By MCSN Michael Lopez
NPASE Detachment Southeast

Team members from the Navy Advancement Center (NAC) at the Naval Education and Training Professional Development and Technology Center visited Naval Station (NAVSTA) Mayport August 9 to give enlisted advancement training to prepare Sailors for the upcoming advancement exams in September.

NAC, based in Pensacola, Florida, is out to teach Sailors face-to-face how the exams are made, what will help them advance, what to study and where to find the correct study materials. 

 "We believe information is powerful," said Chief Personnel Specialist Tajudeen Smith, a military exam leader. "In order to advance the best Sailors, the leadership needs to be equipped with the right information to direct and support their Sailors, and the individual Sailors need to know where to find any information that hasn't already been provided to them. 

While the NAC team is not in charge of advancement quotas, they meet with chief petty officers from the fleet to develop and publish in-rate examinations based on occupational and professional knowledge requirements. Once the exams are taken, they process them and rank the most qualified candidates for advancement. 

"The exams are created by the Chief's Mess, who we call the subject matter experts, to best reflect the advances in technology in the fleet while still considering the Sailors on platforms who may not be using the same technology or practices," said Smith. "The idea is to tailor the exam to what the majority of Sailors in the rate should know."

NAC held two seperate one-hour sessions for both leadership and junior Sailors.

Approximately 60 Sailors E-6 and below attended the training session, with some who have never taken an advancement exam and others who have taken them more than a dozen times. 

 "Sailors who want to advance should be doing anything they can to get a leg up on their competition," said Master-At-Arms 2nd Class Tony Cofer. "Attending things like this allows you to talk directly to the source and clear the air of questions and concerns."

The NAC team described where Sailors should be going to find the correct study material. Smith said Navy Knowledge Online (NKO) and Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) websites host complete, up to date bibliographies with the subtopics listed. 

NAC teamed up with Navy COOL to get bibliographies available without a common access card, and even made available on mobile devices through the Navy COOL app. 

"The number one problem we see is Sailors going to the wrong sources for information," said Smith. "Time and again they use search engines to find information that looks like the bibliographies, but they don't see how information changes with new additions that they may not have found, so it's important that they go to the source." 

To access the Advancement Exam Bibliographies section of Navy COOL, begin at the Department of the Navy COOL home page: www.cool.navy.mil/usn. Click on the 'Navy COOL' tab at the top right of the page, and under the 'Find and Select Related Credentials' tab, click on the 'Advancement Exam Bibliographies' dropdown on the left side page navigation. Then choose your rating and select 'Go'. The advancement exam bibliographies, topics and subtopics, FAQs and contact resources are found lower on the rating's COOL page.

"I'm coming up on 10 years in the Navy, and I've never gotten advancement training like this," said Cofer. "I've been to study groups in my department and things like that but never something where there was an advancement expert telling me what I need to know."

The team advised Sailors to pay close attention to the subtopics so they know what to study and how to make the most of their time. They also urged those in attendance to pay close attention to their profile sheet so they can see their weak areas and know what to focus more on for future exams. 

For more information from Naval Education and Training Professional Development and Technology Center, visit www.navy.mil/local/NETPDTC/.