Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KH8AC, Jun 23, 2019.
To answer your question "Is the General test that severe a task?" Apparently for some it is. The current General class question pool expires next Sunday and the new pool goes into effect on Monday. I had two Technicians come into my test session last Saturday to take the General exam and one failed with a score of 51%. He's been a Tech for over a year, so it's not like he didn't have plenty of time to study.
I think the league feels that since people aren't upgrading, by giving them more privileges they might be more inclined to stay in the hobby. The other Tech that tested last Saturday did pass the General exam, but he said the only reason he was taking the exam was he won (not bought) a new IC-7300 and wanted to be able to use it. This leads me to think he might not have upgraded had he not won the radio.
Was that "D" s in "DUH?"
Is the General exam too hard? That's debatable, but I think not. It is arguably simpler than the exam taken 20-40-60 years ago, (in which the Tech's took the SAME written exam as Generals) and the and the code requirement has been completely eliminated. Yet while there were thousands of amateurs who were General (or higher) that had to pass ALL of those requirements for 70 years+ (in years of yore,) yet today, some say the requirements for General are "too hard?" Since this is a "G" rated site, all I can say to THAT is "(censored,) BALONEY!"
That's just it though... Did they actually study? It's only hard if you didn't do that.
Studying is a mindset and it doesn't really matter if the material you are learning is difficult to understand or not.
Scores like 51% tell me they barely skimmed over the material, or spent very little time with it.
Scores like 80% tell me they probably became confused over a couple of questions choosing the wrong "right answer" of two potential right answers. (distractor in the answer selection) but they otherwise have a solid grasp of the material.
Sometimes people are overconfident and think they can pass and won't need to study. Those are the first one's who usually fail.
Regardless of electronics knowledge (or lack thereof) it is predictable that 80+ % of examine will fail, simply because they don't know the rules and regs. THOSE, and basic formulas (such as Ω's Law) are immutable laws of "Fizzicks," and are yes, need to be memorized. It's often the application of the laws that is a problem. A half wave length is just that; a quartet wavelength at a particular frequency is just that. There's no "quibble" as to
space of a free wave in space. YES, real world dimensions have different wire size, and different insulation properties, (e.g. air or bare wire vs plastic insulated wire) which is why we cut dipoles (etc.) a bit L-O-N-G to allow for trimming.
Simply memorizing answers (such as "What is the length of a dipole, and the answer is "D." ) is in some ways a slap in the face of those of us that actually LEARNED about Amateur Radio.
I don't think the tests are that difficult, I just think you need to study for it. Just like anything worth doing it might take some study time, I was using the old timers as an example of knowledgeable advanced hams not recognizing the material straight out. Learn it and its not hard.
I was teaching a technician course several years ago, no not the one day haM cram. My tech course was a 3 day class. The first couple of courses I waited until the last day to cover Ohms Law. There was always a few minutes of moaning and groaning at the thought of having to do math. I changed my class to where I taught Ohms law the first night of class. My thought was, “get the moaning and groaning over with quickly.”
During the break a man approach me saying he was going to drop out of the class due to his weak math skills. He of course was talking about Ohms law. I explained that it was only multiplication or division and he could use a calculator even during the test.
“I’m just not good at math,” he said.
“Then don’t worry about it,” I said.
I went on to explain that the way the tests were put together the most Ohms law math questions he might see on a test was three. I explained it this way. “You can miss up to 9 questions and still pass the test. If you know the other material and miss the three possible math questions you’ll still pass.”
He still insisted his fear of having to do math made it impossible for him to attend the class. I then asked him what he had expected the class to be about.
“I don’t know but I didn’t expect math,” was his reply.
The proposal would make it more likely to be interested. When new Techs find out that they need to upgrade to General in order to do all that cool stuff we sold them on, their interest tends to fizzle quickly.
I've had college educated people drop out of my Tech classes halfway through the first class, where we cover Ohm's law. No amount of encouragement will get them past their math phobia. Yes, those are very extreme cases, and yes, I do counsel them on how to avoid math anxiety on the test. I don't know if this is a fault of the individual, or our way of teaching math. Apparently, some people had very, very bad experiences with it.
My own feeling is that on the Tech, math has been de-emphasized about as far as it possibly could. I don't think they need to know how to calculate the impedance of a parallel conductor feedline, like I did for my General back in 1966. For the Tech, it's easy to memorize the potential dB questions, but for the General, some actual calculation might be needed, if you don't just memorize the one or two potential questions.