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People are required to take the amateur ham radio exam if they never possessed a ham license, their license has expired past the grace period, if they have a pre-1987 technician license or have a license from another country.
Online test sites should offer exams for several classes of operation. They should offer Technician, Technician Plus, General, Advance and Extra. Each class carries different privileges to perform certain tasks. The Technician license is the one used by operators of local communications and gives the holder the privilege of VHF and UHF. The General license is necessary for emergency communications.The full explanation can be found at http://queerlandia.com/2012/01/30/ham-radio-operator-gay-theres-a-club-for-that/ The courses should cover regulations, operation practices, propagations and antennas. The exams should increase in level of complexity with each class of operator. Most online classes use multimedia materials to prepare students for the tests.
Taking a test in person is better for the first time ham operator. Students need the ability to communicate with teachers on difficult questions. You can contact an amateur radio club in your area for the location and time of tests. If you lack a radio club you can look online. There are websites with zip code locators that can tell you the closest test sites.