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  • #46
    The problem is really the stability; it is incredibly important and a 60% pass on a standard exam with only 12 months seatime surely cannot adequately prepare anyone for handling the stability in a practical situation as Chief Officer some 5 or even 10 years later. A clerical error in stability could be the difference between sinking or sailing, so maybe the SQA exams are right there with the incredibly strict marking (negative marking at that, which I believe is one of the few exams other then in Medicine where this occurs), but perhaps there can be another comparable option, however at the moment the void after the Foundation Degree could leave a serious gap in the knowledge of some officers when they reach the dizzy heights of Chief Officer.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Midge View Post
      Just because the MCA has a requirement that those without exemptions must pass two exams at the same time, doesn't mean that its a good way either. Seems daft I would have thought it better to just require a resit of the exam which hadn't reached the grade.
      This was introduced a long time ago because some candidates were concentrating on one exam, passing that, and then coming back to sit the other. It meant they did not need to learn both at once. If you fail one of the Mates/Masters exams, whether you need to resit both depends IIRC on how badly you fail - a narrow miss and you only resit one, a piss poor performance and you must resit both. All introduced because of those gaming the system.

      A bit like sitting MCA written exams abroad - they used to be set in places like Hong Kong for (let's say) 0900 local time, and then in the UK at 0900 local time on the same day. A group of candidates would club together to send one of their number to Hong Kong to sit the exam and report back on the questions so that those sitting in the UK had advance knowledge of the questions.

      College set and invigilated examinations, including HND exams and presumably FD exams, are a lot less robust than those set and invigilated by the MCA/SQA.

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      • #48
        Interesting to know what the pass mark is on stability in the FD and at what level it is done at too, though you are right a gap of 5 10 years is a long time. Though of course someone could take their SQA and not use it for the same length of time. It then boils down to content in a course the level thats done at, testing and its rigour.
        Thereafter retention of knowledge by the individual and using the knowledge in a practical situation frequently enough to keep it 'live' is all you have, both of which varies greatly.
        Everyone will just have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully people have enough professional integrity to keep their knowledge up to date, or learn what they are missing before they do jobs which require the knowledge to keep everyone and their ships safe.

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        • #49
          Thank you Steve, I had got the impression any fail of one paper was a resit of both. If you know it you know it so to speak. No idea how hard the exams are at college or MCA - just a mum with an interest in education, so the topic caught my attention and I looked at the framework docs which mmm could be clearer.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by YoungMariner View Post
            The problem is really the stability; it is incredibly important and a 60% pass on a standard exam with only 12 months seatime surely cannot adequately prepare anyone for handling the stability in a practical situation as Chief Officer some 5 or even 10 years later. A clerical error in stability could be the difference between sinking or sailing, so maybe the SQA exams are right there with the incredibly strict marking (negative marking at that, which I believe is one of the few exams other then in Medicine where this occurs), but perhaps there can be another comparable option, however at the moment the void after the Foundation Degree could leave a serious gap in the knowledge of some officers when they reach the dizzy heights of Chief Officer.
            Just out of interest from others how is the stability education of upcoming junior officers tackled onboard, or is it? Does it vary enormously? I know our company send those nearing or having just received their mates ticket on a course for the onboard stability software we have, generallly then they're eased into it step by step by the current Chief Officer/ Captain until competent. So for example, you start by learning the tanks/ lines/ pump capacities and then go from there really working with the Chief Mate on different loading conditions and so forth. In construction a lot of the loading conditions are worked out from the shoreside in advance and sent forward to the vessel for confirmation by the Chief Mate/ Captain.

            Just interested? I've always really enjoyed stability but just wondering how the learning curve was in the practical sense for others? I can imagine it varies greatly depending on ship type as well.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by YoungMariner View Post
              The problem is really the stability; it is incredibly important and a 60% pass on a standard exam with only 12 months seatime surely cannot adequately prepare anyone for handling the stability in a practical situation as Chief Officer some 5 or even 10 years later. A clerical error in stability could be the difference between sinking or sailing, so maybe the SQA exams are right there with the incredibly strict marking (negative marking at that, which I believe is one of the few exams other then in Medicine where this occurs), but perhaps there can be another comparable option, however at the moment the void after the Foundation Degree could leave a serious gap in the knowledge of some officers when they reach the dizzy heights of Chief Officer.
              At Warsash at least we (FD) also have negative marking following the same mark scheme (or so we're told) as the HND lot will face. Clerical error 10%, principal clerical error 30% and Principal error 50%.

              Our nav exam at the end of this term includes chartwork, celestial nav, tides, and stability. A mark below 65% on any section/question requires a resit of the whole exam.

              Our chartwork teacher went through clerical errors, and I have to say they look incredibly easy to make. Getting the right answer but not showing working is one apparently.

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              • #52
                Midge, the TRB is exact same for everyone, but the FD guys do something called work based learning where they have to produce reports and the likes on board, while the HND guys don't.

                In the OOW SQA's the The exam marks were as follows

                Nav Section A: Which is chartwork practical- 28/40
                Section B: Which is theory to Nav, Celnav and/or sailing- 20/60
                Overall 60% required.

                Stab & Ops Section A: Stability- 16/40
                Section B Ship Op's- 24/60
                Overall 50% required

                Reading this off th back o my SQA cert. I'll scen the whole document and post it for you to see

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                • #53
                  Files too big, but if anyone wants it i'll e-mail it over... it explains the resitting of one or both exams etc

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                  • #54
                    Thank you, Martyboy and Harmless Weasel that is what I was wondering if there were any differences and just what they are to understand how one option exempts and the other doesn't.
                    So HM will be in the cohort of those that will have to go with whatever is next decided by the powers that be, and Martyboy is an 'original' having done it the old way, whose done FD and mates exemption oral anyone got a view on that?
                    I wonder how your choices will impact you over your career and if it will make any real difference over say 10/15 years. Too many variables to evaluate but interesting all the same.

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                    • #55
                      The exemptions aren't for orals, everyone has the torture of those, just for the written exams I don't think it will have much of an impact to be honest, You get some right clowns pass SQA's and some brilliant students in the FD course and vica versa, I'm of the opinion that once you get a certificate of competency it levels the playing field

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                      • #56
                        Whoops my bad writing, I meant someone who has done the FD and is exempt from written exam and has passed the oral exam. Does the oral cover the same 'stuff' as the written exam or is it completely different. That's what I was meaning about the oral part ensuring knowledge on the FD was to the same standard if it is, it just avoids two exams and associated stress for FD students if according to the framework its taught /included.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Midge View Post
                          Whoops my bad writing, I meant someone who has done the FD and is exempt from written exam and has passed the oral exam. Does the oral cover the same 'stuff' as the written exam or is it completely different. That's what I was meaning about the oral part ensuring knowledge on the FD was to the same standard if it is, it just avoids two exams and associated stress for FD students if according to the framework its taught /included.
                          Ahh OK The orals are the MCA's final safeguard. Most people make the joke that as Stability is only 40% pass mark at SQA, you can snap your ship 6 out of 10 times and it's all good, however the MCA's argument is that you need 100% in your orals so all officers are competent.

                          As for content, the Orals can comprise of anything from tying a knot to stability, whatever the examiner is in the mood for. The Syllabus for all the oral exams can be found : http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mgn_069(m).pdf << Here

                          The SQA's are more detailed. An orals exam typically lasts for an hour to 1 and a half hours, were as your SQA's are 3 hours per exam.

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                          • #58
                            Interested to see how the FD is structured compared to the PD in Scotland given they are theoretically supposed to be of a similar level. Someone told me that the only reason its not called a "foundation degree" in Scotland is that because under the Scottish Education system you can't call something a degree unless it is awarded by a university or something. Not sure if that's true or not. Was also told that the PD is actually technically a slightly higher level qualification on the SQF Framework than the FD (FD is level 8 and PD level 9). Again that could be nonsense.

                            Anyway as I said before the PD is made up as follows:

                            Phase 1: Entire OOW syllabus and HNC
                            Phase 3: Entire HND syllabus (chief mate level) and PD modules consisting of leadership, decision making and project management. These are assessed through WBL at sea (running "projects" on board etc)
                            Phase 5: Short courses, orals prep.

                            Anyone on the FD want to say how that compares to what you guys do? I believe there is a lot more coursework than what we do just from what I was told by other cadets I was on ship with.

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                            • #59
                              Great got it sorted in my head thank you. Hopefully all my questions will be useful for others when they do a search.

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                              • #60
                                What route is your young cadet following?? Still got OOW to get through before worrying about the mates stuff :P

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