Preparing to Take the Exam

The following questions and answers apply only to NICET's paper-and-pencil examinations. For information about the Video Security Systems computer-based tests, please click here.


How long is the exam?
Your exam could be as short as 30 minutes or as long as 420 minutes. It depends on the exam type and, if you are taking a work element exam, how many work elements you have selected. Your total exam time will be reported on your confirmation letter; the proctor will stop you when your time has expired.

Is the exam open book?
NICET exams are open book. The Institute recommends that you bring standards and other bound references to the exam.

Can I use a laptop computer or calculator when taking my exam?
To ensure a quiet testing environment for everyone, and to protect the security of its exam questions, NICET does not allow computers (palm tops, notebooks, laptop, desktop, etc.) in the test room.

Are sample questions available?
NICET does not currently provide sample examination questions. The exam is open book, and all questions are multiple choice. If you feel you need help preparing for a work element exam, you may want to contact one of the training organizations listed in the program detail manual.

Why do some work element descriptions include references to standards like NFPA, IEEE, AASHTO, ACI, ASTM, ISA, etc?
When a work element's test questions are based on a specific national standard, the standard will be named at the end of the work element description in the program detail manual. The Institute strongly recommends that all examinees bring copies of references/standards/codes to the exam. For many programs, you must use the most recent edition of the standard, provided it was published at least one year prior to the exam date. Fire protection examinees will receive by mail a list of standard editions referenced in test questions for their upcoming exam. If you use a newer edition to answer the questions, then you must use the challenge process to identify the edition and the work element that was affected.

If my jurisdiction has its own standards and specifications, should I bring copies to the test?
In NICET's test questions, nationally recognized standards/specifications take precedence over local standards/specifications. When standards are referenced in the work element, they are always nationally applicable standards, not state-specific, or local-specific standards.

Does NICET have study guides or other material to help prepare for the work element exam?
No. The exam questions are based on typical job tasks, and because you should have already mastered the work elements you select for testing, "studying" is not usually necessary. Each work element description specifically names topics that you can expect on the exam. You might want to read appropriate literature to familiarize yourself with any standards or other materials specifically mentioned in your selected work elements. You'll also find a list of Selected General References in the back of your program detail manual.

Does NICET have study materials to prepare for the two-part (General knowledge A/B) exams?
No. Each examinee needs to obtain his or her own study material(s) based upon the exam topic description. Click on the "Certification" menu button, and select your general knowledge program. On this program's page, click on the link "About the Exam" for the topics you can expect to find in the exam questions.

Can I take the exam in a language other than English?
No. Because the Institute's programs are primarily designed for persons living in the United States and its territories and U.S. citizens living abroad, NICET exams and publications are printed only in English.


If none of these FAQs answered your question, please e-mail NICET or search again. Questions related to your personal progress toward meeting a certification requirement must be directed to NICET by telephone. Please call 888-476-4238 or 703-548-1518.

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