API ICP Computer-based testing launches in 2014 - here's what you need to know

By Nick Schmoyer, Vice President and Technical Director at Inspectioneering. December 9, 2013

Starting in March 2014, the American Petroleum Institute Inspector Certification Program (API ICP) will change its examination delivery method from pen-and-paper based testing (PBT) to computer-based testing (CBT). This change is a welcome push toward a more streamlined, efficient method of handling ICP examinations. Below are some details about the upcoming changes.

Major changes to the testing experience

Tests will now be offered over a 10-day testing window. Tests will continue to be proctored by Prometric, a global test administration organization. Currently Prometric features about 650 computer testing centers around the world. (Please note that all computer testing centers have a limited capacity, ranging from 5 to 40 seats.) This means each applicant will have a choice of when or where they want to test within a given window.

Per the API website, the ICP schedule for 2014 is as follows:


Once API reviews and approves your application submitted to their new online portal, you will receive an exam authorization letter containing your exam eligibility ID. API will no longer accept paper applications in 2014.

As soon as you receive your eligibility ID, you may log in to the Prometric website and schedule your exam at the time and location of your choosing. API staff members will no longer schedule your exam for you. You can preview the available testing locations by visiting and clicking on “locate a test center”.

Please note: Scheduling at Prometric locations is on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be competing for your test spot with other API applicants as well as with other organizations’ applicants. To ensure you obtain an exam seat of your preference, please schedule your exam immediately upon receiving your eligibility ID.

Every API program will now be featuring examinations three times per year at equal intervals. Please note that API 510 and 570 are an exception to this rule in 2014 – there are only two planned exam administrations. In general it is planned that API 510 will administered in January, and 570 in February, starting 2015. The API 510 and 570 examinations will no longer be administered on the same day.

You will not need to bring anything to any examination other than your government issued picture ID and admission letter. When codebooks are necessary for an exam, those will be displayed on your monitors. You will also have access to a calculator and scrap paper for calculations. Prometric security procedures will prevent you from bringing anything else into the exam room. All your other belongings will be stored in specially provided lockers.

Benefits of computer-based testing

The transition from pen-and-paper testing to computer-based testing may raise alarm for some people who are accustomed to taking examinations by paper. While nothing in life is guaranteed to be perfect, testing by computers offers some notable benefits over traditional methods:

  • Present-day CBT systems are designed for ease-of-use and straightforwardness. The systems have been optimized to allow for an easy, seamless experience. CBT will allow you to mark any question you may later want to review, or to change your answer to any question prior to submitting the exam.
  • Before any exam will begin, you will be provided with a tutorial on how to use the computer. The exam timer will only start after you have completed the tutorial.
  • All Prometric testing centers feature superb security procedures (including security cameras) that should provide for a consistent testing experience around the world.
  • Previously, testing windows were for one day. If that day happened to be when you were on vacation, there was little you could do. Now, the CBT exams are administered over a 10-day window, providing much more flexibility. If you find out that you are unavailable on the day of the exam, you may be to reschedule the test to another day within the same testing window.
  • Application submission will no longer require notarization or handwritten signatures.
  • Of course, CBT grading is much less laborious and generally prone to fewer human errors. API is working towards gradually reducing the waiting period between the exam window and scoring distribution. As with all API ICP examinations in the past, you will still be able to dispute any questions that you believe were misleading, poorly written or had no correct answer.

What will remain the same?

  1. Pre-Qualification requirements for all programs.
  2. The structure and length of the exams.
  3. As mentioned above, your ability to challenge questions.
  4. Deadlines for applications.
  5. The time period between the exam and the results’ notification.

To find out more please visit To visit the new ICP application portal, visit

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