Here are a few test tips and exam strategies taken from my book, PAL's HVAC Technician Certification Exam Guide.
You know your multiplication tables through memorization. You know that there are 12,000 Btuh per ton of cooling and that in a resistive circuit the amperage is the voltage divided by the resistance. You know that there are 144 square inches in a square foot and that airflow in cfm is the area of a duct in square feet times the velocity of the air through the duct in feet per minute.
Many fundamental facts and numbers related to our profession are simply memorized. Of course, our instructors want us to fully understand the concepts and relationships behind such memorized information, but the fact still remains that some things simply need to be memorized. Reviewing these and other basic facts, relationships, and values before taking a certification exam will raise your score.
You, too, should take the time to prepare yourself for the technician certification exams. Pretty obvious, right? Well, apparently it is not so obvious to many technicians who fail their exam or just barely pass with the minimum score because they did not prepare.
Consider the exam a game where you are about to beat the test writers at their own game. You have studied the material, spent time in review, developed a "test smart" exam strategy by learning how exams are structured, and are aware of the simple mistakes you need to avoid. You are ready to take on the challenge and win. You don't need luck on your side because you have a game strategy. Now go out and win - there is no need to panic.
Summing UpIn my view, one of the primary objectives of the available technician certification exams is to raise the bar - to set a higher, yet reasonable, standard for those of us in the industry to strive to achieve. Perhaps the most valuable time spent is the time we spend in study, review, and preparation for the exams; that is where some of the greatest gains are made. The tests themselves are simply indicators that we have met the standard.
Continuing education after passing one or more exams is not only the professional thing to do; we owe it to our employers, our customers and ourselves.
Norm Christopherson is employed with York International UPG as a senior training specialist based in Norman, Okla. York International supports and promotes NATE technician certification. For more information about NATE certification, visit www.natex.org.
Publication date: 05/16/2005