So you want to take a remote exam…

So you want to take a remote US Amateur Radio License Exam? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Since the lock-downs with COVID-19 started the world of Amateur Radio testing has nearly turned on its head, and the HamStudy.org team has been at the center of most of it! If you read our recent press release then you already know about the group that grew up to take on this new challenge and it has been our privilege to provide the software that nearly all of them use.

It has been an interesting challenge, but I think we can definitely say at this point that fully remote examinations are a well defined thing — and still following all of the same rules and regulations as in-person testing have followed for years. In the last few months there have been over 1200 fully remote exams administered through GLAARG, W5YI, and ARRL (in order of how many each has done) and in the last few weeks the number of teams able to administer them have really picked up.

In short, it’s finally a good time to start looking for a remote exam session!

So here is what you need to know, and please read this list carefully — you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t read and how much trouble it causes those working to make this happen!

What you need to have to test

  • First, you need to have a good internet connection capable of doing video conferencing. If you don’t then you might consider contacting the Anchorage ARC VEC who use an on-site proctor and thus have less stringent requirements for this.
  • Next you need to have a good webcam on your computer — you may be asked to use a cell phone or similar as a second camera. You’ll need to be able to prove your test area is “clean”
  • The specific video conferencing software used will depend on the VE team, but you’ll need to be able to install it.
  • You will need a “clean” environment to take the exam in — one with nothing around that could be hiding cheat methods and one where nobody will be entering the room unexpectedly (which would probably void the exam). Amusingly, many people have started using a bathroom / washroom for this — a little weird, but who are we to judge?

Finding a fully remote / online exam

To find an exam session, go to https://ham.study/sessions/online

  • Keep in mind that HamStudy.org *does not run these sessions*, so please don’t email us with questions =]
  • Please don’t register for an exam until you are ready to pass! If you aren’t sure, we know a great website where you can take practice exams for free and see how you are doing. If you aren’t passing consistently then leave a spot for others who are, keep studying, and then sign up when you are actually ready. Remember, these are volunteer examiners running these sessions for you and there are others who want to take an exam as well — let’s not take slots we aren’t ready for.
  • Please do not sign up for more than one exam session — scheduling these sessions is extremely tricky and if you register for more than one you are taking spots that others may need. There will be other slots available.
  • Make sure you register for an exam session which is marked as “online“! The listing shows both if it’s online and how many slots are available if there is a limit — if it says the session is full just find another session. At the time of this writing I see at least 50 slots open in the next few weeks, so there are slots available and there will be more coming up.
  • Always read the session notes carefully! Some sessions have special requirements or instructions for registering, usually to weed out people who don’t follow directions and reduce the impact. In short, if you don’t read the instructions there is a good chance you won’t be testing.
  • Check your spam folder; most teams will require you to pay your exam fee before the exam day and may even remove your registration if they don’t hear back from you in a timely manner.

Finally, keep in mind throughout the entire process just how much time and effort your exam team has put in to make this possible! Be patient with them if some things don’t go quite to plan =] They want you to pass and will do everything that the rules allow to help you succeed!

73 and good luck!

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