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2017 Exam Review
#1
This Thursday, 22nd at IMechE Westminster.
See details on IRSE website as you should register first to be able to attend.
http://www.irse.org/events/public/eventd...ItemID=606

If you come, just don't just sit there listening to the examiners; ask questions. 
Challenge them.  This is your annual chance.

If you can't attend in person and you have something to say or to ask, post it here before Thursday and I'll ask (or get it asked) on your behalf.

I want to know why
  • the mod 5 results dropped so alarmingly this year,
  • why the website says nothing about acquiring feedback re Near Miss results and indeed why more  refined information isn't available for the candidates and/or their sponsors who did better or worse,
  • what has happened to the model answers we were promised,
  • whether IRSE think the sponsorship system is working as anticipated,
  •  ............
but it shouldn't be about what I want to know; it should be about what you want to know.

Be pro-active and ask!
PJW
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#2
Producing sets of model answers for each module would give candidates clearer understanding of what the examiners are actually looking for and what points can be gained.
City and guides produce a book called "exam success" (not sure if they still do or not and name is depending on your exam) which highlights the general syllabus, model answers and tips about style and what they are looking for along with a couple of past papers to attempt so you can see the questioning content and delivery.
The IRSE need to promote the modules more, and actually sound like they want people to come and expand their knowledge.
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#3
PJW,

Thank you for your continued efforts in supporting the exam and those willing to better themselves.
Le coureur
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#4
(18-02-2018, 03:27 PM)steak Wrote: Producing sets of model answers for each module would give candidates clearer understanding of what the examiners are actually looking for and what points can be gained.
City and guides produce a book called "exam success" (not sure if they still do or not and name is depending on your exam) which highlights the general syllabus, model answers and tips about style and what they are looking for along with a couple of past papers to attempt so you can see the questioning content and delivery.
The IRSE need to promote the modules more, and actually sound like they want people to come and expand their knowledge.

They are certainly reluctant, with good reason, to reduce the exam to a "this is the range of questions that can be asked, here are model answers to each which you can learn them all, then regurgitate whichever happens to be asked in the next year' exam.  I do however agree that there should be some more guidance.

Also need to recognize that "the IRSE" are just people - almost all of whom have a day-job.  There is no large central organization.  In the past when the Younger Members was called "Student and Graduate" section, those who had passed the examination (Graduates) helped those still on that journey (Students)- this happens less now.  having said that we do have a healthy number of ex-students who regularly help deliver the annual Signet event and indeed it is great when people who were active on this Forum as students then become the people who in their turn assist others; I am afraid that this is not as common as one might wish.  Similarly I do feel that there are many experienced MIRSE who could become involved, but generally don't.

You are never going to get the "City & Guilds" book, but your comment has reminded me of something else to add to my list for Thursday- what has happened to the re-issue of the mod 5 study Guide?
PJW
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#5
(19-02-2018, 02:10 PM)PJW Wrote:
(18-02-2018, 03:27 PM)steak Wrote: Producing sets of model answers for each module would give candidates clearer understanding of what the examiners are actually looking for and what points can be gained.
City and guides produce a book called "exam success" (not sure if they still do or not and name is depending on your exam) which highlights the general syllabus, model answers and tips about style and what they are looking for along with a couple of past papers to attempt so you can see the questioning content and delivery.
You are never going to get the "City & Guilds" book, but your comment has reminded me of something else to add to my list for Thursday- what has happened to the re-issue of the mod 5 study Guide?

Whatever the date on the mod5 Study Pack may claim, it is still fundamentally the old one of more than a decade old.  Given the thrust of the feedback from the mod5 examiners regarding he questions going to become more forward looking and less based on details of traditional solutions, then it is now very badly overdue.

The Past Paper situation of what is available on the IRSE's website does vary quite a bit between modules, with module 3 being particularly good recently (with some 2017 sample answers just uploaded) and lots for module 1 but not very recent.  You are correct though- NOTHING for mod5.  That does need addressing I rattled the cage a bit, but I have the feeling that I'll have to be persistent.

I have attached my notes of the event.  In time the IRSE ought to be placing the video recording on their website to hear the examiners first hand- and it was great that we had a "full house" this time; however there is sometime a rather long delay before this is undertaken and I think it goes in the "members area" so wouldn't be available to those not yet paying a membership subscription.  Hence this will have to serve for now.


Attached Files
.docx   PJW_Notes_of_2017 IRSE Exam_Review_22.02.17.docx (Size: 1.76 MB / Downloads: 38)
PJW
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#6
steak, I wish to add a little something. The following is my understanding of the exam.

The exam is a vocational one but does require a little academic skill in learning how to write what someone knows down onto paper. Therefore, the longer a candidate is in an appropriate role, the more chance they will be able to get a decent result with some (read a lot) of practice. For me, model answers can also be a negative thing; at too many events, people have attended expecting to get spoon fed answers verbatim whereas the examiners are looking for a candidate to explain the principles behind their answer; the nuance of a question may change with time but a model answer may not! There is plenty of support to help candidates such as the study days, study groups, this website, peers, training, experience, mentors... if only more people took advantage.

Those with hands on roles need to practice answering questions just as much as office bound people need to get out and experience real World issues. The biggest mistake many make is either taking the exam too early in their career or not preparing suitably for the exam (or both). It is hard, it is supposed to be as it is one of the things that can help support a membership application for the Institution.

Could the IRSE do more - yes they could - but as usual it relies on small numbers of people doing lots of additional work in their free time and, controversially, it could also have negative effects on the exam itself. There is no clear answer but you are doing the right things to help you help yourself in the exam.
Le coureur
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#7
My point I was getting at is the IRSE could be a bit more "user friendly" in general.
Compare the IET website to the IRSE website......I still find it difficult navigating my way around after using it for a few years.
If the IRSE were to publish a booklet in the format similar to the city+guilds exam success (which only really starts you off, bit like the IRSE study guides but a bit more user friendly for exam purposes) they could gain extra revenue........

Or maybe with their permission........... and a cut of the profits........ maybe some else could produce it  Wink

I understand the points you are making. I agree I don't think it would be a good idea to spoon feed candidates the answers and the whole point of the exam is actually to make you learn about the railway as a whole system, not just how your job role fits, the history of the railway, why and how each component was changed and what can be done in the future to improve it. 
I certainly didn't think about any of this till I've actually just started reading, studying, attempting past papers for the module 5 (so maybe it works if i pass....yes, if not ....... NO Smile )  In my defence I've only to tansferred to the industry 5 years ago and was busy gaining a couple of licences first!! 

I can't believe how little the resources are used on this site. Looking at the posting dates there is massive gaps for instance in submitting past paper attempts, surely you would be doing little and often if you were studing for an exam?? Was/is there a reason for this or am i missing something, newbie error?

PJW thanks:-Agree past graduates should get more involved in helping with past paper attemptsm and in general instead of what seems like the usual ones and perhaps broaden the reviews and opinions of answers given.

When looking for resources for the module 5, I get the distinct impression there is little support, which given the massive area this covers, is a bit disappointing. Hopefully this will be addressed before I opt for the exam in 2019..........hopefully well before i sit the exam actually, need all the help I can get.

Again thanks for your support and help.
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#8
PJW :- Given the thrust of the feedback from the mod5 examiners regarding he questions going to become more forward looking and less based on details of traditional solutions, then it is now very badly overdue.

Is this true? Should I be looking at incorporating new technology and solutions into my answers when ever suitable?

I was actually wondering about this for my technique. Should i try to incorporate:- One question answer traditionally, one question answer current events and one answer answer with new/future/tech/solutions or mix and match in answers to questions where applicable?

Might be the difference between pass and fail............. Rolleyes
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#9
(01-03-2018, 03:48 PM)steak Wrote: My point I was getting at is the IRSE could be a bit more "user friendly" in general.
Compare the IET website to the IRSE website......I still find it difficult navigating my way around after using it for a few years.
If the IRSE were to publish a booklet in the format similar to the city+guilds exam success (which only really starts you off, bit like the IRSE study guides but a bit more user friendly for exam purposes) they could gain extra revenue........

Or maybe with their permission........... and a cut of the profits........ maybe some else could produce it  Wink

I understand the points you are making. I agree I don't think it would be a good idea to spoon feed candidates the answers and the whole point of the exam is actually to make you learn about the railway as a whole system, not just how your job role fits, the history of the railway, why and how each component was changed and what can be done in the future to improve it. 
I certainly didn't think about any of this till I've actually just started reading, studying, attempting past papers for the module 5 (so maybe it works if i pass....yes, if not ....... NO Smile )  In my defence I've only to tansferred to the industry 5 years ago and was busy gaining a couple of licences first!! 

I can't believe how little the resources are used on this site. Looking at the posting dates there is massive gaps for instance in submitting past paper attempts, surely you would be doing little and often if you were studing for an exam?? Was/is there a reason for this or am i missing something, newbie error?

When looking for resources for the module 5, I get the distinct impression there is little support, which given the massive area this covers, is a bit disappointing. Hopefully this will be addressed before I opt for the exam in 2019..........hopefully well before i sit the exam actually, need all the help I can get.

Have you compared the IET membership numbers, fees, workforce? The IRSE is a VERY different institution so please don't expect us to do as others do. 
This forum is entirely done by volunteers, some of whom put a HUGE amount of their own time, unpaid, into helping you and others succeed - they don't have to.  

The massive gaps in posting dates are because you are unusual (but of course completely right) in starting early and working steadily for the exam. It may also be that some years candidates have better access to study groups and so use that more than the forum. In some threads it may look like there was never a reply, but in many cases people have received their feedback through other routes.

So keep going - you haves started well. And when you have done the exams come back and help us improve.
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#10
steak, this website being underutilised... couldn't agree more. Free support and guidance but instead people choose to lurk and wonder why the exam is so difficult to pass!

Practice, practice, practice which can be assisted by study groups, peer review, attending study days etc. You are an example of someone setting realistic goals, starting early enough and doing the right things so kudos.

I agree wholeheartedly about learning the railway system. Those of us who no longer deem ourselves young still learn something new on a daily basis so for the exam, we should be learning specifics to answer the relevant module's questions (which from my point of view is mostly vocational anyhow with some top up learning especially about how to answer questions for this exam).
Le coureur
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