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The Hardest ASE Tests

Johnathan CokerCommon Questions


When it comes to testing for ASE certification it is important to know going in that some of these tests are no walk in the park. I know several guys who just walked in the testing facility and knocked all eight out at once and got their master certification that day. This is not me. I had to study for some of them.

Even with 12 years as a diesel tech, there are just some things I don’t keep up with or even really have a great understanding without looking at the book.

What’s the hardest ASE test? After a survey of 20 ASE master certified mechanics the consensus was T1 – Gasoline Engines and A9 - Light Vehicle Diesel Engines are the most difficult of the regular tests.

I want to create a list for you guys like me who need to know which tests are the toughest and how to study for them. I have made you a list below of the hardest to easiest ASE tests for the Automotive and Truck tests.

How I determined this

Knowing which tests were most difficult for me, I set out to ask other certified mechanics which ones that caused a struggle with them as well. I surveyed 20 different master certified guys and there was a tie. T1 and A2 were the most mentioned tests.

Here is a table of tests listed by difficulty per the survey.

Listed hardest to easiest - (50 scored questions) means there may be more but they will only count 50.

Test # Test Title Number of Questions
1. T1 Gasoline Engines (50 scored questions)
2. A9 Light Vehicle Diesel Engines (50)
3. A2 Automatic Transmission/Transaxle (50)
4. T3 Drive Train (40)
5. A4 Suspension & Steering (40)
6. T5 Suspension & Steering (50)
7. T6 Electrical/ Electronic Systems (50)
8. A6 Electrical/ Electronic Systems (50)
9. A8 Engine Performance (50)
10. T2 Diesel Engines (55)
11. A3 Manual Drive Train & Axles (40)
12. A8 Engine Performance (50)
13. A1 Engine Repair (50 scored questions)
14. T4 Brakes (50)
15. A5 Brakes (45)
16. A7 Heating & Air Conditioning (50)
17. T7 Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) (40)
18. T8 Preventive Maintenance Inspection (50)

So, let’s break them down a bit and see if we can get a plan for passing these more difficult tests.

There are lots of practical things you can do to improve your chances of passing the more difficult tests. Let’s look at few ways and get you that certification.

1. Study 📕

I don’t mean weeks of rigorous study with this. The best approach I have found is to read through the whole book and then taking the test the next day.

Here is a link to Amazon for all the study guides, ASE study guide Bundle for some help getting started.

Ready strait through the book seems like it might not be the best idea but it really works. At the point of taking ASE tests you should have at least 3 years experience. With that experience you should have encountered most of the ideas found in these tests.

So, reading through is going to help you remember things that maybe you haven’t worked with in a while.

2. Talk to your buddies who have passed that test

A great resource often overlooked is the people around you. If you work in a shop ask around and see if any of your fellow wrenchers have made it by that particular and test and get some pointers.

I remember vividly questions that came up that I had discussed with a friend and knew the answer right off.

3. Get a goodnight of rest and eat a good breakfast

Sounds classic but sometimes we forget the little stuff. Sleep and not being hungry are going to allow your brian to function at its highest level.

4. Pee before you go in there

Just saying.

Summing up

I hope having the info from this survey helps you make a plan for knocking these tests out and get certified. It’s not impossible You can do this. So get you a guide and Let’s do this!

Learn Diesels

Johnathan Coker is a ASE and EVT Certified Mechanic. He is married with two kids and lives in sunny Florida. He loves taking stuff apart and teaching others how he messed it up.

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