After having completed all of your formal training comes the huge task of preparing for your MCA oral exam. This is no easy feat and requires a lot of dedication.
After having a look at the MCA oral exam scope, the first thought that often runs through a person’s mind is, "How on earth am I going to get through this entire syllabus?” It is easy to become overwhelmed, however it is important to put a clear plan in action in order to ensure success.
Over the years and various oral exams I have sat, I have found a few fool proof tips and tricks to help you conquer the meticulous prep that is required.
Tip #1 - Don't panic !
Take a step back and remember that there are thousands of people who have completed these exams and if they can do it, so can you!
The power of a positive attitude will set you up for success.
Tip #2 - Be logical
Clear your mind and plan your flow. The exam is set out in a syllabus, which you should use to guide your studies. Start with at the top and work your way down. Alternatively, you can start with your weakest subject and work your way through the syllabus from weakest to strongest. Remember to write the order down so as to ensure nothing has been forgotten.
"The investment in knowledge pays the best interest"
– Benjamin Franklin
Tip #3 - Plan
At the beginning of the week, spend an hour planning study sessions for the week ahead and what you are going to tackle in each session.
I simply used my calendar on Outlook (that way your online oral prep sessions are already synced and accounted for).
Tip #4 - Timing
Give yourself a defined time limit for each subject. Sticking to your time limit ensures you are covering the whole syllabus, and also gives you motivation to study toward a break -instead of just putting long hours which don't end up being very productive.
Taking regular breaks is equally as important as studying.
Tip #5 - Study Buddy
This exam is a talking exam and as such, having a study group can be greatly beneficial. If you can talk through the answers you've been learning you will soon find any flaws or weak spots, allowing you time to rectify them.
The big picture
Remember, the MCA is an integral part of our industry and is in place to make sure there are safe officers on our ships and oceans, it is important to look at the exam in the way the examiner would. Would that examiner have you on his/her ship as an officer or master?
Talk with confidence.
Sail with confidence.