CII July 2020 exams – Bumps, blockages and booby traps

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So, the July 2020 remote exams have come and gone with many experiencing technical issues from the offset. What sort of problems did participants experience, and should you let this affect your future exam decisions?

Some said that their browser crashed, or that it was painfully slow to type and move between questions, some didn’t like the pressure of the room scan and validating the exam requirements (instructions unclear), the onscreen calculator caused issues with calculations taking longer than expected, the flashing countdown, pop up messages advising you of time left (distracting), poor onscreen navigation the list goes on………………………..

So why do people hate change? Because most people feel comfortable doing what they have always been doing. The longer you have been doing it one way, the better, more efficient, more convenient, it is (or so you believe).

Penetrate past the remote exam experience and use this to drive your motivation to achieve your next goal.

However, with an uncertain future we have to embrace the changes that are being made and we have to appreciate that organisations are having to implement new technologies, new processes and new ways of working at an increased and rapid rate in order to meet some of these challenges. As with any changes it is imperative that when it comes to change – communication is key. A lack of communication (or a sudden change in direction) causes students to feel like they don’t know what’s going on. The less they know, the more fearful they become. Making the whole exam process much more stressful then it needs to be.

In an effort to reduce unnecessary tension, exam stress and anxiety the exam providers need to fully explain how the proposed changes will affect their students. Being clear and transparent and well informed BEFORE each exam session helps students to manage their time, work commitments and exam goals. Being proactive about this shows students that you have invested in their learning and development and their concerns are your concerns.

Whilst the younger generation may be more than happy to jump aboard the online/remote invigilation skyscraper, we have to consider the older generation who were more than happy with the more familiar mode of transportation to get them to their destination. It is about getting that balance and ensuring that the exam bodies continue to offer as many solutions as viably possible so as not to put any barriers in the way of students who wish to sit these exams. Something we have always strived to do at Expert Pensions where we incorporate blended learning into our structured study packages to remove barriers and boundaries and this remains at the heart of our teaching and learning strategy.

Our advice would be to not let the negative experience of the remote sitting deter you from your studies and our results show many (even those who experienced technical difficulties) achieved a well-earned pass. It helps to know how to turn these rough rides into an experience that is meaningful.  Look long and look “deep”. Penetrate past the remote exam experience and use this to drive your motivation to achieve your next goal.

Life, to a degree, is unpredictable and 2020 will be the year we remember as having had to embrace some BIG changes. We experience ups and downs; we have “good” days where life goes according to plan, and we have “bad” days where nothing seems right.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance” Alan Watts.

Change comes in all shapes and sizes and facing change is obviously never easy. If it were, life would be a breeze. But life isn’t a breeze. It is a series of bumps, blockages, and booby traps. We all need to work together to lessen the amount of resistance to the proposed changes and to take action so we can all plan effectively to manage the shift on how we continue to learn and develop within our profession.

Let us see what the October 2020 exam session brings…good luck to everyone studying and moving forward, keep up the great work.

 

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Gayle Conway

Gayle Conway is Managing Director of Expert Pensions

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