Auto Service World
Feature   March 1, 2001   by Auto Service World

Countertalk For the Counterperson: ASE Parts Specialist Certification: Do You Know Your Stuff?

ASE Parts Specialist Certification is, above all, something you do for yourself. As a counterperson, there are precious few opportunities to show in concrete terms your skills and aptitudes.

Each Spring and Fall, you have the opportunity to do just that by sitting down and writing an ASE Parts Specialist examination. Numerous test locations are spread across Canada and tests are geared toward the industry’s specialties.

The Medium/Heavy Truck Parts Specialist (P1) Test was developed to assess the skills necessary to work in an OEM truck dealership.

The Automobile Parts Specialist (P2) Test was developed to assess the knowledge and the skills necessary to work at a retail or jobber parts store.

The Medium/Heavy Truck Aftermarket Parts Specialist (P3) Test is for parts specialists working for aftermarket distributors which may handle components for a limited number of Medium/Heavy Truck vehicle systems. Counter-people can select an option on specific vehicle systems.

The GM Parts Consultant (P4) Test focuses on similar knowledge to the P2 Test, but with a tight focus on General Motors vehicles and procedures.

Despite the fact that thousands of Canadian counterpeople have successfully achieved ASE Certification, many of you are still reluctant to take a written test. This is completely understandable. After all, you spend most of your days in the verbal world, not the written one. You should not let this apprehension keep you from striving for ASE Certification.

Here are a few tips to help you by:

Practice: Many suppliers have pre-test courses that will not only refresh your knowledge, but also give you a chance to get used to writing a test.

Study: Check out those counterperson correspondence course manuals. You may even want to look at some troubleshooting guides. While you won’t be tested on in-depth diagnostics, you will be tested on component and system knowledge. In fact, it is the largest section of the test and the area where failure is the most common.

Take it seriously: Cockiness is the first step on the road to failing the exam. I’ve heard the story too many times of the rookie who passes because he studied, but the veteran who failed because he thought he knew it all.

Pick the best answer: The tests are all multiple choice and even if you know of cases that more than one answer could apply to, pick the most likely answer. When person has a stuffed nose, it could be a fatal disease, but it’s probably just a cold. So don’t waste time arguing with the test, just pick the most likely answer.

Finally, understand that the test is not a watered-down version of the technician tests. In fact, ASE rates the Parts Specialist tests as its most difficult. Sure, technicians may need a greater knowledge of, say, the ignition system than the counterperson, but they can study that one system and write a test on that one system. The counterperson can’t pick and choose. They need to understand more than a dozen automotive systems, plus have sales skills, cataloging skills, and inventory management knowledge.

If you’re planning to take a test this Spring, you need to have well-rounded knowledge and experience. Know all you can and be prepared to put common sense to use.

Then prepare to be challenged. — Andrew Ross

Print this page


Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *