Questions about taking the Second Mate Exam


I am scheduled to the take the 2nd mate exam in a week and have been playing phone tag with the Coast Guard ( imagine that!). I wanted to find out how many days the exam is , how many exams there are and what order they might be in. Also I have a 15 month that I need to care for so I need to know if there is a break between exams so my husband can bring him over to the exam center. Aslo if anyone has any advise on how to best prepare for the exam I would appreciate it.


It sounds like you will be taking the old second mate exam. You must have been sitting on your third mate for several years for this to be the case. You dont want to take the combined exam now anyway.


The deck guide is the single most important reference regarding testing. The deck guide will answer all of your questions. The second mate exam could be easily passed in one day minus oceans. The minimum is two modules per day (I think). Explanation:

The best internet based study:

Lapware is the best. It is ran by Richard Plant and to a lesser extent, Capt. Joseph Murphy. I have a good repor with Richard and he is simply one of the best in the industry. His book “Formulae for the Mariner” is a must have for any deck officer.

Captain Joe’s disk is very good also (not internet based). This is very polpular with AMO members:

Also, If you like to carry books around, the “Murphy Books”. You can get those at Sandwich Ship Suppy in Mass. around $200.00

Hope this helps.

I do kinda question you being ready if you’re asking these type of questions a week out from taking the exam.


You need to focus on the test itself. When I am preparing for one of these tests, I need total concentration on the task at hand. I can’t be worrying about my son or if my wife is paying the right bills. Why do you need to see your son in between tests? The only thing I can think of is you are breast feeding him. If that is the case maybe you can put some milk up for him while you are testing during the day. You can probably get it all done in a day if you are prepared. You have to take 2 modules per day. I think the sequence goes, Rules, Deck, Nav, Safety, Terrestrial, Plotting, Celestial. The sites provided by anchorman answer most of your questions.


I have been preparing for the exams for awhile now. I have been studying from the Murphy books. I guess my questions are more towards tips for taking the exam not how to study for them.I am trying to get info from the Coast Guard relating to what the order of exams are. The sequence Captain Lee gaves seems pretty long. I thought deck and safety are combined? Also I don’t think I need to take Terrestrial. I took my third mates 5 years ago so I am taking the old testnext week. Has anyone taken the old second mate test recently? Thanks for your help.


I just had a chance to look at some of the links. It looks like I have to take three test: Deck/Safety, Rules and Nav Problems. Thanks for the links anchorman, some were a little long to go through but the Captain Joe’s site was great. Thanks



Just to let you know. Lapware will let you produce the 3 modules that you will be taking at the Coast Guard. It’s just like taking the actual test. It is very good practice and updated regularly. It’s been a while, but I think its $100 total for registration and the first month. You will <strong>know</strong> if you are ready by going this route.



When your application is approved you are sent a letter explaining the modules you will be required to exam for. Do you have an approved application?