If you took the quiz we published and want to become a maritime pilot, it’s time to get into study mode for your upcoming pilot exams!

Below, Captain Amanda Wallace sets you up to be on course!

Are you getting ready to take that pilotage exam? Well, congratulations! Pilotage endorsements are fantastic advantages to have on your license. Here are a couple of study tips that can help you fight those distractions and get into that elusive ‘study mode.’

  • Schedule That Exam! This will help you set goals and make time for studying. Remember, you can always reschedule if you need more time. Find your Regional Exam Center here!
  • Location, Location, Location! Pick a study location that works best for you. If being home is too distracting, try going to the library or renting a hotel room close to the exam center.

Usually a convenient time to study for these exams is on vacation, which can be tough to manage. My friends and family understood when I told them I was studying that I couldn’t hang out all the time. I allowed myself to have some fun, but didn’t over do it, so that I could be ready to study the next day.

  • Successful Study Materials. Get yourself set up with the latest corrected Print-On-Demand nautical charts. Get as many test chart copies as you can; 10 is a good number.  The exam center should have information on how to get these. Make sure that you are all stocked up on things like printer paper, ink, and chart plotting tools, so that you don’t run out of supplies while you are on a roll!

Let us give you a leg up with a few essential resources and downloads:
Light ListUS Coast Pilots | Print On Demand Charts

  • Daunting Details on Chaotic Charts. The crucial details on charts can be incredibly daunting. Divide up the chart into sections and create copies of your own. Repetition works well here. Create notes on flash cards as a study aid. They come in different colors that can help you organize your notes. You can have a friend or family member quiz you!
  • Get Insight and Zero In. Reach out to a friends or co-workers that have taken the exam before. Maybe they can help give you an idea of what to focus on. Read the requirements thoroughly, make sure you are including the correct things on the chart and studying the right material.
  • Study Buddy. Is there someone that is taking the exam at the same time you are? Studying together can really help with motivation.
  • Take a Break! Taking multiple breaks can help you stay focused and retain information. You can set a timer for your break time if needed. Leave your cell phone in another room or put it on silent. You can check it during your break time!
  • Exercise. Incorporating exercise into your study routine can help you retain information, stay focused, and most importantly, reduce stress.
  • Grease vs. Greens. Find something healthy and quick, and stock up on your favorites. When you aren’t thinking about what to eat, you will have more time to study more effectively.
  • Timing Is Everything. Find the time of day that works best for you. Some people are more focused in the morning versus the evening. Playing music or podcasts in the background can help make studying more fun. Try out that playlist or the latest podcast series!
  • The Aftermath. After your exam, take some well-deserved time for yourself to take pride in your incredible accomplishment.  Then, pay it forward. Take some notes so that you can pass along helpful tips to the next woman that reaches out to you. Also, these notes could help with other pilotage endorsements that you may take!

There are plenty of study techniques, but find what works best for you.

Leave a comment below with your favourite study methods, tips and tricks!

Pictured above is Madeleine Wolczko. Special thanks to Madeleine for use of her photos.

Amanda Wallace

About The Author: Amanda Wallace

Captain Amanda Wallace’s maritime interests began in High School through a program called Sea Scouts. Upon graduation in 2002, Captain Amanda was accepted into California Maritime, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Transportation in 2006. During this time, she worked on tractor tugs in San Francisco Bay and later as a third mate on a hopper dredge. Currently, she sails as captain on US product tankers. Captain Amanda holds pilot endorsements for San Francisco Bay and LA/Long Beach. She is thankful for the support she has received while pursing her career goals and mentors other women to pursue their maritime goals as well.

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