Although you are preparing for a written examination you are in fact preparing yourself for a professional qualification in your chosen profession.
The examinations will be testing your use of knowledge and your ability to analyse, not just your memory of facts. Simply regurgitating lectures or lessons will not get you a pass nor will a list of notes; your ability to communicate is being tested as much as anything else. The questions will almost invariably demand essay type answers.
Please be prepared for 3 hours writing!
Furthermore, the examinations are designed to test your professional rather than your academic understanding of a subject; so do not expect to find all the answers in text books. Your examiners will not assume you have access to specialist shipping journals but they will expect you to keep aware of the sort of current events which affect shipping to the extent that these are reported in ’quality’ daily papers. Such information should be used in your answers where relevant.
Please look at some past papers and importantly, the examiners comments.
Before the examination.
You have studied and revised and now you need the right state of mind so eliminate any unnecessary stress.
Check your examination timetable and make sure you know how you get to the examination centre. Check the details of your timetable carefully and contact the Institute immediately if there are any apparent errors. It is YOUR responsibility to check the date, time and location of your examination(s). Get there in plenty of time. Candidates arriving more than 30 minutes after the commencement of the examination will not be admitted.
Dress comfortably. Have all the permitted equipment you need in good condition; you do not want ball-points running out of ink or calculator batteries running down once the exam has started. Just before the time, do you need to go to the toilet? Must you have that last cigarette?
PLEASE NOTE – YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO SHOW PROOF OF IDENTITY WHICH INCLUDES A PHOTOGRAPH
You will be called into the examination room a few minutes before the starting time. Before locating your desk, which will have your number on it, you should leave any outdoor clothing, bags etc in the place indicated by the invigilator.
Switch off mobile telephones, pagers and/or any other electronic device(s) except an approved calculator (NOT a programmable type; calculators that have an alpha keyboard are specifically not allowed) and place them on the desk in front of you. Should such devices be found on your person during the course of the examination you will be deemed to have cheated and may be disqualified. De-activate your alarm watch if appropriate. Dictionaries (whether electronic or in book form) are NOT allowed.
The only materials otherwise allowed on your desk are writing equipment (pens, pencils ruler etc). These may not be in an opaque container although a transparent case is permitted. Blotting paper and/or scrap paper is not permitted; any rough work must be carried out in your answer-book then crossed through. The use of correcting fluid is NOT permitted.
No food or drink may be taken into the examination room. Smoking is NOT permitted during the examination.
Answer books.Pay particular attention to the instructions for completing the cover of your answer book(s). You must not turn over the question paper until the invigilator gives permission.
Absence during the examination.You may not leave your place during the examination without the express permission of the invigilator. In an emergency you may be allowed to leave and return to the examination room but such absence must be supervised by the invigilator.
The Examination itself!
Do not rush. When the invigilator says you may start, read the question paper slowly, then read it again before deciding which questions to answer. Make sure you understand how many questions you must answer. Occasionally there will be special directions such as so many questions from part A and so many from part B. Or there may be a compulsory question – if there is get on with it and get it out of the way. If you fail to answer a compulsory question, you will fail the exam.
It is vital that any special instructions are obeyed precisely. If it says five questions, only answer five, you get no bonus for extra answers – they will be ignored.
Start off with the questions you find easiest to give yourself the confidence that comes from knowing you have some good marks ”in the bag”.
Do please answer the question. Every year brings its crop of examination disasters through candidates providing an otherwise excellent answer but one which has missed the point of the question. So, read the questions carefully, look for any key words, comply with them and never shrink from drawing a conclusion if the circumstances permit.
In the exam room you will have, for each subject, three hours to answer five questions. That is a considerable amount of writing, as well as thinking and that needs practice. Simply reading lessons or books will not be enough. Your brain will try to tell you ”I know that” when what it really means is simply ”I recognise that”. Practise writing answers to past examination papers. That will give you experience in using information and in getting it down in an orderly fashion on paper. Past examination papers are available, so use them.
Look for any ’key words’ in the questions. If, for example, the question says ”compare and contrast” you must show where there are similarities and where there are differences. Looking at both sides will also apply where the question asks for the ”advantages and disadvantages”; in both cases you should end your essay with a conclusion.
The word ”discuss” asks you to consider opinions or arguments for and against the subject, whilst ”analyse” looks for a detailed examination of a specific topic.
Sometimes the question will start with a statement or quotation asking the candidate to ”comment upon” or ”assess its validity”. Here is a classic case where you and the examiner may have opposing views, but so long as both sides of any argument are properly considered and a conclusion logically drawn a difference of opinion will not stand in the way of good marks.
Keep an eye on the time, pace yourself so that you allow a fair proportion of time for each question. If you are running short of time it is far better to attempt the full number of questions demanded rather than spending a disproportionate amount of time on fewer questions. Better still, try to ensure you have a bit of time left over to read through and correct errors – even add extra paragraphs. So long as the examiner is clearly directed to any additional material you will not be penalised.
Early departureIf you choose to leave the examination room before the time fixed for the end of the examination you may not do so until the examination has been in progress for 40 minutes. You must first hand your answer book and question paper to the invigilator; you may not remove any paper from the examination room. No candidate may leave the examination room during the last 15 minutes
At the end of the time allowed do not leave the examination room until your answer book(s) and question paper have been collected by the invigilator.
Apart from issuing necessary instructions, the invigilator(s) are not permitted to enter into any discussion whatsoever with the candidates. Any attempt by candidates to communicate with one another or to seek any other unfair advantage will be reported by the invigilator to the Institute who may consider such misconduct to be grounds for disqualifying the candidate.
Remember above all. The examiners want you to pass – make it easy for them.