Online Ham Radio Exam Instructions

Taking your exam online with the RWK is easy! There a few things that need to be done and for you to understand, but our goal is to get you in and get you tested with the minimum of stress and fuss. Please make sure that you read and understand everything on this page prior to your exam session.

Registration Checklist

To complete your registration for an exam session, please make sure that you have completed the following:

Exam Session Selection: Select and register for a specific exam session. You will receive an email confirmation of the date and time of your registered session. Please put this in your calendar and/or set a reminder so you don’t miss the session. You do not need to print out your PIN, we will have that.

Exam Fee Payment: You must pay the $14 exam fee in advance electronically through Paypal. If you have already registered for an exam session, please click the PayPal button and pay for your exam session now. You may pay with a PayPal account or with a Debit/Credit Card. If you want to take more than one exam. please let us know when you register.

Ham License Exam – K5RWK VE Team through W5YI VEC

$14.00

Federal Registration Number (FRN): If you currently have, or have had, a ham license or any other FCC license, then use your existing FRN. If you do not have an FRN number, you will be able to register for one when you register for the exam. You can also do it yourself by visiting the FCC’s Registration page and clicking “Register for an FRN.” Your FRN must be submitted on the exam FCC application. If you plan to take the General or Amateur Extra exam, your name on the registration must exactly match the name on your FCC license.  

Expired license: If you previously had an amateur license that has expired, let us know about it before your exam, so that we can set up the exam system appropriately for you. In some cases you may qualify for various credits.

Prepare for the Online Remote Exam: You must read and understand the preparation for your online exam (see below) and complete the steps for the Day of the Exam (see below). If you are not prepared, either with the required computer setup or with your room/environment, we will cancel your registration and you will forfeit your exam fee.

Preparation for Online Remote Exams

Practice for your exam: It is your responsibility to be fully prepared since you will be taking the time of 4 or more Volunteer Examiners (VEs). We are happy to devote the time to you, but we want you to be prepared and we want to see you pass. Use an online practice site to practice all topics and to take randomly selected practice exams. Be sure you are consistently scoring above 85% on the test before you schedule an exam. HamStudy.org is a free site with lots of tips. We recommend using the Study mode until you’ve seen the entire question pool for the exam(s) you wish to take. It has an inexpensive companion phone app you can use on the go if you prefer that.

You may take more than one exam per session. After you pass one exam, if you have studied for and are prepared to pass the next level exam, you may take it; however, please let us know when you register if you plan to take more than one exam so that we can plan for the time appropriately.

If you do not pass an exam and want to re-test for the same element, you must pay another $14 fee. Typically we will put you back in the queue for testing until after we have tested the other waiting applicants.

The conduct of your online exam session is subject to the following conditions:

  1. You must complete the test without any interruptions that would raise suspicion about the integrity of the testing environment.
  2. You agree to keep attention on your computer screen at all times. Your eyes may not wander to other parts of the room and you may not leave your chair during the exam session.
  3. You agree to use a single-screen computer or laptop. No other screens may be attached or near your computer.
  4. You may not have visitors in the room, other people must be kept out for the duration of the exam.
  5. If requested you will use your cell phone camera connected to Zoom to scan the entire room and exam area to show that there are no materials or people that could aid in taking the exam.
  6. If requested you will place your cell phone so that it views a larger area around your test environment.
  7. You may optionally load a calculator app on your computer, we prefer that you use an onscreen calculator.
  8. You will NOT be able to use scrap paper, writing utensils, manual calculators, or any other kinds of assistance during the online exam.
  9. You must share your entire screen with the VE team, not just the browser.
  10. You must agree that the exam session will be recorded and stored for a period of time in case of any question about a possible breach of exam protocol.
  11. You must agree that if the VE team suspects that there is a possibility of cheating, the exam may be terminated and the exam fee forfeited, and you would be barred from taking online exams in the future.

On The Day of Your Exam

Please make sure that you have prepared the following BEFORE THE START OF YOUR EXAM SESSION.

Photo ID: A legal photo ID will need to be shown on camera to the VE Team. If you don’t have a drivers license, a passport or a school ID and a legal guardian with a photo ID is acceptable.

Prepare your Computer and Cell Phone Camera: The VE Team must ensure the integrity of the test delivery system. Be sure your computer and phone can meet these requirements:

  • You must have a working computer with webcam, microphone, and speaker (NO HEADSETS may be used). You may also join the session with a cell phone or tablet to use for the room tour, if so do not start audio on that device. MacOS requires that you give Zoom permission to ‘record your screen’ before the screen can be shared.  Please test this out before the exam. You can also use an iPad or iPhone to take the test if you don’t have a computer. Currently, Zoom does not support screen and video sharing on Android tablets.
  • Be sure the computer and phone are plugged in or fully charged.
  • Your computer and phone must be connected to the Internet with reliable service sufficient to support a continuous webcam image.
  • You must have only one screen or monitor on the computer. Remove any additional monitors, or take a single laptop into a different room.
  • You must download and test-run the Zoom software client on your computer (and phone if needed). The test will not work if you run Zoom in a browser. You may not have a virtual background enabled during the test session.
  • Temporarily disable any chat, alerts, bluetooth, virtual screens, or pop-up apps.
  • You may optionally have a computer calculator app on your screen during the exam. You may not use any other handheld calculator or calculator app on your phone. Load it in advance if you need it.
  • No other applications or browser windows are permitted to be open.

Prepare your Exam Room: The VE Team must ensure the integrity of the test environment. Be sure you can take the exam uninterrupted.

  • You must be alone in the room. No other people are allowed in the same room during the exam. Warn family members not to enter the room during the exam, as this will likely void the exam session.
  • Clear the test area of all non-exam materials, notes, books, posters, computer screens, or anything that could aid in taking the exam. We’re not very concerned about things behind you, just what you can see from where you’re sitting.
  • Clear your exam table and floor of ALL items within reach or view that would raise suspicion, such as papers, sticky notes, electronic items, headphones, and anything unnecessary for the exam.
  • Clear the room of any distracting things that could take your attention off of the exam.
  • You must be ready to scan the entire room on video. If you are not using a laptop, or a webcam with a sufficiently long cord to look all around the room, then you should have a cell phone ready to link to the same Zoom meeting to use to scan the room for the VE team. If you join the room with a cell phone in addition, do not join the zoom session with audio on the phone unless directed to.

Exam Session Procedure

Approximately 10 minutes before the start time of your exam session, you will receive a Zoom meeting invitation link via email. (please don’t email us beforehand as the sessions are only setup just prior to the exam). Please enter the Zoom meeting as soon as you receive your invitation (10 minutes prior to the start of the session) and please make sure your participant name in zoom is correct so we can match you with your ExamTools registration.

Once you enter the Zoom meeting, you will remain in the waiting room until your exam session begins (depending on how many candidates are ahead of you, your wait may be as long as 90 minutes). In most cases, exams will be conducted in the order that applicants are admitted to the waiting room so being prompt will speed your exam session. If it looks like the wait may be extended due to a longer than normal test session with a previous applicant, we will contact you in the waiting room, or via phone.

Once you are admitted to the online testing room, you will be in a conference with four or more VEs. One of the VEs will serve as the team leader and will lead you through the following procedure. (You don’t need to memorize this, we just want you to be familiar with the process so you know what to expect).

  • You will be asked to show your picture ID in the camera until every VE can verify your identity. If your webcam is unable to focus on your picture ID, you will be asked to show the ID using a cell phone camera.
  • You will be asked to use your camera to scan the room, all around, including a closeup of the work surface the computer or keyboard is resting on. If your camera is unable to scan the room, you will be asked to use a cell phone to accomplish the room scan. If requested, please leave the phone on and propped up at a distance aimed toward the computer, so that it can view you and the computer.
  • You will be asked to share your full desktop via Zoom, not just a browser window. Typically clicking the green “share screen” button and then click the blue ‘share’ button in the window that pops up.
  • Please load and arrange a browser window and optionally position a calculator app next to it, and show that the calculator memory is clear.
  • Please type in the browser address field “exam.tools” to load the exam engine. You will then be instructed on how to log into the exam.
  • You will verify your registration information.
  • The VE team leader will give you an overview of the test screen and actual test procedure.
  • You will take your exam. The VEs will observe you through the webcam and observe your exam through the shared desktop.
  • When you finish the exam, you may check over your answers.
  • When you are ready, press the “Grade Exam” button and your exam will be graded.
  • If you pass your exam, congratulations! You are welcome to know your score, but there is no way to find out which specific questions you missed.
  • You will be asked to review the two test documents required to process your license and sign them electronically.
  • The VE leader will explain the time frame for uploading your exam and when your license will appear in the FCC database and what you will receive via email.
  • The VE leader will explain how to reach out for any questions and will encourage you to get involved with a local radio club for further learning opportunities.
  • That’s it! You’re done!