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#23719 - 03/25/03 06:10 PM IS the NEC Too HArd
LuminateME1 Offline

Registered: 03/06/03
Posts: 25
Loc: Seattle,WA,USA
Many guys are failing the NEC test for residential electrical. Most are saying that the lingo is so confusing. I've heard of guys failing 7 times. What the heck should they be studying? Do you think it's the hurry-up get the job done attiude most journeyman display in the residential field, rather than the I'll teachyou how and why it should be done this way??? Or, do you think it's the books? Hum.........interesting, you tell me.

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#23720 - 03/25/03 06:17 PM Re: IS the NEC Too HArd
HotLine1 Online   content


Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6792
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
The NEC can be "hard" if you don't take the time, and have the ambition to "learn" it.
I tell my students "Don't try to memorize it; LEARN where to look".....

If the "test" you are refering to is "open book" then the guys may want to "know where to look"

#23721 - 03/25/03 07:43 PM Re: IS the NEC Too HArd
The Watt Doctor Offline

Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 443
Loc: Mont Belvieu, TX
There aren't any easy answers about what or what not to study. The answer is to study, and continue to study until the goal is achieved. The difficult thing about that is, wading through all the information until you find out what is needed. One way to do that is to buy a study guide for residential work. Another way would be to take a class, seminar, etc.
I wish that I could do something to stop the "hurry up" attitude. I have 13 projects that I'm responsible for. Of those 13, 8 were started by a different superintendent. I don't know the status of all 8 jobs, but several that I have looked at, are in terrible shape because of the hurry up attitude. "Hurry up" is costing me 7,500 of #4 copper wire (7.5K not a typo). Why? Because someone got into a big hurry, and pulled the wire in with a backhoe, and no wire lube. Regardless of what is happing to me, or anyone else out there in the industry, the man in the field is responsible for his own education. I hate to say that. I wish that more journeymen would take it upon themselves to help apprentices, but their not doing it. That's why these "helpers" must educate themselves.
When you do find a journeyman who is willing to educate, it makes him that much more valuable.
I'm convinced that this problem will never be fully resolved. I believe that these matters must be handled on an individual basis.

The Watt Doctor
Altura Cogen
Channelview, TX

#23722 - 03/25/03 08:08 PM Re: IS the NEC Too HArd
Electric Eagle Offline

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
Not to seem rude, but maybe it's not that the code is too tough, but that the test taker doesn't know the material or how to use it. I passed my state's exam on the first try, but I met people that were on their 6th or 7th try. Some of them probably never will pass. The biggest factor helping me to pass was a detailed prep corse I took that taught how to use to code and how to look things up. Memorizing the code is usless if you don't understand how to use the info.

[This message has been edited by Electric Eagle (edited 03-25-2003).]

#23723 - 03/26/03 03:01 AM Re: IS the NEC Too HArd
iwire Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
I had to take tests in MA, RI and CT they are not that bad and as Electric Eagle said many of us get it the first time.

I could never memorize it, you just have to practice finding answers using the index and common sense.

These forums are great for that, when someone asks a question try to find the answer in your book before seeing others answers.
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#23724 - 03/26/03 06:44 AM Re: IS the NEC Too HArd
GEO Offline

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 50
Loc: Lancaster,Pa
have heard that there is national average sometimes as low as 23% for first timer , some people just don't test well. i still respect those who keep trying, and then there are those who past and still ARE NOT REAL ELECTRICIANS. GEO

#23725 - 03/26/03 09:23 AM Re: IS the NEC Too HArd
txsparky Offline

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 578
Loc: Magnolia,.Texas U.S.A.
If you want to learn (know)the NEC,you'll have to make a lifetime commitment to study it .Besides it being updated every three years,there's also the errata after publications come out as well as local amendments and millions of differing interpretations.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy,

[This message has been edited by txsparky (edited 03-26-2003).]

#23726 - 03/26/03 10:01 AM Re: IS the NEC Too HArd
US Coreman Offline

Registered: 03/26/03
Posts: 37
Loc: Illinois, USA
The NEC has been written and perpetually updated to keep pace with the ever-changing nature of our business. It is done by numerous committees each time, with collective “heads” greater than mine. It is a “minimum standard” and not an installation manual. In each of the responses to the initial post, I find something to agree with.

I find that there are a lot of “installers” that go through the motions of putting in pipe, cable, gear & fixtures. They may know the basics, and the mechanics of putting in what they have become familiar with, and making it work. To some extent, the trade needs a portion of people that are installers. I have taken these views because I have given up on the idyllic view that everyone that installs electrical wiring must be of similar proficiency. I’m too old, and my mind can’t argue with what my eyes see any longer. Perhaps the “installers” will be overseen by real “tradespeople” so that the product the customer gets is safe and of value.

On the other hand, there are professional “tradespeople” that commit themselves to their industry. This is not their “job”, it is their “ career” or in some cases, their lives. I’d like to believe that I belong to this group. I too, am always learning, always working to advance my knowledge of the trade, and all that it has become. I try to keep up with technology, and make myself a more valuable and “saleable” product.

I took and passed my first master electrician’s test when I was 20. I’m still taking tests. I always found that a huge light bulb went on when I was able to put something into practice in the field, by my own hand, after I had read it in a book. It was a huge source of the feeling of accomplishment. Perhaps, I’m different. I was self-taught.

I remember sending out both ½ and ¾” thinwall to a project when I was working as a deliveryman for an electrical contractor at the age of 16. The wire was TW. GFI’s didn’t exist. Recessed fixtures were limited to over the kitchen sink and maybe a couple of other places. New home services were 100 amps. That was just over 25 years ago. Now everything is ½”, THHN, 200A services, and scads of cans. And it gets done in much less time. Some residential contractors tell me that their profit margin is so slight, any hiccups can cause them too loose money. I could believe that the lack of any time to train on the job just promotes the creation of “installers” rather than professional tradespeople.

#23727 - 03/27/03 05:13 PM Re: IS the NEC Too HArd
CRW Offline

Registered: 02/11/01
Posts: 160
Loc: Bethlehem, PA USA
The NEC isn't too hard to learn. One just needs a methodical approach, the right study materials, and enough time to prepare. If a person can study consistently for an hour or 2 per day, for 6 months, they have a good chance of passing. If that seems like too much of a time commitment, then one must ask, "How important is it to pass that test?"

#23728 - 03/27/03 06:23 PM Re: IS the NEC Too HArd
Roger Offline

Registered: 05/18/02
Posts: 1779
Loc: N.C.
US Coreman, excellent post. I also was self taught and passed my masters on the first try. It took me well past my 20's to do it though.

My advice to anyone else is to take advantage of all training, schooling, education, or instruction that is available.

In otherwords, Education, Education, Education. Don't fight the way I did when there are means to simplify your goals.


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