The schools are very good at preparing you to take the test. They are not a substitute for knowledge and experience. I had a smorgasbord of emotions over the 5 days of the class I attended. The first day I thought, WOW this is a tremendous amount of stuff to remember, the second day, there is no way I can do this, the third day, why am I torturing myself with this, I have a day job, the fourth day, there is NFW I can pass the exam, the fifth day, it could be possible to pass but plan on taking the test 2 or 3 times. The classes were 8 hours long and at least 4-5 hours of study every night is required. If I’m making it sound difficult it is because it was! Do not take these courses casually or you will fail miserably. Some parts of the test required that you get 90% or better correct to pass the module, most modules can be passed with a score of 70% or better. Naturally, I passed the first time with very good scores. Be tested as soon as possible after the completion of your course so you don’t forget stuff. Ask the USCG to be tested for such endorsements as towing, auxiliary sail, colregs etc. you''ll be glad you did…..someday.