I've had my license
for over twenty years, now. Because I don't log enough sea time or do enough deliveries, I take "Deck Officer refresher courses" every five years to renew the licenses. The first time I took my entrance exam, it was scheduled to last over two days at the Coast Guard center in Long Beach. Because I had paid my money
and taken the initial prep course, I learned the material in a manner that allowed me to sit down at 8 A.M., and leave by 10 A.M., having passed every part of the exam with high grades.
The Coast Guard exam, like most professional exams, is designed to trip folks up and has, often, little to do with the real world. Professional schools are alert to that and teach you to pass the exam, the first time, with minimal frustration. So, my point is this: How valuable do you rate your time? If you take a course from a professional school
, you will be taught how to pass the exam, period. You will attend classes
where you will be taught the answers to the exam. You will also become a better skipper
in the process, but that is only a benefit. You will spend some money
, get the license you are most qualified for, and then you can upgrade in the future by taking more classes
. After you look at the hours and dollars, you will easily observe that this was the most cost effective and satisfying solution to your objective. Then you can get back to work making bucks to pay for your training. And you can deduct those costs on your income
tax. And best of all, you will have your license sooner than if you had tried to "beat the system".
Remember that many people view their licenses as something which renders them god-like. It's merely a preliminary exercise to weed out the folks who can't take examinations. Your capacity as a captain
takes much more than learning
how to answer a test question. But you have to have the license, first. Take the courses.