Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I schedule an exam?
Online Exams: Go to the “SCHEDULE” tab above. Then select a TIME SLOT for your exam.
In-Person Exams: Follow the instructions to email and request an in-person exam session by going to the “IN-PERSON VE TESTING” tab above.
- When will I receive my CSCE?
Online Exams: Within 48 hours by email.
In-Person Exams: At the time of successful completion of an exam element.
- When will my callsign be issued by the FCC?
The normal process is 3 to 4 weeks. However, we process electronically, which result is new license and upgrades occurring within 5-7 business days under most situations.
- When will I receive a link to my exam session?
Ham Exam Links are emailed within 48 hours of selecting a time-slot and payment. If you register within 48 hours, continue to check your email, registrations are only done once a day. Be sure to check your spam or junk folder at least 8 hours prior to your exam. This registration link is where you complete the registration to get your FRN and complete your Form 605 as required by the FCC. This must be done in order to be admitted to the exam.
- Can I take more than one exam in a session?
Online Exams: We have a limit due to the Zoom System Sessions and being able to give as many people the opportunity to take an exam as possible. With advance request it is possible to provide additional elements. There is a requirement for your practice pass percentage, time per element, and availability of multiple time-slots that are back to back on a given day.
In-Person Exams: Yes, provided you do not take too long on the first exam and/or you request multiple exams in advance from the exam team.
- What payment methods do you accept?
Online Exams: We only accept payment by PayPal. The payment has to be made prior to registering for the exam or your session may be deleted without notice. It is a great help if you are able to request an invoice by email from the exam team in advance.
Please use your PayPal or checking account and not a credit card if possible.
In-Person Exams: All applicants must bring $15.00 exact change in cash. No checks or credit cards for in-person sessions.
- Can I find out which questions I missed?
Online Exams: No, we do not have this information available to candidates.
In-Person Exams: No, it is against the rules for us to disclose any information other than the number you missed on your exam.
- I have special needs; can you provide a verbal exam?
Online Exams: Yes, A VE specified by the Exam Team can read the questions off of video a maximum of two times per question. You must request this type of exam in advance and complete your exam within thirty minutes.
In-Person Exams: Yes, A VE selected by the Exam Team can read you the questions and answers.You must complete your exam within one hour.
- Can someone I know read the exam to me?
NO! This is absolutely prohibited. No one may be present during your exam that is not a VE or taking an exam.
EXCEPTION: children under 13 may have one parent observe at a distance.
- I cannot use an on-screen calculator. I have special needs that prevent me from doing so. Can I use scrap paper or a manual calculator?
Online Exams: No, you must use a basic on-screen calculator app. If you are unable to do so, you must take an in-person exam. Online exams are a convenience and are at the discretion of the VE Team. There is no requirement to provide any accommodations, as all team members are all volunteers. If any requirement is too difficult for you to perform, you will need to seek out an in-person exam.
In-Person Exams: You are permitted a single piece of blank paper which is provided by the exam team and a basic calculator with no memory or special functions.
- Will you give an online exam to a person who is not a citizen of the USA?
We only give exams to persons who possess proper photo ID issued by the US Government or a state of the USA. This ID must be a state issued driver’s license, a state issued non-driver’s license, or a US Passport. Any ID used must have been issued within the last five years. Up to ten years if an unexpired Star ID or unexpired passport (must have your valid current residential address, no business, mail service, or non-residential addresses).Non-US Passports are not accepted for online exams. Citizenship is not a requirement. For persons under 18, they may present two forms of ID from the ID list as long as a parent or guardian with one of the three forms of ID above is present and identifies themselves and the minor. Do NOT schedule an exam if you do not have the proper ID. Failure to provide the above required documents will result in the exam session being terminated without any refund.
- I do not have a cell phone with a camera, can I still take an exam online?
You must have a second device with a camera that will be placed to view your computer screen, keyboard, and your hands for the entire exam session. Some people have been successful using an iPad as their second device. However, it is up to the discretion of the exam team if the placement and view of the second device is acceptable. If you do not have a second device, you will need to find and in-person exam session for your exam. TWO DEVICES WITH THE ZOOM APPLICATION AND A CAMERA THAT WILL BE USED FOR THE DURATION OF THE EXAM ARE REQUIRED!
- Can I use an iPad or notebook for my computer to take my exam?
Online Exams: No, we require a camera view of your face for the duration of the exam. These devices typically shut of the camera when sharing the screen and that is not acceptable. You must use a laptop or desktop that has a camera in the center of the screen looking at your face as well as the second camera device to the side.
In-Person Exams: Yes, as long as it can be determined there is no assistive software on the device, you may be permitted to use your device at the exam. This is at the discretion of the exam team.
- My exam session time has passed, and I am still in the waiting room, what should I do?
Be patient, if you are in the waiting room, that means you have received a link and are on the schedule. Some people take longer than others and can cause the online sessions to run behind. Rest assured that you will be brought into the exam session as quickly as the exam team can get you in. Also, this is a good time to make sure your devices are name properly. If the exam team does not see your name on your device, you will not get admitted until everyone else has been tested, if at all. Watch the “chat” in Zoom for messages. Use this time to review our website or study.
- I cannot figure out how to rename my devices, what should I do?
You cannot rename your devices from the waiting room. You will need to go to the zoom website and sign into your account. Change the first and last name to reflect your name. Then add “computer” or “phone” after your last name in the last name field. Save and remain logged into your zoom account. Now go back to the email and click on the link.
You cannot rename devices once you are in the waiting room. You have to rename your devices before you join the session. You do this in your profile. Understand that you must use the Zoom application which you must download. You cannot run Zoom in a browser. To rename your devices, you can follow these instructions at these links to complete the process:
- I paid for my exam, but I got a non-payment notice by email, what should I do?
Either PayPal did not process your payment or your name and email on your PayPal payment do not match your name or email on your exam application/registration. You will need to request an invoice and we will include your name on the subject line.
- I have signed up on the waitlist, but I have not received any communication. What should I do?
First, go to our website at parcradio.org and click on the schedule tab at the top of the page and look for an available time slot. If you still cannot find a time slot, send an email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and inform us of dates that you are available to take an exam and if you prefer morning, afternoon, or evening.
- I need accommodations to take my exam, how can I arrange accommodations?
Online Exam: We can provide reading of questions to the visually impaired. Outside of that, you will have to contact the Exam Team to see if there is anything they can do. You will still have to meet ALL of the requirements and standards of the online exam as specified on this website. Online exams may not be for you if you require accommodations. you may need to seek and test at an in-person exam.
In-Person Exam: Reasonable accommodations can usually be provided with restrictions based on the location of the exam and at the sole discretion of the exam team. All VE’s are volunteers and are under no obligation or requirement to provide any exam that they are uncomfortable or unwilling to perform.
- Is there a time limit for the exam?
Online Exam: Yes, online session limitations are limited to a maximum time of 30 minutes which includes your setup time and the reading of our procedures. However, the average person can take an exam in about 10 minutes.
In-Person Exam: Yes, most exam teams are at an exam session for up to one hour. Anything beyond that should be requested of the exam team in advance. Since the Exam Team members are volunteers, it may not be possible to have enough VE’s available beyond the one-hour time frame. This will vary by exam session.
- What are donations for?
The Donation Link is not a requirement or a request for registering for exam sessions. The link is on all pages of our website for those that want to contribute to the operation of our group. Donations are used to build equipment, teach radio classes, provide internet, subscriptions, power, training and other operations of the club. While we do use a lot of this money for infrastructure to conduct online exams, that is not all it is used for. Neither club is supported by funds from any school or group. The funding is completely provided by members donations and the donations of others in the ham community. Remember, there is no request to make a donation as a requirement to take an exam. Any donations are greatly appreciated and are totally independent of our testing activities which we provide as a way to help the amateur radio community.
- I have never used Zoom; do I have to download Zoom to my devices?
Yes! The Zoom app must be downloaded and run. You cannot run Zoom from a browser/website for the exam.
- Do I have to have an FRN?
Online Exam: Yes! The FRN is required for online exams. The FRN is a federal number that is issued by the FCC and requires you to verify your identity.
In-Person Exam: No, at an in-person exam you can provide an SSN on your application.
- Do I need my PIN for the exam?
No! We only want to see your driver’s license unless you are under 18. If you are under 18, please see the ID requirements under rules on the online exam page.
- How many forms of ID do I need for the exam?
We only want to see your driver’s license unless you are under 18. If you are under 18, please see the ID requirements under rules on the online exam page. If you do not have a US State Driver’s License, please see the identification requirements on the online testing tab.
- How do I get an automatic upgrade to General?
The only credit available past the grace period is for those who held Technician Class license before March 21, 1987. Proof of that will get you credit for Element 3, per 97.505(a)4. You will need to take and pass the Technician exam (Element 2). If the credit is applicable, your new license will be a General class license.
- Can I use a mouse or external keyboard?
No! You will not need them, and they are not allowed. To navigate the exam, you will use the keys A, B, C, and D on your keyboard to select the correct answer on the question. This will not only answer the question, it will automatically advance to the next question and light it up for you to answer. The question will be bottom justified to make sure you can see any schematics which would appear above the question. The small amount of adjustments is easily done using a trackpad. If you are using a PC, of course you can use the mouse for that portion of setting up your exam.
- What happens if I miss my exam timeslot?
Please respect the time of the volunteer examiners along with any candidates that are waiting to take their exam after you. If you need to reschedule, please email us as soon as possible so that someone else may be able to take that slot. If you fail to show or do not email at least 24 hours in advance, your session will be marked as a no-show.
- How do I test my Zoom settings?
You will need to download the Zoom application and set up your profile. Then test your video and audio using these procedures at this website: Testing Procedures
After making sure you audio and video settings are correct and working, go to Zoom Test to test your equipment in Zoom using this link: Zoom Testing