Are you looking to take a ham radio test but don’t know where to start? If this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place. From emergency preppers to remote workers to ham radio enthusiasts, tons of people take the ham radio licensing exams every year, but how do they do it? Read on to find out.
In order to start studying for the ham radio tests, you will need to have an excellent working understanding of the tests. In this article, we’ll begin by breaking down the test. We will also be giving you step-by-step instructions on the best way to prepare for your exam. Following these instructions will ensure that you are ready to take your ham radio exam.
What is Ham Radio Test?
Ham radio is a means of communicating over great distances without relying on the internet or on cell towers. It can give users a sense of independence, freedom, and preparedness. In order to operate a ham radio, you first will need to get a ham radio license. First and foremost, we have to understand what ham radio is before we can understand the test.
In order to get a ham radio license, or an amateur radio license, you will need to take either one, two, or three of the ham radio licensing tests. The first test will get you a technician license. The second test will get you a general license. The third test will get you an amateur extra license.
It is essential to know that you must get the licenses in order, meaning you can’t skip the first two exams and only take the third, but that you can take more than one test on any given day. Since they have to be taken in order, you could take all three tests in one day, one after another. The downside of this strategy for getting your ham radio license is that you will have to prepare for all three exams at once. The benefit is that there are often price reductions in the test cost if you take more than one at one time.
The first test covers everything from basic electrical safety and operating procedures of ham radio to the electrical components involved. It will allow you to operate a ham radio on wave frequencies above 30 megahertz all across North America. It will give you limited access to short wave bands or the waves used to communicate internationally.
The general licensing test builds upon the first test, so you must pass the first test before taking the second test. The second test grants you more operating privileges on all bandwidths of ham radio. The third test grants you full operating capacities on all bandwidths, including local and international. It is also a build-upon style, and you will have to pass both the first and second tests before you can take the third test.
What Questions Are on the Ham Radio Test?
The FCC, or the Federal Communications Commission, is the organization that sets the standards for the questions that you will see on all three ham radio tests. They publish a bank of possible questions for each exam every four years, and those are the questions that will be used on the ham radio exams for those years. There won’t be any other questions until they release the next pool of questions.
The rules state that there must be at least ten times the number of questions you will see on the test in the question pool. The current pool has 423 questions in it for the technician exam. Since the technician exam and the general exam both have 35 questions on them, this means that the pool must have at least 350 questions in it. Of those 350 plus questions, you will see a set of 35 of them on your exam.
The general exam also has 35 questions, but its current pool has 454 questions in it. The amateur extra exam has 50 questions on it, so it needs to have at least 500 questions in its pool. The current pool, however, has 622 questions.
To pass any of the ham radio exams, you will need to correctly answer at least 74% of the questions. For the technician exam and the general exam, this means that you will need to answer 26 questions correctly to pass. Since the amateur extra exam has more questions on it, you will need to correctly answer 37 questions to pass.
If you want to find the current list of questions they will be drawing from to create the ham radio exam, check out the most recent pool on the ARRLs or the National Association for Amateur Radio’s website. They make sure to keep the updated question pool for all three ham radio licensing exams. They also have the schedule for when a new pool of questions will be used, so pay attention to that if you think you might be taking the ham radio exam in the upcoming years.
How Many Times Can You Take the Ham Radio Test?
The short answer to this question is as many times as you want. If you are willing to pay to retake the test, you can take the test again. Since it only costs $15 to take the test, this really isn’t a considerable expense. You will just need to reschedule your test and start the whole process of studying and preparing all over again.
It is worth noting that if you do choose to retake the test, you won’t be taking the same test. Since the questions are all pulled from the question pool, you will be taking a test with questions from the same pool but different questions. This means that you will need to go back and continue to review since it will be like taking the test the first time.
How to Study for the Ham Radio Test?
Studying for the ham radio exam is just like studying for any other test; it takes time. Here is our five-step process to help you study for your ham radio test.
1. The first thing to do is to pick your test date since this will help you determine how much you need to study each day. Once you know your test date, you can start planning your studying.
2. Second, you’ll need to figure out what kind of study material you will be using to prepare for your exam. Are you going to buy a book or use online study tools? There are tons of options out there to fit every budget. Most people preparing for the ham radio exams, especially the first exam or the technician license, will only end up spending between $20 and $50 on study materials since there are so many great options available for free.
3. Next, you will want to take a practice test. These are available both online and in some study books that you might buy. Taking a practice test will give you a good idea of how much you will need to study. You might not need a super intense study schedule if you do really well on your practice test. On the other hand, if your practice test does not go well, you might want to think about studying a lot for your ham radio license.
4. Once you have a general idea of how much you need to study and you know how long you have, it is time to make a study schedule. Creating a study schedule and sticking to it is one of the best ways to ensure your success on the ham radio exam as well as any other exam you might take in the future. It will help guide your studying and give you something tangible to hold you accountable.
If you are struggling with creating an effective study schedule for yourself, feel free to check out our articles on study schedules. We know that it can be a little overwhelming to try and create a study schedule, but it really can help you!
5. Making sure that you have an excellent place to study is essential to your success on any exam, including the ham radio exam. Now that you have created your study schedule, you just have to stick to it! Set aside a space in your home to dedicate as a study space. Having a dedicated study space will not only help you keep all your materials together in one place, but it will also help get you in the right mindset to study.
What to Expect on the Day of Your Ham Radio Exam?
What to expect on the day of your ham radio test can be vastly different depending on where you are taking the test. Many people take the test in person at a local location. The test is generally given at your local ham radio club’s location. It also could be held at a place of work where people might want a ham radio license. It all depends on your area.
If you are taking the test in person, you can think about a few things. Make sure that you get a good night’s sleep the night before and that you eat a good breakfast. You will want to make sure that you plan on getting there early to account for any traffic you might run into or any parking issues. Make sure that you are punctual and ready to go when you get there, as this will take some stress off of you and make sure everything goes smoothly.
The other option for taking the ham radio test is to take it online. Many people enjoy this option because it allows them greater flexibility. This option allows you to schedule your test whenever is convenient for you, meaning that you won’t have to wait on other people’s schedules.
If you choose to take the test online, make sure that you have a good internet connection in your home. The last thing you want is your internet to cut out while taking the test. You’ll also want to make sure that you have charged your computer and that you have a good location set aside to take the test in. Make sure you will be comfortable since this will help minimize any potential issues later on while you are in the middle of the test.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study for the Ham Radio Test
From understanding what to expect to study for the ham radio exam, there is a lot to do to prepare for the test. The most important things are to make sure that you are ready and organized. If you understand what to expect and are able to stick to your study schedule, you will be more than prepared when it comes time to take the ham radio licensing test.
Whether you are a doomsday prepping expert or a ham radio enthusiast, there is something for everyone in the ham radio world. Still, the first step is passing your licensing exam. Hopefully, we’ve given you the tools you need to go out and crush your upcoming ham radio exam through this article!