How to Clear the 2nd Mate Exam?

1. Overview:

  • Preparing for the 2nd Mates Examination in India is considered to be a difficult task. This may be due to the lack of information and a clear pathway
  • In this Blog, we will share some time-tested methods that will help you ace the 2nd Mate Examinations with ease. 
  • .After you finish reading the blog till the end, you will have a fair idea of how and when should you start preparing.

2. 2nd Mate Exam Details: 

We need a very clear idea about the 2nd Mate Exam Syllabus, Pattern, etc. This will help you at all stages, especially during the preparation.

2.1. 2nd Mate Exam Eligibility

second mate eligibility criteria

The Eligibility criteria vary according to the type of course completed at the pre-sea training level. 

The following components are required:

  • Completion of pre-sea training
  • Completion of required Sea time
  • Functions Course
  • Completion of Advanced  Modular Courses
  • Passing the Signalling Exam
Pre-sea Training

2.2. 2nd Mate Exam Pattern:

The 2nd Mates Exam Consists of the following Components:

  • 6 Written Exams
  • 3 Oral Exams
  • Signaling Exam(Morse)

It is further Illustrated Below:

Written exam Module
orals exam module

2.3. 2nd Mate Exam Syllabus:

The 2nd Mate Exam Syllabus is divided into three Functions that comprise different subjects. They are listed in the following table:

FunctionsSubjects
Function 1Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation
Celestial Navigation
Bridge Equipment and Watch Keeping
Meteorology
Function 2Cargo Work
Function 3Ship Stability
Ship Safety
Environmental protection
Ship Construction

Here is a mindmap for your benefit:


2.4. 2nd Mate Exam Schedule:

The Examinations(Written, Orals & Signaling exams) are held each month. The exact schedule of the examination is published on the DG Shipping Website.

For Example, look at the examination schedule for January 2024:

Check out our comprehensive guidance video on the 2nd Mate COC Exam here:

2nd mate exam guidance series

3. When to Start Preparing for the 2nd Mate Examination?

In Short, as early as possible. Time will be your friend if you start early. You can escape the added pressure of a time crisis if you start early.

Ideally, it should take you around 4-5 Months to be fully prepared for the examination.

The moment you step onboard, you should have a clear idea in mind that you are there to learn as much as possible and your knowledge may help you in the 2nd Mate Examination, especially during the orals.

4. 2nd Mate Exam Books:

Here is a list of some recommended books for each subject of the 2nd Mate Exams:

SubjectBook Name
Terrestrial & Coastal NavigationChart Work for Mariners, by Capt. S.K Puri
Principles of Navigation, by Capt. T.K. Joseph & Capt. S.S.S. Rewari
Practical Navigation, by Capt.H. Subramaniam
Celestial NavigationPrinciples of Navigation, by Capt. T.K. Joseph & Capt. S.S.S. Rewari
Practical Navigation, Capt.H. Subramaniam
Nautical Almanac,2008
MeteorologyMarine Meteorology, by Capt.H. Subramaniam
Ship’s Weather Code,1982
Selected Pages from Admiralty Tide Tables
Cargo WorkCargo Work for Ship’s Officers, by Capt. Errol Fernandes
Ship Construction, Stability, Ship Safety & Environmental ProtectionShip Construction, Kemp & Young
Ship Construction, Bhandarkar Publications
Ship Stability at the Operational Level
Ship Stability at the Management Level
M.V Hindship Book and Particulars
Bridge Equipment & Watch KeepingNautical Watchkeeping, by Capt. H. Subramaniam

4.1. Book Dealers:

  1. Sterling Book House
  2. Shroff Publishers  

4.2. Apps & Digital Resources:

  1. Telegram Channel- Marine e-Books__Library 
  2. Polaris App
  3. Marinepedia App  

5. Tips and Tricks to Clear 2nd Mate Exam:

  • The only necessary tip that we suggest for the 2nd Mate Examination is hard work and a will to pass the Exam. If you do not possess these two qualities, do not waste your time reading further. 
  • We will provide some necessary insights to help you figure out a way for yourself, but the work should be done by you.

6. How to Clear the 2nd Mate Signalling Exam?:

  • This exam is often ignored and a lot of candidates make the mistake of underestimating it. We are discussing it in the beginning as we do not want you to make that mistake.
  • It is quite simple in comparison to the written and oral exams but requires significant practice
  • Do not miss signalling exam preparatory classes thinking that they are insignificant.
  • Morse codes for the above syllabus should be by-hearted using any method appropriate. 
  • Although the exam is written only, it is recommended that you prepare in such a way that you can answer the questions almost orally.

Use the following chart:

international Morse Code

2nd Mate Signalling Exam resources:

For Further Practice, you may seek the help of YouTube. Here are some channels for you to explore:

7. How to Clear the 2nd Mate Written Exam?:

Importance of Training Institute

Choosing a good training institute can be of added benefit as responsible and experienced faculties of these institutes are often surveyors and captains. 

Internal Exams of some reputed institutes are as good as the actual written examinations.

Previous Year Question Papers

  • Solving relevant previous year question papers is as important as studying for the examination.
  • These are easily available online. Make sure the question papers that are relevant to the current syllabus are being solved.

Timed Writing Practice

Solve the question papers with a timer of 3hrs or 2hrs depending on the subject. This will help you replicate a real-time examination scenario.

Have a Study Partner

  • Some people prefer to work alone but for the 2nd Mate Exam, you should find yourself a group of friends or at least a study partner. 
  • Do not make the group too big and it should consist of people who are necessarily smarter or equivalent to your intellect.

Diagram Practice

  • This is an aspect that is often ignored for the 2nd Mates Exam. By practicing diagrams, we don’t mean rough drawings. Use proper drawing tools and practice sketches.
  • This will give you an idea about the time you will take the actual exam as you will not be drawing 

Formula Sheet

  • For subjects like Stability, Navigation, etc all formulas should be jotted down on a piece of paper so that they can be revised every day. 
  • Flash Cards may also be used for difficult concepts.
  • I recommend you watch this video to get an idea of how to prepare a formula book:

Basic Concepts

Focus on concept building even if takes a lot of effort. Especially for subjects like stability, strong concepts will help you solve tricky questions

8. How to Clear the 2nd Mate Oral Exam?:

Practical Knowledge

  • The Surveyors can ask questions based on any topic in the syllabus and as a result, the spectrum of questions is quite vast
  • When you are onboard, try gathering as much knowledge as possible 
  • These may include equipment, operations, jobs, faults, and pay attention to small details.
  • This practical-based knowledge  may ultimately help you in furnishing a suitable answer to the surveyor

Study the Syllabus Properly

  • By this, we mean that each sub-point mentioned in the syllabus should be given particular attention.
  • If you have a brief idea about all the topics, your practical knowledge will also come into play while answering

Group Study

  • It is always a good idea to have a study partner or partners.
  • It should be a mutually beneficial situation where people with different sailing experiences and equivalent intellect help each other.

Make your own Notes

  • If you have enough time, making your notes will always give you an edge as you will be verifying everything that you study

Attend Advanced Courses Properly

  • Sometimes Surveyors in the MMD are the same Surveyors who conduct your advanced courses.
  • Advanced courses are practical and having proper knowledge will help you.

Give your 100 % to each Function

  • Try to prepare each function to the best of your ability.
  • All of the Functions are equally important but it takes more time to prepare Function 1. 

9. Problems faced while preparing for the 2nd Mate Exam

  1. Lack of Proper Information
  2. Lack of Guidance
  3. Feeling Overwhelmed due to the syllabus
  4. Improper Time Management
  5. Peer Pressure

10. Why is it important to pass the 2nd Mate Examination on the first attempt?

  • In simple words, to save time and money, you need to pass all of the examinations on the first attempt.
  • Nowadays, in most MMDs, you are allowed to sit for the orals only when you clear all the subjects of the written examinations. Blind Attempts are not allowed nowadays.
  • If a candidate fails in any one subject of the written examination, he/she needs to wait for another 4 months before re-appearing
  • Only after the successful result declaration, they will be allowed to sit for the oral examinations.
  • In this process, already 5-6 months would have been wasted.
  • You can reappear for a specific function of the Oral examination after 1 month of each attempt.

11. Which MMD is the Best for the 2nd Mates Exam?:

  • When we are talking about the best MMD, we are mainly concerned with clearing the oral examinations.
  • While improvements are being made to the examination system, the Indian 2nd Mate oral examination is considered difficult and sometimes luck-based
  • There is no definite answer as to which MMD is the best for the 2nd Mate Examination. The MMD which is considered to be difficult may in reality pass you based on your performance
  • The First Attempt can be made from your nearest MMD.

12. Conclusion:

  • If you are looking for ways to clear the 2nd Mate Examination, you must have realized by now that it is quite difficult to pass and requires significant effort.
  • The risk-reward ratio is quite attractive as you will be eligible to be a third officer onboard a merchant vessel and predominantly, there will be a salary hike of about 300% and that’s a lot!
  • As already mentioned, whether you will pass your 2nd Mate Examination in India depends a lot on Luck as well. The Hard work will always come in handy and bridge the gap between Hard work and Luck.
  • After reading this blog, you should have a fair idea about which areas you should work on. Grab a Pen and Paper and plan out your way to deal with the exam. That is the best advice that anyone could give you.
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