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How to become a PAT Tester

What is PAT Testing?

Portable Appliance Testing is a valuable skill for electricians and others involved in ensuring electrical equipment is maintained in a safe condition. Becoming a PAT Tester offers electricians, facilities managers and everyone looking for a new  business opportunity to take advantage of the PAT Testing requirements.

New Electacourse Online PAT Testing Course

From just £40, study the Electacourse Online PAT Testing Course to gain the skills and knowledge to enable you to understand the requirements of being a PAT Tester.

PAT Testing Introduction

According to The Health & Safety Executive, around 25% of all reportable electrical accidents involve portable appliances. The Electricity at Work Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the Electricity at Work regulations and take all reasonable steps to ensure that no danger arises from the use of such equipment. Thus, in effect, a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing is required. The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) places this obligation in the following circumstances:

  • Where portable appliances are used by employees.
  • Where the public may use portable appliances in establishments such as schools, hospitals, shops and hotels etc.
  • Where appliances are repaired or serviced.
  • Where appliances are supplied or hired.

The level of inspection and testing requirement depends upon the level of risk of the portable appliance becoming faulty, which is in turn dependant upon the type of portable appliance, the nature of its use and the environment in which the appliance is used.

The publication the Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment published by The Institution of Electrical Engineers (the IEE) is a guide that forms the basis for portable appliance testing (PAT) in the U.K.

Legal Requirements

The legislation that is relevant to portable appliance testing include the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 puts the duty of care upon both the employee and the employer to ensure the safety of all persons on the work premises. This also applies to the self employed.

Specifically, the ‘Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998’ states that:

“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”

This is just one example of one piece of legislation relevant to PAT testing and it is clear that there is a legal requirement to inspect and test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations.

What next?

This page has given you a brief introduction to PAT Testing. You do not need to be a qualified electrician to be a PAT Tester, but it does form part of many electricians work portfolio. To become a PAT Tester you have a number of possibilities:

  1. Take a PAT Testing Course with a commercial or FE College training provider. They can offer the full package (course plus 2377-22) in one go – but often at a high price
  2. Study on your own with the great value  Electacourse Online PAT Testing Course –  from only £40, together with the IET Code of Practice. This option is recommended if you already have some electrical experience and you have the opportunity to improve your practice skills. If you like, you can follow this up with the City & Guilds 2377-22 exam which you can find offered in many locations
  3. Remember you will need to purchase PAT Testing equipment. Some equipment companies offer a ‘PAT Testing Business in a Box’ – these include all you need to start up a PAT Testing business.
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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.