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2015 Exam Feedback
#1
Anyone brave enough to let the world know what thy thought of the module papers which they sat?
  • Did the questions surprise you?
  • How tough did you think it was?
  • Were the administrative arrangements at your exam centre ok?
  • Are you apprehensive for the long wait before knowing your result?
PJW
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#2
Module 7 at Birmingham
The questions seemed fairly predictable, and at least in my favoured areas no surprise. There was no question on cyber security which I thought would have been in the mix.
I didn't think the question [the ones I chose] unusually tough, just "normally" challenging.
There were many more candidates than the two previous years, generally coped with well as far as I could see; only present for one paper. Had to ask for A3 paper as only A4 had been put out, but that's not a problem really.
I think it is a frustratingly long wait: approaching half the year. I am aware that our examiners are volunteers and do a great job, so don't take it as a complaint. I do wonder what impact on each subsequent year's exam when marking takes so long it must delay preparation of the next paper; perhaps something the examiners could comment on at the next review.
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#3
Sat Mod 1 in Dublin

Layout and structure of the questions seemed different to previous years past papers maybe other candidates will comment, I'm wondering due to the recent increased number of candidates have the papers been tweaked?? I was shocked at the layout, question style and questions for probably the 10 minute reading time and i was sitting panicking a little, however I did get it together and was able to answer 3 questions.

Can't say I'm 100% confident of passing. Answered a question on level crossing risk control using ALCRM, on rail head contamination and railway sanding operations and on risks relating to persons entering railway property to cause damage, I had to make assumptions for every question stating why I was answering it this particular way, I was basically moving it in a direction I knew I could get down safety procedures that I was familiar with.

Was writing continuosly for an hour and a half and managed 17 sheets of A4, its a really long wait to find out the results and plan- hopefully not needed- any resits.

Anyway goodluck to everyone and thanks to Reuben and Peter, if anyone who did Mod 1 wants to put down their opinion I would be interested in reading it.
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#4
I forgot to add the exam invigilator mentioned I think 19 candidiates in Dublin doing Mod 2!!

So we will be lucky to see the exam results this side of Xmas.
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#5
(05-10-2015, 09:00 AM)StrongLifts5x5 Wrote: I forgot to add the exam invigilator mentioned I think 19 candidiates in Dublin doing Mod 2!!

So we will be lucky to see the exam results this side of Xmas.

The letter I received with details of the paper times said to expect results in March.
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#6
(04-10-2015, 10:41 PM)PJW Wrote: Anyone brave enough to let the world know what thy thought of the module papers which they sat?
  • Did the questions surprise you?
  • How tough did you think it was?
  • Were the administrative arrangements at your exam centre ok?
  • Are you apprehensive for the long wait before knowing your result?

My sat was 1 & 5 this year. I was struggling to study the exam both with tremendous material due to too much undigestable information. After long long time assessment for objectives, I came up with the chosen topics to be studied from suggestion from Peter which is a good help and logical guess technique.

My preparation on Module 1 was as follows:
SPAD investigation
Project Life Cycle
7-Stage process
ALARP principle
Risk identification, assessment, reduction, mitigation
Human mistakes
ESM Study

Module 5:
AC/DC TC Calculation
Fault Tree Signal/Point
Point Operation Lock/Drive/Detect Mechanism
Axle counter
SPAD
Maintenance Regime

1st bullet "Did the questions surprise you?"
Mod1, surprised I could do well on my thoughts at least I could have 14-page attempt to express my ideas on 3 questions.

Mod5, I was a bit shocked; I could not find TC calc. Luckily I found point mechanism and fault tree and those are my plan to do it. 12-page answer on 3 questions would be not bad for my score. 

2nd bullet "How tough did you think it was?"
It was not too tough from my point of view if I compared it with last year questions.

3rd bullet "Were the administrative arrangements at your exam centre ok?"
BKK Exam center was good. There were about 7 people attempting. Actually it is best for us not to travel away from Thailand which is cheaper if not located in BKK.

4th bullet "Are you apprehensive for the long wait before knowing your result?"
I am now being frustrated for long wait. If it is the long wait and the result does not disappoint me, I would be extremely happy. If not, I would get my mind out of it for a while and restart perhaps soon.

Last, I would like to thank people again especially PJW, Peter, Jerry1237, Dorothy and etc. in this webboard for their contributions, example answers, and people who have taught me in BKK.

Best regards
Arnut
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#7
I sat modules 2 & 3 in London:

(04-10-2015, 10:41 PM)PJW Wrote: Did the questions surprise you?
Not particularly, although the Level Crossing in Mod 2 was a bit of a nasty surprise, and I was a little surprised there wasn't an aspect sequence question in Mod 3.

(04-10-2015, 10:41 PM)PJW Wrote: How tough did you think it was?
I was fairly happy with mod 3 and the range of questions to choose from. My only issue is that I quickly ran out of time on module 2 (maybe partially a little bit of poor management), and I've since realised how much I may well have left out.

(04-10-2015, 10:41 PM)PJW Wrote: Were the administrative arrangements at your exam centre ok?
Yes, once we'd found the building!! The only down side was that there was a big queue for lunch in the cafe which left just enough time to get there, eat and get back in time for the session after lunch.

(04-10-2015, 10:41 PM)PJW Wrote: Are you apprehensive for the long wait before knowing your result?
Definitely!!

I'd just like to add a big thanks to everyone that's posted help/guidance on this forum. Even if I've failed module 2, I wouldn't have got anywhere near whatever mark I might get without this guidance, and especially PJW's study guide which has been invaluable given my inability to have attended any of this year's study groups and missing out on an AST course due to a change of job.

Glenn
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#8
(05-10-2015, 06:46 AM)dorothy.pipet Wrote: I do wonder what impact on each subsequent year's exam when marking takes so long it must delay preparation of the next paper; perhaps something the examiners could comment on at the next review.

I think there used to be a bit of a lull before setting the next paper and what has happened is that gap has been filled. However I think you are correct that there are some significant effects-
a) the availability to have contact with the examiners within that time window is much reduced
b) as you have pointed out separately the relevant dates for any appeals to be heard will have to be updated until AFTER the results are published!
c) the holding of the Exam Review in late Jan / early Feb was good timing to kick off the following year's study.  The first few months of the New Year in the UK are generally a good time to get started (inspirational New Year resolutions, the start of a "new term" at work, dark evenings with less incentive to do other things, post Christmas financial squeeze similarly restricting ability to spend money so overall studying becomes a more attractive proposition that it is later on in the year).  For an exam in October then I feel that for many people the preparation should be something like Feb/March/April- reading and assimilating to get good awareness of topics, May/June/July- start attempting to answer questions in parallel with more study directed at these particular questions, August/September- practicing answers as much as possible "closed book".  Starting later is detrimental, yet until one knows the result of last year's exam then may be very uncertain whether should be studying for a different module(s) or redoing the previous so this certainly presents a practical problem; even worse if trying to organise a Study Group (as whereas an individual might have a feeling whether they have passed or not, trying to get a group consensus in such circumstances is likely to be quite difficult.
Hence overall I think that it might actually have an even  greater effect on the students rather than examiners.
PJW
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#9
(05-10-2015, 08:45 AM)StrongLifts5x5 Wrote: Sat Mod 1 in Dublin

Layout and structure of the questions seemed different to previous years past papers maybe other candidates will comment, I'm wondering due to the recent increased number of candidates have the papers been tweaked?? I was shocked at the layout, question style and questions for probably the 10 minute reading time and i was sitting panicking a little, however I did get it together and was able to answer 3 questions. 

 ....I had to make assumptions for every question stating why I was answering it this particular way, I was basically moving it in a direction I knew I could get down safety procedures that I was familiar with.

I very much doubt that the question style has changed because of any anticipation re the number of candidates for the following reasons
a) examiners would not know at the time of setting (although of course they may have anticipated a trend from last year, but I believe that even quite late in June the number of bookings was quite a bit down from what was expected- the internet booking regime may perhaps be more subject to a last minute surge),
b) they gave no clue at the previous Exam Review
However it may well be that there is a new examiner, or they have rotated around modules, and I believe typically that each examiner for a module (except mod2) tends to contribute a proportion of the questions that can get discussed, refined, tweaked by the whole group.  It is possible that you have detected a new original author for some of the questions perhaps.

Absolutely fine to state assumptions, providing you were not doing so excessively to attempt to flavour the question to change it to match what you wanted to talk about!  Worries me a little bit that your answers may have been to narrow and specific quoted detail than as broad as they should have been.
PJW
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#10
(05-10-2015, 12:04 PM)asrisaku Wrote: [quote pid='5988' dateline='1443994904']
My sat was 1 & 5 this year. I was struggling to study the exam both with tremendous material due to too much undigestable information.


1st bullet "Did the questions surprise you?"
Mod1, surprised I could do well on my thoughts at least I could have 14-page attempt to express my ideas on 3 questions.

Mod5, I was a bit shocked; I could not find TC calc. Luckily I found point mechanism and fault tree and those are my plan to do it. 12-page answer on 3 questions would be not bad for my score. 

2nd bullet "How tough did you think it was?"
It was not too tough from my point of view if I compared it with last year questions.

3rd bullet "Were the administrative arrangements at your exam centre ok?"
BKK Exam center was good. There were about 7 people attempting. Actually it is best for us not to travel away from Thailand which is cheaper if not located in BKK.

4th bullet "Are you apprehensive for the long wait before knowing your result?"
I am now being frustrated for long wait. If it is the long wait and the result does not disappoint me, I would be extremely happy. If not, I would get my mind out of it for a while and restart perhaps soon.



The Study Packs are currently being reviewed; I'd be interested whether it was content in them or other reference material which you considered  "undigestable information".  Was it just the quantity of material, was it because you felt that there was a steep learning curve because the content was something quite different from what you encounter everyday, or was it that you felt it was badly written?

Mod5.  I am not at all surprised that there was not a Track Circuit calc question this year; indeed given what the examiners had said at the \exam Review for 2014 then I think I would have been surprised if there had been.

Glad that you did find questions you felt you could do; seem to have written a fair bit, so let's hope it is accurate and relevant.  If it seemed similar difficulty to last year then that at least is suggesting some consistency from year to year, so if you pass you pass and if you don't then at least you won't feel cheated.

Study centre.  I often think that the UK candidates don't know how lucky they are compared with foreign candidates who often feel lucky if there is an exam centre in their country (OK the Welsh do have to cross the Severn to get to Bristol!).

Wait for results.  Certainly give yourself several months away from it, but yes you may have to think about it again before the results are published.  A suggestion might be to start getting into the swing of things by looking at mod7 material; it would actually be of some value to both mod1 and mod5 and hence you'd be learning something new which is always beneficial and if you do need to resit one or other of your modules then you can return to them but having got a bit different perspective that is bound to enhance your answering of those modules.
PJW
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