Are you wasting your study time reading the PDG? I used to read it front to back and take notes as I went. I would finish and reread the PDG at least one more time while spending extra time on my notes. It wasn’t until right before I made MSgt that I discovered the power of the MKTS. In the back of the PDG (the last several pages), there is the Military Knowledge and Testing System (MKTS) chart. This is what the tests are based off of.

There are two charts that explain the level of understanding required and the importance of each topic per rank. For example, A1 means it is “extremely important” to know these facts. Anything with a ‘4’ is not even testable.  The key breaks each unit down per rank and level of study. Looking at the MKTS, you could safely skip all the way to the WWII before you could even expect a question on the material and the first ‘1’ isn’t until the Cuban Missile Crisis.

With just a quick skim of this chart, you can immediately eliminate scores of pages and get a greater sense of what is most important to focus on. From here you can create a much wiser strategy for studying. Common logic suggests that you should know all of the ‘1’s’ at a minimum and then the ‘2’s’ and ‘3’s’.

I know someone who has used the following strategy:

“I read all of the ‘1’ sections and highlight the material I think is important. Then I hand scribe all of those notes onto note cards and study them every single day. This process takes me about a week to read, highlight and transcribe to the cards. Then I move on to the ‘2’s’ and use a different color highlighter. For these, I review on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I typically don’t get through all of these each study session, but I just pick up where I left off the next time. For the ‘3’s’, I use a different color and do the same as for the ‘2’s’ but on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

This sounds like a solid strategy to me and this person scores in the high 80’s. What strategies do you employ?

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