One-Day General Class?

After the class yesterday, Scott, W1BIC, mentioned that now what we need is a one-day General class. I’ve always been more skeptical about doing a cram session for the General Class exam, but after batting the idea around a little, I think that there might be a way to do this. The idea wouldn’t be to teach the answers to all the questions in the question pool, but rather to focus on areas that the students were having trouble with. In effect, it would “get them over the hump” in a couple of areas.

With that in mind, we came up with a few ideas:

  • Focus on the differences between the topics covered by the Tech and General Class exams and cover only those topics. If it’s something that a Tech should know, then we just blow over it.
  • Have prospective students take three online tests and submit their results. After you take a practice test at aa9pw.com, they show you all the questions with your answer and the correct answer. Prospective students would have to print out and submit these before the class. With this information, we could tailor the class so that it focuses on the problem areas.
  • We wouldn’t take into the class anyone scoring, say, 50% or less on the exams.
  • Also, because the class would be “customized” depending on the students’ test results, the class would have to be pretty small, maybe four or five tops.

This is still a partially-baked idea, and I’d love to hear some others. Just as our current one-day Tech class is a spur to those that need a little prodding when it comes to getting their first licenses, this one-day General class might be the thing that gets some Techs over the hump.

Comments

  1. Dan, this is pretty scary that you posted this entry the same day that some of the guys from the club I belong to were discussing what we can do to make a one day (or day and half) cram session better. We just did a Tech and General cram with a 100% pass rate. Can’t find the data on how many we had for the General class but the Tech class had 8 people go through and all of them passed. Seven of them on the first attempt.

    I will say that it was your study guide that got me through the General exam a couple of years back. I know you know your stuff and your approach is a good, from a satisfied customer view :).

    73,
    Max…

  2. I like your ideas about pretesting. I think we should try it, I would be glad to gather a group of 4-6 Techs who want to upgrade, and would be willing to participate.

  3. Having taught several 1 1/2 days of General Exam cram classes near St Louis, I find that the electrical components and circuits are the big hang-ups for the students. To do it faster we need a better way of explaining the formals and theory.

    The local club is looking at offering a 2-4 hour hands on class where we would try to more clearly explain the theory and how the calculations work.

  4. The St Louis and Suburban Radio Club (SLSRC) held a one and a half day training class on June 13th and 14th. All 6 Technicians passed, one person had to take it twice as they missed the first time by one point. All three general upgrade passed on the first try. We use a cross between a cram course and and very short lecture followed by a quiz.

  5. Dan KB6NU says:

    W1BIC: Scott, I already have one guinea pig here in Ann Arbor for the one-day General Class. If you can rustle up two or three more, we’ll give it a go. Let’s keep it to four or five for this pilot class.

    Jon: Our one-day Tech class is very similar to what you describe as a “cross between a cram course and a lecture course.” Bruce, KD8APB, lectures, while I follow along and interject with questions and answers from the test at appropriate points. Also, you not that the sections on components and circuits are the sections that give students the most trouble. That certainly seems to be the case with the one fellow who’s agreed to be our first guinea pig.

  6. Count me in for the one day General Class. I have had an Indian call since 1971 and it is high time I get back to ham radio in the US.

    Thanks
    Arun Kumar
    (ex VU2OZ)

  7. Dan KB6NU says:

    Where are you, Arun? Are you anywhere close to me?

  8. Dan I live in Ann Arbor on the North East side. If you would, please e-mail me your telephone contact info. and I will get in touch with you.
    Thanks
    Arun kumar
    (ex VU2OZ)
    734-668-0306
    akumar@ovonic.com

  9. Eric Chambers says:

    Dan,

    I have to say that I like the idea of the 1 day class and in “theory” should work well for a lot of people. However, with that being said I am struggling with the Electrical components and circuits and with the theory on antenna’s. I would be more interested in a 3 or 4 day class. Probably not a long class maybe somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 hours, any more I believe would be overload.

    These are just my opinions and I am just trying to help your thought process along……I am using all the resources that are mentioned on this website and your general class study guide. It has helped a lot. Thanks!

    Eric Chambers
    KB8UYC

  10. Dan KB6NU says:

    The one-day class format isn’t for everyone, Eric. I envision it for those who just need a little help to get over the hump. Other students will need a bit more instruction. That’s why I plan to continue to offer the more traditional General Class course.

    You’re just down the road from me. Perhaps you’ll sign up for it when I offer it again next January.

    In the meantime, keep plugging away. Build some circuits and some antennas. Learn by doing. If they don’t work quite right, ask questions.

  11. Tad KC5UWS says:

    I would imagine this would be very doable if the right areas are covered. When I got my Technician license, I did something similar on my own, but it wasn’t even a day. I had several HAM friends who were after me to get my license, but my schedule left me no time for studying. One of my persistent friends called me one Friday and said there was a test the next day about an hour’s drive away. I told him that if he’d drive, I’d study the book on the way there. He did, I did, and I passed. I got 100% of the theory test right as it was mostly stuff I’d learned in high-school science class. The procedures test is where I missed a few because some questions have more than one reasonable answer and you just have to know the convention or rule since you can’t eliminate all the possible answers based on which one is the most reasonable. I suspect a General test would take more than an hour to prep for, but you are correct in thinking that topics that Techs should already know shouldn’t be covered. I would also suggest you start with any questions that have answers that cannot be derived on the fly.

  12. I am all for a one day class for general. I will keep an eye for it. All I have been able to find is tech classes and i just can’t fit a few nights a week into my day.. but if i was to pick one day and go for it that whole day it would be awsome.. I know of my other friends who are tech’s that are in the same boat.

    Fred Moses – w8fsm
    fred@moses.bz

  13. No matter the teaching format you chose, it totally depends on student (whether he really wants to study or not).

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