Has anyone taken the 500/1600 Ton Master Inland exam recently? Can you tell me if it was difficult ?
Well. I’m working on getting my 500/1600 using my MOTV time which is on the 46 CFR 411(b). Or some like that. Studying my ass off.
I took the Master Inland Any Gross Tons exam a couple years ago. It was ridiculously easy.
Was the chart plotting difficult ?
The chart plot was easy.
Was it just the basic chart plotting as in set and drift, ETAs, Speed Made Good? Nothing tricky?
Yes. It was very basic. I didn’t have time to study. The only thing I studied at all was rules of the road. I just winged it on the rest of the exam. It was shockingly easy.
The thing that I find helpful on chart plots is to be quite familiar with the three charts that the USCG uses. It’s only three charts. If a question says something about “Wolf Trap”, you don’t want to be wondering what is Wolf Trap and where is it? Wolf Trap is fairly easy to find, but some of the other marks are not. You might never find them on the chart without looking them up in the Coast Pilot or Light List. You need to know that it’s an aid to navigation and where it is on the chart.
When I study for Chart Plots: I spend a couple hours just looking over each chart thinking about logical routes and important marks, aids to navigation, and reading the notes; I look over the Coast Pilots and Light Lists in case I have to use them to look something up.
I look at all the verbal questions that don’t require plotting to answer. There are about 10 published exams for each of the three charts, so 30 possible chart plot exams. IIRC each exam has about 5 verbal questions that don’t require a plot, so 150 questions total. I make sure that I know how to find what they ask about on the chart and the answers to all 150 questions. These are low hanging fruit.
When I take the exam, I complete those 5 no plotting needed verbal questions first. I remember a few of the answers, but I find the answers on the chart, and perhaps in the Coast Pilot or Light List. This is fast and easy since I am by then familiar with the charts. It also more thoroughly refamilarizes me with the particular chart. Then I do the plotting.
The key to USCG exam plotting is doing it very carefully, neatly, and accurately. Triangles are the most accurate plotting tool. There will usually be a position fix question that can most accurately be solved with a three arm protractor. Bring one and know how to use it. Obviously, you have to both know how to do set and drift problems, and understand the way that the USCG asks about them.
I do the chart plot exams twice using slightly different methods. If they don’t match I find out why. I check everything against common sense.
I’ve never tried to use basic trigonometry or the Mercator sailing or Plane Sailing formula to calculate or check positions. I never used the traverse tables either. But I think that might be helpful for some people who are sloppy plotters, but good with a calculator.
I think most errors are plotting accuracy errors. Set and drift is second largest source of errors. Or maybe not understanding what the USCG states or asks.
I do not a do a lot of plots to prepare. Maybe two for each chart, totaling six. That’s enough. Some people might benefit from doing more chart plots.
I’ve never tried Captain Joe’s or Lapware for chart plots, but seeing how they solve the plots might be helpful.
I hadn’t done a chart plot in years, but I easily winged it on the chart plot for Master Inland with no study. Anyone that actually studies should have no problem. Again, I thought The Master Inland exam was ridiculously easy.
Okay thanks for all the information, I will take you advice
The NMC puts out sample exams and changes them every year or so. Here is the link to the Inland exams. Great Lakes and Inland Endorsements So you can take a look and see how you would do on them. They should be representative of the exams you’ll see and you can match your module numbers up from your testing letter.
Chart Plotting is similar for most licenses regardless of OC/NC/Inland, etc. As TugSailor said pretty standard charts and question types. Good luck!!
Thanks for the help