Preparing for the Exam for Electricians

NEC Book – Open Book Test for the Electrical Exam in Texas

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NEC Book - Open Book Test for the Electrical Exam in Texas

Must have formulas for your electrical exam


To take the electrical exam in Texas you are allowed to bring in your NEC book.  That is great news since an open book test gives you a greater chance of passing.  There are some rules and other things to consider so keep reading.

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Must have formulas for your electrical exam

Version of the NEC Book 

The electrician license test in the state of Texas is based on the 2020 NEC book. (At the time that this article is published.)  


Why does this matter?  With the speed of updates in our world, there are more changes from version to version than ever before.  Electricians are expected to be up to date.  


The previous versions are allowed. But you would do a disservice to yourself if you attempt to take the test with an out of date version.

Spiral bound, hard cover, or softbound

PSI Exams only allows the softcover into the testing center.  If you walk in with a hardcover or spiral bound, they will take it and give you a loaner instead.  NEC books are also sold as a binder but that is not allowed either.

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If in doubt, just make sure that you can bend your book without breaking it. That is how you know you got the right book.  If you are going to buy your NEC book in stores outside of the NFPA, be extra careful to choose the 'softbound', or 'softcover' book.

NEC Book

The writing in the NEC book

You can write notes in your NEC book.  We recommend that you only write things that are important.  If you write in your book non-essential things like doodles or notes that you already know by heart, you risk taking attention away from truly helpful notes.


You can write things like page numbers to tables in the book.  Page numbers in the index portion of your book. Or helpful mnemonics in the table of contents or throughout the book.


Be careful not to write or mark up your book during your actual test.  If you are caught writing in your book you could lose your exam and in some cases be issued criminal penalties.

Exam Prep Tips

Highlighting and tabbing your NEC book

Another helpful thing when it comes to the book is that you can highlight sections in it.  We strongly recommend you to only highlight what you need. if you make the book cover to cover it becomes pointless.


Here is a tip: Highlight section titles one color, and the actual body in a different color.  Highlight keywords in a third color.

If you are going to tab your book, it has to be tabbed with permanent tabs.  You cannot use sticky notes or anything that can be reapplied.  The testing personnel will make you remove the tabs if they violate their policy.


Here is a tip:  Place your “Table” tabs on the top part of the book.  Add tabs to the articles on the side part of the book.  If you are using tabs that came with the book, only apply the ones you actually need. Some tabs can be skipped since you won’t really need to refer to them during the test.

How will you know what is important for the exam?

Notice how everything you put into the book will only be based on the important keywords you need for the test.  How will you know what is important?


You can buy practice exam workbooks.  As you go through these workbooks you will notice that a few of the keywords and articles are used repeatedly.  Match these with the categories and subject areas from the Candidate Information Book .  This should give you a rough idea.


To get an even better and clearer idea, come to one of our seminars in Texas.  You will know exactly what you need to study for the electrical exam.  You can learn more about them here.

Electrical exam prep seminar

Either way you go, make sure to stay on top of your study plan.  An open book test doesn’t guarantee an easy pass, but you WILL pass.  


Make sure to read the rest of our blogs and if possible, get yourself to our seminars.


Thanks for reading & best of luck!


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