What if I need scrap paper?

During the examination, if you need to a place to do math, write out formulas or draw charts, please use the back of your answer sheet. Do not write in the test booklet.

If by any chance you need more scrap paper, please inform a VE and they will hand you a new answer sheet that you must fill out.

The PVVET does have basic calculators on hand for those who need calculators.

What is not allowed at the exam?

We do not allow electronic devices capable of mass storage to be used at or during the examination. This includes graphing calculators, cellular phones, smart phones, tablets, PCs, laptops, PDAs and other devices.

Calculators must be checked by the VE team.

All phones or other devices must be either turned off or silenced and put away from view before and during the examination.

Candidates are not allowed to converse with each other while examinations are out.

What should I bring the exam?

All applicants need to obtain a FCC Registration Number (FRN) and pre-register on our website. At the examination, all applicants should bring their identification, writing utensils (pens and/or pencils) and a basic calculator.

Applicants who are upgrading must bring their signed license and a photocopy of their signed license to be given to the team. If the applicant doesn’t pass the examination, documents will be handed back.

Applicants who recently passed an examination but the FCC’s ULS HAS NOT UPDATED, must bring their original CSCE and a copy of their CSCE

Applicants who’s licensed has lapsed must provide proof of exam credit.

When should I take the exam?

When you are ready!

It’s suggested that the applicant take multiple practice examinations online. https://hamstudy.org offers excellent resources for those trying to obtain or upgrade their FCC amateur radio license.

The PVVET feels that when the applicant starts averaging 80% or higher on the practice examinations, the applicant is ready for their examination. We also suggest that if possible, to look at the materials related to the next element as some of the questions from one element can also apply on the others.

If you are ready, you can look at our schedule for the next PVVET sponsored examinations. If not, you can also look at the Laurel VEC schedule. You can  also find an exam on Hamstudy.org or visit the ARRL’s find an examination page.  FEEs may apply when using other VE teams/VECs

How come other exams I’ve been to are different?

VEs have to be accredited and sponsored by a VEC (Volunteer Exam Coordinator). There are currently 14 VECs operating in the US. Each VEC has their own unique set of policies and guidelines that might differ from other VECs.

Most (if not all) of the VECs are part of the NCVEC (National Conference of Volunteer Exam Coordinators). They are responsible for producing and maintaining the questions and answers to amateur radio examinations. That’s why the test questions are the same throughout different VECs. The NCVEC also helps solve any issues that might come up between the FCC and VECs. The NCVEC, VECs, VE Teams and VEs all have to follow the rules set by the FCC.

Currently the largest VEC operating in the US is the ARRL VEC. They are responsible for approximately 70% of the examinations administered. The PVVET is accredited by the Laurel VEC.  Even though the exam questions/answers are the same, the registration process, grading and submission process is different.

What applies to PVVET sponsored examinations will be different from other area VE Teams and their respective VECs.

Could I take all three elements at one session?

Yes!  It’s very possible that you could take all three exams in one sitting.

The PVVET will issue one exam at a time. When you are finished with the examination, please inform the VE that you would like to take another test. The examiner will usually make an offer to take the next element.

If you’ve failed an exam, it may be possible to re-take the exam depending on the venue and allotted time. You will be issued a different version of the examination.


How many questions are on the exam?

Depending on the exam, you will have to answer 35 or 50 multiple choice questions.

  • Technician (Element 2) – 35 Questions – Must answer at least 26 questions correctly to pass
  • General (Element 3) – 35 Questions – Must answer at least 26 questions correctly to pass
  • Extra (Element 4) – 50 Questions – Must answer at least 37 questions correctly to pass

All questions and possible answers are published for the general public.

Can I use my cell phone as a calculator?

Cell phones or other devices capable of mass storage can not be used as calculators during PVVET exams.  We only allow basic calculators. The PVVET does have calculators that can be loaned out.

We ask for cellphones to be turned off during examination. No electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, PCs, PDAs and others are allowed to be used during the examination. Smart watches must be removed during the exam.