Ham Exams: Tips and Techniques

Here are a few top tips from trainers on how to tackle exams, particularly Foundation:

Be Prepared

  • Make sure you have studied all of the training material, ideally using an online course, at a radio club, from the training manual, or from current YouTube material
  • Take some mock tests. The Foundation exam pass mark is 19/26, so take some current mocks to make sure you’re hitting that pass mark!

Struggling with a topic?

If there is something you don’t understand in the training material, don’t worry too much. At Foundation, you can get up to 7 questions wrong.

Common problem areas are: transmitter box diagrams, the Ohms Law and Power formulas, series & parallel circuits, but in total they only count for a maximum of 3 marks, if they appear at all.

Day of the exam

Just before the exam

  • Make sure you have everything ready and are comfy.
  • Make sure you have a copy of the 4-page exam booklet, a pen/pencil, some blank paper and a calculator. No other notes allowed
  • Relax! It’s an exam for a hobby!
Taking online exams at home
Taking your Foundation Course online from home

During the Exam

The exam time is one hour, which for most people is plenty of time. Many people finish early, but don’t be rushed. Here is what you need to do with each question:

  • Read each question carefully
  • Read through every single answer – don’t just pick the first one that “sounds sort of right”
  • Work out which answers are definitely wrong
  • Select the answer that is MOST right, not the first one that looks right
  • It you fit a tough question – come back to it later – tackle the easy ones first
  • Use the exam booklet every time a frequency is mentioned, to check what the rules are for that frequency
  • Refer to the tables and charts in that 4-page exam booklet. There are usually 3-5 marks in there.

Remember, take your time and don’t panic.

At the end of the exam, go through all of the questions and answers again, asking yourself “am I sure this is the best answer?”, and never leave a question unanswered!

After the Exam

If you felt that one or more of the questions were unfair, raise it with the exam invigilator, and also discuss it with your tutor.

Any tips we’ve missed? Add them as a comment below.

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  1. Alan


    My PC is situated in my home office which is crammed full of files, paperwork and books etc. None of them radio related. Would this be deemed a suitable location for the online exam?

    • Reply

      A week or so before your online exam, you’ll have a test call with your exam invigilator – they will ask you to move your camera around to check whether or not the room is suitable.

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