Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Learn from the Examiner's how to pass OCS!

Don't waste time - it's vital you make the most of this last period before the exams start

With this in mind, I am going to share with you the key points from the latest OCS Examiner's Report - learning lessons from those who mark and assess the exam themselves could be all the difference between a pass and a fail this November. For every sitting I analyse the report and to share the key findings, and there is almost always one or two points which resonate with a lot of students. 

The examiner's get tired of having to repeat themselves on where students are going wrong, so here are some of the key themes from the latest OCS report so you do not make the same mistakes:

Applying knowledge

An early point made in the report was about candidates being able to apply their knowledge: “In some tasks it was clear that candidates had knowledge of a particular area, but were unable to apply it effectively to the case study. It is important to prepare for this examination by studying previous case studies and practice putting knowledge into context by answering past questions.”

Having the knowledge is very important - but it how you use it that is more important. Make sure you always answer the question directly and are always referring back to the industry, examiner's want to know your answer is relevant to the question.

Don't waste your time with introductions and pointless models!

This is a point that we have raised on numerous occasions, and it is one which the examiners also are frustrated by: “It is not necessary to write long introductions that explain the business context or embellish the back story to the case. The random inclusion of models for the sake of it earns no marks.”

It's tempting for students to feel they need explain their answers through long introductions and models, however as the examiners say clear, you are not getting marks from this. In a time pressured exam, stick to the bulk of your answer rather than details such as random models and complex introductions.

Planning is rewarded

Much like the advice we give, the examiner's also like planners: “When sitting an Operational level case study examination, it is important to take time to plan your answer so that you are able to apply your knowledge to the specifics of the case. I would suggest that for certain tasks you plan your answers in the answer screen itself".

Not only does planning give structure to your answer, examiner's will also give you credit if they see you have made a plan - this could make up those crucial marks to get you that Operational qualification!
It's important to look at what the examiners have found in previous sittings as you can then ensure you have considered these issues before your exam. 

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