Here is a Sure-Fire Way to Study for Your Technician Class Amateur Radio License!
The Technician class amateur radio license is something akin to a learner's permit in driving. The exam requires the prospective licensee to learn enough radio and electronics theory, along with a smattering of the amateur radio rules, to not be a danger to him or herself and others. In light of this, we have developed a nearly fool-proof way to study for your Technician class amateur radio license exam. If you follow these steps, you are very likely to pass your test!
One of the first things you should do is to find an amateur radio club, or an amateur radio licensee in your area. Radio amateurs (otherwise known as hams) are usually quite welcoming to others who wish to enter their ranks and they can be a great source of information about what amateur radio has to offer and how you can become a ham. It is a great idea to find a ham to be your mentor (otherwise known as an Elmer). This Elmer can help guide you through the process of earning your amateur radio license and setting up your first amateur radio station.
Follow the steps listed below to prepare for your Technician Class license exam. We DO NOT RECOMMEND using this method for the General Class and Extra Class license exams. Those licenses come with operating privileges that require a good deal of skill and knowledge. Take the time to learn from other radio amateurs and study to learn the concepts. Then, take your General or Extra Class exam.
Once you have passed your test, it is IMPERATIVE that you get together with your Elmer and other licensed radio amateurs to learn the ropes. You can search for clubs in your area on the ARRL website. We recommend that you NOT spend any money on any equipment prior to meeting other hams and trying out what they have and learning from them. Remember, the Technician Class amateur radio license is like a learner's permit. You will have lots to learn and explore!
Step 1 - Get the Gordon West Ham Radio License Manual
You will need to get the latest Gordon West Technician Class License Manual. Click HERE or on the photo to the right to get it from Amazon. You will use this manual as a reference to help you understand the questions that you will encounter as you study using the method below.
This license manual contains the material and questions that will be covered on the Technician class amateur radio exams that are offered from July 1, 2018 until June 30, 2022.
Step 2 - Register with HamStudy.org
HamStudy.org is a free resource that you can use to study the actual questions that you will encounter on your Amateur Radio license exam. We used HamStudy with our children to help them learn the material that they needed to master prior to taking each of their license exams. While the method that we describe on this page can be used for all classes of the amateur licensing exams, we recommend that you only use this method for the Technician class exam. The higher class exams require much more understanding of the material than you will gain with this method–remember, the Technician class license is akin to a learner's permit. Use this method to study for your Technician class exam, then get on the air and get MENTORED!
So, let's get started... You will need two different email addresses for this method. To begin, go to the HamStudy website and create an account with your first email address. This is the account you will use for the first part of your journey into amateur radio.
Step 3 - Read the Questions WITHOUT the Distractors
Reference the image to the right (you can click on it to make it larger) to see where to click to read the questions. Once you have navigated to read questions page, click on the link to hide the distractors (see the second image on the right).
Read the questions for sub-elements T1 without the distractors three times through. There are multiple subsections for each sub-element (T1A, T1B, T1C, etc.) read all of the subsections three times through.
If there is a question for which you do not understand why the answer is correct, click on the tab in the top right of the question box (see the third image to the right). This will provide you with an explanation for question that was written by an amateur radio licensee. (It's kind of like Wikipedia...) You should also reference the Gordon West Technician Class License Manual section that covers that question to learn more about the topic. (Click the fourth image on the right to see how Gordo cross references the questions with the explanations.)
Step 4 - Do the Flash Cards for that Sub-Element
The top photo on the left of this section shows where to click to study the flash cards. Once you have clicked on the link, you will be taken to a page that looks somewhat like the second image on the left. Click on this image to enlarge it and reference the words that we have added in red. You want to make sure that you are doing the flash cards for JUST the SUB-ELEMENT for which you have just read the questions and answers (remember, WITHOUT the distractors) three times through. The HamStudy.org website has an algorithm that keeps track of how many times in a row you have answered each question correctly. On the right side of the page, you will be able to track your aptitude for the sub-element.
If you are having difficulty with a question and are wondering why an answer is correct, remember that you can click on the top right corner of the question to read a Wiki explanation. You also will have your Gordon West Technician Class License Manual to reference, as well. Do your best to learn why each correct answer is right. The answers to some questions, such as the rules, regulations, and frequency privileges, will simply need to be memorized.
IMPORTANT – If you do not know the correct answer to the question, DO NOT GUESS! Simply click the "I Don't Know" button at the bottom of the question. If you guess the correct answer without learning it, the website algorithm will give you aptitude for that question without your knowing the correct answer.
Keep doing the questions for the sub-element until your aptitude is 95% and the percentage for questions seen is 100%. Once you have reached this milestone, go to step 5.
Step 5 - Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for Each Sub-Element!
Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each sub-element, T1-T0. Once your aptitude for each sub-element is at or above 95%, move on to step 6.
Step 6 - It's Time to Put it All Together!
This is the step where you will use your second email address. HamStudy.org does not have a way to reset your flash card aptitude and it has probably been a few days (or weeks) since you have seen sub-element T1. The way you reset your aptitude is by creating a new account. By creating a new account, you are forced to see the questions from past sub-elements. The algorithm will show you all of the questions again until you show that you have mastered each question.
Once you have created your new account, log in with your new credentials and begin doing the flash cards for ALL of the sub-elements at once. Remember, if you do not know the correct answer to a question, DO NOT GUESS! If you guess the correct answer, the algorithm will credit you with aptitude points for that question and you may not master the question.
If you do not understand why the correct answer is correct, refer to the Gordon West Technician Class License Manual, or click on the tab in the top right of the question.
When you reach at least 95% aptitude and 100% of the questions seen, you are ready to sit for your Technician class amateur radio license exam. Keep spending a few minutes each day doing the flash cards until the night before your exam. Then, get a good night's sleep, show up early, and earn your amateur radio license!
If you have followed these directions completely, you are virtually guaranteed to pass your Technician class amateur radio exam.