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How to Pass the Electrical Exam

by Mark Lamendola

To pass the electrical exam for Journeyman electrician, Master electrician, or Master contractor, simply waltzing into the exam room isn't going to cut it. Both hotshot engineers and experienced electricians find this out the hard way, all the time.

The solution to this problem consists of:

  • Obtaining electrical exam study materials.

  • Setting aside specific time, several days a week, to study.

  • Doing this well in advance of the exam.

The effectiveness of this solution depends on how well you focus when studying and on how consistent and disciplined you are in actually studying. We'll get to that, momentarily.

Studying the wrong materials defeats the purpose of studying. Thus, the effectiveness of your electrical exam preparation depends upon the quality of the exam materials. But if you look for electrical exam prep products, you'll find quite a few to choose from.

Why so many exam products by so many providers? The market is flooded with wannabe instructors, who can't find work but do have time to put a few things together and get a presentation online. Sure, these are better than nothing--but do you want to trust your future to someone who does a partial job?

If you are serious about passing your electrical exam the first time, there are only two choices. One is the Tom Henry line, which is pretty good. Tom Henry's been around a long time, and knows what he's doing. We feel the better way to go is with the Mike Holt Exam Prep products.

Both Tom and Mike have professional production, with hardbound books and professional quality videos. But it just seems that Mike does a better job


Now, what about your study techniques? We said earlier that studying the wrong materials defeats the purpose of studying. The obverse is also true: studying improperly defeats the purpose of having the materials.

While there is no single "right way" to study, there are some principles that you need to follow if you want to succeed:

  • Set aside the time. Schedule your study, so that you're not doing it "as time permits." This is crucial. Too many folks wait until it's almost time for the exam, then they cram for it. Instead, set aside 30 minutes each day (or something like that) to really focus on studying. Act as if you're taking a class.
  • Set aside the place. If you don't have a place at home to study, drive yourself over to your local library and study there. You will not regret doing this, but you will regret being unable to study because the dog wants attention or whatever.
  • Set aside your mind. Don't try to multitask. During your study time, turn your phone off. Don't think about what happened that day or what may be happening later.
  • Pay attention. If you aren't "totally there" your studying will be ineffective. Simply reading what's on the page without thinking through it results in low absorption of information. The same applies when watching an electrical exam prep video (which, by the way, you can do at the library on a laptop if you wear earbuds or similar).
  • Don't rush. That's arguably the single biggest mistake people make. Make sure you understand something before moving on to the next concept.

Of course, if you have only a few weeks to study for your electrical exam you are at a huge disadvantage. You will either have to set aside more time per day or risk failing the exam due to an insufficient number of study days.