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Phase one struggles

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  • Phase one struggles

    Evening all,

    I’m currently towards the end of phase 1 in my engineering cadetship, and I’m really struggling with the academic side.

    I’ve explained to my tutors and training company my concerns, but they all seem very relaxed and not too bothered about it.

    I’m struggling to get the required 40% in Electrics, Maths, and Science. It appears I’m going to sea no matter what for phase 2.

    Does anyone have any experience of failing end tests?
    Can you be back-phased?
    How many lives do you have?

    I understand training companies can pull the plug, so I’m prepared to self fund if required. It’s honestly my dream to have a EOOW ticket, it’s just the academic stuff ain’t sticking!

    Apologies for the negative post, I’m just seeing what is a worst case scenario.

  • #2
    We had people fail things in phase 1 and they resat it in phase 3 and had no issue. Nobody got sacked or put back a phase for struggling, that’s for sure, and we had 60 cadets on our engineer’s intake.

    Just keep at it, you’ll get there like many others who struggled.

    The single best thing for help on electrics and maths is the likes of Khan Academy online - it’s 100% free and has great videos from great teachers teaching everything from age 4 numeracy up to degree level maths and electrics. Use your phase 2 to build yourself up using these kind of resources, and enter phase 3 a bit stronger and more confident.

    For assistance on basics of electrics I found the YouTuber “Engineering Mindset” great for explaining everything a marine engineer needs to know about electrical theory, he goes from what a volt is all the way to advanced power factors and motor theory etc.

    You’re not going to get dropped or anything, just be sure of that. Ask your tutors if you can do extra lessons in down time with them as this is what they did at Shields for those who needed it when I was there.

    Worst case you’ll sit those exams again in phase 3 and you’ll have tonnes of time to prepare yourself for them at sea. None of the exams you sit in the cadetship are you fail = you’re sacked. So long as you’re showing the correct attitude and are making the staff aware of your situation you are safe.

    If you have any bright sparks who are friendly enough on your course with you, ask if they can spare a few hours helping you. We had a few that did that for the rest of us and they were a great aid.

    Check out Khan Academy and Engineering Mindset, and don’t worry about losing this opportunity. Good luck, you’ll make it like the rest of us! I felt like this in thermodynamics in phase 3 and got myself worked up, I went on to be a perfectly good engineering officer at sea.


    • #3
      What agibbs98 said is the best advice.

      Don't get yourself too worked up (wayyy easier said than done I know..).

      There's probably a reason why your company/college etc are fairly relaxed. They will have heard this a million times and know the score.

      I struggled a bit and got myself worked up too (it's natural). Just work the problem, and you'll be alright.

      Good luck for sea phase and the rest!


      • #4
        agibbs98 riker Thank you Gentlemen, I really appreciate it!


        • #5
          Hi Mike I used to work at one of the college's. The reason they are relaxed is they get money for each student they have, the same with your sponsor. We were never allowed to remove people from cadetships as the college would lose money.

          I recommend you follow up with Gibbs advice about Khan academy, and really try and pass these exams as soon as possible.

          If you struggle with phase 1 your will most likely find your last phase really difficult.

          By the sounds of things a lot of work and effort will be required from you, so take time to consider your options including other career paths


          • #6

            Let me answer this from 2 points of view - 1 - as a seafarer and 2 - from the point of view of a cadet recruiter / shipping company / college.

            1 - I agree with what has been mentioned above by the others, but I have a slightly different take on what you should do.

            Don't worry too much about this. Meaning - be concerned, but don't go into panic mode. No need to ring the general emergency alarm, but do inform the CE that there is a UMS alarm that needs to be attended. A bit like a pump casing temperature getting too hot .You do need to do something, but no need to wake up the entire ship.
            A little sleepless nights are ok - they give you that much required impetus to focus yourself.

            And remember - you will not need most of this on board the ship!
            But you do need to pass the exams so that you can get your CoC.

            So ask your college lecturers what they think you should do. Pester them till they give your advice. Then work hard and smart to pass the exams.
            There lecturers aplenty on most engineering topics on you tube - use the ones that make sense to you most. They have been posted by the likes of Khan academy + engineerign colleges across the world + marine engineers across the world. Choose what makes sense to you / whose teaching and explaining style you find understandable.
            Different teachers work for different people for different topics.

            To borrow a saying from one of my oolleagues who also happens to be a mother of three - Exams in merchant navy is like that unavoidable delivery that the women in our lives have to go through. It is always troublesome, even when it is the fourth one. You just have to finish with it asap.

            2 - See 1 above.


            • #7
              Just to answer your three specific questions -

              Does anyone have any experience of failing end tests?
              = Yes - I know five cadets who failed some of their exams. Two are now in their phase 5, one is now a 3rd Engineer, one is a 2nd Officer and one is a 3rd Officer.

              Can you be back-phased?
              = Rarely. But please see below for repeating certain subjects in class.

              How many lives do you have?​
              = Every university / college has different rules. I think Solent University (Warsash Maritime School) allows 1 or 2 resits, but please check this with someone more knowledgeable than me. Ask your tutor, as your uni / college will have its own rules on this. Again, from my understanding, in Warsash, the 1 or 2 mentioned above do not require you to pay anything more, but if you still flunk, you have to pay for any further resits. If you joined ship, then you have to do the resits + pass them before you can be allowed join the next phase class. I know at least 2 students who did not pass specific subjects, so they had to sit for that particular subject with one more cohort (the entire 4 months). .

              Which college are you in?

              In other words, your bigger loss is your time.

              That means - you do exactly what you do on board. Find every possible way to learn those difficult topics and pass the exams. Just because I cannot read English well does not mean I dont read the instruction and user manuals of critical equipment on board - I have to find a way to address this - for myself. I think most of us may have been pretty bad at certain topics as cadets - we all ended up finding our own ways to deal with these, as that was the only way we would be able to get ahead in life (most of the time, this means something practical like getting one more stripe on the shoulder --> and more importantly, the higher salary that it brings).

              Strangely, situations like the one you currently find yourself in help you find your own strengths that you too may not have been aware of.
              Just keep chipping at it - like the stone cutter or the guy with the axe - or the guy running the marathon - and I wish you all the very best.

              Its just one of the many hurdles that are a part of life.