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    Help Passing \Masters Calculations Portion

    Hey guys, New member here. My history: I completed my 5 year apprenticeship back in 2011, successfully passed the Journeyman Electrician Exam the first time then, and have been working in the trade ever since. In 2017 I started my own contracting company, and with the help of a natural disaster, quickly grew from just me, to 9 electricians, 4 vans, a secretary, estimator, and material guy. Did 1 Million in gross work that first year, and quickly realized I had a lot to learn about estimating, collecting, and general business. Downsized to get my profit where I needed it, and am currently moving OUT of the residential, service call sector of our industry on to bigger better things with a tighter smaller group.

    Obviously to start this company I had to secure a TECL or Texas Electrical Contractors License, which I found in a close friend and coworker. But, it is at a cost. Because of the sheer work volume I started off with during Hurricane Harvey, I had zero time to study for the masters. Heck, I had never even estimated a job before I started. Anyone here that has dabbled in contracting for themselves knows my plight.

    So, I finally decided to start studying a month ago. I purchased Ray Holders online course, and studied about 40 hours during the course of a week, then went to Houston to take the test.

    I passed the NEC general Knowledge portion the first time (thank god-that thing was a doozy in itself), but failed the 33 question Calculations portion by 3 questions!!!

    So, I immediately rescheduled for about 2 weeks later, studied a little bit, (not as much as I should have because we are so busy doing out of town work), and promptly failed the Calculations portion AGAIN, this time with a 44! I did worse, and it seemed the second test was much different than the first. A whole different set of questions.

    I knew going in to the second calculations test that I wasnt really prepared, because I feel that Ray Holders Master Exam Practice online exam just isnt what it should be. There is no option to "Skip" the general NEC questions and just focus on calc, so you end up wading through and skipping all the general knowledge stuff just to get to the calculations. And even then, the calculations he gives you are the same old run of the mill stuff on every different exam you start.

    I got nearly ALL of the motor calculation questions correct, but had a hell of a time with the dwellings and different size ranges, etc.

    I see Mike Holt has a calculation only prep course complete with DVD's and such on his site, but at $700 plus dollars, I'm hesitant. Still, thats less than I'm paying a month for a masters to keep my TECL current.

    What are your recommendations? Thanks!
    Last edited by Bravepotato; 11-09-19, 11:10 AM. Reason: Misspelled NEC

    #2
    Mr. Holt runs specials from time to time. You can also buy "last year's model". By that I mean one of study guides based on a previous code cycle and save some money that way.
    If Billy Idol is on your playlist go reevaluate your life.

    Comment


      #3
      I'm a big fan of the mike holt books. The books are much cheaper than the videos if you can handle studying the traditional way. The electrical exam preparation book has all the calculations info. I skipped most of the code portions in the book since i have his other books "understanding the nec 2017" which is also the best code study i've found. Also the "electrical exam preparation" book has a theory section which is the same as the book mike holts sells on "basic electrical theory" so you don't need to buy that book if you buy the exam preparation. If you take the book slowly and don't cut any corners it covers alot of calcs.

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        #4
        Ok Guys, I have procrastinated since I started this topic. Almost 7 months. 7 months Ive been beating myself up for not following through with this. 2 months ago I made myself order the $800 Mike Holt Masters Calculations full study guide complete with DVDs. I finally got around to starting it 3 days ago. I want to be a Master Electrician by the end of this year.

        I skipped the general knowledge stuff since I passed that part already. I started with Raceway calc DVD, then Conductor sizing and protecting calc DVD, and now I'm deep into Motors DVD.

        I've spent probably 6 hours on the first two, but 12 so far on Motors. There is so much good info here.

        At first I was bored, when they first start a section they take you through the section and show you things to highlight, notes to make etc. It's boring when you just want to learn the calculations you missed on the test! (I missed the calculation portion by 3 questions!) But I'm starting with a brand new code book and tabs so the helpful tips are welcome. Using a red pen to underline certain things, a different color highlighter for copper and aluminum conductors, writing in big words "THREE PHASE" above the 3 phase motors table and single phase above the 1 phase helps so that when you turn the page your eyes see it and you are there. Highlighting every other line on a table helps to quickly find a value without messing up.

        It wasn't until he took me back through the section after we highlighted, and started practicing the calculations that I realized how valuable this kit is. I have been working VERY hard, pausing and replaying the DVD, understanding WHY things are done now instead of just where to find the table in the code book. WHY we use 125% or 225% or 175%, WHY we round down or round up, etc. WHEN to use the nameplate rating, WHEN to use Code book tables. I would say in the last 3 days I've learned more than I learned in 5 years of classes at apprenticeship, Code wise and calc wise. Hands down.

        In 3 days of this course, I feel that I have a better understanding of the entire calculations than I had when I studied Ray Holders practice tests for my first 2 tries at the test for 40 hours in a week. Heck, and I even passed 5 out of the 8 motor questions on the calculations portion. Granted, I should've studied longer (but I almost passed the test!!!) but Ray Holders stuff just didn't offer the level of info I needed. In his practice tests, they just give you a Question and if you don't know it you select an answer till it shows you the right one, then you use the description they give you on how to solve the problem and teach yourself. But they don't break it down with visuals and input from 5 other experts like Mikes stuff does.

        The problem is Ray holders course didn't offer just a "calculations" portion, you have to wade through like 10 general knowledge questions to find a calculation to work. Mike Holt actually teaches you. Now that the Masters is two separate portions (General knowledge) and Calculations, Ray should change up his study guide I believe. Still, for $80, its a cheap alternative to Mikes much more expensive kit. and again, remember, I missed passing the masters the first time by 3 questions using Rays guide. So theres something to be said for that.

        I scheduled my retest for a month from when I started studying, December 6th. But, yesterday after 10 hours of going through the motors course, I feel so confident that I rescheduled the test to November 26th. This still gives me weeks to learn and hone my newfound skills, since I don't have to work in the field I can be home studying.

        I will say, after learning the motors calculations yesterday I went back to Ray Holders practice tests last night before bed, since I still have my login, and I tried my hand at several of his motor calc questions. They are HARD. Mike teaches you how and why, but Ray Holders questions are more like the actual test in which they throw so much BS info in the question and try to trick you, so I found myself digging even deeper and learning even more about how to answer these questions.

        That said, Mike's book (that comes with the DVD's) has practice questions in it as well, so we will see if they are more like the test, like Rays are.

        They say not to study more than a few hours a day but right now I am having so much fun learning the RIGHT way to do things, I can't get up from the computer. I stopped to update this thread as a break because I hope this will help someone and I hope Mike reads this, and see that his life work is helping people.

        I can't wait to get to the "Dwelling Unit Calculations" DVD since that's what I had a hard time on, especially the range KW questions etc. Also the Multifamily dwelling unit DVD and the Commercial Calculations DVD.

        Honestly (don't get any ideas Mike), I thought $800 was steep for this kit before I got it. But, seeing what it's done for me now and so far, I would definitely pay twice as much.

        I will update this as I go, I'm hoping I can see this through.

        Comment


          #5
          Well, I've got about 100 hours of studying down so far since the 7th of this month. I've really been working hard. I've went through DVD's 5 through 9. Raceway and Box Calc, Conductor Sizing and Protection Calc, Motor and AC Calc, Voltage Drop Calc, and just finished up Dwelling Unit Calc yesterday. Each one I've went through and completed the review and challenge questions, working especially hard on The motor and dwelling unit calcs, since they are the hardest. Took me around 3 hours to go through the review and challenge questions for Dwelling unit calc; I wanted to make sure I got it 100%, since that's one of the issues I had last time I took the test.

          My problem now I think is going to be retaining all this info. It's so much to remember, even with the code book in your hands, highlighted and colored and outlined until it looks like a coloring book. But I think I'm getting there. I've got three DVD's left to go, Multifamily Dwelling calc, Commercial Calc, and Transformer Calc. Hopefully I can soak all those in the next 4-5 days tops, because I want a few solid days of going back and trying my hand at ALL these sections in a random practice exam format to make sure I remember it all. Take the test end of this month.

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            #6
            Well, I passed the Masters Calculations today. Thanks Mike, for your help.

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              #7
              I passed my Masters in 2005 and the biggest advice to people who are going to take the test is know your calculations and 65% of all electrical installations are in article 100 through article 310. You better know article 430 motors because you will be questioned a good bit, emergency systems and hazardous locations. Good luck

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                #8
                Originally posted by Bravepotato View Post
                Well, I passed the Masters Calculations today. Thanks Mike, for your help.
                Congrats! Your preparation paid off. I'm sure this is a big monkey off your back.

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                  #9
                  Congratulations Texie on passing your Masters test. I know that you are glad thats over with

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Bravepotato View Post
                    Well, I've got about 100 hours of studying down so far since the 7th of this month. I've really been working hard. I've went through DVD's 5 through 9. Raceway and Box Calc, Conductor Sizing and Protection Calc, Motor and AC Calc, Voltage Drop Calc, and just finished up Dwelling Unit Calc yesterday. Each one I've went through and completed the review and challenge questions, working especially hard on The motor and dwelling unit calcs, since they are the hardest. Took me around 3 hours to go through the review and challenge questions for Dwelling unit calc; I wanted to make sure I got it 100%, since that's one of the issues I had last time I took the test.

                    My problem now I think is going to be retaining all this info. It's so much to remember, even with the code book in your hands, highlighted and colored and outlined until it looks like a coloring book. But I think I'm getting there. I've got three DVD's left to go, Multifamily Dwelling calc, Commercial Calc, and Transformer Calc. Hopefully I can soak all those in the next 4-5 days tops, because I want a few solid days of going back and trying my hand at ALL these sections in a random practice exam format to make sure I remember it all. Take the test end of this month.
                    Bravo it sounds to me like you are more than ready to go take the test and yes you are having doubts about passing the test because every body does. What you replied I think you will pass Good luck

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