NERC Exam Study Tips

Studying for and passing the NERC RC exam is quite an undertaking. Most of the time trainees are provided with an online training program to prepare them. Yet, since the test first became available the pass rate has declined significantly. It’s not uncommon for your first attempt to not go as planned. We’ve compiled some tips we think will help you pass the test on your first attempt.

  1. Take notes
    • This may seem obvious but it seems as though taking notes often gets overlooked. The act of writing the notes down helps you to retain  information. Simply clicking through your training program can leave you having to go back several times to review information. Take some time to learn how to make an outline of notes. The outline method is what we recommend the most because it’s easy to see main topics vs subtopics. If you need some guidance on how to outline your notes here is a helpful video. Generally if you’re going through a powerpoint the information has already been condensed, for these you’ll most likely be writing everything on the slide down, including any notes you want to leave for yourself to support the information. For powerpoint lessons you’re really going to be rewriting the course, just copying it down in your notebook.
  2. Take your notes again
    • We know, you’re nauseated from the labor of taking notes the first time. But consider typing your notes up again on the computer. While typing the notes up from your notebook try to clean them up a little more – condense things further and clean up the layout. Your goal here is to create a set of notes that you can read through quickly for a refresher. Plus typing up the notes again will further help you retain the information. For most of the material your training, repetition = retention. Theres a lot of littile things you simply have to memorize.
  3. Use your notes
    • Taking notes and taking them again surely gave you a leg up in remembering the massive amount of info you need to retain to pass the exam. But actually using your notes after you took them is where you’re really setting yourself up for success. Now that you have a set of clean and easy to read notes typed up, review them every day while you’re studying. This will hardly take any time out of your day and you’ll stay refreshed on the material while you continue through your studies. 
  4. Make flashcards
    • Make some flashcards with definitions, standard specific notification time requirements, formulas, quick questions. The key here is to make your own flash cards, don’t use any note cards that have already been made online. Couple reasons for this, 1 – you don’t know who made those flashcards, and you don’t know how well they did on the test, 2 – the act of making the flashcards is what’s going to help you. You might be noticing a trend by now. Heres a helpful video on how to make flashcards.
  5. Use your flashcards
    • Now we’re really talking. You’ve gone through the trouble of making the notes and by now you’ve probably done a pretty good job at sticking some of that info into your long term memory. Lets polish off all that hard work you’ve done by using those flashcards. Again, go over them every day. The more exposure you have to recalling the info the better off you’re going to be for the test. 
  6. Teach what you’ve learned
    • Grab a supportive loved one who’s willing to listen to you blabber about frequency, voltage, and megawatts. Teaching someone what you’ve learned takes it a step further in your understanding of the material. One great thing about this strategy is it helps you identify areas where you might be struggling. And figuring out how to teach those areas to other will strengthen your knowledge of the material where you need it most. 
  7. Dont get discouraged
    • Lot’s of topics that require mastery to pass the NERC RC exam can be difficult to grasp, especially if you’re brand new to the industry. When you come across a topic that really stumps you it can be easy to become frustrated. The good news is those topics that challenge you help to solidify your knowledge of power system operations. The harder something is, the more likely you’ll have a really solid understanding of the topic if you put in the work to figure it out.

Following these steps will put you on the fast track to passing the NERC RC exam on your first attempt. Good Luck!