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Are you looking forward to a career in HVAC?
You probably already know that one of the requirements is getting certified under EPA Section 608. This certification will allow you to purchase and handle the refrigerants you’ll need to work with on a daily basis.
What’s Covered by Section 608
We’ve talked elsewhere about the different types of Section 608 Certification. As you know, there are three “types” you can test for based on what kind of work you’ll be doing. There’s a test unique to each type. There’s also a core exam that you’ll need to pass alongside the specific “type” exams.
Type I pertains to the servicing of small appliances. This exam can actually be taken open-book and online, but if you later decide to take another exam, you’ll have to retake the core exam in a proctored session.
The other two exams can only be taken in a proctored setting.
Type II covers servicing or disposing of high- or very high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and MVACs (motor vehicle air conditioning).
Type III governs the servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances.
You can also elect for universal certification, which allows you to work with any type of appliance using refrigerants. For this you have to pass the core exam as well as the three other individual exams. Each exam has 25 questions.
Why Use an EPA Section 608 Study Guide
If that sounds like a lot of information, you’re right!
And it’s usually scattered around in a lot of places. You’ve surely come across it all either in the classroom or in the field, but it’s hard to find it all in one place. The EPA has a list of topics (which we’ve included in the article we linked above) but it doesn’t go into detail about all the material.
It’s helpful when you can get all that information summed up in one place. A study guide will help you have everything you need to know for the test on hand and in an easy-to-digest format.
We do have to point out just one thing: your certification won’t expire, but laws will change. It’s the responsibility of each tech to keep up-to-date with the latest laws. Even with our study guide, it’s good to double-check to make sure there are not more recent changes from the EPA.
As we mentioned above, a study guide for the Section 608 exam should cover all the areas that the EPA says are on the exam. Of course, there’s much more you should know about refrigerants as well. But the guide will at least get you ready for what’s on the exam.
Each exam covers topics like safety, leak detection and repair, and how to handle, identify and dispose of refrigerants.You also have to know the dates of some important events in the history of protecting the environment by regulating refrigerants, such as the Montreal Protocol.
Some basic calculations are required. Most exam sites will allow you to use a pressure and temperature chart, which will be important to help you answer some of the questions.
The core exam also covers these areas but in a way that is applicable to all types of appliances.
A guide brings that information together and breaks it down into sections so that related information is together and easy to digest.
The Montreal Protocol is implemented in the United States through the Clean Air Act. Knowledge of that act and its subsequent updates are essential to pass the exam. Your EPA Section 608 study guide will cover all the essential points to get certified.
How to Find a Testing Site
The exam is offered at various sites across the country. You can Google “EPA Section 608 test locations” to find locations. Or you can check out the list of approved organizations on the EPA’s website. Just remember that the organizations listed there are national organizations that offer the test in a variety of local branches.
What Else to Do to Prepare for your Section 608 Test
Study! Getting ready for your exam requires a lot of preparation. Be sure to start studying as far ahead as possible. Remember that it’s not just a matter of passing a test, but more importantly, of being able to work well in your chosen trade.
To study well, we do recommend you use a study guide. Set time aside each day to go through it. There’s no need to rush through it. Concentrate on one section, or a couple short sections, each day. Every week or so review everything you’ve learned so far.
Another important point is practice. You can find practice exams for each section of the Section 608 exam on our site. Keep taking them until you’re able to master them. You may only need 72% to pass the real thing, but you never know which questions will be on it, or if you’ll forget one answer when test day comes.
Try to study in a quiet, well-lit, relaxing place. Being able to relax comfortably is important in the learning process.
Last Minute Preparations
When you’re down to the last few days, it’s important to make sure to get everything in place and ready to go.
There are just a couple things you’ll need to take to the exam site with you:
- Your photo ID (driver’s license, state ID, military ID, or passport, or other official ID)
- Your social security number (you don’t need the actual card as long as you know your number)
- A couple pens to mark the answer sheet
You should also take:
- A non-programmable calculator
- A pressure-temperature chart (if your exam site permits them)
That’s about all you’ll be allowed to take into the test site, so leave everything else at home or secure them in your vehicles.
Make sure you know exactly where the test site is - the address, building name and room number are important so that you don’t get lost. Print out directions online, or program it into your GPS ahead of time.
Use the last few days before the exam to review the entire core section and the section you’ll be taking (if you’ve already passed the core exam, you won’t have to take it again). Take the practice tests again, and see if there are any areas you need to brush up on.
Be sure to get enough rest in the days before the exam, especially the night before.
Set your alarm early enough to arrive at the test site without rushing. Getting frazzled by running late can carry over into the exam.
Relax! Take a deep breath and be ready to dive in. Being relaxed helps our memory and intellect to work better.
Taking the Exam
Once you get started, be sure to go slowly and ready each question slowly and carefully. It’s a multiple-choice test. Be sure to read all the answers even if the first one seems right - there could always be an option for “All of the Above” or “Both A and C” waiting down below!
Fill in the circles completely so it’s clear what your choice is.
Answer every question. If you’re unsure of an answer, first eliminate any choices you know are wrong. Then take an educated guess from the remaining choices.
If you finish early, go back and review your answers. There’s no speed bonus for the one who finishes first! Take your time and make sure you’ve read everything correctly and answered all the questions.
You’ve been working hard and have great career prospects ahead of you. Take advantage of all the options available to you to pass the EPA Section 608 Exam, no matter which type you are preparing for. A study guide and practice tests are among the best ways to prepare.
On behalf of the whole team at HVAC Training 101, we wish you good luck and success in this great trade!