“Knowing is half the battle.”G.I. Joe
So the question may be asked “Who writes my exam anyway?” and we are here to break that down for you… Each rating in the Navy will have a panel of E7 to E9’s who are hand selected to participate in an Advancement Exam Readiness Review (AERR). This panel is considered the Subject Mater Experts (SME) for your rate, and will meet at least once per year to discuss any Reference changes or answer any questions that may arise during the process.
“Who Selects the SME’s?” – Each rate has one point of contact in the fleet that is the TYCOM rating sponsor, who is either a Master Chief or Senior Chief, also known as a Fleet Subject Matter Expert (FSME) and is responsible for selecting the SME’s that will participate in the AERR. While the selection process has changed over the years, each SME should be from a background that is specific to the Rating Topics found on your profile sheet or selected based on the needs for each rates exam requirements.
“What makes them a SME?” – The FSME will review packages that have been submitted from around the fleet and meet the requirements found in (NAVADMIN 229/17). They must also be recommended by their Commanding Officers and Command Master Chiefs before they are eligible for selection. Once that E7 or above has met the requirements, the packages will be reviewed by the FSME, and they will choose the best and fully qualified Chief to represent your rate.
“How long is an AERR?” – This time can vary, as each rates requirements are different. For example: The MM’s AERR may last 3 days, while the AO’s AERR last two weeks or more, due to the amount of work required upon arrival. If there is a major reference change then you can guarantee they will be there for the max allotted time.
“What if there is a Reference change?” – A lot of Sailors who study may notice their bib may NOT reflect the new reference change. Not to worry as the bib will post what reference you should study for that EXAM CYCLE. There are occasions that the Navy Advancement Center will post an update to the bib with the updated reference which is why we recommend you check it often. We regularly check for updates and will make the appropriate change to your study material if need be. If you notice a date change on the bib when you pull it up, then there has been a reference change, therefore it is up to you to review and compare in order to catch the change.
“What is their mindset when writing?” – Many of the Chiefs are sitting down for the first time at an AERR while others have been several times. So they will often look to write questions on things they remembered when “they” took the exam, or for what stands out in the paragraph. Most are directed on what areas need questions, especially if it is a new reference. You can always count on the reference name and number being used as a question. Try and look at the reference with the mindset of what would make a great exam question. Our writers are taught to do the same. Ultimately, NWAE writers are people too. Remember they were once in your shoes, and for some… it was not that long ago!
Knowing how the exam is built is not an insignificant advantage. It will help you prepare for the exam and offer some insight while taking the exam. For more information check out other blogs we’ve posted.