Professional Training and Consultation

API 653 Preparatory



1. Examination Scheme

2. Distribution of Marks

3. Salient Features of the Examination

4. How to Prepare for the Examination

5. Tips for Maximizing the Score

6. Time Management During the Examination

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As per the present scheme, API 653 examination is oneday, 8-hour, 2 session examination, comprising of prelunch session (4 hours) for "open-book" examination and post-lunch session (4 hours) for "closed-book" examination.

There are a total of 150 questions carrying 1 mark each (total of 150 marks), split into open-book (approximately 50 questions) and closed-book (approximately 100 questions). The distribution of 50 and 100 questions respectively for open-book and closed-book examinations is approximate; however the total is always 150 questions.

Each question is multiple choice questions with given 4 possible choices. Only one is the correct choice. The candidate has to pick-up the correct choice and indicate the same on separate answer sheet. The answer shee~ along with the question paper should be returned back to the Supervisor. The correct answer is to be indicated by blackening (filling) the relevant circle by a pencil. There is no set passing percentoge. However a score of about 95 to 105 out of 150 is a good estimate of passing score.

Please note the tollowinq:

• Fill only one circle out of four given

• Fill the circle fully and completely. Half or less than half blackened circle area is not reckoned for answer.

• Never indicate the answers by ticking ("~) the circles.

• There is no negative marking.

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During the "open-book" session, you are permitted to refer to the codes and other documents as per" Effectivity Sheets". Code pages may be tabbed, highlightened, underlined or notes in margin of the pages are accepted. Additional new pages to codes are not accepted. Always carry the following to the exam hall.

• 2 Nos. B or 2B pencils and eraser

• Non-programmable calculator

• Photo identity (passport, driving license, etc.)

• Exam confirmation letter

Be present in the exam hall at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled . start of exam. The supervisor announces important instructions during this period. Do not miss them. Now relax and attempt the exam calmly. Time is always more than enough.

Good luck, friends!

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As per the Effectivity Sheet, there are total 7 codes prescribed for examination. However, all of them are not equally important and do not therefore require equal emphasis. About 50 percent questions are asked from one code API 653 which is hardly 40 pages, while all other 8 codes contribute 50% marks which are more than 1 ,000 pages. Following distribution scheme will help the participant to decide how much time he should spend for each docurnent during preparation.

Approx. Weightoge Questions
S.N. Code Asked Out of
(in %) Totol150
1 API 653 45-50 68-75
2 API 650 15 - 18 22 - 27
3 ASME Sec. IX 10-12 15 - 18
4 ASMESec. V 10 - 12 15 - 18
5 API RP 575 5 7
6 API RP 651 3 4
7 API RP 652 3 5
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As stated earlier, the examination comprises of open book and closed book parts. The closed-book examination includes such questions which the inspector is normally expected to know without referring the Codes, i.e., the questions are "awareness level" questions.

Whenever you find a very definitive or quantitative statement in body of the Code, a closed book question may be expected on it. Thus, the basic requirements of a code, specific "00" and "DON'T" statements, important quantified statements, important definitions and well-known inspection principles will constitute such questions.

Where the student is required to refer to the diagrams or formulas or tables or graphs end curves from the Codes, it will always be an "open-book" question. All calculation oriented questions will normally be "open-book" type. The Code information which is not short and crisp, (Le., large paragraphs, several descriptive statements clubbed together) will normally be asked in "open-book" part. Here the participant is expected not to remember the information but should know where to find it in the body of the Code.

The questions asked in closed book part are straight forward statements directly taken form Code without much of the modifications and therefore are easy to answer. To answer open-book questions, one only needs to know where to find the answer in the code and therefore tabbing of Code pages, highlighting the paragraphs or additional explanatory notes in page margins is useful for saving time. Closed-book part of the exam (100 marks) can be finished in hardly 2 to 2 1f2 hour though 4 hours are allotted. While "open-book" part (50 marks) takes a little longer and may require all the 4 hours that are allotted.

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If your aim is only to get "certified", l.e.. to obtain just around 100-1 10 marks, detailed study of documents nos. 1 to 4 above (Chapter 2) may be adequate. Additionally, one should try to remember all the "Points to Recall" and review the mock examinations attempted during the Preparatory Course. If two or more participants from same organization are appearing for exam, then joint discussions and one putting question to another and vice versa has been found very effective during preparation. Other 5 codes (Le., Serial No. 5 to 9) may be studied in detail if there is additional preparation time available. An overall "awareness" level knowledge of these 5 Codes may be okay.

If your objective is to get certified and also to obtain a good score, (say 125+) then it is worthwhile to study the 5 Codes (Serial No.5 to 9). However, please remember that study of API 653 has to be "thorough" end total, while study of API 6501. ASME Sec. IX and ASME Sec. V should be such that it can cover the topics mentioned in the "Body of Knowledge". The last 5 Codes (Serial No.5 to 9) should be read at least once and note the important points. A very "thorough" study of these documents however will not result in "gains" commensurate with the efforts put in.

If you are about a month away from examination, read all the Codes at least once and concentrate on highlighted text in the Codes and also try to solve the question bank.

If you are about two weeks away from the exam, concentrate on highlighted text as well as the mock examinations conducted during the course. In the last week of preparation, focus on Points to Recall and mock exams.

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Remember the "10 Tips" covered during the preparatory course. Following additional tips will be useful.

a. There are only 5 or 6 important definitions from Chapter 3 of API 653. Normally 3 to 4 definitions are asked in closed-book exam.

b. From Chapter 4 of API 653, nearly 15 questions are asked (7 to 8 closed book and 7 to 8 open book). Concentrate more on clauses 4.?1 .2, , to 4.3.7.

c. Chapter 5, knowing figure 5-2 and only 3 clauses 5.3.5 to 5.3.7 is enough.

d. From Chapter 6, about 10 questions are asked.

It is only 3 page chapter. Particularly pay attention to Inspection intervals.

e. From Chapter 7 and Chapter 8, generally 2 or 3 questions are asked.

f. Chapter 9, about 7 to 8 questions are asked.

Concentrate more on Figure 9-1 and hot tap (Clause 9.14).

g. Chapter 10, about 3 or 4 questions are asked and those generally "open book" type. So you can refer to the code and get answers.

h. Chapter 11, it is hardly 8 to 10 lines chapter but 1 or 2 questions are asked.

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I. Chapter 12, about 7 to 8 questions are asked.

Normally the questions are on NOT. The participant is expected to know that NOT procedures shall be as per relevant article of ASME Sec. V, the NOT extent shall be as per API 650 or 653 while acceptance criteria is as per API 650 or ASME Sec. VIII, Oiv. 1. he should also know that qualification standard of NOT personnel is ASNT SNT-TC 1 A (or API 650). This chapter is better explained in Appendix F (API 653) as NOE Summary or in Appt. (API 650)

j. Chapter 13, generally 1 question covering name plate stamping is asked.

k. Appendices: App. A. Here note that API 650 was introduced in 1961 (prior to this was API 12C) and seventh edition (1980) onwards the joint efficiency (E) is taken as 1.

App. B: The important topics are number of settlement monltorinq points (Figure B-1, B-2) and formula B = 0.37 R (R in feet while B is in inches)

App. C: This being item wise inspection checklist concerning what to check where. Normally, 1 or 2 open book questions are set. No need to remember this table.

App. 0: Note certification requirement (Clauses 0.2 and 0.5)

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I. From API 650. Normally, two questions are asked on materials. (Fig. 2-1, Table 2-3, Table 2- 4 and Clause 2.8). Usually 5 to 6 questions are asked on Chapter 3 concerning shell, bottom and roof thickness, attachment welds. From Chapter 5, normally 2 or 3 questions will be asked. Focus on weld reinforcement, undercuts, use of low-H electrodes and inspection pressure for pad-test and vacuum box test. From Chapter 6, generally 3 questions covering number of radiographs (Fig. 6-1) and acceptance standards and personnel qualifications are asked.

m. Since there is no negative marking, there is no

harm in making guess. Generally, do not go against your first impulse, unless you are sure you were wrong in the first place. If some questions are still remaining unanswered mark the answers you "feel" may be right. Do not leave any question unanswered.

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Both "open" and "closed" book sessions are 4 hours each. This means about 25 to 28 questions per hour for closed book and t2 to 15 questions per hour for open book. For proper time management following are useful suggestions.

a} You may start from Question No. 1 and proceed. If after 1 hour you feel that you are maintaining the required progress as mentioned above proceed serially.

b) If, however, you are behind the required rote, start jumping the questions, l.e.. start attempting those questions you can answer, deleting whose answer you do not know. Proceed like this till the end. Do not leave any question unanswered whose answer you know.

c) Then come back to "deleted" questions and attempt them using your "feel" factor. Go on like this till say lost 10-15 minutes are rernolnlnq.

d) If there are still some questions where you have no clue at all just mark the answer at random in last 10-15 minutes. This may give you few chance marks. Do not leave any question unattempted.

e) After completion of writing exam, if you have still time (which you normally have) you may go through your answers just to check quickly if you have filled a wrong circle.

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• Don't read too much into a question. Do not get too elaborate and ruin your answer.

• If two choices are very similar, the answer is probably not eittrer of them.

• If two choices are opposite, one of then is probably correct.

• Don't go against your first impulse unless you are very sure you were wrong.

• Check for negatives and other words that can throw you off.

• The answer is usually wrong if it contains "ali," "always," "never," or "none."

• The answer has a great chance of being right if it has "sometimes," "probably," or "some."

• When you don't know the answer, look for the wrong ones.

• If you are supposed to read a long passage and then answer questions about it, read the question first. That will tell you what you are looking for and affect the way you read the passage.

• Be suspicious of choices thot seem obvious.

• Don't give up on a question that, after one reading, seems complicated. Looking at it from a different angle, restating it in your own words, drawing a picture, or breaking it down, etc., may help you realize that it's not as hard as you thought.

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