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28 Jan 2010 Review of 2009 Exam
#1
See attachment for details of YM AGM, technical meeting and exam review.


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.doc   Jan 10 YM AGM notice1.doc (Size: 59 KB / Downloads: 115)
PJW
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#2
First an apology to anyone who felt that I and other not-so-young members asked too many of the questions of the examiners. I was certainly conscious of this, but to be honest there did not seem to be that many YM keen to ask anything. I certainly hope that we didn't deter anyone but were rather asking the sort of things that students wanted to know but didn't feel like asking. In some ways those of us who are somewhat older can be more challenging to the examiners because we know them better and we can make a point which doesn't run the risk of sounding like personal special pleading as it might if it came from a current student.
In particular on this occasion I needed to ask questions on behalf of students in India. Having spent a few days with a group of some 70 students earlier this month, I believe that there are some real issues to face and I had promised that I'd raise with the IRSE. I intend to talk to various people individually when I can, but I needed to take this opportunity of the formal Exam Review to make the concerns public at the appropriate juncture.

Anyway find attached my take on the Exam Review meeting.
I expect the IRSE will be publishing official minutes in due course but this may take some time and are likely to be less detailed in certain areas- I hope that in the meantime at least people find my notes useful. If anyone finds errors or realises that I have missed anything important out, please add your information / comments here and I'll update.


Attached Files
.doc   PJW Notes 28 Jan 10 Exam Review.doc (Size: 218.5 KB / Downloads: 86)
PJW
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#3
(31-01-2010, 11:53 PM)PJW Wrote: Anyway find attached my take on the Exam Review meeting.


Thanks Peter for taking the time to do this - and doing it so soon after the meeting.

I was not able to attend the YM proceedings last week, so this early feedback through the forum is much appreciated.

As some will probably know by now, my exam intent is with Modules 1 4 6 and 7. I think this is the first time I have studied this table ...

Numbers getting grades M1 M2 M3 M4 M5 M6 M7 Total
Distinction 1 1 0 0 2 0 0 4
Credit 2 10 7 0 3 2 2 26
Pass 24 28 20 1 20 0 14 107
Near Miss 15 10 11 1 4 0 2 43
Fail 36 9 41 0 12 1 7 106

... for any exam year.

I am not struck not so much by the results, but by the very very low take up of Module 4 ... is there really that little interest ? Maybe this is chickens and eggs ... no study group -> no interest -> etc [see later].

Can I ask what might seem a silly question ? Apart from it being a higher level of pass, does a ''credit'' mean you get credited with something that can be used to offset something else ? Or does it just indicate a pass worthy of credit ?

QUOTE
Background reading such as
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#4
(02-02-2010, 10:09 PM)nicklawford Wrote: [quote='PJW' pid='1158' dateline='1264978401']

Anyway find attached my take on the Exam Review meeting.

Quote:I am not struck not so much by the results, but by the very very low take up of Module 4 ... is there really that little interest ? Maybe this is chickens and eggs ... no study group -> no interest -> etc [see later].

Partly I think that there are relatively few communications engineers within the IRSE, some peope get exemption from mod 4 and mod 6 due to their university degrees. Yes VERY few sit these module and thus the results swing wildly from 0% to 100% pass, perhaps via 50%, 33%, 67% but no other values!

Quote:Can I ask what might seem a silly question ? Apart from it being a higher level of pass, does a ''credit'' mean you get credited with something that can be used to offset something else ? Or does it just indicate a pass worthy of credit ?

It is only a grade of Pass and does not help you off-set anything else. It does get published and you get the satisfaction hat you comfortably passed; unless you are aiming for Thorrowgood, it is of no actual value. Similarly Distinction, but it is of course a good feeling o get one, particularly if few ohers are awarded.


Quote:Model answers
When registering for the exam students now receive a Study DVD which does include certain such answers
For some reason I am under the impression that there is no DVD for modules 4 and 6 ?? Is this right ?? (see later)

You are right, there is precious little I think for mod 4 or mod 6 on the Stufy DVD- just some Past papers I think. I also think that a few people are slowly beavering away to try to improve the situation.


Quote:Module 1
Some discussion took place whether extending module 1 to be 90 minutes with the candidate being instructed to attempt 3 questions would make for a better module a

90 min instead of 60 min WRITING ?

Won't this accentuate the writing problem and impact negatively on the whole day if taking into account the earlier comment about exam strain and writing ?

Absolutely; that is why the solution is not obvious; is the cure worse than the disease? My personal view would be that more would be gained than lost but I can see the opposite argument. If I were making the rules myself I think that I'd significantly change the compulsory paper; I'd make it more of a knowledge test and make candidates answer lots of short answers, the idea being to prove familiar over wide range. Although in general I don't think much of them, I even think that there may be a role for "multiple choice" type questions, certainly very short answers such as lists of items. The problem would be setting the questions to be fair to candidates from all environments- specific questions are ok for a particular railway, but how do you make them work for everybody?

Quote:As I was not there I do not know what else might have been said about study groups for Modules 4 and 6.

Nothing I am afraid; it is a shame that you couldn't make the evening. I feel that many mainstream signal engineers ought to know more about comms and therefore availability of study material and hopefully also some specific vents would be very beneficial. If a group does emerge for 2011 I'd be interested as useful CPD for myself
PJW
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#5
Peter's notes are comprehensive and a fair reflection of what was said. Whilst afterwards there were comments about the take-over of the not-so-young members, those that did want to speak did ask questions.

Personally I was there out of curiosity having sat the exams in 2009. From my own perspective having listened to the examiners and to other candidates a lot of the issues surround preperation - or the lack of it. Perhaps by posting here I'm preeching to the converted though!

Read the exam reviews, decide and state exactly the practice you are using where appropriate and submit practice papers when the oppurtunity arises. If you do them under exam conditions you will get a real flavour of how you are doing. The feedback I recieved from Peter was invaluable - thanks again.

Finally, to prove even the examiners aren't perfect either, both the Mod 5 candidates that got Distinctions didn't do the TC question, if you catch my drift!

Dan
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