Well, the day that I have been dreading has finally come. This evening I will attempt to take the written exams for both the Technician and General level amateur radio operators licenses.
I have attempted to cram so much information into my little head so quickly that at times I felt like my head was swimming.
As some of you know, I suffer from frequent debilitating migraine headaches. Usually 3 to 4 times a month.
Over the past month we have had a lot of unusual weather here in Hawaii which has affected my studies. Normally the summer and fall months are dry and we have to worry about droughts. This year was not a normal year though as we have had a lot of storms and rain move through the area.
One of my many triggers is low barometric pressure. Whenever a low pressure cell blows through and the barometer falls below 30inHg I end up with a migraine, which for almost two weeks straight it never got above 29.6inHg so I was down with a migraine every day. Oh what fun that was.
Another of my migraine triggers is stress. With the exam date approaching, my stress level has been ever increasing.
I registered for ham classes to help me prepare for the Technician exam, but of the four weekly classes I had to miss two of them from the migraines, so I am not sure how much help that will end up being.
I was unable to sleep last night and have been so nervous today that my stomach is all tied up in knots and I have been unable to eat anything. In case you hadn't noticed, I also suffer from a high level of exam anxiety.
No matter how much I study for an exam, and how well I do on practice tests, I break out in cold sweats and have symptoms of a panic attack when the time comes to actually take the exam.
On top of everything else that I do, for the past 12 years I have also been a Wilderness First Aid/CPR Instructor-Trainer, which means I taught and certified others to teach CPR and first aid courses for multiple organizations.
Even though I taught at least 4 or 5 classes every week, and knew the material like the back of my hand. Whenever it came time for me to re-certify as an instructor-trainer I would freeze up on the written exams. Before the exam, I score a 100% every time, but during the exam I can barely get a passing score answering the exact same questions.
My biggest fear today is not that I will bomb-out and fail the exams, but that I will vomit all over everyone while I am trying to take the exams. That would not be a pretty sight.
As I said in my last episode, for the past week I have concentrated on the General exam exclusively, but today I am studying for both the Technician and General exams. Hopefully I have not forgotten all of the Technician level information while I worked on the General level this week.
At 6:30pm I will sit for the Technician license exam. I am expecting that exam to take no more than one hour to complete since it is a 35 question test. While the Volunteer Examiners grade that exam I will start the General license exam which should take about the same amount of time because it is also a 35 question test.
I should know the results of the exams by around 8:30pm. If I am successful on the exams it will take about a week before my FCC callsign is issued. I am still unsure if they will issue a new callsign, or if they will reissue my old one from 30 years ago. I guess I will have to wait and see.
Well, back to studying. Wish me luck.
It's Almost Exam Time
In upcoming episodes we will take a look at Morse Code, Antennas, Handheld UHF/VHF Radios,, and Mobile UHF/VHF Radios.