1600 Ton Mate Exam Near Coastal and Oceans

Hello everyone. I’m creating this topic for many reasons but most importantly I would just like to get a conversation going and maybe it can even help some more people down the line. To this date I have tested for my 1600 Ton Mate NC twice. First go around I didn’t have high hopes and did not pass but I honestly surprised myself. Nav Gen pass, Deck Gen pass, Chart Plot pass, Rules fail, Deck Safety fail, Nav Problems fail. Nothing to write home about but for the first time I wasn’t totally disappointed with it. It’s now three months later and I am testing again. My plan was to take my best four exams first knowing that if I pass at least four I do not have to re take all six exams. Passed Nav Gen and Deck Gen on the first day of testing. Second day of testing I was hoping I could squeeze by with Deck Safety and Chart Plot which would put me in a good position because I wouldn’t have to re take all six exams. Anyway I failed Deck Safety and Chart Plot I’m taking Rules and Nav Problems tomorrow which both require a 90% and I know there’s no way.

I think my idea of taking my best four exams first is a good idea and I do plan on doing it again on my next go around of exams. I’ve never been a book smart guy I’ve always been a hands on common sense kinda guy. I also refuse to quit so I plan on testing again and again and again I don’t care how long it takes me. I honestly don’t understand how people are passing all six exams on the first try. If you are one of those people I’m happy for you but I’ve never passed anything on the first try. I’ve always had to put in at least twice as much work as everyone else to achieve the same results.

If anyone has any tips, tricks and words of encouragement I’d love to hear it. Am I the odd one out having to go through a full testing cycle for a third time? I’d love to hear everyone’s stories. Thanks!

What did you do to prepare for the exam?

Did you use Lapware?

Did you take a course in person at a school? Where?

Did you use a tutor?

How much did you study?

Obviously, you need more and better preparation.

Yes I do use lapware. I have found that lapware is best for rules of the road in my opinion. I think the interface of the website is a little complicated at first but I’ve gotten used to it.

I took a prep course at MPT in Ft. Lauderdale. It was good and they gave me a lot of tools and materials.

I did not use a tutor I honestly wouldn’t even know where to find one. Ive studied with other friends who are preparing as well. If you know of any one on one tutors please let me know I would greatly appreciated it.

Ive made a 9 to 5 study schedule for myself that I try to stick to as much as possible. Obviously I am still working so at times its hard but I try to work through it.

Also I’ve found that “practicalnavigator.org” is helpful I like how he has videos explaining problems. The practice exams on the USCG NMC website are nice but they only provide one practice exam for each module which I don’t understand. I can do the same practice exam over and over but after a while It won’t allow you to move forward considering not all topics are covered. Does anyone have access to old exams or practice exams?

It’s difficult, but with enough dedication and focus you will get it, just reapply and try again.

The way I studied was 1 rules test, then a Tnav and Chart plot every day or as much as I was able.
Once I was getting 95% on Rules and 85% or better on the other two, I started in on the Generals, which is mainly just memorization.

Spent a few hours going through the questions in the Murphy books reading the questions and highlighting the right answers daily, and then doing then practice test on Lapware to finish the session, (something about the paper and using a highlighter I liked more I guess)

I would always retake the ones I got wrong and try to understand why I got them wrong.

After about 7-8 months of study and prep. I was confident I could pass at least 4 exams so I went in but I only passed 3, went back tot he boat and studied there, then went in next time off and passed 5. Went back to the boat and zeroed in on the one module, back to the REC and passed the last with flying colors.

You got this, just keep studying and you will have it next time!

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Lapware is probably the best test practice software.

Take a look at the book Falwell’s Rules of the Road. That might help you, or it might not. You’ve just got to know the rules cold.

When I took that test I had to take it the same way it was written on the ATT, same thing when taking the C/M test. Two different REC telling to take the same way as the letter.

No longer the process. Not for a long time. You get to pick the order. If you don’t, it’s the order on the letter. But only if you don’t choose the order you want them. See no. 8 on NMC’s exam rules.


Don’t know what is your definition of long time, but I took the Mate1600-O in March 2015 in REC San Juan / Sector Miami and the proctor at that time told me as it is written in the letter. I was denied to take it in the order I wanted it and still pass. Fast forward to 2023 for C/M UNL-O in REC Baltimore, I was also denied to take it the way I wanted and still pass. So that has been my experience and not so long ago…

Anyhow thanks for sharing NMC exam rules, I’ll pass that along to others…

I haven’t tested in a while but many have said that the sample exams provided by the CG are pretty close to the actual exams. Not sure if you looked at those? I guess if you have already seen the exams then you would know best.

Did you specify the order you wanted when you made the appointment to test? If not requested at that time, you get the default of the order on the letter.

This has been in the NMC Exam Guide since August, 2014.

The last time I tested for 4 licenses at the same time.

The exam proctor at REC Boston asked me what order I wanted to take the exams and modules in.

I asked to take Rules first ( they apply one Rules module to every license), and then all 4 deck generals next. He wouldn’t let me do that.

I had to complete one license exam before starting another. But he let me take the exams and modules in any order that I wanted.

I took Rules first, then for each exam the 70% modules, then chart plot, then terrestrial and celestial.

What the NMC exam rules are, and what they actually do at the RECs may vary somewhat. I think it might also depend on how busy they are. There were only three or four guys testing when I was there.

Must be different at different exam centers. In Boston they allow you to choose what module you would like to take at what time. I guess it all depends on who’s proctoring the exam. At the end of the day choosing which module you take isn’t gonna make much of a difference in your overall performance. But it is nice to choose which module you wanna take if you would like.

Impressive. But this also shows how ridiculous the CG examination scheme is. Unless you were testing for a rating, deck officer, engineer, and management simultaneously, there is no reason to force four separate tests on a mariner.

“Does anyone have access to old exams or practice exams?”

The NMC sample exams started back in 2016. As far as I know the Coast Guard does not maintain an accessible archive of their sample exams modules and updates that a mariner can access. It would be advantageous to have this information as a preparation strategy for any upcoming exam. Especially considering that not all subjects, topics or subtopics are represented in the current 2023 sample exams. E.g.,

With that, I believe it will be rare to find a mariner that would have a complete set of the USCG sample exam modules including some of the updates made available in 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023 that you are looking for. Also being practical and forward thinking your request should also include the 1600-ton Master NC sample exams during this period.

However, I believe your request for previous practice exams will find that some mariners would have created their own individual archive of the sample exams during their testing cycle… While others may have a data bank of questions a preparatory school that were used specifically for their exams.

Commercially you might try Deck License Prep which provides hardcopy questions and answers with solutions for selected problems at a cost.

Also there are online preparatory YouTube videos that can support a preparatory strategy for your license. Maine Maritime has a few for their Deck Prep program, Practical Navigator.org, Tom Nason etc. each has their pros and cons but they may be worth your time.

Another option for you would be to use the 2023 sample exam question(s) and an online test generator software that has search capability. E.g., USCGQ.Com.

Using the search capability of USCGQ.Com and a keyword in a selected question found in the 2023 sample exam, you should find a USCG test reference number. E.g., Keyword(s) Search: Warm Front: Topic: General Navigation: Search Area: All.

Note the search results: will provide questions using the keyword; the test bank reference number(s) and question number e.g.,,; or identify a diagram D018NG being used e.g., question

A secondary search for a specific category or a diagram (D018NG) can be conducted by using the reference number as the keyword, Topic: General Navigation, Search Area: All. This search can identify a series of questions by subject or topic for your license preparation.

Using the same process for Navigation Problems. Using keyword: Amplitude. Topic: Navigation Problems, Search Area: All.
Search Results will identify questions results with reference number(s),

While the above method will identify questions: the actual problem solution will become another matter.

Yes I specify the order that I wanted, they told me something “we have to print them out the same way as the letter”.

I tested for CM at REC Baltimore in 2015 and, as far as I recall, other than having to take Rules first I got to choose the order I wanted the day of.

The same was the case when I tested for Master 1,600 in Charleston in 2010 or so.

All I can say, that was the experience during testing. Next test having at REC has no sequence, just drawing…