Hey everyone, I know there are various posts on here about the NHIE but I thought I would put up some tips and advice that worked for me specifically and hopefully they can be useful for anyone who is looking for some guidance.
Just so all of you know, My background is in painting/drywall/finish carpentry, I haven’t studied for a test nor have a taken a test in probably 15-20 years and even then I was a subpar test taker. So needless to say I was nervous about the NHIE and the horror stories of guys having to take it 3-4 times just made it even worse. There is A LOT of different advice out there, some good, most bad, but I managed to use a combination of ways to study and just passed the NHIE first try last week here in Oregon. So here are a few tips and tricks that I did to help me get a passing score on the first time around…
1.Use anything and everything InterNACHI offers to help! We get these services for free as members and it is a very useful set of tools when it comes to studying. I took the InterNACHI Online Inspectors Exam daily, sometimes twice a day, so I could not only study the information but also get me used to taking timed tests. Use the InterNACHI licensing exam practice questions! And finally download the InterNACHI flashcard app on your phone. Its free and super useful, anytime you have 5 to 10 mins of time pull out the phone and do some flashcards!
2.Go ahead and get the NHIE exam content books. I know they are expensive but in the grand scheme of things they are worth it. A lot of people will tell you otherwise but lets be real here, if the EBPHI makes a book telling you what is essentially on the test you are doing yourself a disservice by not getting them. I went through the books and highlighted things I felt were important to remember and constantly referred to the book when I really wanted to sit down and dedicate a few hours to studying.
Take the practice quizzes that NHIE offers. There is a whole house quiz ($25, 50 questions), HVAC, Electrical, Structural, and Plumbing ($15, 25 questions ea.). Again, I know it is more money but the quizzes are made of questions taken directly from the exam. At the end of the quiz they show you the answers you got wrong, the right answer, and an explanation why it is the right answer. I would write the questions I got wrong on a notecard to use as a flashcard as well. (also a bunch of the practice quiz questions showed up on my exam so they ended up being guaranteed points)
Make your own flashcards. I would write down any question I got wrong or had trouble with from any practice test, quiz, or book and had my wife quiz me on them every other night. She would also ask me to explain the answer to her. This is great for several reasons, it helps you study, it helps you actually understand what you are studying, and it gives you practice when in the field and having to explain things to clients so that they can understand what you are talking about. This is super helpful and I highly recommend it.
And this is probably the most important of any of these, BE HUMBLE! It is very easy to go into the exam thinking you know enough already, especially if you come from a construction background, but the reality is this exam is worded to trip you up. I have heard the biggest contributor to failing the exam is arrogance. This exam covers A LOT of material, and some of it is things like pool inspections and solar equipment etc… So there are most likely things in there you don’t know or don’t know well. Give yourself a fighting chance, check the ego at the door, and crack open the books!
As far as the exam itself goes a lot of it is worded to trip you up. This is one of those tests where there is more than one right answer but you have to choose the best answer out of the right ones. This can be very tricky, especially when you get one or two softball questions before or after a tough one. You can begin to question yourself. It is important to take your time, and really read the questions and visualize what you are being asked. About a month before I took this exam I ran into a home inspector on his way out near my neighborhood so I stopped him and picked his brain about any advice he might have and he basically told me be prepared to fail the first time. Thats a bummer to hear while you are in the middle of cramming book after book into your head but If someone like me can pass on the first shot then anyone can! So don’t listen to the bad hype, just do everything you can to prepare so when you walk into the exam you know you have done everything you could do to get yourself ready for this and more likely than not you will come out on top!
Sorry for the lengthy post but if there are any new/aspiring inspectors out there looking for help like I was then hopefully you can take something from this! Here is to a long and fruitful career in the home inspection industry! Good Luck!!!