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Exam coverage
#1
BedfordBoy Wrote:there are also questions that would really only suit those from a maintenance background and others that would only suit those from a testing background.

, I think most people in this industry learn to express important information very concisely......they feel a bit intimidated by the essay type questions.

I hope I'm not coming across as too negative - so far I've done well at the modules I've attempted, but I definitely have some frustrations so I thought I'd just get some thoughts out there. Back to the study now...

I was kind of joking about walking out of the exam, too.

Module 5 is of course one of the more difficult ones for someone with only design experience. The whole point of the exam is to encourage a wide appreciation of all elements of signal engineering; hence it is designed to deliver an output, not to make it easily do-able by someone with any specific background. It does tend to be much easier for a designer to get some outside experience (e.g. correlation, design cover on testing jobs or even as a module 5 assistant tester) than it is for a maintenance person to get design experience. This is particularly true of signalling the layout, so they find module 2 extremely difficult and a hard subject to learn from books.

One of the problems of the last 15 years on the mainline UK railway is that it training out of one's specialism has become more difficult. It is partially a matter of needing an enlightened employer, but it certainly can be done; I worked for a small consultancy and yet we did manage to get our graduates some placements with maintenance, testing etc with other employers and in return introduced some of their employees to what we did. I believe the IRSE is attempting to encourage and make more formal such "exchanges"; however people in positions such as yourself can help by drawing your manager's attention to the existence of the current problem. I am afraid (and this goes both for students and their employers) that there is generally far more interest in "getting something out for own benefit" than "putting things in" to the common pot.

I agree that many are intimidated by the essay questions; I'd very much disagree though that people are used to expressing themselves succinctly. Also leaving the pen and paper out of it, try running a discussion group and you'll often find that there is very often a deadly silence. Try and drag information out and you often discover significant ignorance.

I don't underestimate the difficulty but it can be overcome; I have helped someone who rarely leaves a design office, is not a native speaker of English and would often take 5 minutes to read a single question and still not get all the nuances within it- a definite challenge but with hard work it was overcome.

I am pleased that you have aired your views; I don't consider them negative, rather just a bit too fixed upon your specific viewpoint; I expect once you have finished the exam by a year or so and look back then you'll probably be able to take a more balanced view. It;d be good to get some discussion going on the Forum - but probably AFTER the coming exam.

And no, I didn't really think you were intending to lead a walk-out ......
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#2
I have never been to a design office, conducted maintenance or been involved with signalling R&D but I passed the exam (Mods 1, 2, 3 and 7 in one year). My role has always been systems engineering related to signalling and comms. There is sufficient scope within all the papers for any professional engineer in the S&T, or related, industries to be able to pass the exam.

The exam is collated by volunteers. Their time is limited. The exam take preperation, domain knowledge and a good exam technique plus signallers are in a far better position than comms bunnies! If the exam were easy everyone would do it and entry to the IRSE would become like that of other institutions.

Jerry
Le coureur
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