What does a potential contractor look for in an exam preparation class? There are many good exam prep schools out there – choosing the right one for you may be difficult with all the choice out there and the fantastic “99% Passing Rates”! Actually, passing the exam is up to you. Florida’s State Contractor exams are very much book exams – you take loads of books with you into the examination room and look up the key words of the questions in the appropriate reference book.
I have been involved with Exam Preparation classes since 2003; I have literally help thousands of contractors with their exams. Over the years, the key things that make for a successful passing score is dedication, critical thinking, organization, and good old field experience. The purpose of an exam preparation class is to help you understand composition of the exam, understand what each book covers, prepare your books to take into the examination, and practice using the books to look up answers. The plumbing exam is a great example: if a person is a service plumber with only existing residential experience and no exposure to medical gas and does not know isometric drawings, that test taker has a huge learning curve because there are isometric drawings he or she will have to do for the exam as well as a plethora of medical gas questions. For the AC contractor who has no exposure to commercial hood systems, that will be his or her big challenge on the A/C test. Those students have some homework to do to get familiar with those concepts-something that a person cannot pick up overnight in a 2-day class.
People ask all the time, “What is your passing rate?” I tell them the honest truth, if you aren’t familiar with x,y,z or if you are short on field experience, then you probably will not pass the first time. Everyone advertises a passing rate – it’s a must have marketing tool for any school. However, one marketing trick I do not agree with are statements that, “we have the exam questions.” No one has the exam questions (or at least they shouldn’t have them). Examination questions are copy-written questions that are the exclusive property of the testing firm – it doesn’t make much sense for a good business to be in the practice of stealing exam questions. Besides, how many people out there have a photographic memory?
When choosing an Exam Prep school, there are many good options here in Florida. Make sure the curriculum is right for you, do not expect to be taught how to do your trade (if you don’t have the experience, you can’t get the license), make sure you have plenty of practice questions based upon the Exam Content Information published by the Bureau of Education, and make sure you choose a class that allows you to come back for free if you need to.