Test ace mentors on study mastery

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Peter R.O. Danielson
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs
How would you like 50 points added to your Weighted Airmen Promotion System score next cycle?

Retired Command Chief Master Sgt. Clyde Aune promises these incredible results that directly reflect on hard work.

"We all describe success in different ways, but to me, promotion is a big part," said Chief Aune.

Chief Aune retired from Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, S.D., in 2006 with 28 years time in service.

WAPS was designed to give everyone a fair chance to be promoted, said Chief Aune. The tests are designed so that top performers can out-score anyone, despite a time-in-service or time-in-grade offset.

To help squeeze every piece of testable knowledge into study preparation, the chief recommends a system created by Pepperdine University to assist doctors with learning complicated anatomy.

Using this system, he was promoted to chief master sergeant with only 14 years of service. In order to help others understand how hard work can pay off, Chief Aune said he has taught the system to more than 23,000 Airmen.

"No-one using this program has ever scored less than 92 points on their test," he said. "The only question is how willing you are to commit."

The system is simple, he said; give full attention to studying three hours a day for three months and make massive improvements on the test. The time commitment for this system may seem intimidating to some, but Chief Aune reminds people of the benefits.

"Imagine only having to study five times in the course of a career," said Chief Aune. "Then think of the extra money you could be saving up."

Chief Aune said the steps reinforce each learning style and cause audio, visual and kinetic learning to create strong mental connections.

To get started, all you need is index cards, pens, the Professional Development Guide, your Career Development Course volumes, any other testable material and a recording device, either a tape or MP3 recorder.

First, read through the material that will be on the test. Read each sentence regardless of what came before or after it. If there is new information presented, write it down on a flash card as a question. Use exact wording from the book and write the answer on the back to make sure there's no change in interpretation.

As soon as the first session of flash cards is written, take a new batch with you whenever you leave the house, said Chief Aune. Pull them out whenever there's free time, turning otherwise unproductive time today into an investment for the future, he said.

Once all the cards are written, read the cards aloud into the recorder. Speak clearly, say the question, pause for a moment and then say the answer.

Listen to these recordings during any free time, including driving to work, watching television, doing household chores and even sleeping.

"At first, it may be strange to hear yourself talk," said Chief Aune, "but you get along with yourself very well. You'll get to REM sleep very quickly, and your sleep might even suffer once you stop studying!"

Even though he believes most people skip listening, Chief Aune credits it as the most important step to internalizing the information.

At the end of one study cycle where he and his wife slept with the tapes playing, Chief Aune purchased a commercial 1,200-question preparation test. After taking the test and only missing one, he wondered how well his civilian wife, "who didn't even care why Billy Mitchell was court-martialed," would do on the same test.

She scored 87 percent.