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Top Electrical Exam Techniques

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 23rd June 2016

Exam Cloud

Love them or hate them, you will have to take an exam at some point throughout your electrical qualification.

At Trade Skills 4 U, we understand that some people find tests stressful and nerve racking. Using effective techniques can go a long way. Try to plan, prepare and take the right approaches on board to help limit the anxiety you feel before undertaking an exam to help you achieve top marks.

Take a look at the handy tips listed:

Theory Exams:

Read the question

Read the question more than once to understand what the examination requires of you.

Look out for negative and double negative questions. You will have a choice of four answers giving 25% chance of getting it right.

Two answers are probably completely wrong, with one answer nearly correct and one answer correct. This increases you chance of a correct answer to 50%.

A good calculated guess is better than no answer at all, and may gain you valuable points.

Flag the question

You also have the opportunity to flag a question and come back to it at a later time.

If you’re still unsure of the answer, make a guess, select your guess AND flag it. You may have answered it correctly and possible marks gained are better than no marks at all.

Don’t dwell on a possible answer, save time to answer the questions you know.

Double Check

On completion of the exam go back and check your flagged answers, a later question may have given clues to answer a previous question correctly.

Use your time wisely. If you have the time check all your answers.

Practical Assessments:

Know the correct procedure for single and three phase isolation and practice it to perfection, showing the assessor you can work safe

Look and research at what is required of you so you can plan ahead. Building an assessment will also require its Inspection and Test

Build the assessment neat and correct, to show professionalism

Before performing Inspection and Testing, check the condition of the leads and probes. Are they GS38 compliant?

(Don’t forget to null the leads!)

Before doing the first insulation resistance test, prove the meter is working OK. Sort out the test leads with crocodile clips, press the test button and confirm you are getting a 0.00 MΩ reading

Show the assessor you know your stuff

Check your readings and confirm to yourself, they are as expected. Don’t be frightened of querying test results, it may be a faulty circuit?

Complete any assessment including paperwork and testing paperwork neatly and as professionally as possible

One of the best tips we can probably give is- remember, keep cool, calm and collective and don’t let your nerves get the better of you!

When the exam is over, don’t obsess with what you could’ve done. Relax and praise yourself for doing the exam in the first place.

Or failing that, head to the pub for a pint!

Good luck everyone!


Categories: test, exams, electrical exams, qualification

Rapid Charging Equals Rapid Growth for EV

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 21st June 2016

If you watched Top Gear at the weekend you may have seen the review of the Tesla Model X. This electric car has a range of 250 miles and this was tested to the max by the Rory Reid who covered 200 miles in it and beat a ford mustang in a drag race. After all that he still had 21 miles range left. In the show Rory said "The future is now!" and it really seems to be the case with EV coming of age in 2016. 

Recent news also confirmed that by 2025 Norway has pledged to ban the sale of all petrol based vehicles. This is a clear indicator of the future for electric vehicles and the possibilities for installers of EV charging points. 

Not only is there more noise about electric cars in the media but what is more apparent is just how common place they are becoming on UK roads. Simply take a drive and you are almost guaranteed to see an electric car on your journey. This is in part due to the increases in range for many vehicles making them a much wiser choice when customers are looking to upgrade their current vehicles.

For instance the new Nissan Leaf has a 155 mile range and if you buy one Nissan will lend you a car 14 days a year for those longer journeys. When you add to that the savings you could make by going electric it almost becomes a no brainer to buy one for those with long drives to work. If you currently spend around £200 a month on fuel a switch to electric would save you around £175 in fuel costs and that’s before we even start looking at road tax and other costs.

This is why all of a sudden we are seeing an increase in demand for electric cars, not just because of the environmental benefits but also because it is now financially viable.

So What’s Happening with Electric Car Sales?

This can be seen in electric car sales which have increased by around 60% per year for the last few years. This is the same rate at which sale of the original Ford Model T grew back in the early 1900’s before cars replaced horses as the travel.

It is expected that around 2020 – 2024 electric cars will make such a big impact upon the world economy that we will have a surplus of oil as demand for petrol and diesel cars drops.

What’s happening with charging point installation?

There was a big push to get the network up and running back in 2011 and then steady growth since then. However the latest in technology rapid charging points are likely to drive the market forwards over the coming years. Many of these rapid charging points will require an upgraded supply meaning the installation is likely to be a larger job. The growth in installations is mapped below and broken out by charger type.

Zap Map esitimate that currently as of the 21st June 2016 the UK currently has 6266 public devices in 4066 locations. The market is currently growing by 270 installations every month.

The value of the infrastructure market is predicated to more than double in the next 5 years.

Domestic vs Commercial Points?

Worldwide it is predicted that growth in the domestic market will outstrip that of the commecial. 

“Deployments of EV charging stations are critical to enable a widespread adoption of electric plug-in vehicles,” said Ben Scott, senior analyst at IHS Automotive. “Most charging stations are expected to be installed in domestic applications, such as a dedicated wall box or simply a charging cord plugged into a household power source,” said Scott.

According to IHS Automotive, the global production market for pure electric and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) vehicles is expected to grow significantly between 2014 and 2020. The global EV Charger (EVC) market is forecast to grow from more than 1 million units in 2014 to more than 12.7 million units in 2020.

A recent report published by AMA research states:

"Fast chargers represent the largest market sector by volume, with standard speed chargers also a significant part. Rapid chargers, which are relatively new, more expensive and can require upgrades to the electrical supply, remain smaller in terms of volume, but this sector is growing rapidly and answers the need for fast recharging."

There is so much data out there that we could go on and on. However if you want to look into this market further we have found some great websites from which many of the graphs and stats above are taken including AMA Research  Zap Map and Next Green Car.

What is clear is that there will be a huge international demand for installation of EV in the coming years so if you want to get into this market make sure you check out our current EV charging point installers course here.


Categories: ev, ev charging

Graduates Pain, Apprentices Gain

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 3rd June 2016

Many people automatically assume heading to university to study for an academic 3 or 4 year degree is the best way to start a prosperous career and make a higher income. In fact it is often assumed within education that an apprenticeship or a trade career is simply for those unable to make it to university. However, latest figures published by Business News, shows graduates are facing fewer job vacancies in their preferred and educated field and lower paid wages due to a slump on the graduate employment front.

With students fees in the UK continuously rising and draw backs such as fewer and poorly paid jobs more people are realising the real benefits of taking on a trade. In particular training as a sparky seems to be very appealing to those who are looking to focus on blue collar rather than white collar jobs. Not only is it one of the cleanest trades it also pays the best and tends to make use of the grey matter a bit more too, meaning you can challenge both you mind and your body whilst enjoying varied role.

So, what are the benefits of becoming a sparky vs Graduate employment?


When looking at the time taken to gain employment there is a huge difference between university and the trades. Most graduates will take 3-4 years to complete a degree before they can start earning. However you can train as a domestic installer in just a few weeks or if you go down the fully qualified route get your Electrical Diploma’s in 8 months with us and start earning a proper salary whilst you complete an NVQ. If you do an apprenticeship you actually earn while you train and won’t take on any debt.


On average graduates earn around £22K per year in their first year. As an electricians mate you can expect to start on around £20K so there isn’t much in it. However, when you have a trade there is a much greater earnings potential if you become self employed. It is also much easier to take on staff and grow your business to make more money that way. One of the biggest benefits of taking on a trade is that you will almost certainly use your skills to make money on property. Most tradesmen will buy a renovation project, live in it and then use their own skills and connections to do the place up. With increases in property prices this is possible the most lucrative part of taking on a trade and it’s tax free if you are doing up your own home!

And don't forget you get earning much sooner so by the time you would have normally graduated you will be on a higher wage than you started on.


The cost of learning a trade is way below the cost of studying at university. Current university tuition fees for 2016/17 stand at £9000 a year while maintenance fees (living costs) are £8200 (outside of London). If you went to university for 3 years it will cost you a whopping total of £51,600.

Electrician course fees can cost anything from £2200 - £10,000, making the cost much more manageable and with shorter studying times you will be spending less on travel and accommodation whilst you train. There are also lots of ways to fund your training from Advanced Learning loans to government grants and if you go down the apprenticeship route your training could be free whilst you earn money! Seems to good to be true but it is true!

Drop outs

Studies also show 40% of people who decide to move away to attend university aren’t mentally prepared to leave home and fend for themselves, causing them to stray off course and never complete their degree.  In comparison, those studying for a trade close to where they live for a shorter length of time create contacts within the industry to help them complete their course and find employment.

Job Security

Job demand is high in the electrical industry. The construction industry is booming in both businesses and homes. This has a positive knock on effect for electricians, who will always be needed to help these projects flourish. There is also a looming retirement time bomb which is going to see demand rise as time served electricians bow out at the end of their careers.

So if you are still unsure which way to go why not take a closer look at a career in electrics. Do some research online, give us a call or simply try and handy course finder tool here.