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The ASE Tests Have Changed

ASE Testing Format Changes

ASE 25 Year Medal
ASE 25 Year Medal

I updated the study guides section below as they have finally started catching up to the questions on the tests. Always check the publish date of the your study guide as they age quickly.

Let me tell you about how the ASE tests have changed. In November I took another round of ASE re-certification tests. After taking these exams for the last 30 years, for the first time I can truly say that not only has the format changed, but also the testing experience.

When I first started taking these exams in the mid-1980s almost every question was in the format of technician A, or technician B, both mechanics are correct or neither technician is correct.

On the exams I took just a few days ago there were only a couple of questions in this format. Also each test had 30 questions and if I remember correctly the recertification exams use to have 25.  Many of the questions had pictures associated with them.

The question would describe a customer complaint and the picture would sometimes provide readings, measurements or statistics. With those two pieces of information you are provided with four answers and you then have to pick the best one.

For me and for most mechanics we resist change (it’s just human nature). Add to that, the fact my older ASE study guides where geared to the old format and I felt somewhat unprepared for this round of exams. So the ASE tests have changed, but it does not appear that the study guides have followed close enough behind. I would expect to see updated study guides before the next testing session.

Be Prepared for the New ASE Test

With the new format of the ASE tests some additional preparation may be required. For me after turning wrenches for more than 30 years my eyesight is beginning to fail. I was not expecting tiny little pictures to be included in the test. I do not wear glasses but after the last testing session I think I should get some. The pictures were extremely small and hard for me to see.

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So on top of getting a good night’s sleep and eating a light meal before your test session I also now recommend that you bring a magnifying glass so that you can examine the small pictures that you will be required to understand in full if you hope to get the questions right.

recertified master technician medal
Recertified Master Technician

I have seen new ASE test preparation manuals released in the last year. I would suspect that all categories should be made available in the near future. Meanwhile any study time is still a good thing. On top of reviewing any available ASE test preparation materials it couldn’t hurt to break out your automotive technology textbooks. In my case my textbook was written in 1984.

So I went to the local college bookstore and bought an updated version (available below) that I hope will better prepare me for the ASE tests in the future. Since I’m on a never ending cycle of re-certification and test taking to stay current in 16 areas, I will have to adapt to the new computer based tests.


I guess if you want to get reflective it’s true that the automobile has gone through extreme changes in the last 30 years. I guess it’s time for the industry standard mechanic certification exams to go through some changes as well. ASE has finally gotten rid of the seasonal testing and now they are available year round by appointment. A step in the right direction? How about adding a year between re-certifications making it 6 instead of 5.

ASE Prep Guides

This is the description from the study guides I am recommending today. These are the latest ones I could find at the time of this writing. Keep your eyes open for newer releases before the next testing sessions. Technicians seeking certification in any of the automotive ASE exam areas will benefit from the valuable preparation offered by this newly revised package of test preparation booklets.

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Each title in this popular series features the most up to date task list available, along with practice test questions like those typically seen on an ASE certification exam. This can help users feel more comfortable and prepared to pass the actual tests. Comprehensive coverage includes overviews of each task list topic, including descriptions of the actual repair procedure being discussed.

Also included are test taking strategies and detailed explanations as to why a particular answer is correct or incorrect. Each chapter begins with a pretest that provides insight into the depth of preparation required to become familiar with the information contained in the chapter. This is then followed by a description of each task and the must-have information related to it. ASE type questions at the end of each chapter can help you be better prepared for the automotive certification tests.

For more information about taking these exams and some articles about previous attempts and results visit my auto repair business page. If you would like to see the latest posts to the auto repair information blog the next link takes you to the homepage.