Studying General

Discussion in 'Becoming a Ham - Q&A' started by KB3SKU, Mar 17, 2009.

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  1. AB3MV

    AB3MV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Higher-level mathematics (of which algebra is the bottom tier) is not hard to learn if one has a good teacher, especially if it is being taught in an applied context such as electronics. The problem with math is that most people have had a bad math teacher in the past that left them doubting their ability to learn more advanced topics. My first math teacher in college coined the term "math anxiety" for the state where one becomes so overwhelmed with self-doubt about being able to learn math that it actually prevents one from learning math. The key to learning anything difficult is to believe in oneself and ask lots of questions (there is no such thing as a stupid question).

    As others have stated, the math on the General Class examination is kept to a minimum. However, that does not prevent one who does not have a strong math background from filling in the gaps in one’s education. While it is possible to pass both the General and Extra exams through memorization, little is gained by doing so. Oliver Heaviside never attended college; however, he was able to make major contributions to the study of electromagnetic fields through self-study.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2009
  2. K1EK

    K1EK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would recommend that you use Ham Test Online to study. They not only have you memorize the answers like QRZ quizzes but is organized and you can actually learn the ham radio not just memorize answers to the test by the articles they give you to read along through the questions. They have a really good system that quizzes you on the ones you have trouble with and does not keep reviewing the same questions you know over and over. I studied over the Febuary vacation I had at the end of the month and went straight to the generals class, one wrong on the tech test and none on the generals. The math problems in the test are very simple and following the equations you can learn them easily. You can also bring a calculator into the test. The extra class is where you get hit hard by alot of equations to memorize, harder more difficult numbers etc. It costs $50 but it gives you a two year subscription to studying for all the amature radio license classes. Good luck

    John, KB1RWI
  3. KB3SKU

    KB3SKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I know its what helped me pass the Technician Class exam :) and yes i paid for 2 year sub for Technician and i just recently paid for a 2 year subscription for General. I don't just memorize the questions and answers i do read and try to comprehend the stuff i study. I do both the study mode and the practice tests.

    it may not seem like i study according to some of the questions i ask on this forum but i do read and try to understand the stuff,its just some of the stuff is hard for me to understand and i have to ask questions even though it might get me flamed at or ridiculed :(
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2009
  4. AB9RU

    AB9RU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I found studying for the general exam made it easier for me to understand some of the things in the tech test, and the same when I studied the extra, but when I was studying for extra it seemed that I spent a bunch of time searching for better explanations on the internet. Ham Test Online did help with some things, ex. to remember where to use USB and LSB on HF, HTO called it the rule of 9, except for 60 meters below 9 MHz you use LSB and above 9MHz use USB.

    I bought the ARRL license manuals but wonder if the Gordon West versions wouldn't have been better.

    If you have the ARRL general manual you could have one that has an error with the symbols for bipolar transistors, the ARRL website has the corrections at and they have some extra material that may help you with understanding the theory and even some of the math involved
  5. N0SSC

    N0SSC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hihi N3RQ, I love your textual lecture on resonant LC circuits.
    Here's a guy without an EE, just three high school credits of math and an extra class license.

    One of the fallicies of these tests is that they've been dumbed down quite a bit from the past years, i'm guessing in an effort to increase numbers. It worked, but now not all all hams can remeber the equation for the resonant freq. of a parallel LC circuit.

    Thats just a side note that's somewhat irrelevant hihi.

    I used nothing but the ARRL books and online ham tests. For the Extra test, I wrote notes as I read, so I made a whole notebook of notes on the extra class. Polar coordinates was the hardest and most frustrating, because they still don't mean a thing to me! I memorized that crazy LC thing; all it is is XL = 2Πfl and XC = 1/2ΠFL

    But I digress...Just have the determination and a calculator. On the exam you can almost always cut off two of the multiple choice answers that seem to be out there, so you have a 50/50 chance of it. And don't let the math scare you. You won't have more than 5 calculations; I had one on the general and perhaps 3 that I really needed to think about on the Extra.

    73 and Good Luck
  6. KC2UQZ

    KC2UQZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    KB3SKU, I feel your pain. I'm studying for general now, and it ain't easy. My problem is somewhat the opposite of yours. It's the concepts, like resonance, inductance, impedance, etc. that I don't get at all, and I feel that a more thorough and mathematical explanation than the ARRL General manual gives would be a big help. Math is just a language that helps explain things, and if you learn to speak it, just like any other language, you can describe things and understand things uniquely. I feel like the lack of math makes this all the more complicated, since without math, we try to explain principals that are not easily described using English.

    I am still searching for more thorough English and mathematical explanations of all the stuff I'm reading in the ARRL General manual.
  7. KB3RHV

    KB3RHV Ham Member QRZ Page

    For you guys having math issues, here is a really good book geared toward beginners and intermediate people ....

    The book is called, Sourcebook for Electronics Calculations, Formulas, and Tables

    The guy gives a really good brake down of the equations with schematics and waveforms. The book covers pretty much every thing you might encounter with electronics.
  8. K1EK

    K1EK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I get what you mean. I wasn't trying to ridicule you or anything in that nature. I am also a new ham, I just recieved my license from the FCC less that a month ago and I understand your questions. Some of this stuff is really confusing and I also have had and still do have many questions even though I know the material:confused:. I was just suggesting Ham Test Online in case you may not have heard of it because there are a lot of programs books etc. that aren't very good. I have had many questions where I look in the ARRL hand book, read the ham test online description and research online but just can't find the answer. I think a lot of people on here are sick of people who put questions on here that are easy to understand and find the answer to :mad: and also many people, including me, some times do not read the entire post and or generate an answer without really thinking about it because of impacience or lack of time. Keep on asking questions because that is the only way to learn!:D
  9. KB3SKU

    KB3SKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I understand and i will keep asking questions :D .
  10. AB0WR

    AB0WR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you have a specific question you need help with?

    If we could focus on one thing at a time it might make the math easier.

    tim ab0wr
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