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Posted: 9/4/2010 6:39:58 PM EDT
I took the extra exam today and scored an 18 (after I became a general). How did you guys go about studying it? To be honest I memorized/learned the answers for the math/circuit questions for the general test. I have no intention of building anything now, and frankly the math was hard to understand in the Q&A book. I don't know if I can cram all 700ish extra questions into my brain.

Does anyone have a good study plan of action that worked for them?



Thanks,
Bill
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 7:02:37 PM EDT
Read through the questions and highlight the ones you know. Eliminate the highlighted ones from your study list and go on to other questions you find interesting or want to know more about. Once you have a grip on the "interesting" group, study the ones left on the list.
Thats what I did when I took General back in '91 and Extra in '05.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 7:21:02 PM EDT
KB7DX has some good suggestions. Look at the exam breakdown and focus on the groups with the most questions on the exam. Like most exams the FCC exams (namely General and Extra) include things that you'll seldom if ever need and if you do you'll look it up. Regardless, it's part of the price you pay. To this day I can't stand polar coordinates.

The math can actually come in handy during your "regular" radio activities. The best part is that there are only a few formulas you need to remember and then it's just a matter of plugging what variables you're given into the right formula.

Let us know if you have any questions about specific issues.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 8:48:27 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 3:24:26 AM EDT
I bought the Gordon West book and read it cover to cover about 6 or 7 times.
Eventually you see the questions enough times that you do remember most of them.
I would take a piece of paper and cover the page, slide it down (exposing the question but not the answers) and use the book like a quiz. I kept a seperate pice of scratch paper and noted every question I got wrong.

Some questions are purely memorization (FCC regulations, Q codes, etc)
Some things are common sense (electrical / tower safety)
Understanding the components of a transceiver just takes some time...you look at it until it clicks.
The rest is knowing the electrical property and the correct fomual to plug in.

For the things that you keep getting wrong and dont know why, ask another ham to explain it.
You will be better off in the long run if you genuinely understand the correct answer, rather than just memorizing to pass the test.

It really is worth it to get the extra....the additional bandwidth is nice on the weekends when there are contests up and down the bands.

Good luck - 73!
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 4:41:02 AM EDT
Pay attention to the sample math problems... The answers usually contain some use of a 3 4 5 triangle or the square root of 2... They have a few twists, but once you see what they have done, you can do the math problems in your head...

I.e. Square root of 2 is 1.41... So they will give u a resistance value of 100 and an inductive reactance of 100.. At a glance u know the impedance is 141 at 45 degrees

Stuff like that... Most of the math, they were kind enough to use values that can be determined without a calculator...
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 8:47:29 AM EDT
I took the Extra without studying at all and I got 35/50. Of course I have a lot of experience and probably benefited from a guess or two as well. But it is like the VEs told me, 35 is all we ever needed and how we got there just doesn't matter. It is a good thing we don't have to sign with our test scores in the EXTRA SUBBANDS!

I expect some day the Extra Class will be eliminated. The Extra privileges bear absolutely no relationship to the test materials, it is but a bragging right. At one time you had to be an Extra to operate a space station (which explains the amsat related questions in the test), and maybe repeaters way back when, I'm just not sure. But these days the only spiff you get is something like 500 KHz on HF to operate the same modes at the same power levels you can do as a General, and a somewhat distinct callsign (and that's going to be a 2X2 in most places).

For study guides, I used to like the old ARRL License Manuals. But that was a long time ago, when tests were still given at the FCC office and there was no published question pool. Using that, I was able to ace the old Tech/General written test back in '82. I don't know how it is these days.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 8:55:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2010 8:59:12 AM EDT by A_Free_Man]
I also want to congratulate the OP for shooting high, even if he didn't pass.

And the thing in the Extra graphics, Fig. E9-3, is a Smith Chart. That is one of the two questions I know put me over the minimum to pass Extra.

I still don't know how to use it, but like porno, I know what it is when I see it.




And note the improved avatar over on the left... Slashsplat did that.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 9:00:04 AM EDT
Originally Posted By JaxShooter:

The math can actually come in handy during your "regular" radio activities. The best part is that there are only a few formulas you need to remember...


I think in the present Extra exam guidelines there are supposed to be only two questions requiring the use of mathematical formulas. When I took my test I didn't even bring a calculator, but the two questions on my test covered material I know and I'm pretty sure I got them correct.

But you are right - a lot of the formulas are useful things to know and regardless of their emphasis (or lack thereof) in the exam, you can benefit as a Ham from knowing them - al least if you intend to do more than buy gear at a store and just plug & play.

Link Posted: 9/5/2010 9:30:05 AM EDT
I was lucky. My test had E9G05: What type of chart is shown in Figure E9-3? Pretty easy!
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 10:45:32 AM EDT
Thanks for all the replies. I wanted to avoid buying a book for extra and the guide AFM posted will work nicely (it mentions a free study guide I googled).

I just want to keep upgrading now that I have the ball rolling. I feel if I wait too long I won't do it. I was a tech for a year then I wanted to do HF and that lead to me taking the general and passing. Trying the extra after I passed my general exam was something I wanted to do because I feel I could have passed the general after I took the tech with a little bit of extra prep. After it was said and done I feel I missed a chance to just start as a general by not even trying when I passed the tech.

Thanks for the replies,

Bill
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 12:28:41 PM EDT


I just passed my extra by following these guidelines. kb6nu will really help you.

My experience with the tests at my local club is that they want you to pass. I didnt even need a calculator for my extra. Best of luck.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 5:08:04 PM EDT
I think I'm ready but the next test I can make isn't till the 21st so I have some more time to keep studying. I read Gordon West's book multiple times and have been using the online tests at QRZ, Eham, and a couple other sites and am achieving 80%+ passing rates on a very regular basis so I think I'll be good to go when the time comes. Hopefully I'll get to start my own /AE thread soon and I'm sure you will as well.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 6:15:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bflamante:


I just passed my extra by following these guidelines. kb6nu will really help you.

My experience with the tests at my local club is that they want you to pass. I didnt even need a calculator for my extra. Best of luck.


Congrats.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 7:43:55 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bflamante:


I just passed my extra by following these guidelines. kb6nu will really help you.

My experience with the tests at my local club is that they want you to pass. I didnt even need a calculator for my extra. Best of luck.


I'm sorry... I missed this.

A sincere CONGRATULATIONS!!!

And I'm glad those links helped.

Link Posted: 9/14/2010 4:41:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2010 4:56:04 PM EDT by ClingingBitterly]
Originally Posted By Bflamante:

My experience with the tests at my local club is that they want you to pass. I didnt even need a calculator for my extra. Best of luck.


I'm sure they do. I had actually gone to the local exam session in April '09 to do the paperwork for a "free" upgrade to General. Since I had already passed element 3 back in '82, I had a "classic" Tech license which was good for an upgrade to General (and why they didn't do that automatically nobody can explain). But the VEs told everybody, whatever level they were going for, if they passed they should continue on and try for the next higher class. And it makes sense because the fee is per session so it costs no more to do that. I said what the heck, I have been involved in a lot of different things with Ham Radio over three decades and though I hadn't contemplated taking the test going in (and therefore hadn't studied anything) I figured I would get the feel of the test then perhaps brush up on a couple things and try again later.

Indeed I was quite rusty - I had packed things up and been on a hiatus from HR for the past several years, but as I went through the questions, more often than not I was saying to myself "wow, I KNOW this stuff" and I knew I had a shot by the end of it.

And I finished up with the minimum number of correct answers required to pass. The VEs offered to go over what I missed line by line, or I could choose to just be happy I passed. I chose to just be happy (and I was, VERY), and I grabbed my CSCE and ran.

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