Top 5 Free NERC Exam Study Materials

In this post we’ll be sharing our top free resources to help you study for the NERC reliability coordinator certification exam.

1. EPRI Power System Dynamics Tutorial

We consider the EPRI Power System Dynamics Tutorial a required reading when studying for the NERC exam. It’s by far the most thorough text on power system fundamentals. The best part is that it’s completely free! Just follow the instructions to access the document here.

NERC recommends reading chapters 2-9 and 11. We think chapters 2-5 are absolutely necessary for everyone. If you’re studying for the exam without the help of an online training program, then go ahead and read the chapters recommended by NERC. Absolutely the gold standard in terms of free study materials. A solid understanding of the fundamentals is required to pass the exam, and the EPRI manual delivers on that front.

There isn’t a ton of explanation behind some of the concepts early in the fundamentals chapter. We recommend brushing up on basic DC / AC circuit theory prior to reading. Youtube is obviously a great free resource for learning circuit theory concepts. If you’re interested in learning DC circuit theory geared specifically toward power system operations, we have a free course that covers everything you need to know.

2. The NERC standards themselves

The EPRI manual gives you the knowledge of how the power system operations game is played. The NERC standards are the rules of that game. There is no better resource for learning the rules than the standards themselves.

Access the standards here. Click the link ‘United States Mandatory Standards Subject to Enforcement’ link which will then download a spreadsheet with the current enforceable standards. Emphasis should be placed on the BAL, COM, EOP, IRO, TOP, and VAR standards. Click on the link for each standard which will open the document in a browser.

When studying the standards your areas of focus should be on the Purpose, Applicability, and the Requirements (R1, R2 etc.). Additionally, some standards will have supporting documentation at the bottom that provides further explanation. Be sure to scroll down on each standard to check.

Studying the standards requires memorizing the requirements. We recommend using these study tips to help.

3. NREL Electricity Generation Baseline Report

This report provides a ton of information on different types of generators, as well as regional generation data. Knowing the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of different types of generators will go a long way in helping you pass the NERC Reliability Coordinator exam. Again, if you don’t have any background in power system operations we highly recommend this read. Special emphasis should be placed on sections 4-13.

4. FERC Energy Primer

The FERC energy primer is a free resource that covers energy markets in great detail. The NERC exam isn’t focused on market operations but if you’re going in to the exam with no prior experience we definitely recommend reading it. Your focus should be on Chapter 3, which covers the wholesale electricity markets. It provides a lot of great information about electricity supply and demand, including regional and seasonal characteristics. Having a solid understanding of the grid as a whole will help give you a complete picture of the power grid and increase your chances of passing the exam on your first attempt.

5. NERC Glossary of Terms

The fact of the matter is the power system is riddled with acronyms and technical terms you may not be familiar with if you’re new to the industry. Thats where the NERC glossary of terms comes in. Not much to elaborate on here but if you come across a term or acronym you’re not familiar with chances are you’ll find it here. Use Ctrl + F to search for terms quicker.

Share your thoughts!

We’d love to hear if you have any free resources you’ve found helpful while studying for the NERC exam! Let us know below what you found most helpful about the resources listed here as well. Good luck studying!