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# Water based systems layout Level III

## Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
So, the time has come, at last. I have signed up for Firetech's courses, and am about halfway through the General Plans Portion of it. Still need to start the Hydraulics course. Both my General Plans & Hydraulics NICET Test are paid for, and just need scheduled. Anybody have any tips? Pointers? Suggestions?

Everything I have read on here about the Hydraulics test has me concerned. And how is the General Plans portion? Everybody I talk to in person gives me the same response: "I took the test when it was Work Elements, don't know anything about the Computer Based stuff."

Anything anybody wants to add to the conversation would be greatly appreciated!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Look, I do not speak English; I speak spanish; I'm from Mexico, but personally, it was difficult for me to present the 2 parts of level III; of both the hydraulic calculations and the other part of planes, and this was because of the idiom, apart of that is very difficult in the CBT this level, is a plus that I give. Although I could not pass the exams; I recommend that you study hard for the part of hydraulic calculations, above all the criteria of designs for storages (tables of densities for class I to IV, adjustments, dry manual systems of standpipes and selection of pumps from a design criterion.

Study the calculator; lost much time if you don't understand.

Regards.

Jose Hernandez

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Thank you very much for the input. It is very appreciated!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Hi Dennis,
I have recently taken and passed NICET 3, Layout of Water-Based Systems in the CBT format, and unsuccessfully attempted NICET 3, Hydraulics. I have also participated in Firetechs course for Layout, though not hydraulics.

As far as Firetech is concerned, from what I've seen (and I've been researching for two years), they offer the most comprehensive training. My only criticism is that it's too comprehensive. They cover EVERYTHING. It's information overload, so the additional challenge of sifting through the pile and picking out what's relevant presents itself. Don't get me wrong, there's immense value in their product, and what I'm saying is only my opinion, but the greatest investment you could make is to simply buy the books and read them. Read them every single night, chapter by chapter, write down questions that come to mind as you read, and find answers by reaching out to the community. Build a mental rolodex of the anatomy of each book, and be able to recall by memory the number and title of each chapter. Observe and follow the content outlines provided by NICET on their website. Above all else, respect the content of each book. By that, I mean don't assume that anything in any book is less important than the rest. It's all of equal importance, and requires your time and attention.

Purchase the Firetech tabs because they're awesome, and comply with NICET's requirements regarding tabs.

Other people have passed these exams, so logically they are passable. To me, this means that success is inevitable if you're willing to settle in for the long haul, and make sacrifices. DO NOT GIVE UP.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Thanks Jeremy! I find the Firetech stuff has been pretty good, but I had a feeling it was way more than I needed to know. I am taking the IIIA test next week, so I guess I shall find out. I scheduled the Hydraulics test for December, so I will have a couple months to prepare solely for it, and have signed up for Firetech's course for it, as well. I do appreciate the input very much!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Let me ask a question if I may. And, I am now an "old-timer" in this industry, even though I am not that old

Did you have to learn hand calcs when you started out as a design trainee? My first boss made me learn to calc by hand. I had to do trees and simple loops. We laid off the compound loops and grids. That laid a great foundation for understanding how to do the calculations for NICET. Now, I did take it many years ago. I passed III and IV hydraulics on the first try, if I recall correctly.

Maybe Firetech just teaches the old hand method. The SFPE handbook has a section on loop calcs that really helps. They talk about an FLC (friction loss coefficient) in the loops that gets you equivalent lengths and such to have your loops calc very easy.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Travis,
I learned how to do some hand calcing using the AFSA courses when I first started out. Also, a PE friend of mine lent me his college textbooks to study from, and I have played around with them. But at work, I use HydraCALC. After I get through the general plans test next week, I intend to fully immerse myself in hand calcs for a bit, and see how it goes. My thought was to try some, and compare what I come up with to what HydraCALC comes up with. I also have my PE friend lined up for a "study session" after I have a couple weeks in, so if I hit something I am having trouble with, he can help me through it. Also, I am signed up for Firetech's course, but again, I was going to start it once I get passed the first test. I am in a unique situation where I work, where as when our designer quit, I was handed the position, and had to self learn a lot on the fly. AFSA was a huge help, as was the gentleman I replaced, but it was a lot to absorb all at once! Luckily, I spent a decade in the field as an installer, so I already had a pretty good understanding of sprinkler systems in general.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I appreciate your willingness to learn. When the Fire Sprinkler Academy of Technology was offering the 8 week design course online, I was teaching the calc portions for some of it. If you need some help, provided schedule works, I could do like a 30-60 min web meeting to help you out. Feel free to shoot me an email sometime.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Thanks man! Much appreciated! I will be in touch!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I would suggest being familiar with the calculation procedure per NFPA 13 including 8.5.2.1 finding the square foot of each sprinkler [standard spray] for hydraulic calculations {which is different than sprinkler spacing}, finding end head pressure based on area/density method, equivalent length of fittings, equivalent length modifiers for different C factors [Table 23.4.3.2.1] and fitting length modifiers for non-schedule 40 pipe fittings [23.4.3.1.3.1]. Also you'll need to be familiar with remote area reductions based on ceiling height and qr sprinklers, dry pipe and roof slope area increases. And please don't do remote area reductions on dry pipe systems.

I'm not sure if loop calcs are required for Level 3 but pretty certain they are for Level 4.

There are lots of opportunities to make very easy mistakes in hydraulic calculations.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

As I recall, 3 is tree systems. 4 is simple loop. There may have been one compound loop. I truly don't see the need for compound loops calcs by hand at this stage. I think tree systems are great so you can truly understand what is going on with systems and how sometimes smaller pipe size is better than large, how you can minimize over-discharge and such. But compound loops by hand are just not part of this arena any longer.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Thank you guys for all the responses. I really do appreciate it!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I use the OUT mnemonic device to remember hydraulics. I learned it from somewhere I can't remember.

O is the orifice, i.e. what PSI do i need to push out the required amount of water. Solved for with the Q=K *(sqrtP) or with end head pressure like 100 psi for a Class I standpipe, 7 psi minimum for a sprinkler, CMSA sprinklers' listing, etc.

U is up or elevation losses. 0.4331 psi/ft of elevation added or subtracted if the piping goes down.

T is through or as above the friction losses through devices, pipe, fittings; anything the water flows through. This is found in the equivalent length tables of NFPA 13, product data submittals for valves or backflow preventers, pipe specs, etc.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Wow! That is a good one, @NewtonFP! I honestly have never heard that before, but I dig it!!!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Well, this wasn't what I had hoped to be responding with, but I took the IIIA test yesterday, and did not pass. I really, really thought I was prepared for it, but man did they ask some obscure questions. I was worried about the IIIB test, but was fairly confident for IIIA. Guess it is back to the grind of digging, digging, digging. I really didn't see this coming. It sucks, but I think the lesson I will take from it might be valuable in the long run. Not so much right now though...

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Sorry to hear that, Dennis.

It is a bummer to be sure but most of us here failed at least once down the path to our certification so you are not alone. I took my first test back in the 1980's, failed miserably and I thought I was very well prepared.

I know you can't remember the exact questions and answers but can you give me a couple examples of the obscure questions?

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Dennis:

I'm not sure if it is too late, but can you challenge any of the questions. I recall one of my questions was in reference to minimum spacing from a truss web member. I was applying the 3x rule as that was the required referenced standard. However, none of the answers were even close to the 3x rule. They were based on a standard 2 editions prior. I think I found the exact answer in a standard from the 80's or late 90's. That was definitely not the referenced standard. I believe that challenge may have saved me on one of the elements.

If you have a legit reason for proving the question(s) referencing the incorrect standards, would that be enough to pass??

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Sorry to hear you didn't pass.

When taking my exams I took some grey-hairs out to lunch to quiz them about old ways of doing things. The exams I took covered buried fabric bag water storage tanks, wooden cooling towers and weird stuff like that which I had never seen. Some of that stuff ended up on the exams and it wasn't that any of us are stupid but sometimes there are just odd questions on the exams.

We are here to help, if you can think of any general things you might need to study we can probably help. If you PM me i should have some study material I can pass on. I'm looking to take my NICET 4 next year.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Dennis,
I re-read my post from a week or so back, and realize that I was referring to the General Plans Preperation (aka 3A exam) as, "Layout of Water-Based Systems." Apologies, as I meant General Plans, or 3A...

DO NOT LET YOUR FAILURE DISCOURAGE YOU. It took me three tries before I passed, and it took a village to make it happen. Many people answered what now seem like ridiculous questions, including Travis Mack in this forum, which made all the difference. Anyway, I spoke with a guy in Salt Lake City that recently passed Hydraulics (aka 3B), and it took him five tries. This is what I was referring to at the end of my first post, when I said that success is inevitable if you're willing to settle in for the long haul, and make sacrifices. One more piece of advice - don't stop studying or take a break to let the dust settle. You know what they're going to throw at you now, and you've got 90 days until you can test again. Study every day.

Best of luck, I hope you pass.

Jeremy

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Ok, so having a chance to look a few things up from my office, where I work most comfortably, I used the "find" function in Adobe, and found two answers that I know I definitely got wrong. Something I didn't realize was in the back of NFPA13. So those two are on me. I just wonder now if getting those two right would have made a difference. Apparently, 500 is a passing score, and I got 452. Out of 58 questions, I have no idea how that math works. Anyway, there are two other questions I am/was totally lost on, and still do not know what they were looking for. It is just frustrating that I know these four questions had me stymied, but I do not know what else I got right or wrong, to know what area I was lacking in. But, I am going to just keep my head down and nose to the grind, and will see what happens. On another note, I was supposed to take the hydraulics course in mid December, but I pushed it back to the end of my testing window. I suddenly, for the first time in my life, am not in a hurry to advance my career...lol.

Sprinklerdesigner2, the two questions I am stuck on are:

1. The plans call for a 90 to be bolted right to a city main, with the OS&Y valve bolted directly to the 90. What pump allows this layout?
A. Split case horizontal Electric
B. Split case horizontal Diesel
C. Vertical Turbine
D. Vertical Inline

I haven't found this answer yet. My fire pump supplier is UPS'ing me a couple of books, along with the NFPA20 Handbook. I am curious to see if it is in there, as I can't seem to find it in NFPA20.

2. A lobby has a ceiling that is 24' high. There is a ceiling pocket that is a 25' diameter circle in the center, that is 26' high. There are 8 standard heads space evenly around the perimetere of the pocket. Per NFPA13 how many additional heads are needed?
A. 1
B. 2
C. 3
D. 4

That may not have been the exact wording, but it was something similar. In this case, if I was at my computer working on a drawing or whatever, and could see the pocket, prehaps I would understand it better. But sitting in a testing center at a computer, reading words, every answer I seemed to come up with was not listed as an answer.

@TravisMack Thanks for the suggestion, but I honestly don't know if there are any I can challenge or not. It is hard to say, when you don't know what questions you missed.

@NewtonFP Most of the guys around my area don't seem to willing to help. I do have a friend that is a FPE that will provide me with some tutoring, I just haven't taken advantage of that yet. I didn't think I need to for the IIIA test. I had already discussed setting something up for the IIIB test, which just haven't made it that far yet. I would be interested in study materials, if you can part with them, provided it isn't something I already have. I will msg you.

@Jeremy No worries, I knew what you meant. And congrats on passing. I have no intentions of giving up. I have been with this company for 16 years. At least 10 of that was in the field, installing, but I moved from that to design many years ago. I love what I do, and anticipate doing it until the day I die. It is just a bummer, because it makes you feel inferior. But, when I came in yesterday and told my boss I failed, he reiterated 4 points to me:
1. I am still the smartest guy in the company (in his opinion--those were his words, not mine. I certainly wasn't feeling it yesterday.)
2. If it was easy, everybody would do it.
3. I am still certified as a Level II. They can't take that away for failing a test.
4. I am trying to better myself. There is no shame in that. Keep trying to move up, and be better.
Which I thought was pretty cool, and gave me some of my confidence back.

With all this being said, I probably never should have taken the test Tuesday. Monday our septic tank backed up at the house. We had to have the tank pumped, and have a plumber come out and snake the lines, and it was just an utter and complete mess. I never hit the shower until 10:15 that night. I should have canceled. It was too much chaos. But doing so would have made me feel like i was making excuses. Just like even typing this last paragraph does. Work isn't always calm, and I should be able to work through the chaos. It probably was too much of a distraction. But I am not blaming it on that. I blew it, and will just have to try harder next time...

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Oh, and thank all of you for your responses. It means a lot, and it is nice to know there is somebody out there who understands the struggles. I really do appreciate it guys!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Dennis:

#### Quote:

1. The plans call for a 90 to be bolted right to a city main, with the OS&Y valve bolted directly to the 90. What pump allows this layout?
A. Split case horizontal Electric
B. Split case horizontal Diesel
C. Vertical Turbine
D. Vertical Inline

If I had no clue on this, I would approach it in this manner.
1 - As far as I know, there is no difference in NFPA 20 for suction piping on diesel or electric pumps. So, that eliminates A/B. 2 - A vertical Turbine is installed in a water storage tank, so there is no connection to the city main.
3 - That leaves only a vertical inline. Also, a vertical inline has more flexibility with the orientation of the elbows in the suction piping.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Travis,
That does make the most sense. I guess I spent too much time looking in the book for the answer, in black and white, and not enough time using logic.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Correct. You can arrange any manner of elbows in the suction piping of a VIL fire pump. The way the problem is worded the elbow would need to be 10 pipe diameters away from the suction flange of a horizontal split case due to being the in the same plane. A vertical turbine takes suction from a well or pond so there is no piping.

Also an important note is the OS&Y in the suction piping. If this were a butterfly there needs to be 50' between the butterfly valve and the suction flange of the fire pump.

I would guess 1 sprinkler on the ceiling pocket. It is too large to omit sprinklers and taking the allowed spacing of standard spray leaves me with a single sprinkler in the center which is likely not practical since expensive light fixtures usually hang there. Ref NFPA Fig. 8.6.4.1.1.3(B) where X<36" in this case. Practically I would answer 4. The correct answer is likely 1 because nothing was stated about fixtures.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Just curious but for the CBT exam did you have a copy of all the referenced standards available to you and if so were they electronic or hard copy?

Studying for the PE exam now where only hardcopy books are allowed. I plan to take the Level IV exam next year so wondering how to best study for that.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
@NewtonFP I had a hard copy of all the reference material. On the Level I and II tests, they were available electronically as well, but for the level III test, they weren't. It was hard copy only. I believe Level IV is the same, but would have to check NICET's website to be sure. Good luck on the IV test! I can only imagine what it will be like. Also, you said to PM you about study materials, but I don't see where PM'ing someone is an option on this forum? Prehaps I am missing it though--it's been a LONG week!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Having recently passed the Level III I wanted to give some input to help others. First I had to take the 2nd half (hydraulics) two times. I attempted it a couple years ago and went in to it unprepared. Then I focused on getting my PE, but came back to finish off the NICET cert. It just kept nagging at me having not passed it. The outline provided by Nicet I felt wasn't very accurate, but I did gain a lot of info on what was actually on the test, by failing it once. I also realized that even though it's all in the book, you have to be fairly quick, so I focused on speeding up the 2nd attempt.

Points I focused on:
1. Storage! - I highlighted everything related to reduction and modifications to density/areas
- They like to ask storage questions that aren't exactly straight forward. Having quick reference to the code that reduce density requirements helped me. Being well versed in which storage chapter/section you need to be in helps too.

2. Standpipe - The two main points to highlight here are the water demand and design requirement. Know sprinkler/unsprinklered max demand. Know how much gpm per stp/riser. I went through the book and highlighted the key numbers in this area. Super useful.

3. Fire Pumps - They didn't get too crazy on the questions here. A lot of the pump questions were related to water supply/demand, so knowing churn/rated/150% was important. An example would be they would ask you to use the city supply plus the pump supply to calculate the final pressure at a certain elevation, given a specific flow.

There are obviously questions that cover other parts of NFPA 13, but I didn't find those much harder than Level II.
I'd be willing to answer questions if anyone has any. I didn't know anyone else that had taken or passed the test when I took it, so felt like I was going in blind.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
YahReally--Thanks for the input! I am taking the hydraulic portion of the Level III this Thursday. I wasn't feeling too overconfident, however, I took two of Firetech's practice tests on Friday, and got an 80% on both of them. That made me feel a little better, but obviously I am not going to feel completely better until Thursday afternoon when I am finished with the test.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Well, today was the day, and I PASSED the hydraulics portion first time through!!! So totally and completely stoked. Thank you to everyone who commented/helped me here along the way. You guys don't know how much it is appreciated! Now, I need to reschedule the general plans portion, and get it done, so I can take the next five years off from studying (kidding)!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Congrats on passing the hydraulics portion of the test!! I too am soon to be testing for Level 3. My 3 month window for the General Plans portion expires at the end of April, but I haven't locked in my test date yet. I finished the Firetech course last year, but also have their course book. I am going to go through their course book again, and then go take the test.

Thanks to someone on this forum who mentored me about 7 years ago, I am pretty well versed in the hydraulics portion. I am more concerned with the General Plans portion.

I agree that the Firetech course seems to cover every possible topic ranging from cooling towers & tanks to exposure protection. It is a LOT of material.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Thanks bmlxd40! It felt so good to get the printout, and see that I had passed. I am retaking the General Plans portion on the 13th of February. I hope to do much better this time around. Good luck, and let us know if we can help!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Dennis, congrats on passing the test it is something not just anyone can do.

Having passed the element testing decades ago I assume once you pass the general plans you'll be a level III?

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
@sprinklerdesigner2 thank you! It was a pretty tough test, and I am quite proud of myself. And yes, once I pass the general plans portion, I should be level III, assuming my work experience application passes muster!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
So, I took the General Plans test today, and passed it. Thank you all for your encouragement and insight. Every little bit of help along the way has been very much appreciated! You guys are all rock stars in my book!!!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Congratulations Dennis!!! what an accomplishment!
reading through this thread has been very helpful... I've felt very frustrated with this exam.... I passed the hydraulics portion of level 3 with 30 minutes to spare; but regarding the layout portion I am embarrassed to say that I have one more try remaining (fourth attempt) after which if I fail again I will have to wait 2 years to try again. I hear in July that NICET will be switching to 2016 Code year. so here is the delima wait to take it with a fresh 2016 test or study hard again and try for the fourth time before it changes? (if I fail i suppose it would be good to let 2016 code commit to memory over the 2 year probation) for each attempt I had studied through the material provided by Firetech; passed all the practice exams with flying colors. I'm thinking I'll reschedule for May but I am not certain. thoughts? Any more advice? Anyone have knowledge of Study material or classes?

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Thanks FPdesignsvc!!! It's crazy, I passed that test February 13th, and still waiting on my certification! Gotta love NICET! I was looking at that same dilemma if I didn't pass. Everything I studied was 2013 version. I was really hoping I didn't have to switch to the 2016. If I were you, I would definitely try to get it in before the change, if you have been studying 2013 all this time. I don't really have knowledge of any other courses than FireTECH. I know NTC offers one, but I didn't take/use it, so I cannot speak for it. I do know that without the FireTECh course, I probably would not have passed as easily as I did.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

They have moved the swap to the 2016 editions to October, tentatively.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I take General Plans April 30th. I have been pouring over the Firetech reference, and NFPA Standards, with special attention on the storage chapters. Is the practice test an accurate representation of the real test? My main concern is that that passing the test is less about a knowledge of fire protection and more about an ability to pass a test.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

bmlxd40 - Now that would be great news! A few month delay would really help out my studies... As far as Firetech's practice exams I don't feel that they are a good representation of the actual tests. I am passing those with only 1 or 2 missed questions. personally I think Firetech's courses need to be revised, a lot of attention is given to fire suppression which does not come up in level 3 in the test's i've taken. It does seem that the actual Level 3 test is focused on areas that designers won't normally encounter; which is probably my issue. (I am a consulting designer) Level 3 is fairly heavy on storage for sure.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

#### Quote:

It does seem that the actual Level 3 test is focused on areas that designers won't normally encounter

I'm curious, what part of the Level 3 exam do you think is not representative of what designer's won't normally encounter? I haven't taken the exam in years and felt it was a pretty broad representation of the type of work that is considered fire sprinkler system design. Maybe it has changed??

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

#### Quote:

My main concern is that that passing the test is less about a knowledge of fire protection and more about an ability to pass a test.
Another interesting idea. What makes you think the exam is more about passing a test than actually having the knowledge?

I have seen some Level 3 and Level 4 with what I consider rudimentary knowledge compared to their certification level. So, I am not saying you are necessarily wrong. I just wonder how you got to that point?

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

TravisMack -
Without getting into too much detail; questions regarding testing, maintenance & installation sequence. (all areas I am not well versed in as a remote consulting designer)
possibly was the test you and the others you spoke of work element based?

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Yes, mine was element based.

I am a remote designer as well and I get into those aspects on some projects. You have to remember that this test is for industry wide. I have never drawn a marine system, but I knew to study and review those requirements and know where to find them prior to taking the test.

The test is based on things that design techs see every day, just may not be the same things that you and I see every day. If I only do foam systems for air craft hangars everyday, I may not be too up on the requirements of residential sprinklers in a 13 system. But, I should know where to find them as a Level 3 or 4. That was my only point.

Again, not picking on your comments. I have been curious about all of the comments since it went to this current testing style. There seem to be a lot of pros AND cons compared to the old format.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Travis hit it on the head. I design 13d, 13r, and 13 sprinkler systems everyday. I have never even seen a cooling tower, but for the test, I needed to know where to find how to sprinkle them. And a lot of it was about wording. Pay attention to your timer, and make sure to answer everything. I had time left, and went back and reviewed all of my answers. "The devil is in the details."

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

TravisMack, to answer your question specifically,I have personally talked to several people who have taken the test and have not yet passed. They left feeling like the test was a measure of their ability to take a test,at least to some degree, and not just a knowledge of fire protection. I too have encountered level IV's who cant design their way out of a wet paper sack, so I cant help but wonder myself. DennisR4 mentioned to watch the wording, and that is also some of the same thing I have heard from others. Maybe I have a skewed perspective, but in a timed test, especially one at the complexity of the Level III exam, it seems to me that the questions should be clear and concise. I have no issue with the level of difficulty, and I fully expect it to test our knowledge of fire protection, especially on things like how to use the standards in areas we might not encounter often.

Also, on my Level II exam, I felt like there were some questions where there really wasn't a clear right or wrong answer, or that there could have been more than one right answer on questions where the test was seeking a single correct answer. The combination of things leads me to believe that it is just not about a knowledge of fire protection.

I will be taking the NICET practice exam for Level 3 General plans soon and I will post my thoughts. (I know we cant post specifics, but general thoughts)

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Like I stated earlier I've taken the Nicet level 3 General plans prep test 3 times and embarrassingly failed. (thank God I passed the hydraulics) the first Test I failed with a 408 score, second with a 485 score third test a 463. The test is broken into 5 parts. Every test I passed well in one and not as well the same chapter the following test. I was so frustrated that I even called NICET for which the person answering my call said she would review all my tests and come back with a suggestion of what I am doing wrong... for which she said I am over thinking my answers. I am extremely frustrated with the exam. I still don't know where I am going wrong. I will schedule before the 2016 test revisions, study hard and & pray I'll get it right. Thank you all for your encouragement and insight!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

As an outside design firm guy, you often feel like you are on an island. It is great to have a reference like this forum to get help.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Want to add my 2 cents since I just passed the Level III general plans exam just two weeks ago after failing the first time I took it. The test I had didn't have that much storage questions, and I found myself in Chapters 7, 8, 9, and 22 the most. Yes, Chapter 22. I had four questions alone regarding special occupancies. I feel that if you know these chapters like the back of your hand and have a general understanding of where to find everything else in NFPA 13 you should do well. But by no means should anyone take this test lightly as I did the first time I took it.

I'm about to take the hydraulics exam in two weeks and will pass along my experience.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Aaron:

I did an impromptu 90 min video on hyd calc for simple tree systems for one of my clients last year. He called me up and said he was needing to review for his calc test and asked if I knew anyone that could teach it. Well, about 30 minutes later we did this video. Feel free to review it. If it helps, cool. If not just hit stop

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Thanks, Travis. That Video will be very useful in training others.

Unfortunately the NICET practice tests reference the 2007 edition of the standards. That is a bit frustrating.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Thankfully math is still math The calculation process has not changed since it was first introduced. So, it doesn't matter if it is the 2007 edition or the 1984 edition. The Hazen Williams formula is still the same.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Travismack,

Yes sir, you are exactly right. However, when comparing the two editions of the standards, the location of tables, footnotes, and other important data may be in a different location. Entire chapters may be numbered differently, paragraphs expanded, deleted or otherwise modified etc.

As you mentioned, the process for calculating the specific flow and pressure required at a point in the system has not changed. The data needed to arrive at the calculation criteria may have, or at least its location within the standards, and that is one source of my frustration. I apologize if I seemed sarcastic in my statement as it was not intended that way. I am just venting a little frustration at the fact that there really is no good way to tell if you are adequately prepared for the exam other than taking it.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

#### Quote:

...there really is no good way to tell if you are adequately prepared for the exam other than taking it

This is likely the truest statement in this thread. Hopefully your next go will be the one you pass it.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I went ahead and purchased the Level III General Plans practice exam from NICET, and I did pretty well. I wish I knew the specific questions that I missed, but oh well, that how it is on the exam also.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I want to thank all of you for positing help and suggestions I have read them all. I myself have struggled to pass Level III Hyd, VERY sadly I came so ultra close to passing both exams in 1st time (OMG lol), since then I have taken them once again and failed miserably I dont think I was prepared as I should have been.

That was a year ago and my company rightfully is pushing me to finish up so I can sign drawings in my state and many other benefits. I know many ppl and friends of mine that have struggled hard with level III but there is soooo much to be had for accomplishing this cert.

After taking time off to focus on my crazy schedule I have decided that it's all or nothing, back to the drawing board I will not back down. My issue is simply getting overwhelmed and forgetting things knowing a clock is ticking and panicking. I am not that person in any aspect in my life but it seems at that moment it gets to me, and in general I have never been a good test taker.

But after 23 years I will not wait anymore or back down. Next time I see my design friends I will have that locked up. Looking forward to posting a sucessful test very soon!!

Thanks

Eric Hendrix, SET
NICET Certified
Design Manager

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Just passed the hydraulics exam, first try, and want to pass along my thoughts on the test. I want to echo the three points that YahReally mentioned earlier in the thread. I would say about 90% of the exam comes from those three topics. Also, I feel that I wasted time studying how to performed hand calcs. I used the hazen-williams equation only once and I didn't have any other questions regarding calculating a system whether that be balancing of the system, equivalent k-factors, modifying C-factors or equivalent length modifiers.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
AaronJ55, sounds like you and I took the same hydraulics test...lol! It was a little overwhelming, but it was all in the book. I had to do calcs on 1 question, MAYBE 2. And that was it. Was quite the suprise, after what I studied for 2 months prior!

Also, anybody remember how long it took them to receive certification? Not how long it took you to pass the tests, but rather how long after the test you got your official certification? I passed my second test February 13th, and am still listed as "pending" on the website. I spoke with a woman in NICET's office, and she informed me they had 90 days to review my experience application, which would put them at May 13th. I honestly don't remember it taking that long for level 1 or 2. Can they really be that busy? And I don't ask that to be a smarta. If the numbers I have seen in other posts about the number of certified technicians are out there, could they really have that many applications to look at?

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Dennis,

It typically takes 90 days but you can pay $200 or$250 to have it processed much quicker.

Eric Hendrix, SET
NICET Certified
Design Manager

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

It took them almost 90 days to the day on my Level II application

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
I don't remember it being much more than a month on my Level I or II. It is what it is at this point. The 13th is only 2 weeks away. I just need to learn to be more patient, I guess...lol.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Monday is the General Plans test for me. I will be glad to get it behind me

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Awesome man! Good luck! Hope it goes well!!!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I passed Level III General Plans today. Thank you all for your help. I am very excited about it.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Awesome man! Congrats!!! We all know it isn't easy. Glad to hear it.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Yeah, It wasn't a walk in the park for sure. Now to the hydraulics portion. I feel more confident about it though.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Hello, I know people have basically abandoned this thread since May but I was looking for some advice or help. I passed Hydraulics III but did not pass the General Plans III first time through. I am confused with how they score their exam. They broke down the percentage of questions I got in each domain. After looking at NICET's website given each percentage of each domain is possibly on the exam the math is not adding up to me. For example, see the following:

Domain:
-Code and Standards (75% correct) NICET claims domain is (7%-10% of overall questions).
-Survey Existing Conditions (63% correct) NICET claims domain is (10%-15% of overall questions).
-Project Management (80% correct) NICET claims domain is (7%-10% of overall questions).
-Contract Documents (75% correct) NICET claims domain is (7%-10% of overall questions).
-System Layout (73% correct) NICET claims domain is (60%-70% of overall questions).

They say they score it out of 700 with a 500 being a passing score which is approximately a 71%. (I got a 463).

Given the worst case scenario where the domain I scored the highest on was worth the least % of the questions asked and the domain I scored the lowest in was worth the highest % of questions asked I would have scored above a 71% overall.

Unless some questions are worth fewer points I guess it makes sense (which is probably the case). But still, if you got over 71% of the questions right I thought for sure you would pass...

Besides all of my complaining does anyone have any advice on how I should study more for the General Plans Section? They had some tough questions on modifying existing systems in renovated buildings. I guess I could focus more on that.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
I too failed General Plans the first time through. I talked to a lady at FireTech, and she explained that the questions are weighted, i.e. one question is worth x points, another one y, etc. That being said, FireTech really is the way to go as far as studying. I talked to the owner of my company, and she paid for it. They look at it as an investment. Also, as was stated somewhere in this thread, you know what to expect now.

And Congrats on passing the Hydraulics portion. I passed it my first time through, and know it isnt easy!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Thank you, DennisR4, for your prompt Reply! I am going to get after it! Just pretty bummed out right now. I should probably learn the 2016 code sooner than later anyways lol. They update everything October 1st.

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I passed the Hydraulics portion OF level 3 last week. Now to send in all the paperwork and prep for Level 4

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
bmlxd40 congrats on passing! Let us know what Level 4 is like!

### RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Congrats to bmlxd40!

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