Most communities now require that any electrician working without supervision must be licensed. For larger electrical construction projects, many states require the certification of journeyman electricians as well as specialty electricians, such as splicers of high-voltage cable. This licensing trend is increasing as more states recognize the need to protect homeowners from incompetent electricians. |
The Electrical Exam Just about all states now require that electricians pass a demanding exam. These exams are a good test of the electrical knowledge of each examinee. The exams usually center on, and make reference to the National Electrical Code and questions in the exam often include many obscure code references that require genuine Code knowledge, not just common sense. These are hard tests to pass, but there are secrets to studying that can offer you an edge.
The first stage in preparing for your electrical exam is to check with your state board for the requirements, recommended study material, and how to apply. If you meet the license requirements follow the links to find out where the exams are given and the study material required. Often the whole test application process can be done on line thorough your state licensing board.
Once you have set your exam date you will probably want to prepare for the test. There are probably plenty of schools in your state that will be happy to take your money and spoon-feed you electrical knowledge to help you pass the exam. But you may be able to save your money, study on your own and pass the exam with flying colors. Most electricians who fail the exam, know the material, but do not know how to study properly.
By spending a few nights a week studying for the electrical exam you will quickly find yourself growing more familiar with the statutes of the National Electrical Code. Getting a license should be a goal that you set for yourself; it is a key to your future -- a satisfying, steady, well-paying career in the electrical industry. As you study the NEC and the other required references, highlight important points with a marker. You may want to buy tabs that mark the important sections of the NEC so that you can find them quickly during the open book exam. Speed is important; as you may be able to spend only have two to four minutes for each test question, so you will want to stay focused.
Effectively studying the NEC Learning to read and understand the NEC is like learning a foreign language. You need to understand the basic structure of the language, study the words, and how those words are used in phrases, as well as the pronunciation. Having learned the basics, you try your hand at communicating, but at first, all you can manage are short phrases because you don't know how to put the words together in a complete sentence. For that, you need to study the rules and understand the subtle nuances of the language -- and then practice.
What to expect on the Examination Most electrical exams will include questions on the NEC, general knowledge of electrical practice, theoretical questions, and questions on local ordinances. The questions on the NEC including rules and design calculations comprise from 70% to 80% of the exam.
The people compiling the examination maintain a bank of several hundred questions covering each test subject. Questions are selected at random. The format of the actual exam and the reference material allowed into the exam room may vary with each locality. Typically, an applicant is allowed six to eight hours to complete the exam. Applicants are usually required to report to the examination room at 8 a.m. where the proctors explain the rules of taking the exam. Once the exam begins it continues until lunch -- when there is usually an hour break.
Sometimes it may seem like several of the answers could be correct, but only one of them will be. Use the process of elimination to find the actual correct answer.
Tips on scoring higher A good way to score highly is to pace yourself. As the exam starts, take a few minutes to look over the number of questions given in the exam and figure out approximately how much time you will have to spend on each one. When answering the questions, if an answer you are not sure of, skip the question and move on. Once you complete all the questions in the exam booklet that you know the answers to, return to the difficult questions that you skipped. When you have finished these, take a few minutes to review all your answers.
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