18th Edition Exam Tips

This article will guide you through some all-important 18th edition exam tips that will help you through the final examination. Throughout this article, we will discuss methods and approaches that will enable you to confidently address the questions asked. Furthermore, we deploy some live ‘section’ examples that should assist you in gaining a better understanding on how questions will be set. This will also serve to demonstrate what kind of content will appear on the exam. At the risk of sounding a little contradictory, its important that candidates do not undertake their learning programs with the sole focus of passing their examination. The 18th edition book is designed to give candidates an all-encompassing understanding of the regulations and safe practices of electrical instalments. It is not a tool to be exclusively utilised for the purposes of getting through a test. Indeed, the book sets general direction on correct and compliant practices one should undertake in the trade, and therefore it is not compulsory to learn each and every line of its regulatory guidance. Candidates are encouraged to embrace these concepts from day one of their learning.

Indeed, if individuals apply a well-rounded approach to learning, they will subsequently feel much better equipped when sitting the exam. Committing regulations to memory or reciting specific statements will not set you up for success; gaining a fundamental grasp of the principles of the book will. Make sure you consider all information in the context of practically applying it, not just as words on pages!

Examination Overview

The examination consists of sixty questions, and must be completed within two hours. This gives an average of two minutes per question. Candidates are allowed to enter the examination hall with a copy of the 18th edition bs7671 book. You should use the book in accordance to the questions asked.

Time Considerations

The permitted timeframe allows you space to pause before considering your approach. It is essential to read the question thoroughly. However, don’t dwell for too long when responding, the time will elapse quickly! Many candidates fall victim to ‘sense checking’ their answers. Searching through the 18th edition book for assurance on responses, despite already being confident that they’re correct, is not an advisable way to spend your allocated time.

Make balanced decisions on this dynamic during the exam. Be careful to supplement areas you’re unsure of with some fact-checking, but also press onto the next question when you’re suitably comfortable with your answer. Unfortunately, a substantial number of candidates do run out of time due to this reason- make sure you’re not one of them!

Flag to avoid drag!

The examination software does include a handy ‘flagging’ tool which we encourage you to exploit. Any questions that you’re unsure of, or feel compelled to double-check, can be ‘marked’ for future review. This means that you can move on through the questions, safe in the knowledge that you can re-visit any areas of concern at the end of the examination. Do not leave any questions unanswered; you should always do your best to offer a response. These ‘unsure’ answers may well end up being the difference between passing and failing!

The majority of questions will be positioned in multiple-choice format. However, do not be lulled into a false sense of security. These take considerable time to analyse and offer answers to. Nevertheless, in following the 18th edition exam tips above, you should easily complete the test within the allotted two-hour timeframe.

Be aware of the pitfalls

It’s also worth noting that some questions can be presented in tricky or challenging ways. For example, the phrase ‘not’ can be easily be missed if time is not taken to read the question properly. In this example, candidates often highlight the right process, rather than the desired wrong one.

Questions often use terminology that alludes specifically to certain parts of the 18th edition book. If the information in these particular sections do not form part of your response, it’s highly likely that you will have set out on the wrong course of direction. However, if you have a solid working knowledge, this element of the exam’s approach will be a help rather than hinderance.

Candidates must attain at least a 60% score to successfully pass the exam. Results are graded as a straight-forward pass or fail. Although it’s a difficult concept to master, students should not become overly concerned with their final result during revision periods. If you’re confident that you’ve gained a good understanding of the principles and practicalities of the book, your score will look after itself.

Examination structure & content

Each ‘part’ of the 18th edition regs book will be incorporated into the question schedule. A key development in recent years is that questions are ordered by section; not just integrated randomly. Therefore, you’ll be able to easily identify which block of questions allude to which ‘part’ of the 18th edition book. Please be also aware that there will be some questions presented on the ‘Appendices’ section. The ‘Appendices’ sit as a complementary tool for acquiring information based on other ‘parts’ of the book, so this will not involve a huge amount of additional revision.

Below is a full breakdown of the number of questions each ‘part’ of the book represents. Its worth noting that this information is also available in the City & Guilds handbook. Note the volume of questions referring to Parts 4 & 5 of the book: these account for a massive 48% of all responses required. This is unsurprising given the large amount of content in these sections, and individuals should allocate appropriate time to these areas when revising.

Section breakdown

  1. Understand the scope, object and fundamental principles of bs7671 (4 questions, 7%)
  2. Understand the definitions used within the bs7671 (2 questions, 3%)
  3. Understand how to asses the general characteristics of electrical installations (6 questions, 10%)
  4. Understand requirements of protection for safety of electrical installations (15 questions, 25%)
  5. Understand the requirements for selection and erection of equipment for electrical installations (14 questions, 23%)
  6. Understand the requirements for inspection and testing of electrical installations (4 questions, 7%)
  7. Understand the requirements of special installations or locations as defined in bs7671
  8. Understand the information contained within the appendices of bs7671

Live examples

The following paragraphs review how a specific ‘part’ of the book may materialise in an examination question format. We’ll be using section 6 for this, which alludes to the inspection and testing of electrical installations.

As we know which part of the guide needs to be deployed to answer the question, we can quickly identify that chapters 64 and 65 are our two areas of focus. Given that this only accounts for ten pages, candidates should be able to swiftly locate the required information.

Initial Verification and Periodical Inspection & Testing

Chapter 64 contains information on ‘Initial Verification’ and Chapter 65 details ‘Periodical Inspection & Testing’ guidance. Although these areas have substantial cross-over, understanding which subject alludes to which chapter is critical in composing a positive answer.

Candidates must be aware that ‘Initial Verification’ is only practicable in the first instance of electrical installation. Any future testing of this circuit should be referred to under the periodic inspection banner.

Initial Verification

By utilising the 18th edition book accordingly, individuals will be able to acknowledge that the ‘Initial Verification’ testing process corresponds to regulations 641.1 to 641.6, with guidance note 641.7 consolidating the aforementioned lines. This concerns the sequencing of inspecting, testing and certificating the installation before handing it over to the client. It also includes safety considerations to ensure the task is executed with the principle of risk reduction in mind.

A certificate should only be produced when the electrician is satisfied that the installation functions correctly. Any remedial work cited in the testing process should be suitably delivered before sign-off.

Verify and Check

Importantly, the inspection element alludes to two different regulations, namely the ‘Verify’ regulation (642.2), and the ‘Check’ regulation (642.3). This distinction in itself is also important to appreciate; questions asked may deliberately play on this difference. As per the vast majority of the exam, multiple choice questions will be in operation. Candidates will most likely be expected to highlight which one of four responses align to the ‘verify’ or ‘check’ process, and reject the three answers that correspond to the other. Use the regulatory information within the 18th edition book to support your answers. Candidates should be methodical in their approach, calmly and systematically negating the wrong answers.

Testing sequencing

Within the ‘Initial Verification’ section, you should always expect a question on testing sequencing. It will provide four tests, and individuals must place these in the correct order. Candidates will only be asked about the requirements of testing, not about actual testing procedures.

In this example, candidates would visit pages 231-236 of the book, and apply this information accordingly. However, a handy tip is to find the consolidated version located on page 228, as this will reduce time spent on locating the answer. This page lists tests in a basic sequence order, without the additional commentary contained in earlier pages.

Insulation Resistance Testing

The exam will include a question on Insulation Resistance Testing. Candidates can prepare accordingly by reviewing the table located on page 232. When considering responses, individuals should be careful to remember the following salient details:

Firstly, the voltage bandwidth for the example used will always be between 50V and 500V, as domestic circuits tend to operate at 230V, and industrial installations are generally powered at 400V. When testing voltage from a meter, answers should always be declared as DC, even if testing an AC system. Ohms of resistance should always be above one megohm (equivalent to one million ohms), and, candidates must deploy a capital ‘M’ when expressing values (MΩ, not mΩ). This will be checked by the exam grader.

Please familiarise yourself with the paragraph below the table mentioned on page 232. This contains information about Surge Protection Devices (SPD’s). The appropriate regulations that address risks identified in this statement is 643.3; make sure you incorporate this point into answers given on this topic.

Periodic Testing & Inspection

There are also a number of useful considerations to take into account on Periodic Testing & Inspection.

Regulation 651.1 defines when this testing and inspection is applicable, encouraging electricians to ask one key question: is the installation or circuit safe for continued use?

For this section, it is useful to have a decent grasp on the periodic test and inspection sequencing guidelines.

Electrical Installation Condition Report

As a result of appropriate testing, an Electrical Installation Condition Report will be produced. If circuits are deemed satisfactory, the unit will pass, and not require any further action. If considered unacceptable, a list of defects and observations will be constructed- this is not the inspector’s responsibility to address (although they themselves may end up carrying out these works). After each repair, minor works documentation will be pulled together, or sometimes a full certificate granted dependent on level of task. Only when remedial work has been delivered to a satisfactory standard should the unit be registered as safe for use.

Client satisfaction and integrity

Candidates should also be aware that only in the most severe cases (which should have relevant components isolated anyway), can installations not remain in use while defects are being repaired. It should never be an electrician’s intention to leave a client without electricity at any stage of the testing process.

Lastly, it is an unfortunate truth that some electricians wrongly advise clients that installations have failed testing, basing their assertions on regulations set out in outdated edition guides. Whether this is to secure additional work or due to the tradesman’s ignorance is irrelevant; all electricians should arm themselves with the current legislation. This may not be key information for your exam, but honesty and transparency should be leveraged in whatever activity you undertake as an electrician- trainee or otherwise.

In summary

The above examples could be produced in alignment with any ‘part’ of the 18th edition book. However, this set of inspection and testing guidelines serve to offer an insight into format, content style, and tone of questioning across the full examination. This understanding should be carried into revision endeavours on all topics included within the 18th edition book.

Hopefully, you now feel better prepared to attack the examination with confidence and assurance. Here are our top tips for effective testing preparation & execution:

  1. Take your time, but not too much! Read the question thoroughly and acquire an understanding of what it’s asking you.
  2. ‘Flag’ any questions you’re unsure of and re-visit at the end of the exam. Do not leave any questions unanswered.
  3. Determine which ‘part’, sub-section and regulations within the 18th edition book the question alludes to. This is extremely important!
  4. Allocate an appropriate length of time dependent on each section’s volume of questions. This approach should be deployed for both revision and in the exam itself.
  5. Remember the key facts attributed to each ‘part’ of the book. Think about the essential pieces of information you would need when physically undertaking an installation task.

Ultimately, you should relax, take care, know your book, and be confident. Good luck!