Landing an automotive technician job – and more importantly one that offers you the work environment you want and pays well – is typically easier if you get ASE certified. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence provides the opportunity for those in an auto mechanic career to enhance their credentials and make themselves more marketable.

As an automotive technician you can choose from over 40 areas of certification, from core auto diagnosis and repair to an alternative fuels specialty. The A Series focuses on Automobile and Light Truck certification and consists of nine different exams, A1 – A9, although only A1 – A8 are required to receive Master Technician status. A4 covers Suspension and Steering.

Since you will have to pay a fee for each exam you take, it makes sense to prepare as well as possible in order to avoid having to retake them. Fortunately, it’s easy to obtain an A4 ASE study guide and practice test.

The ASE website

The institute offers free study guides for each exam. These are linked on their Test Prep & Training page, where you’ll find links for downloadable guides in PDF format. It’s a good idea to take advantage of the free A3 ASE study guide, as it will be the most accurate and complete guide you can find on the web.

You can also access practice tests from the Prep page, however these aren’t free. If you want to practice one or two areas, you’ll pay $14.95 each. Three through 24 tests are $12.95 each, and if purchased in lots of 25 or more, they cost $11.95 each.

The tests are available via a voucher system. You buy vouchers through the website, and are then given a code which you can use to choose a practice test, which is administered online. Using multiple codes on one test subject will not, however, result in multiple versions of the same test, as there is only one version for each area of study.

Third-party websites

As soon as you put A4 ASE study and practice test into a search engine, you’ll see that there are many unofficial websites offering free or subscription help with ASE study and testing. The best way to prepare for your exams is to utilize the resources offered on the official website. If you do wish to try out a third-party site for your A4 practice test, be sure to look into the company’s reputation and read testimonials to be sure you know what you’re getting.

Taking the test

Once you feel as though you’re well prepared and ready to take the actual exam, you will be able to find testing times and locations on the NIASE website. Written tests were discontinued in 2011, so all exams are now administered via computer at a proctored location. You can take your exams any time of the year, and choose a time and day that works for you, even on weekends. If you feel like you’ll be nervous going into testing in an unfamiliar format, you can check out the demo on the website and get familiarized before the big day.

There are 40 scored questions on the A4 Suspension and Steering exam, in multiple choice format. The NIASE does include additional questions on the test, however these are used for statistical applications only and don’t count in your score. The tricky part is that you won’t know which ones count and which don’t, so being thoroughly prepared is crucial.

There’s really no reason not to continue your education credentials by becoming certified. It’s affordable, and study materials are readily available. Best of all, an ASE certified technician salary is typically higher than that of a trained mechanic without the certifications. Visit the website today to find out how to get started.

If you’re already a certified mechanic and you’re interested in working with YourMechanic, submit an online application for an opportunity to become a mobile mechanic.

This article originally appeared on as How to Obtain an A4 ASE Study Guide and Practice Test and was authored by Valerie Johnston.

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