I took the class and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have passed the test without it.
The navigation part is tricky.
The rules and lights part is multiple choice but remarkably hard I thought.
There were at least two people in my class of about 16 that couldn't get it and did not pass even though I had them come to my office for a study group. (maybe because the hung out with me)
I bought all the self study stuff but found it didn't do it for me.
Also you should know I was always an A student in school but I'm over 60 so that probably cancels it out.
I know their are people who self study and pass but I suspect it is the exception not the rule. At least that is what I tell my self.
Much of it is just hard core memorization and tricky wording of multiple choice questions.
Sea experience and common sense will not be enough to pass the test. Many of the questions have two answers that are just wrong but two answers that practically would not make a difference in seamanship. One of them however is considered wrong.
Lots and lots of technical stuff where you need to know that the light has to be displayed if the boat is over 100' otherwise you get the questions wrong. Practically you are going to use radar, AIS and keep a good distance from any ships lights. It would be highly unlikely that the extra light would make a difference between you hitting a boat or not. Besides how much difference is their between a 100' ship and and 105' ship?
In defense of the class I took they made a big effort to really emphasize the real important stuff that is both needed for safety and are in the regulations while covering the tricky questions.
If I had to guess I would say that 50% of the questions are good. The other 50% are mostly tricky with two plausible answers.
So if you guess on the tricky questions you will get a 75 on the test and you need a 90 to pass.
I took it because I'm thinking I might like to teach sailing and this license is required to teach any place the CG has jurisdiction.
Also I get to wear the hat if I want to but haven't gotten up the nerve yet.
From a prestige point of view the OUVP is basically at the same level as a sheriffs badge from a cracker jack box but it is required for some jobs. Real captains are not impressed.