Study Guide - The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals

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CST Certified Service Technician® Study Guide Please open and read the Program Overview on page 2 and the Pre-course Reading Assignments on page 3 as soon as you…
CST Certified Service Technician® Study Guide Please open and read the Program Overview on page 2 and the Pre-course Reading Assignments on page 3 as soon as you receive this package. QUESTIONS? Contact APSP at: APSP Career Institute 2111 Eisenhower Avenue, Suite 500 Alexandria, VA 22314 703-838-0083, ext. 274 ©2012 The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals 2 CST Certified Service Technician® Study Guide Overview of This Study Guide Congratulations on your decision to take the CST Certified Service Technician® course! This instructor-led course is the second levels of pool/spa service provider education and focuses on equipment repair and replacement and troubleshooting challenges you will likely face on the job. This course will take you beyond the basics – we assume you already know the basics – and give you the skills you need to take your career and talents to the next level. But, as with any educational experience, much of what you get out of this course will depend on what YOU put into the learning experience. The APSP Career Institute staff and course instructors created this Study Guide to assist you in being successful in the classroom, on the certification exam, and, ultimately, in your job. Take time now to read through this Guide so you get a good idea of what it offers. As you begin your advance preparation for the course – yes, you have some reading assignments to do before the course starts – please flip to: Strategies for Effective Studying , page 4, for insider tips on the 7 steps to study success. Time Management, page 7, to help you organize and prepare a plan to comfortably complete your pre-class study. Breakdown of Questions by Unit, page 8, to get the “lay of the land” on the Manual contents, and which units to really focus your attention on. Set aside several hours before the course to do the assigned reading. You’ll be glad you did once you arrive at the course! You’ll have “homework” to do during the course, so having already read the key content in the Manual will save you a lot of time and allow you to focus on areas where you may need more study time. This Study Guide will provide you with a very good idea of what to expect when you get to the course, the importance of advance preparation, and how to do your best on the certification exam. Read it carefully and take the suggestions to heart – it will pay off for you! Study Guide Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Pre-Course Reading Assignments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Strategies for Effective Studying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Time Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Breakdown of Questions by Unit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 The Course Agenda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 The PowerPoint Slides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 The CST Workbook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Test-taking Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 The Exam Answer Sheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Practice Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Table of Contents CST Certified Service Technician® Study Guide 3 ©2012 The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals Pre-course Reading Assignments The APSP Service Tech Manual, 4th Edition, is the primary text for the CST course. Revised in 2010, this was a significant update to the Manual; so previous editions may not be used for the CST course in the place of this 4th edition. You MUST bring your Service Tech Manual, CST Workbook, and this Study Guide to the CST course with you. Once you arrive at the course, you will be assigned “homework” each day in the CST Workbook to be completed overnight. You can make things a lot easier on yourself during the course if you’ve read the key content in the Manual before you get there. Take a look at Unit 1, page 1 and you’ll see Learning Objectives listed for the Certified Service Technician. This is the critical knowledge you need to learn in this unit. You can find that key content by looking for the hammer-and-wrench (tools) icon as you go through this and the other units. But you should also read the CMS learning objectives. This course assumes you have acquired the basic knowledge taught in the CMS course, as outlined in those CMS learning objectives. So if you see something among those CMS objectives that’s unfamiliar, you need to make sure you study that material before you get to the CST course! So, here are the chapters, listed unit by unit, that you should read prior to the class: Unit 1: Safety – Read Chapters 1-1, 1-2, 1-6, 1-7, 1-8. Unit 2: Practical Knowledge – Read Chapters 2-2, 2-3, 2-4. Unit 3: Water Quality – Read Chapters 3-1 and 3-6 for review only. Then read Chapters 3-2, 3-3, 3-4, 3-5 for class. Unit 4: Structures and Finishes – Read Chapters 4-2, 4-3, 4-4. Unit 5: Circulation, Filtration – Read all chapters. Unit 6: Electrical – Read Chapters 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 and 6-8 for review only. Then read Chapters 6-3, 6-5, 6-6 for class. Unit 7: Pump Motors – Read Chapter 7-1. Unit 8: Heaters and Optional Equipment – Read all chapters. Unit 9: Control Systems – Read all chapters. Unit 10: Maintenance – Read Chapters 10-1,10-2 and 10-4 for review. Then read Chapter 10-3 for class. If you want to try the Test Your Knowledge questions at the end of each Unit, do it! The answers are in Appendix 3 in the back of the Manual. ©2012 The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals 4 CST Certified Service Technician® Study Guide Strategies for Effective Studying Studying. When was the last time you had to study? If it’s been a while, or if you’re a little nervous about it, don’t worry! We know that and we want to help make it a little less painful for you! Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to feeling organized, well prepared, and in control. Step 1 – Assemble your tools. First, you need to take a little shopping trip, or maybe your office manager has these items to give to you. Either way, you’ll need: a. “Post-it Notes” – either the smallest squares or the small flags/tabs. You don’t need a lot – one small package should be plenty . b. Yellow highlighter – avoid darker colors that can obscure the text. c. Basic calculator – If it is silent, and can add, subtract, multiply and divide, it’ll work for this course. Only silent, non-programmable calculators are permitted in the exam . Cell phone calculator functions may not be used during the exam, so get yourself the basic calculator and use it throughout the course and exam . d . Loose-leaf paper – and maybe a little binder for the paper . Using loose-leaf paper for any note-taking allows you to reshuffle the paper for use in studying. Write on just one side so you don’t forget something on a back side . Step 2 – Maximize your time investment – get organized from the start. a . Start your assigned reading with the Post-its at hand . As you begin a new Unit create a tab, writing the number and title of the unit on the tab, so you can go quickly to that page when you need to later . For Unit 1 place the tab at the top of the page, just below the right top corner, and then work down the right side as you tab each successive unit. Make it look organized and you’ll be able to move through the Manual quickly and efficiently. You can use the tabs in the Workbook too, if you like. b. Bring your Post-its to the class, too. If there’s a key concept covered, you may want to make a tab and label it for quick reference during the exam . Step 3 – Get the lay of the land – page through the Manual first a . Take a look at Page 3 of this Study Guide for the reading assignments and then page through the Service Tech Manual to look at the sections assigned . Now look at the breakdown of questions for each Unit . Clearly, there are Units that are considered to be more important for the CST candidate than others – and those are the ones with the most exam questions associated with them; 5, 6, 7 and 8 . So, you need to prioritize these in your preparation . b . Look at the Appendices in the back of the Service Tech Manual . The Glossary is a great resource if you come across an unfamiliar term . Look it up! The General Index will be a great tool during the exam to look up a key word if you’re having trouble answering a question and need to find it in the text. There’s even a Troubleshooting Index that takes the General Index to the next level of detail . Put a tab on the key Appendices . c. Finally, check out the first page of each Unit. Each has a list of CST Learning Objectives – the key concepts you need to know. You’ll see this little tool icon throughout the Units whenever a learning objective is covered in the text . Pay attention to these – you may even want to use your highlighter on them as you find them in the reading. @ CST Certified Service Technician® Study Guide 5 ©2012 The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals Step 4 – Do the assigned reading before the class – just do it. a. The time invested will be worth it in the long run. Believe me, at the end of the first and second days of the class you’ll want to just do your homework and get some sleep – not catch up on the reading you should have done ahead . Save yourself some long nights, and do the reading before you arrive . b . Keep your notebook at hand as you read . If a concept or problem is new to you or you’re not quite clear on it, write it in your notebook and note the page. That way, you will be reminded to ask a question about it in class if you still have questions after the instructor covers it . c. You should plan to spend at least an hour reading the content in each unit before the class. d. Hold it! That’s about 10 hours of reading before the class even starts?! It might be, depending on how quickly you read and understand the content . Of course, the information in some units may be very familiar and you won’t need to spend much time on those. It would be easy to make excuses – too busy, too little time – for not doing the assigned reading before arriving at the class. But the benefits to you are immense if you invest the time . e . Go easy on the highlighting during your reading . Keep the highlighter use for the classroom . As the instructor goes through the lessons, use the highlighter to bring attention to the critical content he or she covers . This will help you focus on the most important concepts . Step 5 – It’s time for class! Caffeine-up and Grab a Seat – in the front row a . Make the most of the class . Seriously, a little caffeine and a seat in the front row are going to help you make the most of the classroom instruction. You’ll be alert, close to the screen for optimal viewing, and you’ll be the first to get your questions answered. That’s called maximizing the experience. b . Have your Service Tech Manual open and follow along in the book, as best you can, as the instructor goes through the PowerPoint presentation on the screen . There are page references on each slide so you can always get oriented quickly if you lose your place . c. Use your highlighter to mark important content covered by the instructor. Use your Post-its to tab REALLY important content (you’ll know it when you hear it). Take a note if there is content you want to be sure to study later. Sometimes even just recording a page number and a word or two in your notes is enough of a reminder to go back to it . d . Be an active learner in the classroom – it will help you stay alert and focused on the instruction . If the instructor asks a question, put up your hand. If you’ve done your reading and are paying attention, chances are, you’ll have the right answer. If something is unclear, put up your hand and ask. There are no “dumb” questions. And try not to just hold questions until the break – the instructor needs a break, too! e. Take 5 minutes of each break to go back over the content just covered and make any notes of key concepts while they’re all still fresh in your mind. You may feel like they just opened the fire hose of information on you — taking a few minutes to look over the Unit may help you organize your thoughts, jot down some notes, and focus in on the key concepts. ©2012 The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals 6 CST Certified Service Technician® Study Guide Step 6 – Make the homework count a. You will be assigned some homework from the CST Workbook at the end of each day. This is an opportunity, not a chore! The workbook questions will require that you go back over the content taught during the day and will reinforce the learning. This is the best way to really check that you’ve learned the concept. b. Resist the temptation to share answers with other participants. Yes, it will get you through the homework more quickly; but you won’t be benefitting from finding the answer yourself. c. What’s the value of finding the answer yourself? Well, one advantage is on the exam. There will surely be questions that you need to look up. You’re working against the clock… 100 questions in 120 minutes. The tabs you’ve put in make that look-up a little bit quicker. But really knowing where to go back and find an answer comes ONLY from having paged through the manual and, quite literally, remembering where you saw it . That’s where doing the homework pays off on the exam. Step 7 – The final push a . Spend the night before the exam re-reading your class notes, writing any important notes into the back of your Workbook, and ensuring your Manual is well organized with tabs or flags to mark your way. b . If you have classroom instruction on the day of the exam make sure you spend your lunch break going over the new material to ensure you’ve got it marked as needed . Spend any free study time before the exam reviewing the four main units . c. Relax! If you’ve followed the steps outlined above you’ll be well on your way to a very successful date with the CST exam . The strategies just described will help you be a more successful student in the CST course. Here are a few final study tips that will help you produce better results. • Do your reading during daylight hours. Research shows that 60 minutes of study during the day is equivalent to 90 minutes of study at night . • Plan blocks of time to study. Generally 1 hour blocks work best. 50 minutes of reading/study, followed by a 10 minute break . • Set a goal for the study period. Create a schedule and then set a goal for completing a certain unit or portion of a unit . Hold yourself accountable . • Know your learning type. Think about what works best for you when you’re trying to learn something new . Visual learners prefer to read the material or see photos or graphics to learn new material — the Service Tech Manual and the PowerPoint slides will likely be their primary focus of attention . Auditory learners learn best through group discussion or listening to the instructor’s description of the systems and procedures. Tactile learners learn best by doing – they prefer a hands-on approach . Since this is a classroom course, those who prefer to learn by doing will benefit from reading ahead of the course and then applying that knowledge on the job by actually doing the work described in the manual. Once you know your learning style, you can adjust your study accordingly. • Use the Manual as a tool, not a crutch. You’ll be taking an “open book” exam. Unless you’ve been in the pool/spa service industry for many years, it would be foolish to think that, because it’s an “open book” exam, you can just roll in, sit through the class, and then pass the test by opening the Manual and looking up each answer. It’s a timed test, and if you have to look up all the answers, you will run out of time. Bottom line — you need to walk into the exam prepared, and use the manual as a back-up on the toughest questions . CST Certified Service Technician® Study Guide 7 ©2012 The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals Time Management Your time management before you arrive at the course is probably more important than how you manage your time once you’re there. So, let’s assume the following time management goals during the course: • Arrive 15 minutes early to get checked in, seated, and caffeinated. • Arrive back from breaks promptly. • Spend at least 10 minutes of the lunch break reviewing the morning’s instruction. • After a dinner break, head to a quiet spot to complete the homework assigned and study for the exam. • Use the break preceding the exam to ensure your Manual and Workbook are well organized for the exam. The hard part is finding time to do the assigned reading and other suggested preparation before you arrive at the course. Time is fleeting, but here are some ideas that might help you carve out the necessary prep time: • Look at your schedule leading up to the course and identify at least 10 one-hour study periods in the 2 weeks leading up to the course start date . Put those periods on your calendar and stick by the schedule . If you have to miss a period, make an immediate adjustment and add a replacement period. • Limit your advance study/reading to one-hour blocks. If you’re not used to extended stretches of technical reading, one hour’s worth of content will be all you can really absorb. If you find you’re not making enough progress in each period, adjust and either add 15 minutes to each period, or add a few more 1 hour periods to your calendar . • Select a location where you can read/study effectively. If you have children at home, this might mean visiting the local library “quiet room” to get your reading completed. Will your employer allow you some time “on the job” to do the reading at the office? If so, find a quiet spot and do it there. • If you find yourself procrastinating, try these tips to get back on track: • Give yourself a little reward for each unit you complete . • Ask someone to check up on you – peer pressure, or boss pressure, works! • Use a daily TO DO list or create a daily schedule and put your reading in a priority position . Resolve to abide by the list/schedule! • If you still find yourself off track, then track your time for a day to find out why you’re struggling. This may help in other aspects of your life, too . • Take it seriously. This is your career we’re talking about. Nobody ever complained about having “studied too much” for this exam . Most people like being well prepared and then going through the exam quickly and easily . It feels good! By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Benjamin Franklin ©2012 The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals 8 CST Certified Service Technician® Study Guide Breakdown of Exam Questions by Unit Unit 1 Safety 4 questions Unit 2 Practical Knowledge 6 questions Unit 3 Water Quality 12 questions Unit 4 Structures and Finishes 7 questions Unit 5 Circulation and Filtration 13 questions Unit 6 Electrical Requirements (includes lighting) 13 questions Unit 7 Pump Motors 10 questions Unit 8 Heaters and Optional Equipment 16 questions Unit 9 Control Systems 5 questions Unit 10 Maintenance 14 questions 100 questions total Review the Learning Objectives on the first page of each Unit in the Service Tech Manual and focus on the content that covers those objectives. Plan your study time on each Unit with this breakdown in mind. Units 5, 6, 7, and 8 have a great deal more emphasis in this course than they had
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