Journey to My Technician License Part 2: Studying Tips
Our team is now a couple weeks into studying for our Technician's test. There is still a lot to learn but we feel like we are progressing through the materials and are starting to become more familiar with the correct answers. The Technician license exam question pool currently contains 423 questions so there are a lot of things you will need to be ready to answer if you plan on joining us and taking the test. Once you begin to understand more of the terms, connections to some of the other questions start to form, doors begin to open, and your understanding of the information starts to transform. Here are a couple of the ways we've been transforming our understanding of the material throughout our two weeks in preparing for our upcoming technician's test on May 14th, 2022.
Tip #1: Don't Aimlessly Study - Have a Goal in Mind
Having a test date goal in mind is very important when studying for your technician's exam, or any other of the ham radio license exams. This gives you a test date to shoot for and keeps you accountable for studying every day that is possible until your test date (we'll get into this more later). If you don't have a tangible date in mind, this will cause you to put off studying and you won't have a clear target in mind. When you set a date, you naturally start counting down the days until your upcoming test, just like I have found myself doing recently. It's much easier to keep track of your progress this way, and day-by-day, you will have a better understanding of how you are progressing through the material.
Tip #2: Learn What You Need to Know
The Technician Ham Radio License Test is composed of 35 questions out of a pool 423 questions. That means there is a ton of material you will have to learn if you want to pass. What's important to point out, is that you don't need to know everything about ham radio in order to pass the test. Like I said, there are tons of questions and a lot of information to cover. If you try to know everything possible about ham radio in a short amount of time, you may overwhelm yourself with information overload. Sites like Hamstudy, and Hamexam both categorize questions according to which test you are taking, which will put you at ease. I don't ever want to discourage learning as much as possible about ham radio, but just want to point out that you won't need to know everything. Make sure your studying the relevant questions you need to pass. There will be plenty of time throughout your ham radio journey to explore everything you want to know.
Tip #3: Establish a Study Method
Find a study method that makes the most sense to you, and helps you learn the best. That will be a major key to retaining the most information possible. I have found the most effective way to study so far for myself has been flash cards in Hamstudy. The thing I like the most is that after selecting an answer, no matter if it is wrong or right, you can flip the card over for a full explanation of why your answer was right or wrong.
Check out the pictures below to see exactly how this works.
There are a lot of different methods you can use if flash cards aren't how you study best. Practice tests as well as question pools are also present on about every ham studying site you encounter so try those out and see if that way works best. I will say, it is easy to get discouraged by taking a practice test in the beginning of your studies, so I would recommend going through quite a few flash cards before attempting the practice test. At the least, make sure you are not discouraged if you fail a practice test or two. Remember, that's why they are practice tests, and they are there to be a tool for you.
Tip #4: Make it a priority
First, have your goal test date in mind, then make sure it's a priority to you. From looking at the materials, I can tell I won't be able to pass this test unless I hit to study books hard. There is always so much going on in the world as well as in your own personal life, so it's essential to make passing this test a priority. A couple times already I have made the mistake of taking too much time between study sessions. I have noticed that taking these breaks in studying have resulted in a loss of a lot of my knowledge, even though I only took a break of a day or 2. Once you start studying, try to make sure you hit your material at least once everyday. Often life always seems to get in the way in one way or another, but as long as you are disciplined and dedicated, you should be able to retain more and more information each day while progressing through the study guides.
Tip #5: Ensure You Have Time
Never stack the odds against yourself by waiting until the last minute to study or to schedule your test. This will only cause stress and strain as you try to ensure you are getting the understanding the material. We started studying around a month in advance which we are feeling very comfortable with and feel like we have plenty of time. I'm sure you could study in less time and still pass, but once again it would be really important to prioritize studying time to ensure you are not cramming up until the last day before your test. Give yourself some time, take a deep breath, and remember that this is more of a marathon, not a race.
Tip #6: Study In a Group
If you don't study great alone, or find yourself getting distracted often, it may be a good idea to contact a buddy or someone on the fence about taking their test so you have someone to study with. Studying with a partner can help you focus more and keep you on track, just make sure you are both serious about passing and taking the test. A study partner can give you new ways to remember things and can teach you things they have learned that you may not know yet. One thing our team has been doing is taking the test as a team, and discussing together why a certain answer was chosen. This helps expand the understanding of certain terms and knowledge to different team members that may not have known the answer previously. Study in a group if it will help you stay on track and help you learn better.
It's easy to better your understanding of the study materials and enhance the methods you study by following these easy tips. If you are on the fence, or can't quite pull the trigger on setting a test date, it may be time to just pull the trigger and dive right in, especially now that you have these quick tips to follow. Just make sure you have a goal in mind, know what you need to know, and make passing this test a priority and you will soon feel as confident as ever walking into your ham exam.
Missed Journey to My Technician's License Part 1? Check that out here.