Ten point ICB exams checklist
1. Exam Registration and Application
If you want to write an exam, you must do the following:
Ensure you are registered with the ICB as an ICB learner.
Apply for exam entry before the exam entry closing date.
Ensure your yearly ICB student registration fee is paid to the ICB.
Ensure your ICB exam / assessment fees are paid to the ICB.
This means you need to:
Submit the learner details form
Complete the assessment entry form, and submit it
Pay the correct assessment fee to the ICB
If you have not already completed these registrations and payments, then you cannot write your ICB exam in November. The next exam session is in February 2017. See here for the details: ICB Exam Dates 2017.
2. Exam dates
Once you have registered make sure that you know what day you are writing on. The ICB exam dates for the November 2016 session is here: November 2016 ICB Exam Dates.
Before your exam, make sure to find out where your exam center is, and how to get there. Leave yourself plenty of time so that you do not arrive late. Don’t forget to set your alarm if you have a morning exam.
3. Know how your exam will be marked
It’s pretty simple. 30% of your final mark comes from the ICB Assignments and Tests you do during your course. Your Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) is a folder given to you once you’ve registered for an exam with the ICB. You’ll need to put any ICB Assignments given to you as well as the ICB Tests you did, in it. Your PoE is complete when your final exam paper is added to it at the end of your course.
When you sit down to write your final exam – which counts for the remaining 70% – you include it in your PoE, which an ICB-registered assessor will then check to see if you know your stuff!
You need to get at least 50% for this exam to pass, regardless of your overall mark. The ICB Assignments and Tests during your studies are essential, as they fully prepare you for the final exam, and also provide evidence of the hard work you’ve done leading up to it. A passing grade (‘competent’) is 60% for the overall course and you must get at least 50% for the final exam.
4. Know your stuff
The most important thing you need to do to be prepared for your ICB exam is to study, study, study! Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions.
If you want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.
Simply studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during each study session. Before you start studying, set a study session goal that supports your overall academic goal.
If you are a distance learning student, now is the time to make use of your online study groups and lecturers. Of course I work for Skills Academy, a distance learning college, and with people who offer online study groups - Together We Pass!
5. Bring the right equipment and documentation
Check that you have the right booklet, and the correct version of the exam paper. Make sure you have brought your PoE (Portfolio of Evidence) before the exam begins. If you have any queries, raise your hand and an invigilator will come to you.
Make sure you have made a copy of your PoE. In case something happens to the original!
6. PoE – Portfolio of Evidence
A Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) is a workbook or collection of documents which act as proof that you have mastered a specific piece of work. With each of your ICB subjects you get sent a PoE workbook before the exam. You must then complete this Portfolio of Evidence before the exam, and then take it with you to the exam. At the exam you hand in your PoE, and it gets marked with your exam. In this way it counts towards your final mark for your subject.
Since you get to do the Portfolio of Evidence before the exam, it is a good way to get some points before you even get to the exam! You want to make sure you get your PoE as soon as possible, so that you have the maximum amount of time available to work on it, before the date on which you must hand it in at the exam.
7. Know what to put in your PoE
As you study a subject (or learning area) all your assessments are kept in a folder. So all these assessments, plus your final exam paper make up your complete Portfolio of Evidence. When you get your PoE from the ICB, it will contain the Administration Book, which tells you exactly how to complete your PoE. You hand all of it in at your final exam, and the assessors (examiners) marks all of it to determine if you pass or if you have to redo the work.
If your PoE is incomplete, that can mean that you fail that subject. So make it as complete as possible. Also make sure that you make a copy of your PoE before you hand it in. Put it in a safe place, so that you know if something happens to your PoE, you have a back-up plan.
8. How to gain points and present answers
It seems obvious, but answers must be appropriate to the requirement in terms of form, length and depth. Ideally, answer questions using clear and relatively short sentences. Although answer length does depend on the instructional verbs used in the requirement.
For example, for requirements asking for a ‘list’, or a ‘brief description’; bullet points or brief points will be adequate. If ‘explanation’ is required, then fuller answers should be given; each valid point will normally attract a mark, depending on the mark allocation. If a requirement asks for analysis or evaluation, then develop points logically, relevantly, and coherently, thereby gaining the additional marks available.
9. Time management
In an exam, effective time management is vital. If you run out of time, then some questions (or parts) will be left unfinished and marks lost. The key to good time management is to divide the time allowed between the marks available. For example, in a three-hour exam allow 1.8 minutes per mark, and in a two-hour exam allow 1.33 minutes per mark. This allocation gives a rough guide as to how long to spend on a question or part.
Students often waste time by:
working on a requirement for longer than necessary because they wish to correct a mistake;
feeling they have so much to say about one question that they ‘dump’ all their knowledge at once; and
persevering for too long with a question even though they are struggling.
You can avoid these problems as follows:
If you discover an error in a calculation or on a financial statement, only correct the initial error. If you finish your paper early, you can then go back and fix the rest of the calculations.
Only make as many points as there are marks available. For example, if five marks are available for discussing a theory, only make five (or possibly six) separate points.
If you are struggling to get to grips with a requirement, move on to the next requirement, or even question, leaving enough blank pages in your answer booklet to complete it later.
10. Don't PANIC!
More students fail because they panic, than students who don't know enough of their work. You will always feel that you could have prepared better. Don't discuss how much you have learnt with other students outside the exam centre. Sit down. Take a few deep breaths. Do your best. If you fail, then you can try again in three months.
Best of luck with your ICB exam!
About the Author:
Jan Badenhorst works as the CEO of Skills Academy. Skills Academy offers Home Study Courses to people who never completed Matric, or who cannot get entry into Universities.