The Navy is set to eliminate professional military knowledge questions from rating advancement exams and instead will implement a brand new, online, 100-question test on these subjects by Oct. 1.

Passing the test will be requirement, starting in September 2019.

The good news is that once the exam is passed, sailors won’t have to take another one until they actually advance to the next paygrade.

The shift in focus will allow sailors to spend all their study time on rating-related topics, officials say.

Currently, Navy Advancement Exams have 175 total questions. Of those, 150 deal with rating knowledge, and the remainder focuses on general military subjects.

With the new test, all 175 will be rating-related.

Additionally, the new test will be available for sailors to take online whenever sailors are ready through the new “My Navy Portal.”

As the Navy does with the current exams, bibliographies will be posted online to show what materials should be studied in preparation for the tests. Those study guides are expected to be available in the next couple of months, a source told Navy Times.

The online exam will feature five topic areas: Leadership and Character, Career Information, Professional Conduct, Naval Heritage, and Seamanship. Each topic will feature its own test.

Sailors won’t have to take all sections at once or in any particular order, but a score of at least 80 percent must be achieved on each area to pass.

Once the exam is complete, sailors’ online records will be updated to reflect whether or not they qualified for advancement.

Another feature of the online exam is that no two sailors will take the same version, because the online system will have a randomized database of professional military questions pulled directly from the study references, and will serve up a unique set to each sailor who logs in.

Navy officials have made it no secret that they would like to migrate from the antiquated pencil-and-paper testing to an online variant. And doing so means that eventually, the Navy will be able to serve up customized rating exams for each sailor that will not only be tailored to a specific rating, but to Navy Enlisted Classification sub-specialties as well.

More information can be found in the Navy’s April 4 NAVADMIN release.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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