E-PME was inaugurated on 21 October 2004 (with ALCOAST 468/04) to help you learn the part of being a Coast Guard petty officer that's not related to specific occupational skills. You may still find references to the previous system, called "MRN", although it is now obsolete.
In case you’re confused by all the acronyms associated with enlisted advancement (E-PME, AQE, RPQ, PQG), here’s a quicky conversion table:
|End-of-course Test (EOCT)||A test of rating knowledge administered to enlisted personnel in pay grades E-3 through E-5, which they must pass to advance to the next higher pay grade.|
Enlisted Professional Military Education: replaced MRN.
|ERATS||Enlisted Rating Advancement Training System|
Test of E-PME materials (not called an EOCT to avoid confusion with rating-specific EOCTs) administered to enlisted personnel in the odd pay grades (E-3, E-5, and E-7) which they must pass to advance to the next higher pay grade.
The E-PME version of RPQs. Currently two versions: Form CG-1510-2 (for E-5 through E-9); CG-1510-3 (for E-3 and E-4).
Performance Qualification Guide: rating-specific course materials (being eliminated as the ERATS is fully implemented).
|RPQs||Rating Performance Qualifications: what used to be called "Enlisted Performance Qualifications" (EPQs) and before that, rating-specific practical factors, "pracs", or "quals".|
E-PME deals with subjects such as leadership, management, administration, Coast Guard history, enlisted heritage, organizational structure and management, personal development, training, education, wellness, and others. It covers all the knowledge and skills you'll need to acquire before being advanced and is based on work force studies and input from all the rate review processes. It is intended to make servicemembers better prepared and better trained for Coast Guard mission performance.
E-PME is one half of the combined education and training system which is exclusively for enlisted personnel. The other, parallel half is the undergoing a transition from an un-named 85-year-old training system to what is called the Enlisted Rating Advancement Training System (ERATS). Both halves are illustrated here.
The E-PME system has three parts:
a Study Guide – for advancement to all pay grades,
Performance Requirements – for advancement to all pay grades,
an Advancement Qualification Exam (AQE) – for advancement to pay grades E-4, E-6, and E-8.
The study guides provide detailed information behind each Performance Requirement and (in the case of E-5s through E-9s) each Knowledge Requirement: text, graphics, quizzes, references, and all you need to prepare for the AQE.
To advance to any pay grade, you'll need to get all Performance Requirements for that pay grade signed off by a person designated by your CO to do so. Completing the Performance Requirements, mastering the Knowledge Requirements (for E-5 through E-9), and passing the AQE will ensure that only those ready for advancement will take the servicewide exam. This is similar to the rating courses.
The Study Guide is a one-source document for qualifying and studying for both E-PME tests (AQEs) and servicewide exams (SWEs). That is, all information you need to prepare for the AQE and the military requirements parts of a SWE is within the Study Guide. The Study Guide is divided into three stand-alone volumes, which correspond to the three AQEs:
E-PME-4 (Apprentice), covering E-3 and E-4 requirements,
E-PME-6 (Journeyman), covering E-5 and E-6 requirements, and
E-PME-8 (Master), covering E-7 and E-8 requirements.
You can download all three Study Guides in PDF format from the Learning Management System on the CGPortal.
The Journeyman and Master Study Guides are also available in hard copy format. To get the hard-copy study guides, provide your ESO with your employee ID number and tell him/her which you want to order.
The Apprentice Study Guide is not available in hard copy format, but you can order a CD (PDF) version from the Institute, through your ESO.
Performance Requirements must be performed by all enlisted Coast Guard personnel up to pay grade E-9 and witnessed and signed off by an officer or petty officer who's at least one pay grade senior to you before you will be considered eligible for advancement.
In addition, before you are authorized to take an AQE, your supervisor must complete the statement in the "Remarks" section on page 2 of the Performance Requirements sign-off form stating that you have successfully completed the Performance Requirements for the pay grades covered by the AQE you want to take.
If you're a non-rate, use the "Record of Enlisted Professional Military Education (E-PME) Performance Requirements (E-3 to E-4)" (CG-1510-3)
If you're preparing for advancement to pay grades E-5 through E-9, use the "Record of Enlisted Professional Military Education (E-PME) Performance Requirements (E-3 to E-9)" (CG-1510-2)
Before you are authorized to take an E-4, E-6, or E-8 servicewide exam, you must pass an Advancement Qualification Exam (AQEs) for that pay grade and the pay grade below it. That is, if you want to take the E-4 servicewide exam, you first have to have passed the E-3/E-4 AQE. There are three different AQEs:
Apprentice (covering the E-3 and E-4 E-PME material),
Journeyman (covering the E-5 and E-6 E-PME material), and
Master (covering the E-7 and E-8 E-PME material).
You don't need to wait until you're going up for an even numbered pay grade to take an AQE, though; you can take one at any time.
Just like your rating-specific end-of-course tests, AQEs are administered by your ESO. Just remember: before you can take an AQE, you have to show the ESO your supervisor's signed and dated statement (on page 2 of the Performance Requirements) saying you've successfully completed all the requirements for the AQE you want to take.
If you're a non-rate, you should seriously consider taking the E-PME-4 AQE before going to "A" school. The sooner you take the AQE after boot camp, the better you'll do since you covered many of the Performance Requirements there. Also, keep in mind that although you'll be given the opportunity to take the AQE during "A" school, you will not be given time to study for it. Your days in "A" school will be devoted to learning your rate. Studying for the AQE will have to be done during your free time. If you've passed your AQE before going to "A" school, your free time during "A" school will be truly free time.
Throughout the Coast Guard, there’s an unfortunately persistent belief that it’s not really necessary to study before you take an Advancement Qualification Exam (AQE). I can’t tell you how many times people have told me after taking a test, “I just wanted to find out what’s on it.” With all due respect, that’s just STUPID. Here's why.
There are two assumptions underlying that statement: (1) that you’re going to fail the first test and (2) if you know what’s on the first test you take, you’ll do better the next time you take it.
At the moment, there are three versions of each AQE. Taking the first test as a throw-away (“just to see what’s on it”) won’t help you take the other two versions since very few questions are used on more than one test. That is, a question used in the first version is unlikely to show up in either of the other two versions.
Even questions that are used in more than one test, however, aren’t used in the same form. Either the question itself has been reworded, the multi-choice responses are reworded, the multi-choice responses are listed in a different order, or a combination of these.
Then there’s the fact that you are required to wait three weeks between tests if you don’t pass on the first try. For “just seeing what’s on the test” to help you pass it the next time, you’d have to remember 80% of the answers correctly until the next time you took the same test – at least 9 weeks after first taking it.
Let’s face facts: it’s a much better use of your time to study (REALLY study) your E-PME Study Guide and prepare to pass the first time than to waste your first go at an AQE and trust chance that you’ll remember enough of the questions you’ve seen so you can pass on a later date. Not only will you qualify for the SWE earlier, but you’ll have a better knowledge base for doing your job.
Andrew Webb ESO, Training Center Cape May
Studying for the AQE (the E-PME version of an EOCT) is different. Everyone has a preference for either the hard-copy or computerized version (CD-ROM or on-line) of the E-PME Study Guide. Use whichever version you find the best for your learning style.
HOWEVER, before you automatically go with the hard-copy version, check out the electronic version. From my perspective (and that of many others), the electronic version has a number of benefits over the hard-copy.
The electronic version has hyperlinks which allow you to jump directly to the section you want to study without having to shuffle through dozens or hundreds of pages.
The electronic version has a programmed in feature that makes studying for either the AQE or the servicewide exam easy. (From the main menu you simply click on "Test Preparation" and then choose either "I'm preparing for the End of Course Test (EOCT)" or "I'm preparing for the Servicewide Exam (SWE)". Once you've made your choice, you'll see the list of Performance Requirements and Knowledge Requirements you'll be liable for in the two types of tests.
Remember: you must complete the required Performance Requirements before the ESO can give you the AQE.
Some time ago, TraCen Petaluma’s web site listed some useful tips on studying for E-PME AQEs, and recommendations for supervisors of personnel studying for an AQE. They're no longer posted there, but here’s the gist of them:
Make a sustained effort and be committed to learning, if you want to pass the AQE. It is designed to ensure that you understand all the material in the E-PME Study Guide. Questions are crafted by testing your understanding of a critical concept or your recall of an important fact within each chapter. All questions related to the overall intent of the related performance or knowledge requirement.
Review the performance or knowledge requirement at the beginning of each chapter, study all content within the chapter, and complete each knowledge check at the end of the chapter.
Seek assistance from your supervisor or mentor whenever you do not understand any material or if you fail to pass a knowledge check.
Thoroughly study the information provided in support of the Performance Requirements.
Keep in mind personnel at the apprentice level are experiencing many of the words, acronyms, and concepts within the Study Guide for the first time. What appears to be obvious to a seasoned Petty Officer may be overwhelming to a non-rate, making recall difficult at test time.
Be proactive, ensuring that students complete each knowledge check and understand the content throughout each chapter. If you have questions or suggestions regarding preparing students for an AQE, contact the E-PME course writer.