Electrical Exam Tips | Good Time Management

Electrical Exam Prep

The Problem

Having the right strategy for managing time on an electrical exam is just as important as knowing the material. In fact, I would go as far to say that it is the number one reason for failed exams. People start running out of time and get panicked. They start guessing and miss questions they’d answer correctly if they weren’t rushed. You must stay calm and collected during an electrical exam. You can’t focus when you feel like you won’t finish in time. Once the fear of running out of time sets in, you lost the battle with the clock.

I am no expert on the brain, but from what I understand fear triggers the fight or flight mechanism. This shuts parts of the brain down and gives priority to functions essential to life preservation. Passing an electrical exam is not one of those essential functions. It’s an instinct and the best way to control it is to avoid it. Mange the clock and put time on your side. Here’s how.

The Solution

The plan is stick to the plan. You have to stay disciplined and stick to this electrical exam strategy. Don’t lose focus and stray from your time management plan for any reason.

When you begin the electrical exam you will answer questions in this order;

First Pass – Answer the question you know first. This means you know the answer and where to find it to verify that you’re correct. Never assume you know the answer even if you do. Look it up. You can’t miss the gimmes and calculations are gimmes too, don’t skip them. While picking the low hanging fruit first you will be skipping all others. If you have trouble with calculations see our Calculation’s Class »

For the ones you think you know, but aren’t sure exactly where to find them, mark the question and the answer then move on. The questions that you have no idea where to start, just mark the question and skip it quickly without second thought. Congratulations! You just prioritized the questions and answered the easiest ones right away. This eliminated getting an easy question wrong by guessing in the end.

The goal for the first pass is to quickly answer the easy questions right. No matter how many you answered now there’s more time per question. The amount of time added per question will vary. It depends on how many you answered and how fast.

Second Pass – By now you probably know the next pass will be locating the answers you think you know, but need to prove. These are the ones you marked the question and answer in the first pass. Work through these questions remembering not to spend too much time on any one question. No one question is worth sacrificing time for others. Just push the hardest questions to the end.

After going through these questions most of the exam should be complete and at this point all correct. If you have trouble navigating the NEC® to find articles you may consider our Code Essentials »

Final Pass – Now you should only have questions hardest to you left and more time per question to answer them. You only need enough of these to close the gap between how many you already answered and the passing score. There are some questions that you won’t know and will get wrong no matter how much time you spend on them. Don’t waste your time. If you can’t find it, leave it to take your best guess in the end. You probably passed by then anyway.

By using this time management strategy on your electrical exam you give yourself the best chance to succeed. Your goal is to pass first and get as many right as you can second. So use your time in the right priority.

If you fall short using this strategy it at least identifies the problem. You don’t know the code as good as you thought or enough to pass. Don’t worry, most don’t. You will need some training for test purposes. This has nothing to do with your knowledge or ability on the job.

If you need electrical exam preparation, check out our program. It is the best training available for an electrical exam and it’s guaranteed. Electrical Exam Prep »

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