New approach for Contractor Exams

Time saving contractor exam technique? You decide.

One of my students shared this novel contractor exam taking technique with me and I decided to pass it along. I must say that this technique makes a lot of sense to me but I have not tried it myself.

Let’s suppose we are taking the H-3 Class I exam. PSI’s exams are formatted so with each new question forces you to use a different reference book. Constantly switching reference books to look answers eats up time and time is a precious commodity.

The Technique

What if, on our scratch piece of paper, we make a separate column for each reference book. Then we go through the entire exam and write down the question number in the appropriate reference column. Then we go back and answer all questions in each column using one reference book at a time. I like simple.


Example Technique

Heating Group 3 Class 1

Will this method work for you?

One sure way to find out is to sign up for my contractor practice exams. You get two attempts, so try the first exam using this technique and the second the traditional way. Good luck and Godspeed!

How to succeed in filling out the General Contractor Application

First, Download the Application for License to Practice General Contracting in the State of North Carolina

Then read the application all the way to page 23. On page 23, you will see “Most Common Reasons Applications are returned”. The Board returns a lot of applications. The application must be turned in “due form”. If you cannot fill out an application properly, how are you going to run a business? Unless you are a lawyer, accountant, or banker, you will need some help.

Let’s go through the Application and identify some problem areas.

Pages A-1, A-6, and A-8 – all pages must have the same name, same spelling and capitalization.

The board does not tolerate white out!

Page A-6 – get some professional help to fill out this page, a competent banker or accountant will keep you out of trouble.
Anytime you see “other”, put in a 0 because you have to verify.

Page A-7 – No. 17. Attach a photocopy of North Carolina Articles of Incorporation. Make sure you send a copy because if you send your original, your original will not be returned.
No. 19.  – Must be drawn up by a lawyer
No.21. – Use a supply company, building inspector, or past client for your reference. Must be on a letterhead and notarized. Do not use relatives! Make sure they tell how wonderful you are.

Page A-8 – Once you notarize, everything is considered true. No paper clips allowed!

Information regarding the North Carolina Contractor Exam

Here are some links that will help you sign up for the General Building Contractor Exam.

To down load the Candidate Information Bulletin
1. Has a list of reference books needed for exam

2.  A list of PSI Examination sites

To download Laws and Regulations Applicable to General Contracting in the State of North Carolina –

1.       Application to sign up for the General Contractor Exam

2.       Also covers Statutes, Homeowners Recovery Fund, NC Administrative Code and Contractor Regulations.

3.       Usually a few exam questions come out of this publication

The last link needed is PSI’s website –

Download the forms and let’s get started!

NCCTI can help. This is a difficult exam because of the amount of reference material. 90 questions with a time limit of 180 minutes, that is same that NCCTI is offering. Sign up now and gain the NCCTI advantage!

Special Restricted Plumbing, Heating Electrical Contractor License

How to get your SP-PH Electrical License

The State of North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors has made it accessible for all Heating and Plumbing Contractors to maintain, install, and repair electrical wiring incident to their trade. This means for change-outs, you can legally wire up your appliances. Depending on which jurisdiction you happen to be working in (some AHJs allow electrical wiring by Plumbing and Heating Contractors), with a SP-PH Electrical License, a licensed electrician will not have to be involved. Most Contractors generally go ahead and rewire the appliance anyway. As a former building Inspector, I use to allow Plumbing and Heating Contractors to wire up their units (unless they did it wrong). Most jurisdictions are starting to crack down on this practice and rightfully so. It’s for your protection as well as the consumer. What if a fire is started by your wiring? Do you think your liability insurance will cover you?

The SP-PH exam

Forty questions in 3 hours, plenty of time allotted to finish the exam. Very generous but you will flunk if you do not prepare. NEC code is different from the code books you are familiar with. The first thing that is needed is to learn the NEC’s vocabulary. On page 5 and 6 in the Board’s Candidate Handbook, the topics that are covered on the exam are spelled out. It will take some effort to study this material. Electrical Contracting is dangerous, safe wiring does not happen by accident.

Exam Layout

Bonding and Grounding – 4 questions
Overcurrent Protection – 5 questions
Wiring Methods and Terminations – 8 questions
Boxes and Fittings – 2 questions
Motors and Control Wiring – 5 questions
Load Calculations – 2 questions
Appliances, Equipment, and Lighting –  4 questions
Laws, Rules, Basic Business Practices, and Practical Applications – 7 questions

Total questions – 40

Four hours of Continuing Education is required every year for SP-PH Contractors

As contractors increase their service and professionalism for consumers, so does your income. Want to increase income, increase your service. NCCTI can help! We offer private tutoring and practice exams that will help you to increase service to your customers.

To start the process, just click and order your free Candidate Handbook.



Understanding Table 415.1 in the 2009 Fuel Gas Code

Table 415.1 in the Fuel Gas Code

Let’s take a look at Table 415.1 on page 64 in the 2009 Fuel Gas Code.

Notice that steel pipe is on the left and tubing is on the right.

Table 415.1 is really two tables in one.

The reason I bring this up, in the “heat of the battle” to pass your Contractor Exam, it is easy to get confused and choose the wrong Table. More than likely, you will see a couple of exam questions from this Table. After all, proper gas support is crucial for safety.

Do not let the “heat of the battle” keep you from getting your Contractor License! Sign up for NCCTI’s Practice Exams.

Get the correct Contractor Books

Make sure you have the current reference books!

The current Business and Project Management Book that is used by NC Board of Examiners is the 4th Edition. I know, it’s tempting to use an older version that a buddy used a few years back. The problem is that the 4th Edition is totally different from the previous Editions. The lay-out has been redone and some new info has been added. Since time is the biggest foe (50 questions in 60 minutes), not having the correct book is a recipe for disaster. You can order a copy of Business and Project Management from the NC Board of Examiners.

While we are at it…

ACCA has upgraded Manual D. Better get one if you are taking a Heating Contractor Exam. Make sure you have Manual D-Residential Duct Design, 3ird Edition, Version 1.00. You can go to NC Board of Examiners Web-site to view the current reference list.

Then click Exam Information, then Book Reference List

To improve look-up speeds…

You need to register for my Contractor Practice Exams. My exams are graded and timed – just like the exam you will face. The first exam will be the easiest. Make sure you are prepared!