An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Sailor Creates Advancement Exam Study Guide for Shipmates

12 April 2021

From Cheryl Dengler, Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center

A Sailor assigned to Region Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic has created an advancement exam study planner for his fellow shipmates, and it is available for download on MyNavy Portal and Navy COOL.
PENSACOLA, Fla.—A Sailor assigned to Region Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic has created an advancement exam study planner for his fellow shipmates, and it is available for download on MyNavy Portal and Navy COOL.

The Next Generation Study Planner (NGSP) is an automated tool that uses exam bibliography data to create an individualized study plan and timeline for Sailors preparing for advancement exams.

Legalman 1st Class Kevin Billings began working on the NGSP three years ago when he realized that Sailors would benefit if they had assistance in creating study plans ahead of advancement exam administrations.

“You could ask 100 Sailors how to study for an exam and probably get 110 different answers,” said Billings.

Billings knew creating an automated tool would be of great help to his fellow shipmates.

“Traditionally, a Sailor could find their rate bibliographies, but it’s a math game after that—how many days until the exam, how many topics, how big are the topics, how many days should each topic get,” said Billings. “This planner automates that math part so they can jump into studying. The sailor does have to obtain the books; this just creates a study plan for them.”

Once a Sailor has the planner open, they simply click on the pay grade of the exam they want to take and the program will identify the upcoming exam date and build a blueprint for the study plan.

Unique to the NGSP tool is Sailors can customize their own plan.

“I included customization features to account for the reality of studying, as many Sailors said they would like to include days off,” said Billings. “This planner customizes itself based on the user’s inputs.”

Sailors can enter the dates they do not want to study, whether that be a birthday, anniversary or a specific weekend.

Additionally, there are three potential results when a Sailor starts the planner.

“The first is for the Sailor that has never taken the exam and doesn’t know anyone who has taken it. The second is for the Sailor who has never taken it but knows someone who has. Both of these create general plans,” said Billings. “The third option is for the Sailor who has taken the exam and didn’t advance from it. This plan is custom to that user only.”

For Sailors who have taken the exam previously, they have the option to input topic size or previous score data from their previous advancement cycle profile sheet to customize the planner to their bibliography and exam history. Users are cautioned that topic size may apply to everyone in their specific rate paygrade, but score data does not.

After creating the planner, Billings coordinated with the Navy Advancement Center to make the planner available Navy-wide. The planner is now available for download as an excel spreadsheet, currently in beta form, in the bibliography section of MyNavy Portal and Navy COOL.

“This tool requires members to utilize the topics and subtopics along with the bibliographies to create an accurate study plan,” said Chief Personnel Specialist Veronica Murray, Fleet Services chief at the Navy Advancement Center. “Taking advantage of this planner should help maximize the time spent on each subject by staying organized and improving study efficiency.”

To access the NGSP on MyNavy Portal, go to:

To access the NGSP on Navy COOL, go to:

Billings hopes this will not only help Sailors with their studying skills and organization, but that it will ultimately improve performance across all rates.

“Some Sailors may feel that studying is only for vacancy advancements, but even if you aren’t taking the exam, these books are the core of your rate as well,” said Billings. "This planner is to help get Sailors in the books to improve job performance in addition to help study for and promote through the exam.”

As part of the MyNavy HR Force Development team, NETPDC provides products and services that enable and enhance education, training, career development and personnel advancement throughout the Navy. Primary elements of the command include the Voluntary Education Department, the Navy Advancement Center and the Resources Management Department.

Additional information about NETPDC can be found at
Guidance-Card-Icon Dept-Exclusive-Card-Icon