Luckily, I have a Google Alert set up for “ham radio”. Imagine my surprise when I received an alert from the Southgate website stating that the new Amateur exams had finally arrived. Oh really? Yes indeed, it seems Industry Canada (IC) had provided an all new Q&A for the Basic and Advanced exams. No fanfare, just did it. Right away I wrote to RAC (Radio Amateurs of Canada) to get some clarification on this ruling. RAC didn’t even get a chance to dispute it until this very morning (March 10, 2014) . From what I gather, the change was made on Feb.24/2014. From what I understand, RAC had “some input” into this process but not as much as they would have liked – more of a consulting thing than actually making the entire exam, which is fine on the surface. Since there was roughly 1500 questions (in both French and English) with four possible answers for each, you can imagine the magnitude of this project. Dealing with a federal agency isn’t that efficient as yours truly can attest to from personal experience. You could write RAC and ask them. I did. They are a very helpful crew indeed.
After giving the whole thing a quick peruse, I’ve discovered that not only is the exam not any easier (fine) you’ll need an even a higher degree of English than you did before. Seriously, is it a radio exam or an English exam? Instead of making the test easier to comprehend, it is even wordier than before! Looks to me like they expanded some questions (read: padded with more unnecessary words) just so it would fit the printed out page more fully. Nothing to do with adding clarity at all. Let’s leave the wordy drivel to UGG shall we?
And, there are errors in THIS exam as well! Yes, they will probably fix them but the question is when? And if I’m writing the exam before the question bank is fixed, will the correct answer work or do I have to answer these question wrong on purpose just to pass? Imagine having to purposely make mistakes just to pass an exam. Think this would fly with the drivers test? L.O.L. No, it wouldn’t.
So having said all that, at least there are some positives. For one, I can now study online using any web enabled device instead of downloading the windows-only test generator. The Q&A bank can be downloaded in PDF form and read on any device that supports PDF. Also, the exam can be broken down into “sections” allowing the budding operator to just study the particular section that troubles them separately. Long overdue.
Conclusion: the questions that are absolutely wrong should be fixed pronto. Scores should be calculated using the discretion of the examiner. God help the amateur that must endure the exam at an IC location where no doubt only the wrong answers will suffice.
Please stand by…