A note on study tips for upcoming service wide exams

Written by Master Chief Petty Officer R. Shane Hooker, command master chief for the deputy commandant for mission support

Portrait of Master Chief Petty Officer R. Shane Hooker, the command master chief for the deputy commandant for mission support. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Tamargo.

Portrait of Master Chief Petty Officer R. Shane Hooker, the command master chief for the deputy commandant for mission support. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Tamargo.

I just wanted to remind everyone that the May service wide exam is approaching quickly and I can’t stress enough how important studying for the serve wide is in the advancement process. Obviously marks, award points, time in grade and time in service are important, but the service wide is the one piece of the advancement process that you have complete control over. If you study the right materials you will write a good test and greatly increase your odds of being advanced.

You may be wondering “what are the right materials?” Well, here are the “secrets” to the service wide exam and what to study!

All service wide questions are based on the references listed in the rating performance qualifications and enlisted professional military education performance requirements and questions can only be derived from the references listed in those two documents. If you are studying material not listed in those references, you are wasting your time. And keep in mind that you can be tested about information from previous pay grades so if you are testing for E-6, the RPQs from E-4 and E-5 could be on the test as well, so prepare your study material accordingly.

So should you trust randomly obtained study guides and test questions from others? Well you might be interested in knowing that the rating knowledge managers who serve as the senior enlisted members for each rating and write the tests are required to generate a large percentage of new questions every cycle. So if you are studying a widely circulated study guide that has been around for a long time, chances are you are studying the wrong material. The best option is to develop your own study guide based on the RPQs/EPMEs constantly verifying the question from references listed in them. By developing flashcards yourself you are memorizing information while developing your own study guide. Most importantly, if you do decide to use someone else’s study guide, you must verify that the answers are correct by validating them with the reference material. I’ve seen more than one study guide with the wrong answers in them.

If you are looking for actual “study” tips beyond what to study, ask a master chief how they studied. There are many techniques out there and what worked for me may not work for you, but the one thing I can guarantee you is every master chief has taken a few service wide exams in their time so ask a couple of them for advice and see if there are any tips that might work for you

I hope you find this informational useful. Remember to make the time to study. Good luck and I look forward to seeing your name at the top the advancement list.

References (CAC access only):

The best place for folks to go to get study material is on the ERATS portal site, which lists each rating, and within those are the rating reference library and knowledge repositories that will have links to the references used to build SWE question databases.

For a full list of RPQs and EPMEs, the Coast Guard Learning Management System has them. Once you login, click on course catalog then catalog: enlisted advancement catalog. Everything is there for every rating.

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