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raustin0017
07-17-2013, 03:58 PM
So you missed the last promotion by a few points. How are you going to attack the next opportunity? When do you start studying? Do you have good or bad study habits?

I did not make SSgt until 9 yrs TIS due to non-existence study habits. Yes, I opened the books a few days before the test but never really studied the material. When I got serious about scoring as high as I could I changed my approach. Example: TSgt to MSgt; (made it 1st time up) I took two weeks leave before my test date. Did nothing but read for 10-12 hrs each day, every day. No distractions, no TV, I left the house twice to go to Shoppette for Red Bull and Long Cut. Day before I tested....played golf. Test day...answers were jumping off the page at me. Absolutely knew I left it all on the table. MSgt to SMSgt; took three weeks leave...repeated the above process. Same for CMSgt.

What? Burn up two/three weeks leave to make rank? Was it worth it? Yes...without a doubt. Was it a pain in the @ss? Yes...without a doubt.

For those SSgts and TSgts out there who missed the mark: How many quality hours of studying did you really apply yourself without distractions?

Sergeant eNYgma
07-17-2013, 04:01 PM
First time testing missed Staff by like 17. I started studying late with like 2 months to go (I was in school as well). I had issues with concentration after like a hour of hitting the books hard I was zoned out day dreaming of...whatever young straight males dream about. I took like a a day of leave. No tv but was on my desktop and the allure of Facebook was there I'd take breaks to check shit out, get into convo's and an hr would fly past. Not good. Quality hrs def that one hr and maybe a lil change after that but I was never a strong study/student/test taker my GPA has always been well...yeah.

2nd time testing I started studying 5 months out and was NOT taking classes...I figured "Fuck that I learned my lesson". I took like 3 days of leave before but had a young kid at home which made things tougher. Wife was still recovering from delivering her. Other then that energy shots and really focusing helped me...I made it by like 3 points next time (Though I scored lower then the first time, fuq?).

20+Years
07-17-2013, 04:18 PM
I suck. Study once or twice before a month out. 2 or three times a week within the month. Every day the week before for an hour or two. Score between 65-69 on the PDG every damn time my whole career. If I could buckle down... who knows what I could do?

raustin0017
07-17-2013, 04:54 PM
Man, before 20 you were kinda a dirtbag...in a nice way...:-)

I missed MSgt by maybe 20+, for a solid year I read the pfe 5 times through,,
Did pfe gold over and over and reviewed highlighted pdg. One full year
Straight, helped get 86.something and kill test following year.

I was the perfect example on what not to do in the AF. Did not pull my head out until I got in trouble at the 16 yr mark.

Bunch
07-17-2013, 05:12 PM
Man, before 20 you were kinda a dirtbag...in a nice way...:-)

I missed MSgt by maybe 20+, for a solid year I read the pfe 5 times through,,
Did pfe gold over and over and reviewed highlighted pdg. One full year
Straight, helped get 86.something and kill test following year.

I also did PDG gold but combined with PDG, made SSgt, TSgt, MSgt first time. For me the key was time. I started studying at least 4 months out. Read the book first took notes. Then PDG gold tested every chapter and didnt got to next one until I was at 95%. Every 5 chapters will take a test of the chapters already tested all the way towards taking final test at the end.

Work very good for me.

TWilliams
07-17-2013, 05:35 PM
My CDCs used to contain drawings of enemy and allied equipement that we had to be able to recognize if we saw it on imagery. For SSgt, I just went through the flash cards a few times about two days before the test and made it the first time. For TSgt, I did not study at all and made it my 4th time after my time in service and time in grade points caught up. For MSgt, I read my CDCs completely through two times and made it my first time. I don't study the PDG because there is just so much to cover but usually score in the mid-upper 60's. The SKT is what helps set people apart in my career field it seems anyway because we have a lot of cross trainee NCOs who don't tend to do well on that portion. Many score well enough to make rank shortly after crosstraining when they fall into the category of testing PDG only though.

technomage1
07-17-2013, 06:04 PM
When I was serious about testing, I'd start 6 months out. 45 minutes a day reading the PDG until I was done. The re-read and redid my CDCs. Again 45 minutes a day. These two steps brought me to around 1-2 months out. Then I'd get the PDG gold software and work through it.

The day before the test I took off and goofed off.

Once you fit it into a routine it works well. I would always do my studying right after I got off work.

71Fish
07-17-2013, 06:48 PM
Never opened my PFE. I used PFE Gold. Starting 6 months out I would let the software randomly generate 100 questions. If I got a question wrong, it got shuffled back in. If I got it right the question went away. For the questions I got wrong, they would keep coming back up until I got it correct. Even if I didn't make rank, I never felt (using this method) like I wasn't ready.

A lot of people I know crammed the day before testing. I always went snowboarding.

coloringoutsidethelines
07-17-2013, 07:35 PM
The two weeks of leave before the test is a great tactic.
As for me I just read the PDG over and over. A chapter a day 6 months out and two chapters a day a month out and then while on the leave I treat reading like it's an 8 hour a day job. The computer program does not help me at all. The one year I tried it my score dropped 15 points.

raustin0017
07-17-2013, 07:57 PM
While stationed at Elmendorf 1989: Sq Supt was a Chief. He was looking for a partner to go on a Dahl Sheep hunt. First night at base camp sitting around fire. I was a 15 yr SSgt and he was a 15 yr Chief...both the same age. He made Chief and could not put it on till his 14 yr TIS date came around. To say he was sharp is the understatement of all times.

I asked him how did he make Chief in 14 yrs? Chief replied, "I've read something about the AF every day for the last 10 years. Not that I study all the time...but I just like to read about the AF. When you really love your job it is easy" He retired at 20 with 6 yrs TIG. Only got out because of family issues. Chief Don Odem...one great leader.

TSgt"M"
07-17-2013, 08:05 PM
I didn't make MSgt because of study problems, shit records. Other than that, when I was serious about promotion, I would do my studying at the base or local library. When at home there were too many distractions. I found that if I planted my ass in a corner at the library I could really focus on studying for couple of hours. Would start about 6 weeks or a month out.

Chief_KO
07-17-2013, 08:24 PM
Put your PDG in the bathroom. Everytime you take a seat, read. This is a great way to study especially as you go more often and longer as you get older.

I was on PFE test team a few years ago and got this nugget from AFOMS to share. When a new PDG comes out go page by page comparing old to new. Since no questions can be reused from the previous 3 years there is a high likelyhood that questions will come from new material. Going page by page is the only way to ID new material and do the "brain flush" of old material.

Plus with the interactive games, questions, and MP3s...why pay for PFE/USASFE gold when you can get something very similar for free.

Measure Man
07-17-2013, 08:37 PM
I was on PFE test team a few years ago and got this nugget from AFOMS to share. When a new PDG comes out go page by page comparing old to new. Since no questions can be reused from the previous 3 years there is a high likelyhood that questions will come from new material. Going page by page is the only way to ID new material and do the "brain flush" of old material.

I was on an SKT test team.

There are two cycles to the SKT, a major rewrite, and a minor rewrite. The alternate every other year.

During a major rewrite, the team takes the previous years SKT and must change 50 of of the questions.

During a minor rewrite, they must change 25 of the questions.

The most valuable studying anyone will ever do is the 2-4 hours directly AFTER testing. Pouring over your books, SKT especially, to find and highlight the answers to the questions you just saw on the test.

If you study nothing else the next year except that...figure you're no less than a 50 walking in...if you can guess right on half of the other 50, you get an overall 75, no problem. Consistent 75s will get you promoted ahead of your peers, for sure. On a minor rewrite, you're looking at an easy 82.

fufu
07-17-2013, 08:39 PM
I read once that you have to hear something 3x to retain it. I read the PDG, listen to the audio books on MP3, read the PDG, listen to it, repeat. Lowest I've scored in the last 10 years on PDG/PFE? 68.

raustin0017
07-17-2013, 09:34 PM
He was expert in afsc?

Was a loadmaster for 20 years...I would say "Yes".

Measure Man
07-17-2013, 09:38 PM
A lot of people I know crammed the day before testing. I always went snowboarding.

I was always a crammer...worked for me.

raustin0017
07-17-2013, 09:45 PM
How to motivate someone else? As a Sq Supt I called a TSgt in the office. Before hand I had done the math on what his total annual pay raise would be if he studied to make MSgt. I took that figure and wrote him a personal check from my account. We talked about life for a few moments and told him he was doing and outstanding job and wanted to give him something for his efforts. I handed him the check...you should have seen his face. "I can't take this." Yes...it is yours...you have earned it. "I don't know what to say." Don't say anything....you are one of the best NCOs in the Sq." As he was trying to figure out what to do/say next...I asked for the check back. He gave it to me. I simply tore it up in pieces.

When I explained to him that was the amount every year he was tossing down the drain...the light turned on. His study habits changed and he got MSgt next cycle. All it takes is a little motivation to get the job done.

TWilliams
07-17-2013, 10:02 PM
How to motivate someone else? As a Sq Supt I called a TSgt in the office. Before hand I had done the math on what his total annual pay raise would be if he studied to make MSgt. I took that figure and wrote him a personal check from my account. We talked about life for a few moments and told him he was doing and outstanding job and wanted to give him something for his efforts. I handed him the check...you should have seen his face. "I can't take this." Yes...it is yours...you have earned it. "I don't know what to say." Don't say anything....you are one of the best NCOs in the Sq." As he was trying to figure out what to do/say next...I asked for the check back. He gave it to me. I simply tore it up in pieces.

When I explained to him that was the amount every year he was tossing down the drain...the light turned on. His study habits changed and he got MSgt next cycle. All it takes is a little motivation to get the job done.

That was quite creative of you. What would you have done if he took the check and ran? hah! While I think promotion is beneficial, I caution people to not lose perspective of what is the highest priority at any given time. I've witnessed people pursue promotions to the extent that it cost them marriages, friendships, family as well as hurting the mission in some instances. Professional development does not mean always learning about how to get promoted, yet that is what I've experienced mostly in the last couple of years. It seemed to become more pronounced once I entered the SNCO ranks.

Measure Man
07-17-2013, 10:43 PM
message sent: it's all about $$$

Nothing wrong with that...it's the American way.

Capt Alfredo
07-17-2013, 11:28 PM
message sent: it's all about $$$

And if it's all about $$$, why waste weeks of leave and hours of study when you would be better served getting a degree and a commission? On day one, as an O1E with four years in, you probably make about the same as a ten-year MSgt. The gap only widens from there. A 20-year major makes ~$1700/month more in base pay than a 20-year chief. Is that fair?

raustin0017
07-17-2013, 11:49 PM
message sent: it's all about $$$

What ever it takes.....He was married, father of 4 and single income. But I'm sure he would have been fine if he retired as a TSgt without a college education.

raustin0017
07-17-2013, 11:52 PM
I believe that was illegal.
Illegal? Nope....it was motivation for him to study harder to earn MSgt.

raustin0017
07-17-2013, 11:54 PM
And if it's all about $$$, why waste weeks of leave and hours of study when you would be better served getting a degree and a commission? On day one, as an O1E with four years in, you probably make about the same as a ten-year MSgt. The gap only widens from there. A 20-year major makes ~$1700/month more in base pay than a 20-year chief. Is that fair?

Yes...I believe the pay system is set up fair enough. It pays to have an education no matter what profession you choose. I do not agree with GF's comment about enlisted members don't have responsibility. Especially in todays AF...the enlisted have more responsibility than ever before.

raustin0017
07-18-2013, 12:04 AM
Presenting a check over XX amount I believe is unethical. I do not think your stated purpose authorizes it, as
you were not in a classroom and it was not a teaching tool authorized by the Air Force.

Show me a teaching tool authorized by the AF to attempt to motivate someone to study harder. Leadership is knowing your people and the circumstances of their lives. Being able to call their spouses by their first names, how many children they have, where they live, etc... Knowing that earning more income by getting promoted will allow them to take care of their families better.

Fact is the TSgt found motivation to study harder and he got promoted. I needed him to get promoted. Had a Sq of 75 enlisted with two MSgt (one was ROAD) at the time with zero inbounds.

Capt Alfredo
07-18-2013, 12:04 AM
Yes...I believe the pay system is set up fair enough. It pays to have an education no matter what profession you choose. I do not agree with GF's comment about enlisted members don't have responsibility. Especially in todays AF...the enlisted have more responsibility than ever before.

I disagree with your assertion that the pay system is fair. There is no universe in which a Chief should be paid less than a Captain. I do not agree with GF's comment, either.

raustin0017
07-18-2013, 12:04 AM
Glad to see you disagree with my extreme sarcasm.
You believe the pay scale pays for education,
where does it pay enlisted to have said education?

Easy enough...after life in the AF is one great example. Without the education needed to compete in cooperate America you will find it very hard to find a good paying job.

Capt Alfredo
07-18-2013, 12:08 AM
I used extreme sarcasm to prove a point.
If its set up to pay enlisted less because
Enlisted had less responsibility
Years ago and we now have it and
Pay still reflects us not, yet its being called fair.

Yeah, I speak sarcasm, too. I don't think the pay gap is fair, either.

Capt Alfredo
07-18-2013, 12:09 AM
Glad to see you disagree with my extreme sarcasm.
You believe the pay scale pays for education,
where does it pay enlisted to have said education?

I once asked CMSAF Campanale why we (enlisted) didn't get promotion points for higher education. He said it wouldn't be fair to flyers (paraphrase) who didn't have time to go to school. This was before the internet, more or less, and the advent of on-line education. I thought it wasn't fair that flyers got air medals (and the attendant WAPS points) and competed with the ground guys for promotion. They ended up separating the ground and flyers into two separate AFSCs. Still think enlisted should get WAPS points for educational attainment.

TWilliams
07-18-2013, 01:37 AM
Show me a teaching tool authorized by the AF to attempt to motivate someone to study harder. Leadership is knowing your people and the circumstances of their lives. Being able to call their spouses by their first names, how many children they have, where they live, etc... Knowing that earning more income by getting promoted will allow them to take care of their families better.

Fact is the TSgt found motivation to study harder and he got promoted. I needed him to get promoted. Had a Sq of 75 enlisted with two MSgt (one was ROAD) at the time with zero inbounds.

I'm glad you helped that guy find the motivation to study. Most people are so busy chasing the next rank, it isn't usually necessary. Could you have used this TSgt in the position you needed/wanted him to be in even without the extra stripe? You could have saved the AF some money by paying less wages for the same job (I'm not seriously advocating this, just a little tongue-in-cheek humor). In my experience, rank doesn't equal leader all the time. Most units I've been in utilize lower ranking individuals if there is a vacancy in a higher level billet if it is truly so important that it can't be left empty. Many rise to the occasion and do well even if they are not so good test takers. I've witnessed a commander fire a MSgt and replace him with a TSgt with no line number before. The TSgt did well and made rank the 2nd time testing. He was plenty motivated the first time too, but just didn't make the cutoff. As far as I know, he studied just as hard the second time but made it thanks to a combination of higher test scores, more TIS/TIG points, and a lower cutoff. Sometimes a person's motivation doesn't matter if the performance doesn't match.

TWilliams
07-18-2013, 01:43 AM
I once asked CMSAF Campanale why we (enlisted) didn't get promotion points for higher education. He said it wouldn't be fair to flyers (paraphrase) who didn't have time to go to school. This was before the internet, more or less, and the advent of on-line education. I thought it wasn't fair that flyers got air medals (and the attendant WAPS points) and competed with the ground guys for promotion. They ended up separating the ground and flyers into two separate AFSCs. Still think enlisted should get WAPS points for educational attainment.

I think education is factored in for promotion consideration to E-8/E-9 when it comes to getting strats and the board score. For E-6 and above, I could see education counting towards promotion but at the worker bee and first-line supervisor level, I am not sure I would want degree earning to weigh much in promotions because I've worked with too many airmen who joined for education benefits and were not held accountable by their supervisors to learn and do their jobs first. There was one airman in particular I remember who failed her CDCs but managed to complete her Bachelors degree with honors. I would have loved to learn what the commander's decision making process was when he allowed her to re-test. The NCOs were up in arms over it and though she should have been booted.

DWWSWWD
07-18-2013, 01:44 AM
Wow I was right about social engineer.
You think the af should groom
People for life after retirement?

What's the matter with you today? You've been on a run lately of salient points. Of course we are social engineers. Studiers and tweakers of human behavior and team dynamics. We help Airmen on to the way to their next base or civilian job. Doesn't matter to me.

TWilliams
07-18-2013, 01:51 AM
The AF should groom people to "fly, fight, and win" at their jobs first because that is what we're paid to do. I think a good mentor would take enough interest in a mentee to help set them up for success in life in general though regardless of if it is connected to the AF or not.

TWilliams
07-18-2013, 01:54 AM
Eprs reflect whether ssgt or Tsgts are attaining off duty education.
36-2618 state NCOs (ssgt/tsgt) should have CCAFs.

But it doesn't get any extra WAPS points.

DWWSWWD
07-18-2013, 02:23 AM
Sorry Chief, it bugs me when people push money as a sole motivator
And push a supposed agenda proporting to make someone do
Something while active to further their monetary opportunities
Post retirement. Not naive enough to think people truly care
That much for whoever is filling a current billet.

Probably was the right thing for that guy. As for billets, I don't see billets anymore. I see people. People with problems. Folks with a few years under their belt aren't motivated by "Your country needs you." That might work for Airmen. I had a teammate one time who was a fat pig. Would not pass his PT test. Horrid diet. 16 years in. Was not going to be moved by my telling him he needed to set an example for his 2 Airmen. He had 7 kids. I asked him what he would do for his family. Would he dig ditches for a living and a couple other things. He looked a little angry and then started to tear up. There was nothing he wouldn't do. I told him they were counting on his having a check for the rest of his life and would he just change his diet and work out a little? The e-mail from him about a year later is why raustin and I stayed when we could have retired years ago.

Ripcord
07-18-2013, 03:08 AM
Well for what its worth here goes.

For Staff and Tech I read the PFE and SKT once through over the course of 2-3 months. After that I just took test questions in the PDG gold and studied until test day. For MSgt I was SKT exempt both times but followed the same routine basically. Missed first time by 20 because my head just wasn't in it. Second time I was out of cycle so I knew exactly what I needed to score. Made it by 7 points I think. For SMSgt I probably put the most effort in ever and studied my ass off. After reading all the SNCO specific parts of the PDG a few times I spent 3 months @ 1-2 hours every night in the PDG gold. I just went through the PDG gold questions as fast as possible (so as to at least have seen the material) once i finished all questions I would take 50-100 question practice tests in each chapter. kept doing that until my average scores were in the mid to upper 80s range. Ended up scoring 79 on the PFE and through divine intervention somehow managed to make Senior. Wish I was one of those people with photographic memories. Would save allot of time!

imported_Renazance
07-18-2013, 07:14 AM
message sent: it's all about $$$

Isn't almost everything we do motivated by $$$ in one way or the other? How many people deploy for the tax free pay and extra allowances? How many people room with someone off base so they can pocket the extra BAH? How many people separate to take a contracting job because it pays better? How many people would rather be away from their family to be in Afghanistan/Middle East because they get paid a ridiculous amount of money? How many people ask about COLA first when inquiring about an overseas assignment? I can go on and on.

I spent 2 years in the Middle East and when I tell people that, they don't comment on how rough it was being away from family for so long, or the experience I gained working there. No, the first thing they say is "Wow, 2 years of tax free pay, that's good money."

Drackore
07-18-2013, 07:28 AM
Years I made rank, I rewrote the PDG and had the advantage of testing out of cycle.

Why do I do it? Because I know I am head and shoulders above most "leaders" in this organization, do a better job then them, and I need the rank to be able to utilize it. I might not have been the top notch technician (but I was a good one), but for some reason I can motivate a group of people to do the impossible with nothing but a smile and a comp day.

Problem is, now that I am a MSgt...the politics of it all slapped me in the face. I either play the game or I stay a MSgt. I want the money...hell I need the money, and at this point in my career...dealing with the dirt bag careerist higher ups that I am currently dealing with...I just don't know if it's worth it. I am thinking 20 will be the mark (where a few years ago it was Chief and 30) and working a civilian job for a few years to compensate for the lost funds.

Anyways...yea, PDG Gold and rewritting the PDG worked for me for SSgt, TSgt, and MSgt.

imported_Renazance
07-18-2013, 10:12 AM
No, sometimes what we do is motivated by pu$$y

Well only most men and some women. It's safe to say $$$ and pu$$y make the world go round.

Chief_KO
07-18-2013, 12:33 PM
And the absolute worst mistake is to predict what you need to score based upon previous year's cutoff. Last years cutoff has absolutely ZERO bearing on this years promotion. Study for 100, test for 100; never never never study for a 72 and test for a 72.

I was a slow learner on said subject; 5x for TSgt...5x for MSgt.

raustin0017
07-18-2013, 01:09 PM
And the absolute worst mistake is to predict what you need to score based upon previous year's cutoff. Last years cutoff has absolutely ZERO bearing on this years promotion. Study for 100, test for 100; never never never study for a 72 and test for a 72.

I was a slow learner on said subject; 5x for TSgt...5x for MSgt.

Shoot for the Eagle, bag the Pheasant, don't eat Crow!

TWilliams
07-18-2013, 01:26 PM
Guy doesn't go to school, gets marked down and overall 4.
Guy takes photography, gets best mark and overall 5.
Epr Waps points.

Doesn't really help when most other people are already getting 5's.

Class5Kayaker
07-18-2013, 01:59 PM
I disagree with your assertion that the pay system is fair. There is no universe in which a Chief should be paid less than a Captain. I do not agree with GF's comment, either.

Unless the Capt is prior enlisted or the CMSgt is a fast burner (i.e under 20 years), they don't. It's when you get the prior-e Capts with 18+ years in that you start to see a larger pay difference from Chiefs and that's because they're being compensated for all their years in servce (it wouldn't be fair to pay them the same as a Capt with only 5 years in the AF with a system that rewards folks for TIS).

imported_chipotleboy
07-18-2013, 02:14 PM
I disagree with your assertion that the pay system is fair. There is no universe in which a Chief should be paid less than a Captain. I do not agree with GF's comment, either.

I'd say that depends on the Captain and the Chief. I've known some Captains that punch far above their weight and would be very well compensated on the outside, and then their are the Chiefs that you wonder where the system screwed up. But when you're looking at averages, I would agree with you.

Stalwart
07-18-2013, 02:48 PM
He had 7 kids. I asked him what he would do for his family. Would he dig ditches for a living and a couple other things. He looked a little angry and then started to tear up. There was nothing he wouldn't do. I told him they were counting on his having a check for the rest of his life and would he just change his diet and work out a little? The e-mail from him about a year later is why raustin and I stayed when we could have retired years ago.

Everyone is motivated by something different: love of country, pride of service, family tradition, a paycheck. Leaders find that thing that motivates their people and effectively use it to keep them on track.

Good job.