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Feb 22 2009

ROC-A is a Pain, and for a Good Reason

After successfully completing the PSTAR (49 out of 50 in ten minutes, enjoying the process) I was expecting the consequent exams to be the same fun. Wrong mine.

First thing noticed was a complete lack of any surrounding information. Comparing to the PSTAR, with all 200 questions on public display, excellent websites who comment each and every one of them, RIC-21E looked empty. You’ve got 20 pages of some barely interconnected definitions to memorize, and that is it!

I believe that something that is called a “Study Guide” must provide exactly that – guidance, a set of explanations, at least some kind of emphasis on the most important elements… Exam preparations should be the ultimate learning experience! Even if they ask you just a fraction of the questions studied, you should be ready to answer them all, and that is the idea.

So I’ve reached online, but find nothing. Except for this site – which is nice, but not a replacement for the RIC-21E weak content. There was a RIC-20 document on the Industry Canada website, that outlines the examiner tasks – but even this doc is just a set of some duly “recommendations” for the completely abstract examination case. I’ve desperately tried to memorize the whole Study Guide stuff and that was it.

The real exam in my case resulted to be a bunch of multiple choice questions and a dozen of free-form written answers. Roughly half of the questions were corresponding to the RIC-21E stuff. Roughly another half was just barely similar, and my guesswork in that case was not that brilliant at all. Free form answers were even worse – even the basic “mayday” call format was described differently in the Study Guide and in the answers check! Come on IC guys, can you have at least this one straight and clear…

Frustrated and annoyed, I’ve passed, scratching the bottom. Adding insult to the injury, planted some really goofy errors on my own – so not to blame the preparation materials only. 🙂 Overall experience: sucks. The whole theme is really important and I would like to get the best of it. Still hope to grasp the answers elsewhere – they say that “From the Ground Up” contains a good chapter about communications, and there are some classic US books about the same… Will check it out. Any other suggestions?