By Dan Fernandes, CFPS, Sun Hydraulics
It was 9:00 a.m., Oct. 10, 2012. I was fresh out of college and four weeks into my fluid power career. I saw a dozen of my new colleagues around the room diligently working on pressure and flow calculations while I was pondering the true meaning of psi. We were sitting for the hydraulic specialist exam, administered by the International Fluid Power Society.
This was an intense introduction to hydraulics. Torque calculations, work profiles of mechanically loaded beams, ISO cleanliness vocabulary—this was information overload for a new guy like me! Three hours later I found myself praying that I answered 35 of the 50 questions correctly. A few weeks later, I learned that I had correctly answered only 34.
I thought I had been well prepared for the exam. I had done every review test in the back of the Hydraulics Specialist Review Manual. I completed the online pretests. I even made sure that I fully understood each practice question in the review manual.
What I learned about the hydraulics specialist exam was that practicing the review questions is not enough to earn the designation of hydraulics specialist.
Two years later, with hands-on experience and a much better understanding of hydraulic vocabulary, I sat for the exam again. This time, I was very pleased to receive a passing mark.
Since that time, I have been able to help others prepare for the hydraulic specialist exam. I’d like to share some advice that could help you pass the exam on the first try.
Good news! The same principles can be applied to complete the pneumatics and electronic-controls specialist exams to earn a fluid power specialist designation.
IFPS is a wonderful group of professionals in our “hidden giant” of an industry. It is not hard to find a helping hand or a new friend. I wish you the best of luck in your career and certifications.