This is a great question. Some people would accuse you of being lazy, but the truth is you need to start somewhere, and having a couple of wins early on will give you the encouragement you need to keep going and trying until you get that master certification! Even if you work for a place that only pays for a couple, they are great to have and make you more likely to land a better wrenching gig.
What is the easiest ASE test? According to a survey of over 100 ASE certified mechanics T4/A4: Brakes are the easiest tests to pass. Followed closely by and T7/A7: Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning. They have the highest amount of common sense questions compared to the others.
ASE tests are no walk-in-the-park overall and you need a good understanding of the ones I have mentioned. So where should you start? I wanted to be sure so I conducted a survey of 100 ASE master certified Mechanics, and these tests were the easiest to pass. Let’s have a look at these tests and let me show you why they choose these particular tests.
Check out the survey results and sample questions below. Results are Listed hardest to easiest
(50 scored questions) means there may be more but they will only score 50 ASE will often include questions that are experimental. They will not count against you if you get them wrong.
Knowing which tests were most difficult for me, I set out to ask other certified mechanics which ones caused a struggle with them as well. I surveyed 100 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.
|TEST #||TEST TITLE||NUMBER OF QUESTIONS|
|1. T1||Gasoline Engines (Most difficult ????)||(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. T8||Preventive Maintenance Inspection||(50)|
|15. A7||Heating & Air Conditioning (HVAC) (Easier ????)||(50)|
|16. T7||Heating & Air Conditioning (HVAC) (Easier ????)||(40)|
|17. T4||Brakes (Easiest ????)||(50)|
|18. A5||Brakes (Easiest ????)||(45)|
Why are T4 or A5: Brakes tests easiest?
With 45 questions on the A5 brakes and 50 questions on T4, these tests come in at my number 18 easiest tests to pass. I really lean toward A4 being the easiest test overall but, they were a tie in the results. If you have been around cars, (which if you are taking an ASE test there is a good chance) then you should be fairly familiar with hydraulic brake systems.
Even if you primarily work on air-brakes you still should have a decent amount of knowledge about them. Expect questions about the proportioning valve and brake balance. Also, expect questions about calipers and other normal brake components and their functions.
Truck brakes are fairly simple as well. It is typical for a new guy to do most of the brake jobs in a shop. So if you have done a lot of brake work this test will be a breeze. They ask simple and most straightforward questions.
Expect questions about usual components for air brakes and larger hydraulic systems. Read up on brake booster issues, Quick release valves, anti-compounding valves, abs modulators, tractor protection valves, and other typical parts in an air brake system.
Hate reading? ????
You can actually listen to the study guides now with Audible Click Here to listen to the study guide for free! Courtesy of Amazon. You can literally sign up, study, pass, and then cancel before the free trial ends.
Here is a link to the ASE Audio Study Guide Audible Audible Audiobook if you already have an Audible account.
Which test should you take first?
As a general rule, you should take T4 or A4 Brakes first. Not only will this get you started on your way to your master certification it is likely what you know best as a newer mechanic.
If it is your first time taking these tests, also note that they do require study. Not many mechanics can walk in and just pass the test. You may need to brush up on things you don’t normally work on what terms you don’t fully understand before sitting for the exam. There’s a link above to the study material. Check it out
What score do I need to get to pass?
70% is needed to pass each exam. On 50 question tests, you can get 15 answers wrong and on 60 question tests, you can get 18 wrong.
Want some practice? Have a look at some sample questions
A5 – Brakes
Brakes are going to be an easy place to start. Chances are you know how they operate. Remember though, they will try to tip you up using terms that don’t match. So, make sure you understand the question before moving through it.
A rear-wheel-drive car is pulling to the left when the brakes are applied. Technician A says that the left front brake lines could be restricted. Technician B says you can replace a broken brake line with copper tubing. Who is correct?
- A. Technician A
- B. Technician B
- C. Both A and B
- D. Neither A or B
- Answer A is correct. When a brake line is restricted usually there is enough pressure to push past the blockage and apply the brake. After applying the brake, the fluid may not be able to return causing the brake to stick on.
- Answer B is wrong. You cannot use any other brake line other than the one required by the vehicle manufacturer. You should never use copper for brake lines.
- Answer C is wrong. Technician A is correct.
- Answer D is wrong. Technician A is correct.
Here is a link to the study guide for brakes on Amazon –T4 Brakes guide– Everyone is different though so you may have more success on another test. This is all the guides, ASE study guide Bundle for some help getting started.
P1 – Medium-Heavy Truck Parts Specialist
The next test on my shortlist is the parts specialist. With 70 scored questions, this is a longer than usual ASE test. With that said, a lot of these questions are based on customer service and part systems. This is not a really complicated subject.
If you are in the field and deal with a parts desk or ordering at all this one should not be bad at all. But, depending on what is required for the job you are looking for the test could be useless. Most shops if you are looking to be a mechanic would not consider this test a valid ASE that would apply towards a raise or promotion.
That being said, if your goal is just to be certified you could take a stab, and this one and likely pass.
You are gathering information about a customer’s fleet. Which of these would not be an important piece of information?
- A: Chassis serial numbers
- B: List vehicles by make and model.
- C: Number of drivers in their fleet.
- D: Location of their maintenance Shop.
- Answer A is wrong. This would be important information.
- Answer B is wrong. This would be important information.
- Answer C is Correct. The number of drivers that a shop has would be irreverent when taking parts orders
- Answer D is wrong. This would be important information.
T7 or A7 – Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Air conditioning is another test I believe to be a little on the easier side. This test will include 50 questions and will include an array of questions ranging from pressures to temperature. If you have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of HVAC, you should not struggle with this one.
It is a good idea to go over the principles and correct readings before diving into this one. You should know how expansion valves and orifice tubes work as well as what an evaporator and condenser do. Have the fundamentals nailed down and you will ace this test.
A technician is recovering refrigerant. The type of refrigerant in the vehicle is unknown. The technician should:
- A: Recover it and recycle it as R-12
- B: Recover it and recycle it as R-134a
- C: Discharge it into the atmosphere
- D: Recover it and treat it as contaminated
- **Answer A is wrong. If the refrigerant was not R-12 you would not want to mix it. This could be dangerous and would contaminate the known good refrigerant you have.
- Answer B is wrong. If the refrigerant was not R-134A you would not want to mix it. This could be dangerous and would contaminate the known good refrigerant you have.
- Answer C is wrong. This is illegal and can be enforced with a fine or jail time.
- Answer D is correct. Anytime you are dealing with an unknown refrigerant you should treat it as if it is not reusable or contaminated.
Note: remember you need two years of verifiable experience before you are eligible to sit for an ASE exam. You can create a MyASE account to get started (Link to ase.com)
Technician A and Technician B are dumb, and I hope to never meet them. I am frankly sick of dealing with their arguments. The worst part about these types of questions is you can get them incorrect even if you are half right. I tech A is right, and you say both you get that question 100 percent wrong. So, read very carefully and look for tricks in the way they work questions. Also, check out the Hardest ASE test to pass article A lot of people would say ASE is just as much about your knowledge as it is about your test-taking abilities. Good luck!