As in today's semiconductor industries test costs can make up to 50 percent of the total production costs, an efficient test error detection becomes more and more important. In this paper, we present a new machine learning approach to test error detection that should provide a faster recognition of test system faults as well as an improved test error recall. The key idea is to learn a classifier ensemble, detecting typical test error patterns in wafer test results immediately after finishing these tests. Since test error detection has not yet been discussed in the machine learning community, we define central problem-relevant terms and provide an analysis of important domain properties. Finally, we present comparative studies reflecting the failure detection performance of three individual classifiers and three ensemble methods based upon them. As base classifiers we chose a decision tree learner, a support vector machine and a Bayesian network, while the compared ensemble methods were simple and weighted majority vote as well as stacking. For the evaluation, we used cross validation and a specially designed practical simulation. By implementing our approach in a semiconductor test department for the observation of two products, we proofed its practical applicability.