If Section IX is a weak area you need to be familiar with the basic welding processes that may be covered on the exam. They are (in ASME terminology):

  • SMAW: Shielded Metal Arc Welding (commonly called “stick welding”)
  • SAW: Submerged Arc Welding (commonly called “sub arc”)
  • GTAW: Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (commonly called “TIG”)
  • GMAW: Gas Metal Arc Welding (commonly called “MIG”)
  • for API-653 only the SMAW and SAW methods are required

To become familiar with the processes you should actually witness welding and have the process explained by an experienced welding engineer, inspector or welding technician. You will be expected to review Procedure Qualification Records (PQR’s) and Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS’s). Section IX requires tensile and bend tests to be performed to qualify WPS’s. These results are documented on the PQR. Go to a welding testing lab and get a good look at the coupons cut from test weldments and the testing process. You should also witness the welding and actual heat treatment of a weldment in the shop or field.

Get copies of a simple SMAW PQR & WPS and take a look at the information contained in them. Compare that to the essential and nonessential variables required to be addressed by Section IX in Table QW-253.

We do have one caution: Don’t pay much attention to what you are told about ASME Section IX requirements as we have found that they are universally misunderstood and proper compliance is rare.