|There are currently three different written examinations.
On February 23, 2007 the FCC removed Morse Code as an licensing requirement for all classes of amateur licenses.
The (multiple-choice) written examinations are Elements 2 (Technician), 3 (General), and 4 (Extra Class.)
Element 2 - Technician Class valid until June 30, 2014
Element 3 - General Class valid until June 30, 2011
Element 4 - Extra Class valid until June 30, 2012
The requirement for the beginning Technician Class license is passing a 35 question exam Element 2. You pass a multiple choice written exam if you answer 75% of the questions correctly.
The written tests are based on a pool of known multiple choice questions and answers which cover a wide array of topics ...or sub elements. There are no secret questions. In fact, passing a ham test is similar to taking the written portion of an automobile driver's test. You study the questions and you pass the test. It is as simple as that and the pass rate is very high.
The examinations are administered by Volunteer Examiners (VEs) who will select a few questions (about 10%) from each of ten topics for the exam.
To obtain a Technician ham license, you will be administered the beginning Element 2 examination containing a total of thirty-five questions by a team of three VEs. Answer 75% correctly and you pass! Study material for the Technician Class license is widely available. You will receive a Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) whenever you pass an Amateur Radio license examination. This certificate allows examination credit for one year in the event you need to pass more than one examination to upgrade to a higher class.
Everyone today begins at the Technician level. Before April 15, 2000, many applicants took the Novice route into ham radio which required passing a 5 WPM Morse code test (no longer required). That beginning class has now been discontinued as a new license. Those operators who still hold it, however, can still renew or modify their Novice ticket.