How to Study for the NC General Contractor Exam?

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If you plan on getting your NC general contractors license, it will not be easy. You will need to do several things and sacrifices you will have to make to pass the exam. If you are wondering how to study for the NC general contractor exam, you no longer have to be curious.

Being a contractor can be a great thing and provide new opportunities for your career. If you are new to this process, never fear; we will help you understand the contractor exam and why you might need to take it. We will provide you with question logistics, exam format, and even tips for how to conquer the exam.

To find the information you need, all you have to do is keep reading. By the time you get to the end of the article, you will have all the information and several resources you can use to pass your exam. Happy testing!

What is the North Carolina General Contractor Exam?What is the North Carolina General Contractor Exam?

If you are looking to do any high-value contract work in the state of North Carolina, you will need to be licensed. A license is not required for jobs that are less than thirty thousand dollars or a person’s personal residence. However, the person must agree to the terms you both set forth.   Any projects over this limit will require licensing.

If you want to bid on contracts, work in the realm of project management, or serve as a superintendent on any form of construction projects worth more than thirty thousand dollars, you will need to have a contractor license.

A general contractor license has six different classifications that you can choose from. These classifications can have up to 4 different limitation types. Much like the others, these are determined by the work which needs to be done. The classifications include the following:

  • Residential Contractor license
  • Highway contractor license
  • Building contractor license
  • Unclassified contractor license.
  • Specialty contractor license
  • Public utility contractor license

However, before you can take the exam, you must receive an official letter of eligibility from the board of contractors. If you are functioning as a general handyman, you do not need to be licensed. You also will not need a license if you work as a subcontractor.

Before getting your license, there are some stipulations you will need to meet in addition to taking the exam. You will need to be at least 18 years old and be in good moral standing. You must also legally register your business within North Carolina and submit financial documents that support your application for sufficient working capital.

How Many Questions Are on the NC General Contractors Exam?

How Many Questions Are on the NC General Contractors Exam?

When going in to take the exam, you should be prepared to take three exams. This will include the General contractor exam and the residential and building exam.

The NC general contractor’s exam contains 115 questions. A test taker is provided 330 minutes or a little over 5 hours for the exam. To pass the exam, students will need a score of 70% or higher. This is equivalent to answering 81 questions correctly.

The residential and the building exam are 90 minutes and have a minimum passing score of 70%. You are allowed 3 hours for the building exam, and you are allowed 3.5 hours for the residential exam.

How Hard is the North Carolina General Contractor Exam?

How Hard is the North Carolina General Contractor Exam?

If you are unsure of how to study for the NC general contractor exam, you will need to figure something out to pass the test. The exam is said to be fairly complex due to its open-book format. When utilizing the open-book format, several references are provided by the board that will be acceptable to bring with you during the exam. These texts may not contain any notes or jargon; however, permanent flags may be used before the exam to denote sections within the book.

Flags that can be removed and moved like post-its are unacceptable. Though you may think to have the text would make the exam easier, that is not always the case. Test takers may have a more challenging time finding and interpreting answers than they would if the test was in a closed-book format. If you forget your reference material, the testing center will not have extras, and you will be forced to take the exam without a reference.

The book will not provide you with exact answers; students will still need to know how to interpret the material in the book to solve specific problems or understand how questions are worded to obtain the correct answer themselves. Passing the exam is possible. All you need to do is utilize the tips below to ensure you receive a passing score on the exam.

5 Helpful Tips to Study for the NC General Contractors Exam

5 Helpful Tips to Study for the NC General Contractors Exam

Know how to register for the exam

There are several different ways in which a potential contractor may go about registering for the exam. This may include doing so via the internet, fax, telephone, or snail mail. However, the quickest and most efficient way to register is via the internet. You will be shown a list of testing dates on screen and allowed to choose the option which best fits your needs. If you opt to register via fax or snail mail, there may be extra processing time needed to confirm your information.

Know the total cost associated with your license

When obtaining your license, there may be some fees that you will have to pay. These fees may vary by the license type that you have. This application feel will likely be between $60 and 180 dollars.   IN addition to this fee, contractors may be required to pay something known as a surety bond. You should also know the amount of working capital you will need to apply with to have your desired license type. Receiving an unlimited license means that you have provided the board with 150,000 dollars of working capital.

Understand what material will be on the exam

Before successfully taking and passing the exam, you must know what to study for and what to expect. Getting an outline of the content on which you will be tested is a preliminary thing you should do before sitting for the exam.

The information on the exam needed to obtain your NC general contractors license is as follows:

The tests are separated into various domains. These domains include:

  • Planning And Estimating (18%)
  • Safety (17%)
  • Concrete (7%)
  • Metals (4%)
  • Masonry (3%)
  • Site Construction (13%)
  • Financial and Project Management (18%)
  • Doors, Windows & Glazing (4%)
  • Conveyance Systems & Specialty Equipment (2%)
  • Finishes (6%)
  • Wood (4%)
  • Moisture Protection & Thermal (4%)

The information listed above gives a percentage breakdown that can be expected on the test.

Make sure you are well-rested and prepared.

Outside of preparing for the material on the exam, you will also need to make sure you know where you are taking the test, what to expect from the test site, and that you are rested enough for the exam. In addition to this information, you should be aware of the identification items needed to bring on test day.

Like taking any other standardized test, you should arrive at the testing site early and be prepared to check in. You will need to bring two forms of valid identification with you to check in. These ID types will include an item with a photograph and a signature. Your driver’s license would suffice as the first piece of identification. Your name used to apply must also be identical to the name on your photo identification. You will also need a calculator.

Have a list of references ready

The first time you see a text mustn’t be when you sit down to take the exam. Doing so during the exam may result in an automatic failure. You should be familiar with your reference books; they should be highlighted and drawn in before the exam. The board provides the references below as options to utilize when taking the exam, list of references and further info can be found here.

  • North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry
  • Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management – North Carolina Contractors Edition
  • North Carolina State Building Code, General Construction, 2006. (Only needed if you are taking the Building Contractor Exam)
  • North Carolina State Building Code – Accessibility Code (Only needed if you are taking the Building Contractor Exam)
  • North Carolina State Residential One- and Two-Family Dwelling Code, 2006. (Only needed if you are taking the Residential Builder Exam)
  • North Carolina State Administration and Enforcement Requirements Code

Outside of the references listed above you should take the time to find an NC general contractors’ exam prep guide.  This guide can help you prepare and comprehend the material you will be tested on.  It would also be a great idea to take a NC general contractor practice test to test your skills.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Study for the NC General Contractor Exam?

Overall, when studying for NC general contractors license, you should be focused and prepared.   Use the information in this article to ensure you are ready for whatever is placed in front of you. Do not think that it will be easy because the exam is an open-book test. Quite the contrary, the exam is challenging though a student may have references with them.

Taking the NC general contractor exam is not something to take lightly; however, it is something that you can conquer! You should be familiar with it and have a general idea of the book’s format to help you navigate to items more quickly. Make sure that the day you sit down to take the exam is not the first day you open your reference.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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