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The information given here is simply the opinion of one guy who did
electrical work from 1967 until 2001and has taught electrical courses
since about 1973. Please confirm all aspects of this information with
others before acting on the contents. Hopefully you will find helpful
details here which will make your career choice easier to follow.
Cheers:>) David U. Larson
Unquestionably the best tip I have on how to do well on exams is to be prepared.
This means doing all the assigned reading, working through all calculation
types, and spending a lot of time in the National Electrical Code.
Shortcut To A Good Score
Complete Application Early
Paperwork is typically required in advance of taking an exam. Apply well in
advance so you are not stressed by process. This will set your mind at ease so
you can concentrate on exam content. Do not schedule your exam before you have
given yourself enough time to prepare. Journeyman self study time is 4-6 months.
Masters self study time is 6-12 months. Take your time.
Day Of The Exam
Arrive at the exam location well in advance. Bring a cooler with snacks, lunch
and fluids. Do not speak with anyone before the exam. As tempted as you may be
to say hey to a fellow student, resist. And most importantly, do not think about
the test. Save your brain power for the actual exam. If you're not ready on exam
day, last minute cram time does not work.
Week Before The Exam
Layout a list of tasks which are focused on areas where you have problems.
Approach each task calmly. Work through each task and move on. Allow a
proportional amount of time for each area of study.
Night Before The Exam
Get to bed at your normal time. Eat lightly. Layout your test materials in
advance. Do not spend the evening studying. If you do not know the material the
night before the exam, it's too late to try.
During The Exam
Watch the clock! Establish a plan ahead of time. Keep count of the number of
answers you are sure about. Once you have reached a passing quantity of correct
questions, you will be relieved. Any remaining time can be used for insurance
answers. Guess on questions you feel good about. Alternate guesses. Use A then B
then C then D.
After The Exam
Make notes of question types you did not study or could not figure out. That way
if you should happen to need to retake the exam, you'll know what to study.
Make Up Your Own Test
An excellent preparation technique is to write out questions yourself about the
material you are learning. Include answers and reference numbers. This effort
will give you the chance to visit every aspect of the material from theory to
While taking a test, questions often are included which you do not know about.
Leave them blank until you have time at the end. Then work backward from the
answers that are given. Look up any word you do not know. Somehow you might
stumble on the answer. The NEC works that way.
Cross Off Bad Answers
As you work through a problem, you may find an answer that you know to be wrong.
Cross it off right away. And look for two more to cross off. The correct answer
might not be easy to find. But wrong ones might be. When you have eliminated
three, the last one might be right.
Record Article Numbers
On difficult questions, write down each article number you visit to try to find
the answer. This will save you time when you return to questions later. Then you
can go right to other articles where the answer may be found. This time saving
technique works great near the end of an exam when you may be frantically
looking through the NEC for an answer.
Keep Your Head Down
You have invested a lot of time and effort getting ready for the test. While
taking the test, do not think of anything else. Concentrate on getting as many
answers right as possible. Focus. Shut out all distractions. Ignore others
taking the test. Work as through you have nothing else to distract you.
Make Copies Of Tables
The NEC is loaded with tables. Use a copy machine to make a couple copies of all
important tables in the NEC. Like 250.66, 250.122, 310.15B2a, 430.52, 430.148,
Chapter 9 Table 8. You get the idea. By having these tables handy, you'll be
able to reduce page flip time. All the more time for finding those very
difficult answers. Put one set at the front of the NEC and another at the back.
Transfer Answers Last
If you are taking an exam with a separate answer sheet, hold off marking the
answer sheet until the last fifteen minutes or so. At that time, carefully enter
the answer you have selected on the answer sheet. This will save time. Just mark
the letter of the answer you select near the question number. Guess for any you
do not know.
Another test taking tool to save time is to circle each answer you are sure
of on the test booklet. Underline any you are not sure of. And leave clear any
you do not know. This effort may improve your focus so you spread what time
remains appropriately. Better to spend time on questions you know something
about than on questions you know nothing about.
Test Results Are Not Life Threatening
If you go into an exam with adequate preparation you will pass. Plain and
simple. But you may not have the time and energy to do all the preparation you
should. What's so unusual about that? Probably everyone feels there is more
preparation they could have done.
So when you get your results and they are lower than passing, dig in.
Reschedule. Restudy. And try again. When you eventually pass, the license won't
say it took you more than once to pass. It'll just say you got it. Life's too short
to sweat the small stuff. Stick-to-itiveness will out in the end. Think of the
testing process as a process. Each exam is another step.
Take All Approved References To The Exam
Each testing agency is different. So this note can not include approved
references allowed for the exam you will take. But be sure you have one of each
for the test. Also bring other references which are useful. Have them evaluated
by the proctor for the test. Use any reference you feel will help you if
Further, many testing agencies do not allow hand written notes in approved
references. So if you have notes throughout your book, you may want to bring
clean copies. That way if your book with notes is taken away from you, you'll
still have a clean copy to use.
A backup calculator is also a good idea. Other things to take to the exam
room include extra pencils, erasers, watch`, straight edge, life savers, and any
other fidget items which give you comfort.