If you’re looking to grab an edge in the fire alarm and protection industry, that’s where the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) comes into play. NICET awards nationally recognized certification programs that are increasingly used by employers to measure job skills and knowledge. But how can you ensure you pass the incredibly challenging NICET exam the first time around? Bryan McLane, vice president of the National Training Center (NTC), has come up with a 10-step game plan to prepare technicians for the difficult test.
“It’s certainly not an easy certification to achieve. It’s kind of like the marines—the few and the proud. The certification is extremely valuable across the industry, and these steps will help get you there,” McLane said during a Nov. 18 webinar titled “10 Steps to NICET Success.”
McLane shared these 10 steps with webinar participants—a plan that has resulted in a 92 percent pass rate on the first test for NTC students, which is about three times greater than the 30 percent national average. Let’s explore this plan of action in detail:
Step 1—Start Studying Early: When students leave McLane’s NICET prep class, they are typically exhausted. But McLane encourages them to go home after class and do some reading on code—devoting plenty of time to studying early on.
Step 2—Get the Right References: Each NICET exam is edition specific, so it’s important that you obtain the most current NICET book edition for the exam you’re taking.
Step 3—Study One Bite at a Time: “This might be the hardest exam you’ll ever take,” McLane said. As a result, you cannot open the books for the first time the night before and cram for it. Start studying early and “in small bites.”
Step 4—Highlight Important Words/Concepts: Steer clear of focusing intently on every single word on every page. Instead, draw your attention to the words and concepts that jump out to you. Study with a highlighter in your hand so when you’re at the exam you can quickly flip through your book and locate the most pertinent and impactful information. At the end of the day, the exam is about effectively managing your time.
Step 5—Attach Permanent Tabs: NICET permits permanent tabbed references affixed to sections of your book during the exam. NICET will not allow for tabs that can be easily relocated during the test; therefore, use your best judgment to place permanent tabs on the most important chapters and sections of the code.
Step 6—Implement a Strategy: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Come to the exam with a strategy so you know how many questions you need to get through to pass, and don’t focus on the research-intensive questions that will take up too much time.
Step 7—Answer Every Question: In the past, a NICET exam strategy was to intentionally leave questions blank. But today’s strategy is to answer all of the questions because an unanswered question hurts your score. Work on the easiest questions first and, if you’re running out of time, it’s OK to guess on the remaining ones.
Step 8—Use the Flag Button: For the more difficult questions, use the flag button and then come back to them later on. You should not be sacrificing your valuable time on these research-intensive questions.
Step 9—Avoid Research-Intensive Questions: McLane cannot emphasize this point enough. You don’t have the luxury to invest a lot of time on the research-intensive questions. You should give an educated guess, flag the question and come back to it later on.
Step 10—Seek Out Study Guides and Training: The best way to succeed is by learning from people who are successful in the field. That’s because they have put together the best study guides and training plans to pass exams, including NTC, which has developed strategies for passing the NICET exam.
This webinar is now viewable on demand on the Silent Knight website. Click here to learn more about the 10 steps to NICET success.
About the Author
Beth Welch is the Manager of Public Relations & Social Outreach for Honeywell Fire Systems. For a decade, she has strived to raise awareness of new technologies, industry trends and information, for the benefit of engineers, integrators and end users.