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Why do oral tests?

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  • Why do oral tests?

    hey guys, just a quick question!

    Why do you have to do oral tests for your exams etc? I cant really think of any other courses you would have to do this in. Im not complaining at all but i would just like to know why you dont just write down the answers?


  • #2
    Re: Why do oral tests?

    its a better way of judging if the person taking the exam is responsible/knowledgeable enough to take a 3rd officers ticket / 4th engineers ticket,
    Life at sea is a life for me


    • #3
      Re: Why do oral tests?

      If there is any hesitation or unease in your answer it doesn't show on paper, especially with questions surrounding boilers, enclosed spaces and such.


      • #4
        Re: Why do oral tests?

        What they said; it's a decent and lowcost test of your technical knowledge and ability to think under pressure, so it (hopefully)weeds out the feather merchants and headless chickens before they can endanger anyone on a ship.
        '... English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't
        just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages
        down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for
        new vocabulary.' - James Davis Nicoll


        • #5
          Re: Why do oral tests?

          I tend to think that exams and courses are generally a waste of time inthemselves, but they are just part of the bureaucracy of life.
          An exam can be crammed for; lucky/unlucky questions can happen; people can be thrown or disrupted by all sorts... as a PhD once said to me... (paraphrasing) "people think I'm intelligent because I've got a PhD, but really I just spent a lot longer doing something tedious and repetitive on low pay than someone else, and was on friendlier terms with a PhD willing to take me on".
          They also said (and they were a senior lecturer at a top uni), that "courses don't prove anything really, they just give a rough idea of where to look for info you might need in future".

          An oral seems like a more effective way to test people... beyond just memorising slightly irrelevant or useless bits of info or techniques... I had a Russian lecturer who did a maths degree in Russia, and he told me that they have oral exams, where they are just given a question and have to answer it off the top of their heads... sounds pretty horrendous, but I guess it's a pretty ruthless filter.

          If anything I wonder whether the academic aspect of the training gets in the way of the more important vocational/competence side... pretty serious when there are real safety issues at stake... when it comes to being on the job, I imagine you are more likely to rate the opinions of someone who can demonstrate that they know what they are on about rather than someone with a bit of paper letters after their name that says they can.

          Given a choice, I'd take a strong performance in an oral with a crappy degree result over scraping through the oral with a good degree result any day... there'll be times when you are the one making the decision to do something, and to be unsure about something would be an absolute nightmare I reckon.
          Emeritus Admin & Founding Member


          • #6
            Re: Why do oral tests?

            Some parts of the Scottish Standard Grade and Scottish Higher exams are tested orally. Again, it is to test your 'on the spot' knowledge, as was the case with the Spanish Orals. They were designed to test your listening and conversational skills on 'surprise' phrases and questions. The English Orals were a bit more lax as in you could prepare for them...write a script, take notes and hold cards during your talk. This obviously was testing us in a different way. Come to think of it, I had to do a very similar oral exam for my HNC in computing later on.

            So to sum it up, oral exams are the best way to assess a candidate's knowledge 'on the spot' and under pressure. They also give a good indication to your listening and following instructions skills. Plus, from the examining body's point of view oral exams are cheaper and quicker as there is no need to be paying teachers and tutors extra money to mark exam papers throughout their summer holidays.
            "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way". --- Captain John Paul Jones, 1778.


            • #7
              Re: Why do oral tests?

              In the past the examiner had your written paper in fornt of him, so he could see what you wrote and take you task on it. but Scotvec do the writtens now, though there are just 4 exam writters for the engineers who write a bunch and hand them in so dont know wher they will be used etc.

              The oral is heald my te MCA and is a good test of on the spot-ness, this guy has an hour (well actually as long as he wants) to decide if he could sail with you and trust you to do your job, wether it be 4th or chief (ditto deck team). You cna also maybe express your self better in the oral, he can get a sense that while maybe some terminology is a bit wonky you know what you are doing and talking about.

              That and it lets you know you are alive.....there is nothing better than comming out with that bit pf paper that says "Pass"....I know someone who crashed thier car (reversed in to a grit bin I heard) got out looked to see no damage and giggled all the way home, smiling like split melon
              Trust me I'm a Chief.

              Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
              Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
              No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.

              Twitter:- @DeeChief


              • #8
                Re: Why do oral tests?

                When you're doing your class IV they will have some interest in your technical knowledge, but they are going to have more interest in your legislation. You could be the best engineer in the world but if you say anything that endangers life, ship or environment (in that order) then you fail.
                I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.


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