Hey Rusty--Congratulations! 9's and 10's are indeed rare and worthy accomplishments! (In the Rocky Mountain division of PSIA, we score on a 1-10 scale, with "6" being a passing score. A "10" is to the PSIA-RM exam what a "6.0" is in Olympic figure skating--and I'll bet the examiner was not French!)
I am honored that you attribute any of that success to me, but you know perfectly well that it was YOU who did that skiing, Rusty. I had no doubts!
Dchan--Like JohnH says, the exam is likely, even despite your examiner's good intentions, to become more pressured and less "clinic-like" as you go up through Levels 2 and 3. The ability to perform consistently, accurately, and under pressure become increasingly important considerations, especially at Level 3. Level 3 is the "certified" standard of PSIA, so it is rigorous and unforgiving.
All good examiners do their best to keep the pressure as low as possible, and to create a supportive environment that encourages participants to perform their best. But Level 3 demands almost 100% ownership of the movements. The standard would not allow for the candidate to take several attempts before he/she got it right. Like the old Bic pens, at Level 3 it's got to be right "first time, every time"!
So that's not such a comfortable environment. It is not forgiving. And it could be argued that it's not the optimal situation. But I think it is legitimate to demand that level of performance and consistency at Level 3.
Of course, that's not to say that a fall, or a mistake, will end someone's chance for a pin (unlike a gold medal!). We're looking for fundamental movement patterns, ownership of good skiing habits as well as versatility. Mistakes don't count! The REASONS for those mistakes might count, though. If a skier has a stance issue that causes a fall in moguls, for example, that stance issue would be his downfall--not the fall itself!
Anyway, Rusty, congratulations again! I'm sorry I wasn' there. I was down in New Mexico, at Robin's old (and future, Robin?) haunt Angel Fire, for their exams. I am not aware of any "10's" scored down there, in any group, at any level! The highest scores received by anyone in my group (Level 3) were a couple "8"s. Only 2 out of 7 candidates passed the full Level 3 exam in my group, with a third person passing the teaching/technical day but not the skiing day. The other Level 3 group had a similar pass rate. It's not easy!
On to Steamboat for another set of exams....