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Mock Exam v. Real Exam?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
To all of you who've taken a mock exam, then a real exam, what were the differences? Did you pass one but not the other? Were the mock examiners more or less thorough in testing you than the real ones?

I'm starting to get the feeling from reading posts here that the mock exam may not be an accurate barometer for the real thing. Do you think there's a disconnect, and if so, why?

post #2 of 14
Sue, I think you answer you own question in your question. A mock exam is just that. It is not the real thing. However it is a very valuable training tool to help people perform when the pressure is on. The more you expose yourself to these situations the more comfortable you will become, which ultimatlely leads to performing the way you know you can when the pressure is on ie. a real exam with real results.
post #3 of 14
TO me, a mock exam is just an exam that you can fail, but you can never pass. I was always able to get a sense of the things I would be expected to do at an exam, and of the things I needed particular work on. The disconnect is that a mock exam can never apply the pressure of a real exam.
I always advise people to avoid the mock exam, prepare as well as possible, and take the real exam.

Regards, John
post #4 of 14
I agree with you, John. I've never understood the point of a mock exam. You can get a lot more and better coaching in other environments. I agree that it is good to put yourself on stage and get used to performing under pressure, but video, other clinics, indoor movement analysis sessions, and so on can do the job as well or better. As you point out, you cannot actually pass a mock exam, and being told that you "would have passed had it been real" is meaningless! It also sets up a potentially bad situation if that candidate actually does NOT pass the "real" exam later.

I recommend spending your time and your money on more productive clinics. Have some fun. Work on something in your skiing or teaching, and learn by observing the clinician. Focus on becoming a better teacher and a better skier, and when you feel ready, get your skills validated by attending an exam. If you pass, congratulations! If you don't, then you will have learned as much as or more than you would have learned in a fake exam anyway. Chalk it up to experience, get back to work with the feedback you've received, and have another go when you think you've made the needed improvements.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your responses.

First, let me say that the mock exams at my area are free, and when there are mock exams, there are no other clinics, so I think there's really not much to lose in terms of time or money. Oh, and btw, they're required for all exam candidates.

Supposedly, the goal of the mock exam is to find out whether or not you're ready for the real exam. I think they're supposed to be confidence inspiring. But it seems that lots of people pass the mock exam and then go on to fail the real thing. So I'm wondering if the mock examiners (DCLs & TDs) are being too easy on us, or if lots of people just have performance anxiety. Or maybe there's some other reason.

Sounds like you guys are saying it's performance anxiety. Am I reading you right?
post #6 of 14
Some of it could be that, Sue. I have seen many instances in which an exam candidate approaches a passing performance on a maneuver in a clinic, and gets that feedback, and then becomes disappointed when he or she does not pass that same maneuver on exam day. Some even get angry. "But my clinician said I was getting it," they insist. Hmm....

We must realize that approaching a particular level of performance in the nurturing environment of a clinic, with the coaching and guidance of a good clinician, is NOT the same as "owning" the skills! When you start to get it right under the watchful eye of a clinician, that is when learning BEGINS. It will take much practice to ingrain those movements and develop them to a level where you can apply them consistently, under pressure, in different circumstances, and with only your own kinesthetic feedback to guide you.

I've always said, "Learning BEGINS when you've got it right!"

Mock exams like those you describe are not uncommon, especially as "pretests" to determine whether or not to let instructors go to the real thing. As I've said, I think there are better ways, but you can get something out of virtually every skiing experience. I'm sure they aren't a waste of time, provided they don't just develop false expectations.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #7 of 14
Hey Bob. I did for a while conduct mocks. This was during a period where clinicians at sanctioned prep clinics were hesitant and/or loathed to prognosticate or judge a candidates readiness or preparedness for exam....I believe we are back on track with more honest and candid analysis at the prepratory clinics today.
I do agree that a great clinic is of greater value....but often candidates just want to know...how would you score me....right or wrong.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, Bob, I think you've gotten to the root of my problem, so I might as well admit it. I don't feel like I own the skills. I want to own them, but I'm not there yet. At first, I said I wasn't going to take the exam this year because I didn't totally own the skills. But then I took the mock exam (twice), and the clinicians all said "when you're on, you're really on, so you should take the exam." Also, my competitive nature took over and I found myself unable to resist the challenge. So I sent the ninety bucks off to PSIA-NW. Whether or not I pass, I'll continue working very hard to own those skills and lots of other skills. Level II is just a stepping stone on my journey towards skiing and teaching excellence.

post #9 of 14
Go out and nail it then, Sue! As long as you look at it as a challenge, and a stepping stone, you can't go wrong either way!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #10 of 14
I'd have to say that for the skiing portion mock exams aren't the best. You can get much better feedback, and more of it in a clinic.

But, for teaching I think they are great. In the east you have 15-20 minutes tops to do your thing, and you do it four times. It's much different than teaching a real class, one of the problems being that your "students" don't make a lot of mistakes so the feedback portion is difficult.

I, also, learned a lot from watching other's teaching sessions and took a lot of notes and discussed their sessions at lunch and after.

post #11 of 14
I wish that we had mock exams here at PSIA-Intermountain. While you get great coaching in the clinics, the clinicians never tell you that you have a fatal - but easily fixable - flaw in your skiing. You have to go through the angst and expense of the exam to find that out. Of course, to be effective, the examiners would have to be just as tough in the mock exams as they are in the actual ones.

Best of luck to you!!!
post #12 of 14
Parphrasing an old Scottish golf pro I used to work with:

"Laddie, on tournament days there is a line in the bathroom, ye are trying not to throw up on the first tee, ye don't want people to see your knees knocking, your livelyhood is on the line, it is no longer practice. Practice rounds are nae golf. Understand that, embrace that and ye can succeed."
post #13 of 14
In my experience, I have found exactly the opposite of your expectation of the mock exam being a "confidence inspiring". In fact, I have seen talented pro's, with ample ownership of the skillsets and knowledge necessary to pass, be completely demoralized by this process and the egotistical clinicians who gave them.

If you want an honest opinion of your skills, ask the clinician to be straight with you. But be ready for what ever answer he/she gives you. And if they do not have the capacity to be honest, they should not be leading the training session!

My preference is to give a great clinic/ training session. Any deficiency which can be identified in a mock exam can also be seen during training. And in a less stressful environment where learning can take place....

Good luck on your L2!
post #14 of 14
For level 2, we had no mock exams, but our boss would take us out for evening practise once per week, to work on one demo item.

I shall never forget that when I was warned about looking at my skis, and apparently continued to do it, I found my neck gripped in a vice-like grip and to this day, I do not look at my skis! If only we could teach our guests this way.

I might point out that the resort was one of the larger ones in the US, with a very high PSIA exam pass rate.

[ April 03, 2004, 02:38 PM: Message edited by: ant ]
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