportunity to re-take the test would be about six months later at the next test administration.