Greg's Story

I met John W1AI, owner of HamTestOnline, through my wife.  We were chatting at a pool party, and he said he needed some support staff for the website.  I was interested, but there was a catch (always, internal eye roll), I needed to get my ham radio license.  That didn't seem too hard — check out a pamphlet, get it done next Saturday or something.  After all, I used a walkie-talkie when I was in the Air Force, how different could it be?  But no, there is a ton of information, lots of it very technical.  All I could think was, I don't have time for that.

I've been married to Amber for 12 years.  We have two little ones that we homeschool, Paisley 10, and Jack 7, and an even smaller one that we adopted, Juniper 6 months.  Oh yeah, also a normal 40+ hour job and now a second job doing support for HamTestOnline.  I'm an active member of my local church.  I also enjoy my Netflix time (gotta clear the cobwebs).  I mean, I'm a juggler (literally that too, lol), but that's a bit much.

So I set a reasonable goal.  The faster I get it done, the better.  I think I can do it all in 4 weeks from zero to Extra.  I start in on Tech, I only use study mode, as it's supposed to be the most efficient.  It all flows very naturally.  I enjoy learning, but the idea of "STUDYING" is a turn-off.  However, this doesn't feel like studying, or at least what I thought was studying all those many years ago — reading the material, rereading the material, making flashcards and drilling them, taking a practice test, and then doing it all again and again.

I blew through the Tech course in 3 days, about 9 hours of study.  I didn't do it all in one sitting, I broke it up — 30 min here, 10 minutes there (maybe on the toilet).  The course is well designed to continually start and stop throughout the day.  I get to 85%, and the course tells me I'm ready to take my exam.  So I look and see where I can take it.  There is a session in 3 days, so I plan on taking my Tech, and I'll start studying for the General and see if I can be ready for that, too.

I started studying for the General.  It's a bit harder and more technical, but there is hope.  I started to see ideas and questions I had already studied in the Tech.  Also, things that are starting to make more sense.  I buckle down to try and get to 85% before my exam.  I reached 84% at about 12 hours of study time.

When I enter my local exam session, I'm a bit nervous.  I tell them I'm here to take the Tech and General, a surly man tells me I have to pass one to take the other, I chuckle.  I sit down to take the Tech, and so many answers from the site jump out at me word for word.  I passed the Tech.  I take the General, and even more the answers word for word jump out at me.  I felt confident and ended up getting a perfect score.

Well, part of the journey is done, let's keep at it.  I jump right into the Extra.  Again, the material is familiar but more in-depth.  I'm very glad I'm doing it all in a short period of time, with how the material builds on itself.  I hit it with the same amount of dedication this time around — 17 hours till the site tells me I'm ready.  I found another local exam site and walked in with a bit more confidence this time.  The questions all seem so familiar.  I turned it in — missed a few, but I passedǃ   I did it!

I had set a goal to go from zero to Extra in 4 weeks.  I did it in 15 days, with 38 hours of study.  It all comes down to the efficiency of the "Study Mode."  With it, I was focusing on what I didn't know and not wasting time re-reviewing things I already knew.  Watching my progress percentage go up was also very encouraging.  Instead of setting a time goal for the day, I found myself trying to reach a certain percentage by the end of the day.

I wish I had a study guide like HamTestOnline when I was in school, and maybe I would have joined the military as an officer instead of enlisted.  See you on the airǃ


Study history for Gregory Tompkins, WW1S

Day Time Questions
7-day average 2:06:16
30-day average 1:15:23
      Tech Gnrl Xtra
Wed 01/19/2022 1:30:31
Tue 01/18/2022 0:31:30
Mon 01/17/2022 1:15:44
Sun 01/16/2022 — No study
Sat 01/15/2022 3:37:44
Fri 01/14/2022 3:35:03
Thu 01/13/2022 4:13:20
Wed 01/12/2022 1:39:37
Tue 01/11/2022 0:23:56
Mon 01/10/2022 3:19:36
Sun 01/09/2022 2:00:21
Sat 01/08/2022 4:06:29
Fri 01/07/2022 3:45:41
Thu 01/06/2022 4:20:23
Wed 01/05/2022 3:21:20
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