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PSIA Level II Advice and Tips?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi all, I decided a couple weeks ago that I was going to go ahead and go for my Alpine Level II and as I'm preparing for it (it's this Friday), I was just wondering if anyone had any advice or tips before the exam.  I would say that I am fairly (definitely not completely) confident in my skiing right now, and am maybe more concerned with the teaching part.  I really haven't had a lot of prep, in terms of clinics go, and what I have had has been primarily focused on skiing, so the teaching part is kind of making me nervous more because I don't really know what to expect than that I think it's going to be really hard.  The ed-staff members have told me to use STUMP, and teach through skill-based progressions, but I am a little confused about the progressions.  It sounds like I should be going into the exam with 3 or 4 progressions in my head.  I'm a second year instructor so I haven't really even heard what to expect, and this is my first time taking the exam.  Like I said, ANY advice is greatly appreciated, even if it's skiing related, or even something like what to wear or how to conduct myself.  Thanx, Tyler 



post #2 of 12

Near as I can tell, every division is a little different.  Here in PNW, the certification guide for L2 had (back when I did my L2 a list of fifteen teaching topics that a candidate should be prepared to present a lesson for.  My approach was to come up with a three step progression for each topic; where each progression had a single skill focus that was a common thread through the exercises that always ended with "take it into real skiing, now."  I got my 'plans' checked out and okayed by my training director.   I wrote them all out on 3X5 cards and commited them to memory over a period of weeks.   I knew that whatever topic I was called on to teach, I'd have something valid and consistent to present.  You get evaluated by two examiners in the course of the day.  In my case, one threw the topics into a hat and had all the candidates fish one out.  The other examiner just said, "pick your favorite one and do that."  It was pretty simple.  The guide is a bit more open ended, now, and you will want to check the one for your particular division.  Oh, it is also helpful to know what the performance problems you are likely to see in the course of each progression - "often, when we ask people to pick up the inside ski, they will pick up the tip higher than the tail, when they do that I....blah, blah, etc."

post #3 of 12

In my experience the biggest things are, 


Skiing.... Watch the examiners and do what they do. If you do not understand, or think the verbal description doesn't match the physical action, do what the examiner does, no matter what they say. 


Technical.... Answer the question AND SHUT UP. If you don't understand the question, or do but don't know the answer, ask for the question to repeated, or better yet rephrased. If you honestly don't know, admit it. Its better to show you know the limits of your knowledge, then to reveal the depths of your ignorance.


Teaching..... Right from the first moment you meet your group work to create a team mentality. If you all work together you all have a much better chance. It is not a zero sum game. Groups that work together have higher pass rates. Groups that have prima-donnas tend to have high fail rates. Working with the other candidates can give you, and them, valuable feedback and ways out of sticking points. At the same time teaching is a cooperative activity and it reflects well on you, as well as the group to build a supportive learning environment.    


Good luck. The good news is most examiners tend to view L2 as a maybe is a pass, As opposed to L3 where a maybe is a no. I passed my Associate exam (the ancient equivalent of L2) my second year of teaching, despite my doubts about my skiing and technical knowledge, so it can be done.

post #4 of 12
Looks like you're going to a Central Division exam, East. Is that correct? Unfortunately, Central, unlike most other divisions, does not post a current year list of exam evaluation tasks, so you're likely to be asked to perform any LII maneuver to the PSIA standard and teach anything at that level. Even if you have doubts about your skiing performance, you may be surprised. Regardless, look at the exam as an experience and have fun rather than worrying about it. It took me four tries to get the Associate pin in the early 1970s and one to get the Full.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone.  I am in fact taking it in the Central Division Kneale.  The notecard idea sounds like a great one molesaver, and I will do that in the next few days.  And thanx for the tips Dave.  Like I said at this point I'm more anxious than anything as I don't know exactly what to expect.

post #6 of 12

Go into performance skiing mode for the skiing tasks. They way I keep myself from thinking about technique is to focus on tactics. Decide exactly where your going to make you first three to four turn then after that it becomes about feeling the rythem. Remember, failing one task does not mean you will fail the whole exam. The skiing tasks are selected to highlight certain skills, but we still expect good overall skiing through each task. Often if you are lacking in one spot it will show in multiple tasks. You can't be thinking about your technique while in the skiing tasks. Show them what you've got.

For the teaching I find it best if I have a few drills I am comfortable using in any situation. Start out with that drill and why you are using it and then watch the group perform. If they are not performing as you expect coach the group to be better. If you have some that are and some that aren't use those that can do it as examples. The examiners will be more impressed if you coach to what you see versus rattling off a bunch of progression with no regard to what is happening in front of you. 

I'd write more, but I'm off to ski with the wife on Valentines Day so feel free to PM me with any questions.


post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

What are the kind of teaching assignments I should expect (I know there's not an exact criteria for this but what should I be ready to teach)?

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips everyone.  I ended up passing!

post #9 of 12

Way to go!


post #10 of 12
Congrats eastskier44 - that Silver Pin is a great accomplishment!
post #11 of 12
Great job, ES44. You realize, of course, that that pretty pin is just the beginning of a long journey, right? Go for it!!
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys.  And absolutely Kneale.  I'm thinking of it as just a great checkpoint.  Now on to Level 3 in a few years hopefully.

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