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By: Ronda PaynePublished On: August 21, 2020
You’re a welder, and a darn good one at that. You enjoy fusing metal together to create something strong and functional and you’ve been doing your job for years. But you aren’t yet a Red Seal Welder. Is it time for you to earn that designation? If it is, you’ll want to have help to study and make sure you pass the Red Seal Welder Exam Challenge to earn the accreditation. While having advanced hands-on skills can ensure you are eligible to challenge the Red Seal certification exam, knowing the theory behind those welding skills is essential to successfully completing the exam and passing.
Eligibility for the Red Seal Welder Exam Challenge
Before applying to take the Red Seal Welder exam, you must prove your eligibility. In BC, this includes a minimum of 5,400 documented hours of trade-specific work experience and Welder Level B or Welder Level A certification. Requirements may be different in other provinces or territories, so be sure to check with your region. Once your application to take the exam has been approved, you can book your exam time and prepare to take it.
Preparing for the Red Seal Welder Exam Challenge
You might start by asking your Red Seal certified colleagues how they prepared for their exam, what their results were and what they would do the same or differently. But do keep in mind that everyone learns in different ways. What may have worked for one individual may not be the best way for you to prepare. Some people need more structure around their education while others are good at pushing themselves to do the studying and preparation required on their own. You might find that a preparation course is best for you, or studying with someone else who is also preparing for the exam, or perhaps, you’re best at studying on your own.
Keep in mind that unless you have time off, you’ll be balancing work and study time. This can be a challenge for those who already have a busy life. Fortunately, if you choose to enroll in a Red Seal Welder exam prep course you’ll find online options through Ashton College to help you succeed. Ashton’s Live Online platform has been providing flexible learning options for students for years and it’s the ideal solution for COVID distancing as well as for those who need flexibility in their learning and studying schedules.
Red Seal Challenge Exam Preparation Courses
Prep courses deliver more structure in formal class times as well as online platforms to stay connected, access and submit assignments and ask questions. When considering a prep course for the Red Seal Welder Exam Challenge, look for one that is taught by an instructor(s) who have already earned their Red Seal certification and understand welding from a hands-on perspective as well as a theoretical one. You’ll also want to know that the course includes practice exams so that you have a feel for the questions and flow of the exam and won’t be surprised when it’s time to write it.
Additionally, look for a school that offers an online format with ways to interact with fellow students and the instructor to get information on the areas you specifically need help with. It may be that your knowledge is strong when it comes to identifying discrepancies in drawings and you can help others study or understand this information, but perhaps you need help interpreting the symbols on drawings and need more information to feel confident in that area.
Another point to consider is to look for courses that offer a variety of teaching methods – as mentioned, everyone learns differently – so that there are a range of tools and tips you can try during your studying process to determine what works best for you.
Red Seal Exam Preparation Guides
While preparation courses are likely to offer exam guides, you don’t need to take a course to access these materials. If you feel confident in studying without an instructor, classmates or integrated online tools, you can download the PDF version of the guide from the Red Seal program website.
Although it’s not specific to the welding trade, the guide is extremely comprehensive and outlines the steps needed prior to applying to challenge the exam, special considerations when registering for the exam and preparation tips. It also explains how to find the breakdown of the exam’s focus and how to determine the approximate number of questions in each area of the trade. Plus, you’ll find information about how the exam works, sample study plans and more.
Browse exam sample questions to give you an idea of what to expect during the exam. Knowing the format and how questions are worded is extremely valuable during studying.
Get to Know the NOA for your Trade
Any studying (whether during a prep course or on your own) needs to focus on the NOA (National Occupation Analysis) for welding. The NOA is really a study guide in itself and can also be found on the Red Seal site. Within the NOA are sub-tasks of your trade and these are what the exam questions are based on. Sub-task sections explain the functions to be performed by a trade and the skills needed to be competent at that trade.
Talk to Others in the Trade
At the end of the NOA is a task profile chart that shows all the tasks and sub-tasks needed for a welder. This can be used to do a check of your own skills. Which tasks and sub-tasks do you feel you know well? Which would you need to know more about in order to explain them to someone else?
Once you know the areas you need more information, you can talk to others in the field, students or instructors to gain a better understanding of those sections.
Take Sample Tests
The Red Seal site and preparation courses offer sample tests. These are one of the most valuable study resources because they give you a real-life idea of how the test will flow and what you can expect. If you think you’re ready without studying, take a sample test! It will quickly let you know if you’re ready or not.
Earning your Red Seal Welder certification is an important step in advancing your career. Get to know the NOA and start studying before you even apply to challenge the exam. Make studying a priority and talk to others about study methods and areas where you need more information to pass thee exam.