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5 Tips to Ensure Victory over the Technician, General, or Extra exams

Passing FCC Element 2, 3, or 4 is easier than ever. Thanks to the removal of the Morse Code requirement, full access to the test material, and study sites like this one, you'll be a licensed amateur operator in no time.

These study tips will keep you focused and ensure success on your testing day. Use them as a guideline -- you know how you learn better than anyone else, so adapt these tips to suit your needs:

See also FCC.gov: Morse Code Statement

* The Technician exam is Element 2, the General exam is Element 3, and the Amateur Extra is Element 4. Element 1 was Morse code, which is no longer required.

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Set a deadline

By scheduling your test for a particular date not too far in the future you are committing to learning the material. Adding an entry to your calendar gives you a performance target to strive towards. Goals are good.


Learn the math, memorize the rest

The amount of math increases as you move through the license classes. There's not much on the Technician (Element 2) exam, so don't get nervous if you've not used a calculator in a while!

This tip is not as hard as it sounds. Often, thanks to HamStudy.org community members, the math needed to solve a particular problem is explained on the reverse side of the flashcard. Most of the time there are tricks to make it even easier.

The full question pools for elements 2, 3, and 4 are published with the answers. The text you see here will be the exact text you see on your test for both questions and answers. The answer order may change, so make sure you're learning the content, not the answer letters.


Use multiple modes of learning

While you can get by with just reading the screen and clicking the answers, engaging your mind in multiple ways helps solidify memory formation. Write down particularly difficult to remember questions with their answers. Say them out loud even!

When doing math, if you'll be using a calculator on test day, use the same one during your study sessions. Write out the formulas, and steps to achieve the solution.


Study the correct answers, not distractors

Each question in the question pool has one correct answer and three distractors. Spend your time learning the correct answer and worry less about the distractors. In most cases, this gives you less to remember! The exception is when you encounter "All of these choices are correct" as an answer; You'll have to pay attention to all answer choices in this case.

Pro tip: When using the "Read Questions" mode there is a button in the top right corner to hide the distractors


Limit your study

Don't set your test date too far out in the future. As a rule of thumb, if you can carve out an hour a day for two weeks, it's likely become a licensed amateur with ease. Some days you may only have time for thirty minutes, others, an hour-thirty.

The idea is to spread the study out consistently over multiple days to increase memory retention while avoiding an indefinite amount of study spanning weeks or even months!

If you have more time available in your schedule you could swap the numbers: 2 hours a day for 1 week prior to the test.

The tests are pass/fail. You get no special privileges for obtaining 100% over the minimum passing score of 74%. This allows some wiggle room in your study technique, should you decide one of the sub-elements of the test is particularly boring or challenging!