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NHIE, pass it yet?


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I recently took the NHIE and passed big on the first try. It really was not that difficult even though I created my own stress and anxiety prior to taking the thing.I took it with only 102 inspections under my belt, roofing as a background and a desire to join one of the nationally recognized orginizations to legitimize my business. It seems to me that my competitors in my farming area all poo-poo the test because Maryland currently does not have a licensing criteria. Any thoughts from you inspectors that live in states that require a passing score to be licensed? In some forums I've even read language from inspectors that seem to blow off the test or maybe a fear that they would'nt pass. Feedback welcome

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The NHIE is required in my state. We have a fair passing rate for first time takers, it is in the high 50% range last time I looked. I think the national average is in the mid 60% range.

Many inspectors blow off as you say the NHIE simply because they are scared to take it, pure and simple. You will hear excuses like; I've been inspecting house for 20+ years, why should I have to take a test!; That test is a bunch of bunk, it means nothing to me!; Why should I have to pay to prove how good I am!; They make that test so hard with trick code questions, just so you will have to take it again so that they can make more money.; It cost too much!; It is full of code questions and I don't inspect houses to code. I have heard these and many more, mostly from guys who just don't have a clue.

What most don't realize is that the NHIE is not all that hard. If you have some inspections under your belt,and or have been to a good training school or hit the books everyday for a few weeks before taking the exam you will pass. The exam test basic common knowledge that any home inspector should know. Most of us do not give ourselves enough credit for knowing allot of stuff, you would be surprised just how much you know and on the other hand how much you don't know.

From what I have seen, the ones who have the hardest time passing the NHIE are those that have been in the HI profession for a long period of time and don't study before taking the exam because they think they know everything; the guys who have been in the building trades and think they know everything about everything when they know only a little about anything; and engineers who want to become home inspectors without any formal training.

Those that do the best from what I have seen are the ones who have attended training at a good school; have been in the business for a period of time to have some inspections under your belt and also study for the exam; and those that have no experience in the building trades, have attended a school and have learned from the schools and from books the proper way things should be in a home.

Anyone can pass the NHIE it just requires knowledge of the home inspection profession. If you study and have an open mind to learn then you can pass.

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Thanks Scott, I appreciate your honesty and candor. Your perception about why some HI's don't take the test is the same as mine.I thought that it was important for me to tackle the test as both a confidence builder and sort of a personal skill level gauge. Thanks again

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Those inspectors that think it is stupid are operating within their own little world; they're knowledge is only as large as their perception, which appears very limited.

I've been inspecting buildings since 1979, have experience w/ HUD as a rehab specialist, I was a muni inspector, a contractor, & I've been an independent inspector for 20 years; I'm barely scratching the surface as far as knowledge.

The kiss of death in this business is imagining that you have it nailed; no one does.

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Originally posted by kurt

Those inspectors that think it is stupid are operating within their own little world; they're knowledge is only as large as their perception, which appears very limited.

I've been inspecting buildings since 1979, have experience w/ HUD as a rehab specialist, I was a muni inspector, a contractor, & I've been an independent inspector for 20 years; I'm barely scratching the surface as far as knowledge.

The kiss of death in this business is imagining that you have it nailed; no one does.

I say.....amen brother.

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Just when you think you've seen everything something will open your eyes. After 19 years in the business if I go one week without experiencing something I have never seen I will retire. It hasen't happened yet and I don't expect it to happen soon. This is an ongoing learinig process and I'm in it for the duration.

NORM SAGE

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Amen again,

With 15 years in construction, mostly commercial, I was as nervous as they come. These forums show us daily how much we don't know. After a fast track course at ITA and no inspections under my belt I took "THE TEST".

Passed the first go round.

While at an event this afternoon I had the pleasure to meet three other inspectors in the local area. The opportunity did not present it self to speak with one team but the other two firms made their opinions on continuing ed. Needless to say none partake in any forum.

Thank each of you for helping to equip us for the good of our clients.

Norm--Keep up the pool stuff. I need more.

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Since they changed ASHI's old 3 tests into just the ASHI Stds test and the NHIE, we've had a much higher pass ratio around here.

Many of the older guys took the old 3 tests 2-4 times before passing. Today most of even the new inexperienced inspectors in our area sail through the NHIE. Its got a higher pass ration than we did with the old tests.

Dan Bowers

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That's true; I seem to remember the old ASHI tests as being rigorous.

For all the science of psychometrics, I still think that the old tests were a much better testing structure. 150 multiple choice should be for driving tests; not professional accreditation.

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The only bad thing about the old ASHI test was that many of the questions were wrong and many could not be verified. It was the old adage of it's this way because this is how we have always done it!

I am a veteran of the old ASHI test (2 times to pass) and the NHIE. I agree the old ASHI test was harder, it was almost like the Old Guard was seeing how hard they could make it to keep the numbers down. Na, that would never happen.[:-eyebrows]

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Some of the questions on the new NHIE were also incorrect or had more than 1 valid answer. When you're trying to push that on various states for their state licensure test, you don't want to advertise that fact - you want to promote that your test is psychometrically correct.

The older ASHI tests had a passing point of 75, then to keep the NHIE in line with other state licensing type tests the pass ratio was changed to 70 a few years back.

That probably helped the pass rate.

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Originally posted by DLRambo

Some of the questions on the new NHIE were also incorrect or had more than 1 valid answer. When you're trying to push that on various states for their state licensure test, you don't want to advertise that fact - you want to promote that your test is psychometrically correct.

Do you remember from when you took the NHIE what questions were wrong?

Every question and answer can be verified to a published resource. I am not saying that it is not possible to have a wrong answer on the NHIE but it is very unlikely. The review process is very stringent. The questions are reviewed every year and those questions that have problems (not performing well based on the scores from the test takers) are removed and replaced with questions that have already be tested to perform well on prior exams as sample questions.

When the NHIE first came out it had several bad questions simply because it borrowed many of the questions from the old ASHI exam. All of those questions have been gone for over four years now.

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Scott's comments about attitudes and the NHIE reminds me of training I received when I went to work for APA (then the American Plywood Association) as a Field Representative back in 1968. Gawd I'm getting old!

Anyway I knew nothing about plywood or the wood products industry. APA sent me and other new hires to Tacoma for two weeks of intensive training. The training was thorough and well done. I learned a lot.

After all the congratulations and preparation to tell the world about the benefits of plywood, a senior executive gave us a little speech. He informed us that we now knew just enough to be dangerous. While we knew more about plywood and its uses than 99% of the population, and we would be providing valuable information to builders, students, architects, etc.; we were under no circumstances to portray ourselves as experts. If we ever found ourselves in a legal hassle, APA would put us on the witness stand and make us look like a fool.

That message has stayed with me. No matter how much you know about a subject, especially houses, you never know it all. It's best to admit your weaknesses and call in the specialist. No one ever got sued for saying "I don't know."

I'll put away the soap box now.

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I figure any reasonable test is better than no test. Passing one test doesn't prove you're competent, and certainly doesn't prove you're ethical, but it does prove that you know something. There are still a lot of places where people come into this business and start working while knowing nothing. That's bad for all of us.

My only gripe with the NHIE is the enviromental / climate thing. 4 or 5 questions on mine about "heating enviroments" (a.k.a. northern / midwestern). I was taking the test for a license in Mississippi. It seems to me there are only 3 fair options here.

From best to worst...

1. At least a few questions about each major type (northern / midwestern, southern, western)

2. Several questions only about the type where the test is being given, particularly for a license

3. No questions about it at all

#1 is the way it should be. #2 is the next best thing. I would never support #3, but it is fair.

Brian G.

My 2 Cents

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Originally posted by DLRambo

Scott -

You weren't on the committee or BOD at that time and thus you would not have been privy to

any executive sessions regarding that.

No I was not, you are correct. But I and several other respected individuals that you would know have reviewed the old ASHI test while developing questions for the NHIE.

Dan when did you take the NHIE?

Just curious.

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When I took the NHIE, there was at least one question (regarding steam heat) that was "wrong". There were a couple that were stupid. The vast majority were "right".

I was also involved in a 2 day review of the questions w/ the psychometrician from North Carolina; it was a very long 2 days of extremely rigorous review of all the questions. Anyone saying the test has "wrong" questions is treading on tenuous propositions.

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  • 5 years later...

The NHIE is required in my state. We have a fair passing rate for first time takers, it is in the high 50% range last time I looked. I think the national average is in the mid 60% range.

Many inspectors blow off as you say the NHIE simply because they are scared to take it, pure and simple. You will hear excuses like; I've been inspecting house for 20+ years, why should I have to take a test!; That test is a bunch of bunk, it means nothing to me!; Why should I have to pay to prove how good I am!; They make that test so hard with trick code questions, just so you will have to take it again so that they can make more money.; It cost too much!; It is full of code questions and I don't inspect houses to code. I have heard these and many more, mostly from guys who just don't have a clue.

What most don't realize is that the NHIE is not all that hard. If you have some inspections under your belt,and or have been to a good training school or hit the books everyday for a few weeks before taking the exam you will pass. The exam test basic common knowledge that any home inspector should know. Most of us do not give ourselves enough credit for knowing allot of stuff, you would be surprised just how much you know and on the other hand how much you don't know.

From what I have seen, the ones who have the hardest time passing the NHIE are those that have been in the HI profession for a long period of time and don't study before taking the exam because they think they know everything; the guys who have been in the building trades and think they know everything about everything when they know only a little about anything; and engineers who want to become home inspectors without any formal training.

Those that do the best from what I have seen are the ones who have attended training at a good school; have been in the business for a period of time to have some inspections under your belt and also study for the exam; and those that have no experience in the building trades, have attended a school and have learned from the schools and from books the proper way things should be in a home.

Anyone can pass the NHIE it just requires knowledge of the home inspection profession. If you study and have an open mind to learn then you can pass.

Scott

I have read your blog about the NHIE. As a fellow Tennessean I admire your educated experience in the Home Inspection profession. I sumit to you that I have taken the NHIE several times and had not passed this exam yet which is tying me up from getting my state liciense. I don't know what I am doing wrong. I came close on one of the exam of obtaining a score of 486/500. I know that I am not incompetent of passing this test. Either my study habits haven't clicked right or I am missing something. As you know by being a representative of the board each time a person takes this exam, there maybe different questions that appear. Let's face it, we as human beings are not perfect. One can not remember over 1500-2500 questions with there correct answers. If I was that perfect I would not pursue in the Home Inspection business. I have not given up on myself because of this exam but I would like for you to tell me where I am going wrong of passing it. As a former member of InterNachi, I have taken many courses with them and passed them with certificates to back me up. Thank you for taking this opportunity of reading this. Your comments please.

Best Regards;

[:-monkeyd

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Hi Harvey,

Thank you for the kind words, but I believe in giving back to a profession that has been good to me.

The NHIE only has two versions of the exam or as they are formally called exam sets. They are changed every year usually in January. If you take for example exam "A" and then come back to take the exam again you will be given exam "B" and so on. The two exam forms do have different questions but are equal in their difficulty.

Although the questions seem to change, they are just randomized on the test when a person takes it. The actual pool of questions do not change that the exams are made from.

My experience with the NHIE has shown me that those individuals who have difficulty in passing the exam tend to have had poor training on how to be a home inspector. It really can be traced back to their training. Many go the less expensive study at home route instead of the hands on classroom type training, and it really does make a difference. You just can not beat the hands on classroom. About the only at home training program I have seen this worth its weight in salt is the ASHI At Home program, it is made by Carson Dunlop for ASHI. It will take a person several weeks to even a few months to complete depending on the amount of time they put into it.

Most folks have problems with the following areas:

Electrical (everything)

Structural (foundations and framing)

Roofing (types of roof materials, proper installation, roof structures)

Another problem that we have noticed with a few of the schools and training programs is that they only teach or instruct to a particular Standard of Practice, and this is a major problem.

SOP's regardless of whose they are using really do not cover what is done in the field by home inspectors across the country. They are considered the minimal guideline, just like building codes. This is where the training in many schools and programs fail. They are almost teaching inspectors on how to fail. But, neither you or I can change this.

You can obtain the NHIE exam "blueprint" from the EBPHI website. It is a guide to the areas of knowledge that the questions on the NHIE are taken from. It is also based on what is called an RDS or a study of the profession on what inspectors really need to know to be a home inspector and what they are doing in real life in the field.

I hope this helps all who might be having difficulty in passing the NHIE.

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