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Level II test - Help Preparing

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
If I can get some help preparing for the Level II exam this year. I have been trying to get myself ready first for the level two teaching part. I am trying to compile and separate stuff for the topics and sgtepping stone method of teaching etc. Does anyone out there have any sites or material that might more clearly define what they want and how to get there. I'm having trouble clearly defining the job at hand. Also I have the NW PSIA CD on the ski test but any comments, recommendations etc would sure be appreciated. The info I've taken in from epic is very helpful in my personal skiing and teaching. Example: the site/threads on dislikes and likes of ski instruction were very eye opening etc. I've taught for 5 years, 2 in Tahoe and on 3rd year in Idaho. One problem I have to overcome is we have very little on clinics at my ski area. So I really need your help. Its snowing!!! Thanks Pete
post #2 of 17
The best advice I can give you about the teaching modules is:
1. On your warm up run, take a good look at the others skiing while you warm up. Look for their weaknesses and strengths (movement analysis).

2. On each module (teaching segment), you have about 10 to 15 minutes to present your material and make a positive change in the groupes and each individual's performance of the task.

3. Select the terrain approiatly for your teaching task.

4. Use good judgement for saftey.

5. Take charge of the group from beginning to end.

6. Choose only one skill to develope and be very clear, concise and simple in any directions.

7. Use a good portion of the run (or the whole trail lengh) in your presentation. Demos should be seen moving away, going past, and from the front of you.

8. Provide feedback to each group member while performing the task and make shure each one is doing what you are asking. Work seperatly with those who are not doing the task to get them to change their performance (very important).

9. Keep it simple, move the group, provide feedback and be excited about what you are doing.

10. If you can persent your material in 2 to 4 minutes, you have 10 minutes to work with the group to enhance their performance.

If you have other specific questions, please ask.


post #3 of 17
Ron, in RM, we don't actually improve other examinees' performance. We "teach" students who we "meet" on video. I do not know how North does this for LII.

The rest of the advice is right-on in my experience. Except that you may also want to listen carefully to the feedback the examiner gives to others, since that may give you an indication of his or her biases. And they can make a big difference!
post #4 of 17

Seems like your best bet is getting a collection of little tips. The cool thing about level 2 teaching when I got my level 2 was that if you read at least some of the recommended reading list and had teaching experience where you actually taught good lessons, then it was not hard to pass.

For stepping stones - it's all about guest centered teaching instead of wedge->christie->parallel oriented lessons. The online PSIA stepping stones material is not horrible (despite previously posted opinions). Try teaching a few direct to parallel lessons.

Your MA skills need to be accurate. You need to be able to see stuff and describe it accurately. You need to be able to track symptoms back to root causes. You need to come up with solutions appropriate for the root causes.

You need to demonstrate positive feedback and corrective feedback at appropriate times. You need to demonstrate "energy" in your presentation and build "energy" in your students. You need to have a logical flow to your presentation. You need to demonstrate the teaching model. You need to demonstrate safety, group and time management skills. You need to demonstrate technical knowledge that is accurate and appropriate, but keep the jargon out of the demonstrations.

This kind of stuff.

You might want to glance at the PSIA-E exam study guide.

It helps to understand that your actual performance in the exam will probably suck relative to the real lessons that you teach. Examiners somehow have a pretty good sense of what is caused by the artificial nature of the exam and what is caused by poor teaching skills. When you do what you know - they can tell. When you're making it up on the fly - they can smell the blood on the snow.

When you are asked follow up questions be wary of digging your hole deeper. Simply explain your reasoning or supply a missing piece of info or say "it's worked for me before but you have a good point" and shut up. When you are not asked follow up questions, you've passed - so shut up and stop sweating.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Level II Test

Thanks everyone, can anyone give me the BEST place to go for whats on the teaching test, I've got a lot of PSIA books etc. but can't really find a definitive description for this.
post #6 of 17
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho
Thanks everyone, can anyone give me the BEST place to go for whats on the teaching test, I've got a lot of PSIA books etc. but can't really find a definitive description for this.
Your teaching test is specific to your region. If they don't have an updated exam prep guide, then the best place would be an exam prep clinic.
post #7 of 17


If your division is using the modules system like we are, there may not be a real "prep clinic" Talk to your Ski school director or trainer and find out who went to the Ed core events. Talk to the people that attended that and ask them directly. If I get a chance I'll ask the instructor I have reserved at Sun Valley. She will probably have a good idea.

post #8 of 17
The study guide would most likely be on your Region’s website. I know Eastern and Rocky have them.

I have a website with some exam prep material. I’m in Eastern, but it should be helpful.


Click on Snowsports Exam Prep, unfortunately all I have now is Alpine. Anyone who would like to submit is welcome. Please note: I have not edited submissions for technical content or writing.

In the skiing and teaching section, you’ll find notes from the PSIA national materials. Most of our written exam questions come from the Alpine Technical Manual and the Core Concepts Manual.

Good luck!
post #9 of 17

From Trial and Error I have taken the LII twice, passing the second time with no improvement in my ability, the trick for me was to keep my discussions strictly to the material in the PSIA ATM and CORE CONCEPTS Manualls. If your answers come from the manuals and you know the material and how to apply it, the on-hill exam will be cake for you.

My mistake the first year was to talk about Real-World lessons and successes that I did not relate well to the skill's concept which did not demonstrate well to the examiners that I knew the PSIA dogma.

Look, its a PSIA exam, know their dogma and stick to it, leave your dogma at home and you'll do fine.

Ron White gave a beautiful summary of the teaching portion on-hill, for the MA/Professional Knowledge part, just stick with the manuals.

Cheers! Best of luck!
post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by therusty
Your teaching test is specific to your region. If they don't have an updated exam prep guide, then the best place would be an exam prep clinic.
AMEN! I just took the Level II Teaching Seminar last week. Excellent source of info and picked up a whole new bag of tricks too.

If you have one around you, go take it. They are far better than reading books and PSIA manuals IMO.
post #11 of 17
Great advice above. I good understanding of skill development from the "never ever" to open track parallel is what you need to focus on.

Ask yourself questions like, how do I teach flexion-extension to wedge turners and why?

How do I get wedge turners into wedge christie turns, and what skills do I need to develope in my lesson plan to do it?

What is the main difference between wedge christie and open track, and what activities can I do to lead the skier to it?

When is it time to lead the class to a little steeper terrain and what does the class need to be sucessfull in skiing it in balance and control?

Level II and Level III teaching is about the "where, what, when ,why and how's" of skiing, and your ability to communicate them.

I hope this helps you.


"It's not the destination, but the journey"
post #12 of 17

I passed my L2 exam 1 year ago. In my group most of people failed skiing module and passed teaching module.
For teaching we were given the list of tasks and each examinee selected 2 tasks to teach. I do not remember all specifics about all tasks, they were something like “Teach beginning in bumps”, “Introduction to steeps”, “Teach to skate”, etc. Each examinee presented 2 short lessons. Most people came prepared with lesson plans for each task and they looked at their notes at the chair, examiners did not mind. I did not have any notes and did not really spent much time preparing to teach any specific task, improvisation worked well. It also helped because examiners changed teaching task for some people without much preparation. BTW, when you preparing for teaching module make sure you prepare for demos in lessons and you can demo very clean what you are teaching.
Movement analysis was also big part of the day. I think after reading this forum for a while everyone should be able to easily pass MA part. We discussed efficient and inefficient movements, skiing in general and analyzed random skiers on the hill. Use PSIA terminology – examiners expect it.
I also found a lot of good materials on http://www.psia-rm.org/disc_alpine.htm site - it is different division but good skiing is the same everywhere.
I believe 2 people failed teaching module, I asked examiner privately what the problem was and he says that one “has trouble teaching to pears” and other “did not demonstrated tasks cleanly” – whatever it means.
Skiing module was more difficult in my mind and most people failed. We’ve got bad weather and tricky snow and many people had trouble showing their skills on bad snow. So keep it in mind when you practice and be prepared to ski in less then ideal conditions. I believe the best way to prepare for the tasks is to ski a lot and to ski everywhere, training for specific tasks may be not that efficient. I was preparing for the exam myself without much clinics and I found that I misunderstood some tasks I watched a lot on PSIA video. Specifically it was short swing turn – I was preparing for something different that was demonstrated by examiners. Examiners did it correctly, I did not see all details on video. I heard that different examiners may see and demo task differently so if you see in task demonstration something you did not expect ask a question and try to copy what was demonstrated, even if you prepared for slightly different movement. It worked for me. Areas where examinees had more trouble in my group where bumps and turns on outside ski (tricky on slightly bumpy snow).
Also, I heard that PSIA exams are stressful. Not so for me, I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. Go there expecting to ski with great people and have fun and you’ll improve you skiing and hopefully get silver pin.

Hope this helps in your preparation. Let me know if you have more questions.

post #13 of 17
Originally Posted by Taylormatt
AMEN! I just took the Level II Teaching Seminar last week. Excellent source of info and picked up a whole new bag of tricks too.

If you have one around you, go take it. They are far better than reading books and PSIA manuals IMO.

Can you give us a little more detail on the Teaching Seminar, I'm attending this event at Elk Mt on 1/24 and 1/25.

post #14 of 17
Originally Posted by BillA

Can you give us a little more detail on the Teaching Seminar, I'm attending this event at Elk Mt on the 1/24 and 1/25.

Bill, with any luck, you will get Bob Shostek as your clinician. Elk is his home mtn. This guy is a genius at breaking down teaching and movements to the most minute detail. He's a bit gruff at first and like our entire group, you may feel like he spent the 1st day pulling down the shade and leaving you in the dark...it's his teaching style and during the 2nd day, the shade gets lifted and the lights all come on. I'd take Bob as a clinician or examiner again in a heartbeat now that I understand his approach.

The seminar explains the 4 teaching exam modules: professional knowledge, movement analysis, creative teaching and teaching movements and skills. Once explained what is expected and how they are scored, you will spend time doing mock exams and being given tons of ways to apply it not only in the exam, but in your real life teaching. We essentially covered all the necessary skills and ways to get a student to utilize them to cover the foundations (balance, edging, rotary, pressure and directional movements). It was a very eye opening clinic, because at L1, we are taught and tested on our "instruction" abilities, at L2 it's more of how well can you "teach" those moves in a simplified, yet creative manner that the student will understand every time.
post #15 of 17
In the east, do not use garlands, traverses or single turns. Shostek announces this before teaching exams. While these are valid for teaching, find alternatives to use when prepping for exams. I have also heard many examiners grumble about thumper turns.

My only other advice, this is the producer in me talking, is to practice with the clock. Get used to working through the progression w/ practice time in 10 minutes. This way you won't feel the crunch of time and loose your focus.

A friend of mine wrote this, it may help. It is also posted on my site.

Debbie’s Part 2 Advice
Keep the class moving
-Keep your explanations concise but understandable (avoid repetition other than reminding them of previous segments focus)
-Have the group make at least 8 turns in each segment -- usually it takes one to two turns for someone to get into the rythmn and the idea is to get everyone comfortable and feeling the new movement pattern
-Avoid traverses (slows the class down and is impossible at weekend

Use VAK in your teaching (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic -- see, hear, feel)

-Tell the group what you want them to do, show them what you want them to do, have them do it and feel it -- this works very well if you show them the movement you want them to try while stationary as it is easier for you to point out the effect of the movement pattern on the ski for example.
-Ask the group if they noticed anything as a result of doing the movement
while skiing -- e.g. did you feel that it made the ski easier to turn?
-If using reciprocal (pairing up skiers), ask them what they saw in the skier in front -- you can often lead the answer by phrasing the question: Did you see.....?
-Talk, show, and feel cause and effect -- e.g. I'd like everyone to roll their ankle down the hill, see how this flattens the ski, feel how much easier it is to steer the ski now that it is flat

Use different teaching methods

-Mix up your segments with: ski to and passed me one at a time (sorry can't remember technical term for this), reciprocal skiing (pairing up), circle skiing (note: may not be possible or good idea on a crowded day -- also make sure you tell people not to stop in the middle of an intersecting trail), line skiing (follow each other down in a line), free or open skiing (let people ski down to a predetermined spot taking their own path -- this is good to end with when you bring your progression back to regular skiing as it allows people to experiment with their own turn shapes and can be more fun)
Teach a progression
-Have a beginning, middle, and end
-Everything should build on the element before -- don't mix apples and
Own your teaching progression
-Be able to demo anything you are teaching
-Practice your progressions as many times as you can -- with your real classes, in clinics, or with other willing instructors
Give feedback
-Give both general and individual feedback (only need to give feedabck to
one or two people each time -- not the whole group and don;t forget to give feedback at you beginning stationary segment if appropriate, e.g. le't pretend this is a really heavy door and make the movement of your thigh/femur larger
-Give positive feedback and feedback that suggest how a change might
make the task easier (show that if appropriate), e.g. if you widen your stance you will find it easier to roll your ankles and get the ski flat/on edge. Let's all stand with our feet together and try rolling the ankles, now let's all stand with our feet apart and try it.
Check for understanding
Ask the group if they have any questions
-Ask the group if they see it, feel it, understand it
-Demo to the group and away from the group to make sure they see the
movement pattern you are trying to teach

Be aware of and utilize the responsibility code

-Remind the group to: look uphill and only take off when it is safe to do so, give the skier in front space, stop below the group, stop to the side in a safe place
-Be clear where the group should ski to in each task, e.g. 4 turns after I stop, on the left by the orange fence
post #16 of 17
Shostek! What a guy! He's great, but gruff is definitely a description. I skied with him a lot in the past, but not much recently. He was one of my examiners in my L3 teaching exam back in 95. If you get Bob (although this holds true with any examiner), you better know how to shut up and ski. In my L3 exam, he imposed the 2 minute rule. The first person to "teach" hit the 2 minute mark and he skied away from the group. You should have seen our faces, especially the girl who was doing the teaching : . With all examiners, but especially, Bob, you have to know how to state what you want to do, and do it, with as little talking as possible. Personally, I loved it, because I've always been very comfortable with using simple terms and keeping people moving, but some people feel they need to explain things 12 different ways, every time they say something. It shows a confidence level that comes with experience when yuo know you are right and just go with it.
post #17 of 17
Taylormatt, Thanks for the information, very helpful. Mr. Bob Shostec was the examiner for my Level I, gruff might be an understatement. I'm hoping he'll be the clinician for the event.
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