I have a date with Capstone, what now?

Capstone is a term commonly used in Queensland for the final exams which lead to licencing as an electrician.  These exams are based on the unit of competency UEENEEG105A “Verify compliance and functionality of low voltage general electrical installations”, which is from the Australian national package UEE11.  You can get a copy of this by accessing www.training.gov.au, just enter UEENEEG105A in your internet search bar.

What’s in Capstone?

Registered training organisations (RTOs) hold their Capstone exams for a duration of anything from 3-8 days, in my experience usually 5 days.  Different RTOs will have different exams BUT they will be based on the G105A competency.  If you look at my website you will see that the subjects are roughly broken down to:

  • Earthing and the MEN systems (including outbuildings)
  • Maximum demand – calculated
  • Cable selection (current carrying capacity and voltage drop), co-ordination
  • Protection – fault loop impedance and prospective fault current, discrimination, protective devices
  • Legislation (Acts, Regulations), wiring rules (AS/NZS 3000), codes of practice, other standards (such as AS/NZS 3012, AS/NZS 3760, AS/NZS 3017, AS/NZS 4836)
  • Service provider rules (in Qld, Energex/Ergon metering and connection manuals)
  • Testing – verification (not really fault finding but checking for compliance)
  • General theory knowledge (basic stuff that you should know, this is not in-depth knowledge)

That’s a lot of ground to cover!  So where do you start?  How do you prepare to give yourself the best chance for a successful result?  Believe me it can be daunting (I’ve actually sat the Capstone exams 3 times over the years, first to get my electrical licence and twice for Contactors licence, long story!).  My website is structured as a 6-8 week self-paced monitored study refresher and is based on the broad list above, perhaps you should look along the same lines.

Plan your work, work your plan.

When you are notified of the date for your Capstone, work out a plan leading up to the exams.  Make a list of the subjects you want to cover then divide them into sections and put them into a calendar so you can track your progress.  Most RTOs run a Capstone refresher course, yes I know it costs money but in the right context can be worth it but do not rely on it as the sole means of study, use it as a tool to test yourself.

This is what I would do if I had say, 8 weeks of preparation where an RTO runs a refresher course one night a week (2 hours a night) for 4 weeks. 

Weeks 1-3 self-study. 

Weeks 4-7 attend refresher course (1 night a week) and self-study.  Treat the refresher as a Capstone – test yourself.

Week 8 self-study the areas you need to look at that the refresher course highlighted.

I don’t know about you but I cannot study for long hours at a time, I end up just reading and not taking anything in.  I study for 1-2 hours max but often.  You also need to try out old exams and do yourself a favour, practice testing installations, even if you have to ask the boss if you can do all the testing at work in the lead up to the exams.

Summary

Plan your time, work to your plan but don’t overdo it.  Attend a refresher course.  Tidy up the loose ends after the refresher course.  Practice testing (and don’t forget isolation, lockout/tag and test for dead).

It’s not about luck, it’s about preparation, so that you can have a level of confidence when you walk into that exam room.

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