Methods Covered Under Each Group Exam

PDF of this page as of August  2013

NOTE: Each of the exams (Groups 1-5) will have questions addressing basic principles of source testing including test site safety, sample transport and handling, proportional and representative sampling, calculations, common communications issues between laboratories and field testers, and basics of reporting including corrections for standard conditions and excess air. 

During the exams, the candidate may use any written documents including copies of published test methods, test method support materials such QA Manuals, engineering manuals, calculation sheets with or without handwritten notes or reference tabs, or other technical reference materials.  The candidate is not allowed to use computers (including laptops, iPads, etc.), cell phones (such as iPhones, Blackberrys, other types of smart phones) or other electronic imaging or communications devices during the exams.

SES Qualified Source Testing Individual and Observer Exams

Structure and Content of the Six Methods Groups        

            The Source Evaluation Society designed the Qualified Source Testing Individual and Observer (QSTO/QSTI) exams to test candidates on their knowledge of the technical requirements and specifications of EPA and other related test methods.  In addition, the exams also test the understanding of the implementation of those methods.  Stationary source air emissions testing implementation issues include: 

  • General industrial process characteristics and operations;
  • Regulatory requirements related to air emissions compliance testing, particularly EPA regulations;
  • Fundamental gas relationships (e.g., temperature, dilution, and moisture corrections); and 
  • On-site safety and equipment handling practices.

            The SES believes that a characteristic of the approved QSTI/QSTO is the ability to demonstrate this broader knowledge in any emissions testing situation.  This knowledge is relevant to the success of an emissions testing project including evaluating the suitability of a test site for safety and accessibility purposes, completing and verifying emissions calculations, preparing effective compliance test reports, or assessing emissions measurement data for process optimization purposes.  Each SES QSTI/QSTO exam includes questions that look for knowledge of these broader principles and practices.  

            For example, a candidate can expect questions about gas flow and volume measurement methods on a group 2 exam about wet gas sampling methods, a group 3 exam about instrumental gaseous pollutant testing and CEMS assessments, and a group 4 exam about metals measurement methods.  The candidate can expect questions about regulatory and general process operations on any method group exam.  The candidate should expect questions on dilution and moisture correction relationships, as described in EPA Methods 3B and 19 for example, on any of the exams.  An SES QSTI/QSTO candidate should be prepared to address questions about fundamental gas and flow relationships that are derived from EPA Methods 1 through 4 on any method group examQuestions about regulatory definitions, the basic structure of compliance tests, and test plan preparation requirements as outlined in the general provisions of 40 CFR parts 60 and 63 will appear on any method group exam. (see also

There are six SES QSTI method group exams.  Questions on exams for these six groups focus respectively on the following stationary source air emissions testing areas:

  • Group 1 - Gas flow, isokinetic sampling, and particulate matter testing;
  • Group 1a - Stack gas velocity and flow rate measurements
  • Group 2 - Sampling for gaseous pollutants with manual and wet chemistry test methods;
  • Group 3 - Measuring gaseous pollutant concentrations with instrumental test methods and  conducting CEMS RATAs; 
  • Group 4 - Testing for emissions of hazardous metals; and
  • Group 5 – Conducting Part 75 CEMS RATAs.

            Unless otherwise indicated, the methods and performance specifications listed for each method group exam are from: 

  • 40 CFR part 60, appendix A, 
  • 40 CFR part 60, appendix B,
  • 40 CFR part 63, appendix A, or
  • 40 CFR part 75 including appendix A.

            The specific methods and specifications that are the focus of the five exam groups are as follows.  Please note that questions in all the group exams are continuously being reviewed and updated as needed.

Note:  Methods listed in each group has been revised as of 2/14/2013.

Group One Exam (first available March 2004) – updated 2010 (50 questions - 40 correct answers needed for a passing grade):  Manual Gas Volume and Flow Measurements and Isokinetic Particulate Sampling Methods to include:  U.S. EPA Methods: 1, 1A, 2, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3, 3B, 4, 5, 5A, 5B, 5D, 5E, 5F, 5I, 17, 19, 201A and 202. 

Group 1A Exam(first available March 2013) – (50 questions – 40 correct answers needed for a passing grade):  Stack Gas Flow Rate Measurements Sampling Methods to include Methods 1, 2, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3, 3B, 4 (including references to Method 5 DGM calibration procedures), 19, 40 CFR part 60.8(f), 40 CFR part 63.7(e)(3), and the SES Exam Guideline (see also

Group Two Exam (first available March 2004) – updated 12/2/08 (50 questions - 40 correct answers needed for a passing grade):  Manual Gaseous Pollutants Source Sampling Methods to include U.S. EPA Methods: 1 through 4, 3B, 6, 6A, 6B, 7, 7C, 7D, 8, 11,13A, 13B, 15A, 16A, 19, 26, 26A, 202. 

Group Three Exam(first available March 2005) –  updated 2010 (50 questions - 40 correct answers needed for a passing grade): Gaseous Pollutants Instrumental Methods - Methods 1, 2, 3, 3A, and 4, 6C, 7E, 10, 10B, 20 and 25A (Methods 3A, 6C, 7E, 19 and 20, as revised April 28, 2006). Also included are CEMS Performance Specifications (PS) 2, PS3, PS4, PS4A, PS5, PS6, PS7, PS8, and PS15, the U.S. EPA Traceability Protocol for Assay and Certification of Gaseous Calibration Standards (Revised May 2012), EPA 600/R-12/531, sections 2.1.1 – 2.1.3,and the fundamental procedures, relationships, and methods described above.  (Note: revised language highlighted in red as of 8/12/2013.)

Group Four Exam (first available March 2007) – 12/2/08 (50 questions - 40 correct answers needed for a passing grade):  Hazardous Metals Measurement Methods to include Methods 1 through 4, 12, 19, 29, 30B, 101, 101A, 102, and ASTM D6784-02.  (The ASTM Method may be purchased from ASTM at

Group Five Exam (first available March 4, 2012) (50 questions - 40 correct answers needed for a passing grade): Part 75 CEMS RATA Testing . Methods to include sampling measurements and relative accuracy determinations are as required by Part 75. Methods and other supporting materials covered in this Group 5 will be Methods 1- 4 (including but not limited to Method 2F, 2G, 2H, and 3B), 6C, and 7E; Part 75 Appendix A, Sections 3, 6, and 7; and sections 3 and 8 of the Part 75 Emissions Monitoring Policy Manual. See also related sections in 40 CFR part 60, appendix B, Performance Specification 2 and the U.S. EPA Traceability Protocol for Assay and Certification of Gaseous Calibration Standards (Revised May 2012), EPA 600/R-23/531, sections 2.1.1 – 2.1.3. Candidates may bring copies of the associated reference materials to the exam session along with a calculator with trigonometric functions. (Note: revised language highlighted as of 2/14/2013)