Usefulness of a simulator – fe de erratas

By Carlos F Molina

Here I present the resources in my website: the Q&A documents and a simulator.

Please download 47 more Q&a in the Api 653  series.


The questions of the Q&A list were extracted from the standards by me, or remembered by me or other students that took the exam before. The format is a Q&A one, different from the multiple choice question format from other courses I have seen online. I prefer this method because it takes away all the clutter that leads to confusion when treating these standards. I advise you to copy these questions (maybe you will have to actively copy and paste the Q&A sets in word or excel) and paste it in a spaced repetition software like Anki or Supermemo, as the Q&A format allows, and start studying right away.  Please edit the questions yourself looking to the references if you have difficulty remembering any of them. When days pass by, you will see who you remember all of the information with no problem.


I created a simulator of the API 653 Exam one year ago. It has 100 questions. Right now, my simulator is of little help. In fact, I don´t think a simulator is going to really help you pass an exam and really learn your trade by itself. It won´t.

Of what use is a simulator then? Will a simulator solve all your learning needs, or at least it will help you pass an exam? Consider the following PROS and CONS of a simulator:


PRO#1: You get practice time
PRO#2: You experience a real exam environment
PRO#3: It helps build self-confidence to pass the exam
PRO #4 If during an assessment you are confronted with a test and have done similar tests before, you will score better in some areas.


CON #1. Not so useful for interrelated pieces of knowledge. It is more useful for memorizing simple answers.
CON #2. To really learn, you need to make your own Questions and Answers. A simulator you purchase will have Q&A prepared by someone else.

These 2 cons are huge. Of what use is a simulator for which you have to pay a monthly fee, if 2 or 3 months after you last paid, you are going to forget everything? Wouldn´t be better to have a material for quick reference once and for all? That´s why I am preparing a book for people that is going to present the API 653 exam, and improvements to my simulator to make the transition to a learning tool. I don´t think is fair for a person who is learning for an exam, to spend money on simulators that will mess their minds and actually make them forget what they have studied. Besides, by nature a practice test takes a lot of time to complete. Remember then that a simulator is only one in a set of multiple strategies that shall be used for learning.

When using a simulator, you are violating one of the rules of knowledge formulation: Do not learn if you do not understand. The other one: learn before you memorize. Simulators fall in between learning and the exam, but there has to be some actual learning. My simulator is useless right now if you haven´t read my articles, or read the standards and codes by yourself. However, some of my readers have used and said that it helped them, although they found some errors. For example, I received this by mail regarding a mistake in the simulator. This a little “fe de erratas”.

variable design method is used foe tank greater than 200 ft not 200ft of tank , plus summary of essential variable is wrongly answered (NOTE FROM CFM: This reader passed the exam. He is a serious, proactive student)

In the Q&A list, for example, a reader pointed out to this mistake

3. Q: How many radiographs shall be taken in a square 12” x 24” butt welded insert plate in a 1″ thickness shell?
A: 100%??? Ref: API 653

UPDATE 21/01/16: One reader pointed out to a mistake in this answer. The answer is: 1 in every vertical, 1 in every horizontal, and 1 for every corner.

The fact that human error can be present in simulators and Q&A lists is another thing that should urge you to make your own questions.


If you have used the Q&A list and the simulator, maybe you have noticed that the 100 questions in the simulator are taken from the Q&A list. But they can vary a little, and they actually can be repeated. Is that a mistake? No, it is intentional, because one of the rules of memorizing is precisely repetition. Sometimes you will find 2 or more questions in the simulator that point to the same question in the Q&A list. That´s because  I try to formulate the knowledge so answers are simple. I can do that in a software that you can review in minuts daily, but it would be a huge time loss in the Q&A list.


I am preparing a book explaining in detail every one of the subjects of the Body Of Knowledge. All I can say by now is that it is in an advanced state, but I have no release date.

On the other side, I plan to improve the simulator with an algorithm to make you remember things better, and with imagery. This is an ongoing work

Keep tuned in for more information. Thanks for your reading.


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