How to go from Zero to Extra Class HAM radio license in 30 min or less

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by AK4PX, Jan 19, 2012.

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  1. AK4PX

    AK4PX Ham Member QRZ Page

    35 minutes if you add in the times it took to have the previous exam graded and then proceed with the next one.


    [​IMG]


    My exam day (Jan 14, 2012) results essentially matched my practice test results:

    32/35 for Tech (25/35 needed)

    31/35 for General (25/35 needed)

    43/50 for Extra (37/50 needed)





    To put this prep work into some more perspective: myself and an older gentleman started the Tech at the same time; they had just finished grading my EXTRA exam when he handed in his TECH to be graded (and he failed [​IMG] but he didn't quit. He took it again right there. I ended up leaving before he finished the second attempt though and don't know how he prepped.)

    I admit I can be gloriously lazy. So much so that I will put in the prep work to do something only ONCE lol.

    There was also the factor of only one test exam date listed in the ARRL.COM website for my area. As an aside to this; the test fee is $15. Whether you take one test or two or all three. You have to pass the one you are taking to move to the next one. If you fail one you can repay then retake that test, pass and move to the next level without paying for that next level test.


    BUT MOST OF ALL ............... going back to being gloriously lazy [​IMG] ...................... I didn't want to bother with remembering "Can I transmit on this frequency or not?" [​IMG]


    I studied for a full month, nearly every day, about 1-1.5hrs when you average it out, per day. Originally I was going to study and learn and immerse myself in the theory of it all but to grasp all three levels in a month, despite the overlap in theory, was not something I wanted to do.


    I used ONLY FOUR tools:


    =========================

    Tech study guide PDF: http://kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/2006techstudyguide.pdf

    General study guide PDF: http://kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/2007GeneralStudyGuide.pdf

    Extra study guide PDF: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Instructor resources/ExtraClassSylalbus2009jan-AD7FO.pdf

    The QRZ Practice Tests: www.qrz.com (the key to it all). Skynet keeps track of how many questions you answer correctly. Take the tests until you have answered all the questions correctly at least once.

    =========================



    What I did was read thru each study guide WHILE taking the practice tests.

    As I read more and more of the guide I would score better and better on the test.

    Reason being that I would see the question several times and when I got to that question in the guide the correct answer would simply be reinforced in my mind.
    The setup of the Extra guide lent itself very well to this approach.

    You can also look up the answer as each question in the practice tests has its reference number and a quick search in the guide will take you right to that question.
    I ended up doing a little bit of both where I would guess and eventually get better at remembering or just look up the question and then answer it.

    I would recommend looking up the question and then answering as this reinforces the correct answer in your mind sooner. Then take more tests without looking things up.

    All the questions are standardized as are the answers. Once you’ve taken enough tests you can even get to the point of filling in the correct answer without looking at the question. You can take a plain calculator ........ but you guessed it; I only used it once lol.



    My Practice Test results:


    TECHNICIAN (71.4% is passing) I ended up taking 48 practice tests
    t2010 2011-12-14 04:57:59 60.00%
    t2010 2011-12-14 05:07:15 74.29%
    t2010 2011-12-14 05:15:39 62.86%
    t2010 2011-12-15 17:02:02 68.57%
    t2010 2011-12-15 17:17:12 71.43%
    t2010 2011-12-15 18:25:57 97.14%
    t2010 2011-12-16 21:25:06 82.86%
    t2010 2011-12-16 22:20:00 71.43%
    t2010 2011-12-18 07:29:02 80.00%
    t2010 2011-12-18 20:35:44 88.57%
    t2010 2011-12-19 02:14:54 91.43%
    t2010 2011-12-19 04:24:43 91.43%
    t2010 2011-12-19 04:35:43 88.57%
    t2010 2011-12-19 04:55:49 94.29%
    t2010 2011-12-19 05:05:49 85.71%
    t2010 2011-12-19 05:14:49 100.00%
    t2010 2011-12-19 05:21:47 88.57%
    t2010 2011-12-19 21:41:11 100.00%
    t2010 2011-12-20 05:41:37 82.86%
    t2010 2011-12-20 16:54:04 97.14%
    t2010 2011-12-21 05:56:34 97.14%
    t2010 2011-12-22 17:52:25 80.00%
    t2010 2011-12-23 03:50:16 91.43%
    t2010 2011-12-23 16:50:43 80.00%
    t2010 2011-12-23 19:09:43 82.86%
    t2010 2011-12-25 00:37:49 88.57%
    t2010 2011-12-25 04:07:09 97.14%
    t2010 2011-12-26 05:06:53 97.14%
    t2010 2011-12-26 23:33:31 85.71%
    t2010 2011-12-27 17:50:09 91.43%
    t2010 2011-12-28 05:29:26 85.71%
    t2010 2011-12-28 16:27:24 85.71%
    t2010 2011-12-29 16:37:09 88.57%
    t2010 2011-12-30 15:24:33 80.00%
    t2010 2011-12-31 16:23:06 91.43%
    t2010 2012-01-03 04:16:39 91.43%
    t2010 2012-01-03 19:37:35 91.43%
    t2010 2012-01-04 19:36:56 82.86%
    t2010 2012-01-05 23:08:17 82.86%
    t2010 2012-01-06 02:42:33 91.43%
    t2010 2012-01-07 03:42:03 97.14%
    t2010 2012-01-08 23:30:37 77.14%
    t2010 2012-01-09 04:05:09 97.14%
    t2010 2012-01-09 21:28:56 88.57%
    t2010 2012-01-11 01:42:42 91.43%
    t2010 2012-01-12 00:12:50 91.43%
    t2010 2012-01-13 02:57:48 82.86%
    t2010 2012-01-14 20:49:28 74.29%




    GENERAL (71.4% is passing) I ended up taking 57 practice tests
    g2011 2011-12-19 21:50:08 42.86%
    g2011 2011-12-21 17:47:07 65.71%
    g2011 2011-12-21 22:20:41 51.43%
    g2011 2011-12-22 03:13:45 45.71%
    g2011 2011-12-22 17:16:47 48.57%
    g2011 2011-12-22 19:10:28 65.71%
    g2011 2011-12-22 22:03:49 65.71%
    g2011 2011-12-23 01:02:14 74.29%
    g2011 2011-12-23 03:41:05 77.14%
    g2011 2011-12-23 16:43:29 82.86%
    g2011 2011-12-23 17:30:00 71.43%
    g2011 2011-12-23 17:36:59 65.71%
    g2011 2011-12-23 17:56:08 71.43%
    g2011 2011-12-23 19:01:10 57.14%
    g2011 2011-12-25 00:59:06 74.29%
    g2011 2011-12-25 01:24:19 60.00%
    g2011 2011-12-25 19:23:57 65.71%
    g2011 2011-12-25 19:49:46 71.43%
    g2011 2011-12-26 01:59:28 68.57%
    g2011 2011-12-26 02:51:20 54.29%
    g2011 2011-12-26 04:47:43 74.29%
    g2011 2011-12-26 05:32:57 85.71%
    g2011 2011-12-26 17:53:12 88.57%
    g2011 2011-12-26 18:55:59 80.00%
    g2011 2011-12-26 23:39:39 82.86%
    g2011 2011-12-27 01:34:18 85.71%
    g2011 2011-12-27 06:05:53 68.57%
    g2011 2011-12-27 06:12:26 85.71%
    g2011 2011-12-27 21:52:41 88.57%
    g2011 2011-12-27 22:04:56 85.71%
    g2011 2011-12-28 16:50:42 88.57%
    g2011 2011-12-29 17:43:15 88.57%
    g2011 2012-01-01 02:16:13 85.71%
    g2011 2012-01-03 04:04:55 77.14%
    g2011 2012-01-04 20:19:42 74.29%
    g2011 2012-01-05 23:17:22 68.57%
    g2011 2012-01-05 23:24:33 65.71%
    g2011 2012-01-05 23:30:23 74.29%
    g2011 2012-01-06 01:47:53 62.86%
    g2011 2012-01-06 01:56:56 82.86%
    g2011 2012-01-06 02:05:01 82.86%
    g2011 2012-01-06 03:10:27 82.86%
    g2011 2012-01-06 16:03:36 77.14%
    g2011 2012-01-06 20:30:53 80.00%
    g2011 2012-01-07 02:40:16 85.71%
    g2011 2012-01-07 03:33:46 88.57%
    g2011 2012-01-07 15:01:41 91.43%
    g2011 2012-01-07 21:08:22 85.71%
    g2011 2012-01-08 02:06:19 82.86%
    g2011 2012-01-10 05:51:48 74.29%
    g2011 2012-01-10 18:20:54 77.14%
    g2011 2012-01-11 02:13:07 85.71%
    g2011 2012-01-12 03:39:09 77.14%
    g2011 2012-01-12 20:04:25 85.71%
    g2011 2012-01-13 17:06:52 77.14%
    g2011 2012-01-14 04:46:57 88.57%
    g2011 2012-01-14 20:48:05 71.43%




    EXTRA (74% is passing). I ended up taking 50 practice tests
    e2008 2011-12-22 22:35:40 42.00%
    e2008 2011-12-23 17:49:43 48.00%
    e2008 2011-12-25 04:29:32 52.00%
    e2008 2011-12-26 01:20:31 40.00%
    e2008 2011-12-27 00:06:54 36.00%
    e2008 2011-12-27 01:12:31 46.00%
    e2008 2011-12-27 02:00:39 50.00%
    e2008 2011-12-27 05:56:42 50.00%
    e2008 2011-12-28 16:20:16 46.00%
    e2008 2011-12-28 21:53:08 48.00%
    e2008 2011-12-28 22:23:22 48.00%
    e2008 2011-12-29 15:57:46 52.00%
    e2008 2011-12-29 18:36:12 58.00%
    e2008 2011-12-29 21:23:22 68.00%
    e2008 2011-12-29 22:39:23 48.00%
    e2008 2011-12-30 14:56:58 52.00%
    e2008 2011-12-31 15:01:55 46.00%
    e2008 2011-12-31 15:52:30 54.00%
    e2008 2011-12-31 18:43:52 58.00%
    e2008 2012-01-01 01:12:43 48.00%
    e2008 2012-01-01 02:27:56 58.00%
    e2008 2012-01-01 02:41:20 60.00%
    e2008 2012-01-01 04:30:47 72.00%
    e2008 2012-01-01 22:06:20 76.00%
    e2008 2012-01-01 22:41:54 80.00%
    e2008 2012-01-02 03:32:50 68.00%
    e2008 2012-01-03 03:58:31 62.00%
    e2008 2012-01-03 19:28:25 76.00%
    e2008 2012-01-04 19:31:01 68.00%
    e2008 2012-01-04 20:10:38 84.00%
    e2008 2012-01-04 22:11:34 74.00%
    e2008 2012-01-05 03:57:17 82.00%
    e2008 2012-01-05 05:02:29 82.00%
    e2008 2012-01-05 05:55:13 80.00%
    e2008 2012-01-05 23:02:52 86.00%
    e2008 2012-01-06 01:38:35 88.00%
    e2008 2012-01-06 02:27:33 88.00%
    e2008 2012-01-06 04:56:50 78.00%
    e2008 2012-01-06 19:28:17 84.00%
    e2008 2012-01-07 02:52:03 88.00%
    e2008 2012-01-07 15:36:55 72.00%
    e2008 2012-01-07 16:28:36 82.00%
    e2008 2012-01-08 02:28:59 66.00%
    e2008 2012-01-08 02:59:28 82.00%
    e2008 2012-01-09 00:34:41 86.00%
    e2008 2012-01-10 18:54:50 88.00%
    e2008 2012-01-11 02:41:03 84.00%
    e2008 2012-01-11 22:38:56 84.00%
    e2008 2012-01-12 20:53:59 82.00%
    e2008 2012-01-14 20:51:30 72.00%
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2012
  2. K0RGR

    K0RGR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Outstanding! Now, put it to use! After all that hard work, I hope you have fun!
     
  3. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I see this a lot, but it isn't totally correct. In the USA we have so many mode restrictions that they are just as important as the frequency restrictions. For example, no US ham can use SSB on 14.145MHz, and no US ham can use PSK on 14.255. These are just examples, most commonly used bands have these mode restrictions in force for all classes of licensees.

    Joe
     
  4. AC8KR

    AC8KR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congrats! I just passed my Extra exam this morning and got my Tech and General on the same day about a month ago. I used the same technique and it worked great. I read the ARRL books for each license class while taking practice tests with the Patrick Maloney iPhone apps. I definitely recommend the books since I think it's important to actually understand rather than memorize, and the practice tests are great for reinforcing the material and telling you what needs repeated study. I see exactly the same sort of pattern as you with my practice tests. For example, it took me a while to pass my first Extra practice test, would sometimes fail after my first success, but I then passed thirty in a row as I completed the book and figured I was ready for the real thing and I was--I only got one question wrong.
     
  5. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congratulations I also went from Zero to Extra in one sitting, passing all the tests the first time. .
     
  6. K8MHZ

    K8MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Danpass

    Congrats and Welcome!

    Now that you are an Extra will be expected to learn Morse Code and make your own tubes. :p
     
  7. AK4PX

    AK4PX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I downloaded some training programs that day :D
     
  8. KU4X

    KU4X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congratulations AK4PX! Sweet call. Looking forward to working you.


    Regards,
    -Bruce
    WE4AU
     
  9. AK4PX

    AK4PX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Agreed! I was eager to figure out a 4 character call when it finally showed up online but this one rolls nicely :D
     
  10. K0SPN

    K0SPN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unless something has changed that I don't know of, you can use data modes in the phone sections, just not vice-versa.
     
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