General Hints

Have everything you need to take the test when you walk into the test session:

  1. A valid photo ID (like your driver's license or a passport) or two other forms of ID. If you do not have a photo ID then bring copies of your other ID documents as we must include them with your test materials. Reasonable accommodations can be made for those too young to have a driver's license or other photo ID.
  2. Two sharpened pencils and one pen
  3. A calculator - this is optional. Keep it simple because if it's more than just a calculator (like a PDA or cell phone) or can be programmed it will NOT be permitted.
  4. If you are upgrading you need to bring the original and a copy of your current Amateur Radio license. If you have any CSCEs for tests you've already passed but do not yet have license credit for bring the original AND a copy.
  5. Examination fee - $15.00 through 2017.
  6. Come prepared. Study the material and expect to pass the test on the first attempt. Most VE sessions will allow you to retake a test but they don't have to do this.

The VEs are only required to tell you if you passed or failed. Some may offer more information but they cannot tell you about how you did on specific questions or topics.

If you wish to retake a failed test you must pay another examination fee.

Be sure to arrive ON TIME. The VE team can refuse to test you if you arrive after testing has begun.

The VE team may refuse to test you for any reason. An amateur license is a PRIVILEGE not a right. Generally only those who cheat or are disruptive to the testing process would be refused.


Hints for the Written Exams

The Technician, General, and Amateur Extra exams are all multiple choice exams chosen from the "question pool" for that exam. The Technician and General exams are 35 questions each of which you must get 26 correct to pass. The Amateur Extra exam is 50 questions of which you must get 37 correct to pass the test.

Each of the questions has a "pool" of pre-defined questions that are selected at random for each of the actual test questions. The questions are presented in a random order and the answers are also randomized. You can't memorize that question T1A04 is answer C and expect to get it right. You have to know the actual answers. The best way to know the answers is to know the material - that is best done by studying.

The question pools are periodically changed and updated. The pools change on July 1st with the Technician pool last updated in 2014, the General pool updated in 2015, and the Amateur Extra pool updated in 2016.

I have found that the ARRL study books do the best job of not only teaching the questions and answers but also the actual material that goes with the questions and answers. You can just memorize the answers to the questions but you won't actually LEARN anything. If you want to progress to higher license classes you are much better off learning the material once.

Since this is a multiple choice test some simple tips for multiple choice tests are in order:

There are several places you can take sample exams on the web. They all use the standard published question pool but some do not randomize the questions and answers as is done on the real test. The ones I find best are: W8MHB - Practice Exams and Study Aids and AA9PW FCC Amateur Radio Practice Pages. These sites randomize the question order and the answer order just like the real test.


Copyright 2016 Bruce Ferry. All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be reproduced or copied without express written permission.