Taking the Exam

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Colin Powell

Let’s be honest… Taking the exam can be very stressful, and overwhelming, especially if it is your first time.  So don’t let the first time you sit down to answer 175 questions be the morning of your advancement exam. Let’s discuss some things to think about prior to the exam:

  1. Get a good night’s sleep… People who get 6 to 7 hours of sleep the night before can boost their thinking ability and overall exam score!
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast… We are not talking Twinkies and Cupcakes folks!  This includes protein-rich foods which can lead to greater mental alertness. Healthy food choices on exam day include eggs, nuts, yogurt, and cottage cheese.  Good breakfast combinations might be whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, eggs and toast with jam, or simply oatmeal.
  3. Practice taking the exam…  If you have never taken an advancement exam, it can be quite noisy depending on the location the exam is administered, i.e. the Mess Deck, Swa Hut in Afghanistan, Hanger Bay…  Try taking one of our practice exams and replicate the environment in which your exam is given.
  4. Use your scratch paper… When you sit down, write out every ditty, image, term, number, date, and acronym you remember.  That way when you get to that “ONE” question, you may be able to refer back to your scratch paper to assist you.
  5. Verify you are taking the right exam and rate…  I know this sounds silly, but hey it happens.  So make sure you are taking the right exam rate and rank.

Okay, you opened your test booklet, now what?

  1. A lot of people have developed a comfort with going straight to the back of the test book because they think it is easier.  The only hard part of the test is the middle… These exams are written to build your confidence by starting out with easy questions, then fade into harder ones.
  2. You come to a question you don’t know… No worries, review your scratch sheet of paper first, if it does not help, then move on to the next question.  Just don’t forget to come back to it later!
  3. Don’t second guess yourself…  Your brain will focus in on the correct response first, if you are going to erase and change your response, then erase the circle completely! The only time you should change your response, is if you know for a fact you answered it wrong.
  4. When in doubt Charlie out… You hear this all the time, however if you don’t know, come back to it, Charlie can wait for you to provide a better response.
  5. Time… You have 3hrs to take the exam, use every minute of it.  If for some reason you finish quickly, then check and ensure you answered every question, then turn it in.  Sailors who finish the exams fast fit into one of two categories… They either spent a lot of time studying or they Christmas treed the whole exam.

You have finished your exam, now what?

  1. First review your test and ensure every question has been answered.
  2. Erase all non-bubbled marks on your test.  This includes those changed answers where a grey spot has been left behind from your change.
  3. Verify the top part of your answer sheet has been filled in correctly as this is where most exam discrepancies occur.
  4. Lastly… turn in your exam, you survived!