Inspector came over and checked out my basement today. He suggested that I take the `local home owner's electrical test to sign off on that part of the permit.

They give you the NEC 2008 handbook, 10 questions, and 2 hours.

What are the basic things I should know. Any tips? How hard is too pass (I understand this may vary)

  • If it's an open book test, you'll likely only have to know how to interpret code, and how to read tables. It might be helpful to know basic maths, and have a calculator on hand.
    – Tester101
    Aug 1, 2013 at 11:15
  • 1
    I looked over the book last night. I think you are right. I need to know my basic physics calculations or there is a lot more looking to do. Also just looking over the book helped with the general terminology. The inspector has known me for a while and we are on great terms (I am honest and try to always follow local code) - I am wondering if he wants me to take the test to save me some money or if he wants to show me how hard it is to get a license. I guess I will see.
    – DMoore
    Aug 1, 2013 at 16:40
  • If it were an option and it should be the city should have a licensed electrician that they allow to do the inspection for $/hr. The lowest quote I have been given is $400 to check 4 circuit rough-ins. I mean there is nothing to check and all of the walls are open. Given no issues it would take 10-15 mins. And 2 of the circuits were a direct swap of aluminum for copper.
    – DMoore
    Aug 1, 2013 at 16:42
  • I have never heard of such a thing, at least not for a homeowner. Where would such a test apply? Your profile says "Mid West": does that mean central U.S.?
    – wallyk
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:28
  • @wallyk Yea - I never heard of it either until I had a local inspector tell me about it - most of the install was swapping out aluminum (maybe I added a few things but "I forgot what was there"). Anyway just trying to make my house safer and finish a basement. As far as the test goes I think it is offered almost everywhere in the US. In my city it was essay and very hard. Most are multiple choice.
    – DMoore
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:30

2 Answers 2


First this varies by municipality. Almost all municipalities use a multiple choice test and mine did not.

I would say key things you should know:

  1. Definitions. You need to know what terms mean so that you can find the answer with the right context.
  2. Understand the basic electrical equations. Power, ohms, watts, cable requirements...
  3. Understand what each section of the guide covers.
  4. Understand how to properly find things using the gloassary.
  5. Have a good understanding of basic electrical code.
  6. Be good at math. A lot of questions require math skills.
  7. Understand how to diagram basic things like 3-way switches, laying out outlets in a room, a switched light, a ceiling fan with controls for light and fan, gfci switches...

Extra Note - I passed. So if you have questions shoot me an email.

  • Was the test open book?
    – wallyk
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:32
  • @wallyk - yea it is open book but it was the full book and timed. As far as I have heard they are all open book. Mine was difficult because I couldn't use the multiple choice answers to look things up... You have to know the layout of the book, terms, and how to find things or you are just lost. I have the PDF version on my laptop and I quickly realized how much easier it is to to a CTRL+F opposed to flippinng through a glossary and hundreds of pages.
    – DMoore
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:46

Know your conversions for volts and amps and circuit size and VA per sq/ft. Understand the terminology they use which it looks like you have started. Also the index sucks but the glossary helps a lot.

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