Studying for the NATE exam

Unlocking the Secrets of studying for the NATE exam,

Self-regulated learning requires study habits that could be unfamiliar to most trades persons entering a technical trade after high school or college. Effective study sessions must be applied using study strategies usually reserved for higher education students. New learning styles need to be learned and study plans practiced.

Don’t tune out yet!

Before you tune out, consider that the HVAC career requires continual learning. Technology and techniques are constantly in flux with a planet that needs to maximize energy and water efficiencies while not harming the planet.

The skills learned in this article impact childbirth coaching, Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and anything involving more than a single step.

How hard is it to get NATE certified?

In short, it is HARD without effective study habits. The author has seen many students in the same class with the same study materials fail the NATE exam when others have passed it. Can you guess the difference between these two groups? You can’t memorize yourself into a certification. Let’s explore some time-honored human learning techniques. Set aside time for studying for the NATE exams and you will have an easier time getting through it and more.

  1. Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic devices are an excellent tool for memorizing course material quickly and effectively. By creating an acronym or acrostic or making up a sentence with keywords and concepts, test-takers can easily recall the material when they enter the exam room.

One example of a mnemonic memory sentence that could be used to remember key concepts in a course on American history might be: “LFWJR stands for ‘Liberty, Freedom, Wisdom, Justice and Rights’ – core elements of the founding principles of the United States.” This sentence combines all five concepts into an easy-to-remember phrase.

In the context of HVAC electricity, the mnemonic of W(watts) = A(amps) x V (volts) (pronounced wave) is an easy way to remember ohms law and that electricity is like a wave of water.

  1. Visualization

Visualization can be a powerful tool for quickly memorizing complex concepts and topics. Test-takers can easily recall information on the exam by visualizing the material as diagrams, images, or even stories.

For example, an anatomy student may find it helpful to visualize their textbook as a body, with each chapter corresponding to one of its organs. This visualization technique makes remembering and recalling which organ is associated with specific topics more accessible.

In the context of the HVACR refrigeration cycle, it is helpful to visualize the entire image of the refrigeration cycle in color. Whenever a question arises about the refrigeration cycle, you can visualize the colors on the image and solve a problem.

  1. Practice Tests:

Taking practice tests can be an effective way for test-takers to build their confidence and familiarity with the material they will be tested on. Not only does this give them a chance to assess their knowledge of the material and identify any gaps, but it also gives them a feel for how to approach the exam and what types of questions they might expect.

It is IMPORTANT to understand that practice tests just practice solving problems given to you. The practice tests rarely display the exact question found on an exam. You must understand the concepts and principles presented in the practice exam questions. Purely memorized questions and answers guarantee that the information is shortly lost! You will be expected to know and put into practice this information someday when you are working.

  1. Spaced Repetition

Spaced Repetition is a technique used to remember information by revisiting it at regular intervals. The practice encourages learners to break up their studying into smaller chunks, spaced out over the days and weeks leading up to the test date. Students that log in online for 4-5 hours in the middle of the night universally do poorly on certification exams.

  1. Elaborative Encoding

This technique involves making personal connections between new material and existing knowledge. For instance, a student studying an unfamiliar term might relate it to a similar concept in everyday life.

In the context of HVAC, we have all walked by an air conditioner, ejecting the superheated air from the outside coil. We can surmise then that the outside coil rejects heat. HVAC systems reject heat to condense refrigerant back into liquid. If this unit condenses refrigerant, we can visualize the word “condenser” to the component.

  1. Chunking

Chunking involves breaking more significant pieces of information into smaller, more manageable parts. This helps to reduce the amount of material that needs to be memorized at once. It can also make complex topics easier to understand and recall. This is also closely related to elaborative encoding in item 5.

  1. Visual Imagery

Visual imagery is a powerful memory technique in which students use mental images to encode the material they study. Test-takers can remember it more easily by creating vivid visual representations of text-based information.

Put Visual Imagery and Chunking to Work with these examples.

This is important to know to properly diagnose and troubleshoot HVAC systems. For example, an important concept found on the NATE CHP-5 exams is the importance of calculating refrigerant superheat. Refrigerant superheat is defined as the difference between the actual boiling temperature of a liquid refrigerant and its saturation temperature at a given pressure. To remember the definition, a student could create a visual image of boiling water with steam rising from it and label it “saturation temperature.” The actual temperature on the thermometer could then be labeled as “boiling temperature” or “superheat.” This combination of visual imagery and chunking can help them better remember the definition of superheat.

The essential NATE air conditioning exams require calculating superheat and subcooling values to prove you understand the diagnostic meaning of these two principles. They will NOT diagnose the system for you which is why you need to recall the impacts of these two values throughout your career and to also be able to explain them to others. Once in the field, you will probably invest in refrigeration tools that calculate these numbers.

By incorporating these seven techniques into their study habits, students can improve their test performance and unlock the secrets of exam memory.

The key is to practice regularly and stay organized. These memory techniques can help test-takers prepare more effectively for their exams. They can better recall important course material on exam day by using mnemonic devices, visualization, and practice tests to their advantage. Understanding and implementing these memory techniques allows test-takers to confidently recall course material on their NATE CHP-5 exams. With practice and plenty of preparation, they’ll have what it takes to become certified HVAC air conditioning professionals.


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