I am often asked by students “What should I do to prepare for the class?” My recommendation is to purchase the course workbook (Book 1 Captain) and follow these general guidelines that I emailed to a concerned student who is taking the OUPV Class.
Not to worry. I go through every lesson in detail twice, and the exam is written directly from the information in each lesson. Here is an outline and my opinion on where to best spend your prep time.
All exam questions are multiple choice; and unless otherwise stated require 70% correct answers for a passing score. All exams are pass/fail, and you can take each exam three times before failing the class. Above all remember that my job is to explain all this information to you with the objective of getting you through the course successfully. And I am very good at my job.
Navigation General (section NG) is a 20 question exam covering the information contained in all seven lessons. This exam is mostly about terminology and use of the navigation publications. Between the Light List, Coast Pilot, Tide Tables, and Tidal Current Tables you can look up the answers to over half the exam questions. I provide copies of all the necessary publications and take you through how to use each publication in class. To prepare for this section read through the lessons and highlight things that you have questions on; then bring up your questions in class as I cover each lesson. You may also find copies of these publications to preview at your local library, or through an Internet search.
Chart Navigation (section CN) is a 10 question exam covering information selected from the twelve lessons. Unless you have previous chart navigation experience this is a difficult section to self-study. My recommendation is to leave it for the classroom; I will explain everything in detail and provide examples of each solution.
Rules of the Road (section RR) is a 50 question exam requiring 90% correct answers; making this one of the more difficult exams. My recommendation for this section is to read through each lesson highlighting areas that you have questions on. The best reference for this section is a government publication called the “Navigation Rules” which contains the International and Inland Rules of the Road for collision avoidance. This publication can be referenced either online, through your local library, or purchased for about $12 from most any marine supply store.
Deck General, Safety, and Environmental Protection (section DG) is a 60 question exam covering the first eight (8) lessons in this section. It is all about seamanship, safety, and federal regulations covering the safe operation of small uninspected passenger vessels. Of the four exam this is generally the one that people are the most familiar with. My recommendation to prepare is to read through the lessons and highlight things that you would like to discuss in class.