Topic: Fast Track to License Exam Preparation
posted August 22, 2006 12:53 PM
The main goal of the NavRules Trainer product is to teach the use of the Rules in practical navigation, but we have some users whose initial goal is to pass the rules part of the USCG licensing exam or a counterpart in the USCG Axillary or US Power Squadrons.
For this immediate goal, some users have reported that the vast amount of material in this product has distracted them, meaning they do not see how to get to their immediate goal in the most efficient manner. There is more detail than they need at the moment. Our discussions of each rule, for example, are very in-depth, citing specific court cases to back up the discussion, and so on. We also cover things like the Canadian Modifications to the Rules and special rules for US Navy vessels, etc, all of which are off topic for a license exam.
Thus we include here this fast track approach to preparation for any test... and then outline how you fill in the rest of the practical knowledge once you get underway or past the test stage.
(1) Open the product, click the top link, Navigation Rules
(2) On the next screen click 3rd link down, Discussions and Sample Questions.
In the right hand panel you will see a list with three columns: the rules, its discussions, its sample questions.
(3) Start with Rule 1 and read the rule carefully, print it if you need a copy, and mark any part that looks unique or unexpected. Highlight any occurrence of the words "shall" or "may" — these are big differences, which are often addressed in exam questions.
(4) Then, for now, completely skip the link called Discussion, and instead click on Sample Questions. Read the sample questions carefully and study the explanation of the question and answer. These questions have been hand picked to be best representative of the rule. Often if you understand this sample question, you will overcome any testing pitfall on this Rule.
(5) Then go on to Rule 2.... this way step through each of the Rules, reading carefully, highlighting as needed, and studying the sample questions and explanations.
(6) Once done with that, go to our online Resources and download the file we have prepared that marks all of the differences between US Inland and International Rules.... it is in the Inet Connections section, under NavRules and Legal. Or you can download it directly from here Annotated Nav Rules . That document marks every single difference in the Inland and International rules and then color codes the results... to mark the difference as unique to inland, unique to International, common to both but with different rules, and finally, different wording but no difference in meaning.
Study this document to learn the differences. Most license exams require you to know both the Inland and International rules. You will note that the main differences are in the meaning of the sound signals.
(7) Now you are ready to start with practice tests. Open the program, click the 4th link down, USCG Exam questions, and on the next window click the second link, Examiner. Here you can start practice tests. You might start out with say 10 or 20 questions, use a mixture of Inland and International, and chose Random questions. To get the most from this product, it is important to read the help file in the Examiner on how to use it. We also have a special topic in this online help section on use of Tagged questions.
Then keep track of how you are doing, You can take multiple quizzes till you learn what areas might need more help. Then if you choose you can home in on problem areas, by for example, setting the filter to just give you questions on tow boat lights, or sailing vessels, or down bound vessels etc. The Examiner module lets you design your practice quizzes however you like.
At some point, you may wish to go back to the previous sections and actually read the Discussion of the rule at hand if you are having trouble with a specific rule.
Also remember one of your most powerful resources—if you have any questions at all about the rules or specific USCG questions on the rules you can post them in the Nav Rules General Discussion Group. If not done already, you will need to get a login name and password using your product serial number. There is no charge for this service.
From: Starpath, Seattle, WA