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Hi everyone, I joined this forum tonight on behalf of my husband who is so anxious to get started with his home inspection business he can taste it. He has been unemployed for over 2 years, and has over 20 years of construction related experience. He completed schooling through AHIT to gain the requirements he needed to apply to SC state for licensing. He applied, was approved and has taken the state exam twice, and failed, by just enough points to be just below the passing score. Per SC state requirements, he has 1 more chance to take the exam within this approval period (of 1 year) and if he fails again he will have to sit out for 1 year, then reapply to the state for another approval letter and chance to take the exam again. It would boost his confidence to get some feedback on his situation, but I am not sure pride will allow anyone to admit they have struggled with state exams as well? I know he is smart and has what it takes to have a very successful business. This is a dream he has had for a long time, but being unemployed sparked the motivation necessary to make this happen. I don't want him to lose faith in his pursuit, and continue to stand beside him. I have encouraged him to put this final chance at the exam off a while and study every detail again. If any of you can offer some tales of your exam experience, or suggestions on preparation, words of encouragement or any other advice I would greatly appreciate your time. He has no idea I am doing this but I would love to be able to share something with him after the fact. I look forward to him starting his business soon and joining this forum under his new company name!

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Hi Page,

One of two things is going on. Either your husband simply doesn't yet have the knowledge necessary to pass the exam or he's a BET (Bad Exam Taker). Bad exam takers tend to just do poorly on tests -- doesn't matter what kind. Their brains don't work well in test-taking mode.

Here's the problem with that: In my, admittedly limited, experience, people who are bad exam takers tend to also be bad home inspectors. They might know the material inside & out but they don't perform well under pressure. Performing a home inspection is a lot like taking an exam. You have to perform a complex intellectual exercise where mistakes can be costly, and you have to do it while people stand around waiting for you to finish. It could be that he just doesn't perform well in that kind of situation.

The good news is that he can learn to be a better test taker, and that will help him to be a better home inspector.

Before we get into advice about how to be a better test taker, does it sound to you like that's his problem?

Or does he maybe just not know the material very well?

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Thanks so much! I do feel it could be the exam thing. Obviously he's been out of school for such a long time, and also had to take steps to learn computers in this process. His background includes framing and insulation, and the bulk of his experience has been custom wood work (millwork). He struggled in the plumbing, HVAC and electrical sections the most the first time around so he studied those topics and when he went back he brought those scores up and the others he did well on went down. He was so discouraged. It doesn't help that they don't provide the details on the questions you missed to help you study in more detail, so each time he is just shooting in the dark. I do know there are parts of the material he still needs better understanding of, but the test taker issue is definitely playing a part. Anxiety can get the best of him. Hopefully this helps paint a better picture? Thanks for your input!

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I would have him thoroughly read whatever building code books are applicable. I don't mean skim thorugh it, but actually read and understand each sentence. Every time he reads something that makes him say "huh", have him study up on it. That'll be a good start anyways, but will take a while. (less than a year at least)

Have him take any practice exams. Any time he comes upon a question he doesn't understand, have him study up on that area.

Once he feels truly confident in passing an exam, he could take the NHIE to see how he's coming along. If he passes with flying colors, perhaps he is well prepared. I really don't know, because I haven't taken it.

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If your husband has the resources or can get them, look into a Tech School that offers Certificates in HVAC, Mechanical (Plumbing), and Electrical. Some Certs can be gotten in 6 months, some take a year.

Throw in a few courses in Building Construction and he should come out a fairly well rounded building expert. This may take two years, but what profession doesn't take 2 to 4 years to learn.

Sorry to say, but trying to learn this gig in a 40 or 80 hours class only profits the class giver. Something about "throwing money down a rat hole".

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I think he needs to find a mentor and tag along for a few months. He'll be amazed at what he'll learn just from observing.

We had a guy here in Washington that had taken that test 4 or 5 times and was at his wits end because the grandfathering deadline was approaching. He was about to throw in the towel and leave the business when

Rhonda Myers down at DOL told him to take one more shot at it and told him to stop thinking so hard about the questions and just follow his best instincts.

On the day before the deadline she found him a slot halfway across the state in a test center, he drove over there, took the test, passed it and then drove like a maniac for three more hours to get to Olympia to her office in order to get his license. He walked in the door 15 minutes before she was to close and was, according to Rhonda, literally overcome emotionally to have finally gotten his license.

Have him find a guy to shadow for a while and tell him to force himself to relax the next time he goes in to test.

Bet he'll do well.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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My hat's off to you Page for pushing him along. I put forth a significant effort to get licensed. After doing so, the stage fright of the "real home inspection" made me want to quit. My wife jumped in with encouragement reminding me that I was not a quitter. Her efforts made me trudge on and I am now successful.

When I read this post, it reminded me of how she helped. Thanks to her and thanks to you.

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A lot of people, especially those who have been in the trades for awhile, tend to over think questions and forget the basics.

For example, you look under a bathroom sink often enough, you just know by sight if the drain pipe is the "right' size or not or you look at a wire and just know it's the right size for the load.

But then the question comes up on a test:

What size of drain pipe for a bathroom sink

1 & 1/4 inches

1 & 1/2 inches

2 inches

or

How many amps for a #8 wire

and you freeze because, YOU really don't remember even though you can tell by looking.

Study and memorize those basic charts.

It helps.

And so will YOUR encouragement.

(Paragraph breaks would make your writing easier to read than one large block of text.)

Patience and persistence will get him through it.

-

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Hi Page,

I am offering my personal experience and opinions in an effort to give you and your husband some assistance with the state exam.

Several months ago(June 2011) I went through the AHIT self study course. IMO: AHIT was designed to provide the basic information to pass a state examine, as well as advertise for themselves.

Nothing beats experience. I grew up in the residential construction industry as my dad was in the trade. I worked and gained my experience and asked thousands of questions from the different trades involved in the building process. My goal was to know everything about building houses, after all, it was my job.

I'm confident with your husbands 20 yrs experience that he already has a head start over many that have never even been on a construction site. He should feel confident about this also.

As I studied the material, any portion I didn't clearly understand (visual image in my mind) I would research until I felt comfortable about explaining this to a new home buyer. Going from student to teacher.

Taking the exam:

1) I read every question as though it was being asked by a new home buyer on the job site.

2) I was in no rush, accuracy was more important.

3) I felt confident in my knowledge.

Armed with these three guidelines, I felt no pressure in taking the test or doing my job for my client.

Good luck to you and your husband.

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Wow, I can't thank you all enough for your input!! I cannot wait to read these replies to my husband when he comes home tonight! Okay, I know this is an emotional time for he and I both but your advice and encouragement literally brought tears to my eyes!! Thank you - thank you - thank you!!!! I will remain on here and look forward to having all of you behind us in this effort!! What a wonderful group of people! And please, keep the replies coming!! This means so much to me! Have a wonderful day!!

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All good advice.

Another thing to consider. I was recently given some information that came from the SC Home Inspection Licensure Board that makes me question the basic intelligence of that body.

If they're the ones who wrote the exam, I question the validity of the exam.

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Thanks Jim, can you share? The exam is given through psiexams.com, at the local testing center. But being its the National Home Inspection Exam that he is taking does that make a difference? I'm still very interested in any advice you have on improving his test taking skills as well. Thanks so much again for your time!

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One thing I did on the NHIE was to skip the test questions that I did not know the answer to. I focused on answering everything that I knew first, then went back and spent time with process of elimination on the remaining multiple choice questions.

Sometimes you learn things in the testing process. This can help you go back and answer questions that you were not sure of the first time around.

The NHIE is not an easy test. I scored in the high 90's on every other home inspection related test. On the NHIE, I squeaked by with a 78.

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Hi,

In states where testing is used as part of licensing or registration, some states have chosen to utilize the National Home Inspector Exam. Since that test can't be tailored to meet the individual requirements of every state, state licensing bodies write a supplement to the test. Here in Washington, the supplement is about 25 questions. PSI sat down with the folks from the licensing board and guided them through the process in order to keep it psychometrically valid. I suspect something similar happened in South Carolina. I think the problem with this process is that those that design the state specific questions might not be very proficient themselves, they don't stick to the state-specific stuff and then they start injecting inspectorlore into the state component.

Of course, I'm here and that's there; I really have no facts in front of me about the South Carolina component of the NHIE there.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thank you both for sharing!! I am so glad I found you all!! It surprised us that they do not give you information on the items you answer incorrectly. The percentages right is somewhat helpful but still leaves him second guessing some of his answers that may have been correct. I see the positive in this being that not just anyone can become a home inspector, that's for sure!!

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hello,

When I took the exam I studied " Home Inspection Exam Prep" by Carson Dunlop and Associates for a week before hand. The practice questions helped tremendously and once I started to get passing scores, I felt confident I would pass when I took the exam, and in fact I did.

Rick

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I took the NHIE couple of months ago. What I found was many of the questions have to do with water and air movement through a home.

If you understand the concepts of how moisture being released from a crawlspace without a vapor retarder gets into the home and travels to the attic, you will be able to answer the questions.

I used the Carson Dunlop Home Inspection Exam Prep for study. I was only scoring about 75% on the HI Exam Prep stuff. Only missed 10 out of 200 questions on the NHIE. Many of the HI Exam Prep questions are oddly worded and the designated answers are often even more poorly worded.

I would also recommend reviewing test taking strategies. Answer the ones you know. Mark the ones you are unsure and come back and answer them later. Several later questions often gave clues to help answer previous questions. Help increase the odds you are choosing the right answer by eliminating the 2 obviously wrong answers. Then you have at least a 50/50 if you are guessing. Make sure you read the entire question all the way through before answering. Check for the keep words Never, Always and other Not.

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Can someone explain to me how the NHIE works in varying states? My question is, my husbands test in SC is 150 total questions. I understand that each state has different requirements to get the licensing, but it sounds as though the questions for the NHIE may vary by state as well? Is this the case? Thank you!

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