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Maths for electricians

Maths for electricians is easy

Maths does not need to be difficult.

All through school, college and in fact, all through life, we are told that maths is difficult and that you need a brain the size of a planet to understand maths. But it is not true.

Sure, if you want to compute how to send people to Mars and back or you want to fire a missile from a submarine and pop it on some Asian dictator’s head, you have got to do some brain-busting maths, but here in the UK, doing industrial, commercial and domestic electrical installations, it is not that tough.

Maths for electricians online courseAt Electacourse we have given this a lot of thought and have written a course Maths for Electricians which we think hits the spot. We are not concerned whether you have a left-sided or a right-sided brain and whether one side or another is better for maths. We focus on the place and time you need to know maths most: when you are taking an exam or an assessment.

Of course, you need maths when you are on a job, but mostly in those circumstances, you are using some pretty good instruments which are doing the calculations for you, or you have bought some excellent apps and programs: punch the numbers in and the correct answers come out.

For nearly every qualification you need as an electrician, you can take into the exam the relevant reference books and a calculator. Books such as [amazon_textlink asin=’184919873X’ text=’IET Guidance Note 3′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’electacourse-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’c6d95ad5-d06f-11e7-99db-17fc77f40498′] or [amazon_textlink asin=’184919887X’ text=’IET On Site Guide’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’electacourse-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’253eda5a-d070-11e7-b5d9-ff2b52b5a835′] mostly have the equations you need to pass that exam.

So, our Maths for Electricians course does not spend ages trying to get you to understand the whole range of stuff which is mathematics, we concentrate on just three things:

  1. Maths basics – types of numbers and how to work with them – for instance: plus, minus, multiply, divide, % etc
  2. Units – Metres, Amps, Volts, Watts etc and their sizes – for instance millimetres, kilowatts etc
  3. Equations – this where it all comes together. First we talk about how to change equations, ie from Ohm’s Law you get both A = V/R (Current = Volts divided by Resistance) and R = V/A. Then we talk about how to put numbers and units into the equations to get the answers you need.

Bish, Bosh. Done.

But, here we have to add some stuff which isn’t small print and it is important. This Maths for Electricians course is good for you if you are:

  1. studying for City & Guilds exams such as 2382-15, 2394/95, 2365, 2357 and 2391-50, 51 and 52. In this course you should find all the maths and equations you need for those exams. And all have them have tons of practice questions.
  2. an electrician who wants to brush up on their maths and remind yourself you can still do it.
  3. you are in another trade but have to understand or undertake some electrical work

For those of you who are working in high voltage, electrical installation design or other specialist and advanced areas of electrical work, this course would be considered an introduction. It does not cover the complex and advanced maths which you need and use in your everyday work.

 

 

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2391 Inspection and Testing is back!

But what about 2394/2395?

Do not be alarmed if you already have the 2394/2395 qualifications or if you are still studying for them. These qualifications continue alongside the new 2391 and will be taught and examined up to August 2018; and of course the 2394 and 2395 qualifications will continue to be recognised by industry and employers.

The 2394 and 2395 qualifications have acquired a deserved reputation as high quality evidence of advanced electrical verification, inspection and testing skills. That said, many will agree that the examination method for 2394 and 2395 has not been easy or efficient – quarterly written exams with hard-to-schedule resits is costly and time-consuming for examination centres and for candidates. We don’t know if this is the reason behind the change, but we are sure it must have been taken into account by City & Guilds when taking the decision to introduce the new 2391 qualification.

The new 2391 qualifications

The new inspection and testing qualifications are to be known as 2391-50, 2391-51 and 2391-52. Each qualification will be assessed by a multiple choice eVolve exam and an assignment including a practical assessment and a short written paper exam.

The qualifications are active from now, June 2017; training centres and FE colleges will soon have them available for study. Electacourse are have commissioning expert tutors to write material for 2391-50, 2391-51 and 2391-52. We have a range of material for:

  • Electricians and other candidates planning to take the qualification, or
  • Training centres and colleges who require classroom and teaching material 

Full range of material here.

2391-50 Level 3 Award in Initial Verification

This qualification is aimed at domestic installers. Currently domestic installers have no formal requirement for initial verification. This award addresses this omission in skills and qualification. Assessed by a 40 question multiple choice test and two practical assignments involving verification skills on a test rig and a short written paper exam.

2391-51 Level 3 Award in Periodic Inspection & Testing

This award is designed for completing apprentices and engineers who need only periodic assessment. For apprentices and engineers who have completed the 2357 apprenticeship and will have been assessed on Initial Verification, it is not required for them to be assessed again. Assessed by a 40 question multiple choice test and three practical assignments involving visual photo exercise, inspection skills on a test rig and a short written paper exam.

2391-52 Level 3 Award in Inspection & Testing

This qualification is for practising electricians who want both disciplines – periodic and initial. Assessed by a 60 question multiple choice test and three practical assignments involving visual photo exercise, inspection skills on a test rig and a short written paper exam.

The 2391-52 is a combination of both 2391-50 and 2391-51. You do not need to do all three qualifications. Most people seem to be planning on doing the combined 2391-52.

Full range of 2391 training and support material >

 

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2394 and 2395 June 2017 exams – be prepared

Pass rates for 2394 and 2395 have picked up since the very poor results of December 2016. For the last set of exams for which the examiners have provided data is February 2017, the pass rate for 2394 is up to 68% well above the historical average. The pass rate for 2395 is 76%, the second highest ever.

For all of you who are taking your inspection and testing exams next week these results should give you confidence that the trend is in the right direction.

Reviewing the examiner’s report, we continue to see the comment: ‘A large number of candidates failed to read the questions and scenario carefully’ . This is Exam Technique 101. Unless you read the question correctly, it is not possible to answer it correctly. 

Again, and again, Electacourse see the examiners reporting that candidates repeatedly making the same errors. In the Electacourse products 2394 and 2395 Written Exam Guidance Notes, we go into detail about how to pass these exams and in another post we will highlight the most common errors seen by the examiners. In the meantime, by far the most common errors seen by examiners are:

2394 Common Errors

  1. Candidates use the term ‘live’ rather than ‘line and interchange the terms when describing test procedures
  2. Inability to list the three documents that must be completed and handed to the client on completion of an initial verification of an installation
  3. Candidates are only reading part of the question – this is simple to resolve with good exam technique (covered in our previous post)

2395 Common Errors

  1. Candidates need to be aware of the requirement to show calculations and descriptions to demonstrate their conclusions when answering questions
  2. Candidates are not sufficiently familiar with the items they are to consider, inspect and record. Familiarity will greatly improve both candidates understanding of the inspection process and their success in any related questions
  3. Candidates repeatedly seem to forget that 2395 is an examination of periodic inspection and not initial verification

Falling Candidate numbers

Our last report on candidate numbers suggested the continuing decline of candidates for the 2394 and 2395 may be related to Brexit. This may be true, we can all see the difficulties firms are having in recruiting electricians and the European route is quite slow now, but talking with our contacts, it looks like there may be a different reason.

There seems to be a lack of confidence in the 2394 and 2395 qualifications. We hear chatter that employers continue to not completely understand the qualification. We know this is nonsense. The 2394 and 2395 are high quality Level 3 qualifications which enable electricians to demonstrate their skills in initial verification, inspection and testing. But could the chatter be putting off candidates?

Electacourse have the largest range of revision material for Inspection and Testing, if you need to do some last minute revision, visit the Electacourse Inspection and Testing Catalogue

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Dramatic fall in 2395 exam results

  1. The December 2016 series has seen a significant drop in the performance of candidates for the 2395 exam
  2. The number of candidates has fallen throughout 2016

From a rising trend, the December series for 2395 showed a drop in numbers of candidates passing the exam to just 35%. Back to the bad old days when the 2395 was first introduced in 2012.

The examiners have not identified a single reason for this result, but they do point out that ‘A large number of candidates failed to read the questions and scenario carefully [Electacourse – we keep reminding our customers of this]. One example being where candidates incorrectly listed x0.5, x1 and x5 as the applied test currents for RCBO testing, when the question clearly stated applied test current in mA, so needed the actual mA values.’

From August 2014, the pass rate has generally been above 50% for both 2394 and 2395 and is stabilising around 60% pass rate for 2394 and 55% pass rate for 2395.

Again, and again, Electacourse see the examiners reporting that candidates repeatedly making the same errors. In the Electacourse products 2394 and 2395 Written Exam Guidance Notes, we go into detail about how to pass these exams and in another post we will highlight the most common errors seen by the examiners. In the meantime, by far the most common errors seen by examiners are:

2394 Common Errors

  1. Candidates use the term ‘live’ rather than ‘line and interchange the terms when describing test procedures
  2. Inability to list the three documents that must be completed and handed to the client on completion of an initial verification of an installation
  3. Candidates are only reading part of the question – this is simple to resolve with good exam technique (covered in our previous post)

2395 Common Errors

  1. Candidates need to be aware of the requirement to show calculations and descriptions to demonstrate their conclusions when answering questions
  2. Candidates are not sufficiently familiar with the items they are to consider, inspect and record. Familiarity will greatly improve both candidates understanding of the inspection process and their success in any related questions
  3. Candidates repeatedly seem to forget that 2395 is an examination of periodic inspection and not initial verification

Falling Candidate numbers

Could this be the Brexit effect? As I think all of us in involved in the construction industry have noticed, the numbers of new entrants coming to work in the industry from Europe has gone down.

The Electacourse customer data does not fully support a drop of 50% in new staff coming into the electrical trade, but as we have Tweeted (@Electacourse) and reported previously, we can certainly see a Brexit impact.

This is bad news and good news

Bad news that a limit on the number of people coming in to the industry limits company growth and opportunity. Good news for individual sparkies already qualified: you will be able to increase your rates and choose your jobs.

For the rest of us, our home rewires will cost more.

View Electacourse Inspection and Testing Catalogue

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Exam Technique for electricians

If you have read our previous post on preparing for an exam then you will know that a lot of work goes in to making sure that you are ready for your big exam. So with so much effort under your belt, it would seem silly to fall at the final hurdle.

Let us show you some of the key exam day techniques to help you to get even closer to your goals.

Getting Ready

After a good night’s sleep you should be up and ready to head to your local exam centre. You will want to leave home with plenty of time and ensure that you have planned your route out.

You will not be allowed in to the exam if you are late and if you get there just in time then you are more likely to feel flustered and stressed as you enter the room.

You should also make sure you have all the right equipment with you in order to complete the exam and always, always take a spare pen or two.

Give yourself up a timetable

When the time comes to opening those papers there is a good chance you are going to feel some panic about what you may find. Just keep calm and work out in your head a timetable of how long to give each question (although this may already be set out for you).

You should try to plan in 10 minutes at the end of the test for proof-reading.

Reading through the questions

Make sure that you read each and every question accurately, take the time to make sure you understand each point as candidates are more likely to lose marks simply because they haven’t read the questions properly. Read each one twice, three times if you have to.

Underline or mark anything that you feel is important in the question and ensure that you can see what is meant by each phrase or point.

Keep Calm

There is a good chance that at some point in the exam you are going to draw a blank. When this happens, just take a deep breath, compose yourself and think back to all that revision, it will soon come back to you.

Remember, exams are supposed to test you, otherwise they wouldn’t be exams, so don’t worry if you have to really think about the answer.

If you are really struggling, then try answering all the questions that you are sure of. This will not only give your brain a rest but also boost your confidence as it shows you everything you do know.

Answering the questions

Always make it clear which question you are answering, you should also use correct and up to date terminology, after all this is professional exam. The examiner who marks your answers will not assume anything, so make sure you make every point you know clearly.

Also, don’t forget to use your best handwriting, if the examiner cannot understand what you have written then they won’t be able to mark it for you.

Plan each answer before you put it on the paper and make sure that you are understanding what is being asked of you.

Check and check again

As we have already said, try to leave yourself around 10 minutes towards the end of the exam to check over your work.

During this time, you should:

  • Make sure you have answered all the questions
  • Ensure that you have answered questions as precisely and thoroughly as you can
  • Make sure that you have outlined your workings out if it is a maths questions
  • Check that you have used all the relevant terminology

Once you have done all this you should have a completed test in front of you. Try to relax and not worry about what you have written. Now is the time just to wait for your results and see whether or not you have qualified.

 

 

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How to prepare for your City & Guilds electrical qualification exams

Exams are a nerve wracking time for anyone; not least of all for those who are relying on passing to help their career. This is particularly true for electricians who will need to ensure they have the relevant qualifications in order to provide customers with a service.

Here at Electacourse we have put together some top tips for exam preparation, meaning that no matter how important the exam is, you will find ready to face it.

Reduce your stress

It is normal to feel stressed as a big exam loom on the horizon. This can come in both physical and mental forms and whilst stress is normal, you should try to reduce how much it affects you.

Physical stress can be reduced in the lead up to an exam by making sure that you keep up a positive fitness and eating plan. Not only this, but in the week or so before the exam it is important to make sure that you get enough sleep, otherwise you may underperform due to tiredness when it really matters.

Mental stress can be a little trickier to combat. Fear is a huge part of stressful feelings, especially fear of what questions you may face and whether you will be able to answer them. One of the best ways you can combat these feelings is by sourcing question and answer practice books and guidance notes. These are designed to give you a feel for the types of questions you can expect and give you the confidence to face them on the day.

Never over-study

The temptation may be to cram as much information as you can into your head before an exam; however over-studying can be a dangerous game. Instead of filling your brain up with useful information, over-studying can lead to tiredness and stress.

Instead you should balance your studying with plenty of breaks, if you are struggling to understand something, once you leave it for 10 minutes you might find it becomes all the clearer in your mind.

Set a revision schedule

Preparation is key in so many aspects of life, especially exams. Make sure you draw yourself a revision schedule in the fortnight before your exam. Set out all the topics that you need to cover and slot them into realistic time scales. This means that you won’t be at risk of over-studying and that you can give yourself plenty of time to learn each different topic.

Don’t forget to plan in for your “normal life” too. There is a good chance that you will still have a job, family or other commitments and if this is the case then you should still make plenty of time for them too.

Pick the right study method

Everyone learns in different ways. Reading might be best for some, whilst others need to listen to the words in order to take them in. Identify the best way that you learn and stick to it. After all, there is no-one else sitting the exam in your place, so you might as well personalise it as much as you can.

So there you have it, some of the ways that you can be ready for your exam. Take a deep breath and remember that if you stay calm and believe in yourself and what you have studied, you will be surprised by what you can achieve.

Coming soon tips on how to make a success of the exam once you are at the exam centre.

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Home study advantages

The Advantages of Home Study

Home study, also known as distance learning is now an established part of education and training throughout the UK and other countries – in the US some of the largest training establishments are distance learning.

The quality of distance learning has greatly improved in the past few years, as both students and training companies have become more comfortable with the technology, and as stories of best practices have been shared and duplicated.

Electacourse have been involved in home study/distance learning for many years – both as a company and from individual members of staff. One of our senior colleagues has been in the field for 20 years and in the past was responsible for the management and education of over a million US university students – all learning whilst at home.

Home study features a number of advantages.

Advantages include:

  • Accessibility for those living away from a training centre
  • No waste of time or other resources in transport, commuting to a central location for each class
  • Flexibility to study in any convenient location with an Internet connection
  • Self-paced learning: Quickly browse materials you have already mastered, and concentrate time and effort in areas containing new information and / or skills
  • Study materials at a personal speed and intensity, without having to wait for slower pace of the average classroom
  • Just-in-time learning; more opportunities to study the most current material available
  • Flexibility for those with irregular work schedules
  • Accessibility for those with restricted mobility
  • Accessibility for those with family responsibilities
  • Communication with other students (not yet a facility on Electacourse, but one we are planning to introduce)

Recent research has shown that the most significant factor helping students to succeed has been their ability to manage time. The more successful students reported spending time regularly studying and not leaving it until the last minute.

For the 17th Edition Course which concludes with the 2382-15 exam (rated by City & Guilds as requiring 35 hours of study), Electacourse recommend you are regularly achieving high scores with the exam simulator before putting yourself up for the exam.

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Electrical Trade Bodies

The Institution of Engineering and Technology was formed by the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE) and now has more than 150,000 members worldwide. It is the largest professional engineering society in Europe and the second largest of its type in the world.

NICEIC is a trading name of Certsure an organisation which came out of a partnership between Electrical Safety First and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA). NICEIC acts as the electrical contracting industry’s independent voluntary regulatory body for electrical installation safety matters throughout the UK and maintains and publishes registers of electrical contractors that have been assessed against scheme requirements, including the national electrical safety standard BS 7671, the IEE Wiring Regulations.

Founded over 100 years ago, the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) is the UK’s largest and leading trade association representing electrical, electronic, installation engineering and building services companies.

NAPIT was formed in 1992 as the National Association for Professional Inspectors and Testers, with the aim of setting standards for industry. Since then NAPIT’s role has evolved and expanded to be one of the fastest growing Government Approved register holders for Part P Registered Domestic Electrical Installers (both full and defined scope) while continuing to serve the needs of those carrying out equipment testing and electrical installation and testing in commercial and industrial sectors.

Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors is the Leading Employers Trade Association for the Plumbing and Heating Industry in England and Wales.

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is the UK’s professional and technical body for all plumbing and heating professionals. It originated in 1906 as The Institute of Plumbers and since 1957 has been known as The Institute of Plumbing (IoP). CIPHE came into being on 4 June 2004 when IoP corporate members agreed that the new title better reflects their scope of work and firmly identifies plumbing and heating as an engineering discipline.

The British Standards Institute (BSI) provide organizations from all sectors with best practice solutions and standards that represent and support the needs of business and society in the UK and worldwide.

ELECSA started out as a joint venture between FENSA and the BBA to deliver an independent, no nonsense, certification scheme for tradesmen who undertake domestic electrical installation work. Such independent certification is required by Government as evidence that you are competent to undertake electrical work in accordance with the Building Act 1984, and specifically Approved Document P “Electrical safety in Dwellings”. Elecsa is now part of Certsure.

City and Guilds are the UK’s leading vocational awarding body. The City and Guilds 2382, 2391, 2394, 2395 and 2393 qualifications are of the most importance to practising electricians.

Benchmark – now part of NAPIT are a certification organisation accredited by UKAS. Benchmark started out specialising in heating engineers, but was now increasingly certifying electricians for Domestic Installer and Part P work prior to them becoming part of NAPIT.

UKAS are the UK accreditation service. All organisations which offer professional and trades certification need to be authorised by UKAS.

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Electacourse Brexit Statement

Electacourse are a leading provider of electrical training for people wishing to work as electricians in the UK.  Following the recent referendum on EU membership, the situation currently remains the same and there is no change to the Electacourse role or mission.

Electacourse will continue to monitor the situation closely by working with trade organisations and expert tutors and lecturers in the UK and Europe, but our current expectation is that very little will change from a training point of view.

Before the UK joined the European Union, the country welcomed skilled workers from all over the world including Europe. It is anticipated that the strong demand from businesses in the UK for electricians will continue and that freedom of movement for UK and European citizens will continue as it has done for over 70 years.

Wages for skilled and qualified electricians continues to rise in the UK to the benefit of both British citizens and skilled electricians from elsewhere in the world.