None of us likes doing exams. For many of you taking the relevant training to gain your SIA licence, it could easily be the first time you have stepped into a classroom since you were a teenager. The idea of being tested against the clock is not a good one.
If the thought of taking the exams makes you nervous, or you just feel completely out of practice and it is actually putting you off applying for the training in the first place, realize you are not alone, and in many ways it is not all bad news. With the right approach you will be able to sail through your sia licence examinations with no problem at all.
It may seem obvious to say this, but all the knowledge you need to pass the exams will be provided during the contact hours. Paying attention during the training course is the first major step in ensuring you will pass your examinations.
This means you need to develop your listening skills and attention span. Hopefully, if you are on a good course with competent trainers this will come easy. The course and teaching methods should be conducted in a way that keeps you engaged. That being said, you still need to put the effort in yourself and maintain your concentration. Write notes as the course progresses and commit yourself to answering questions or joining in with the group activities. The more involved you are the more you will learn and the more you will retain for the exam.
For each of the training courses available there is a compulsory amount of contact time that you must complete before you are allowed to take the exams. This means that during the length of your SIA training course you must arrive on time for each of your modules.
More importantly, time management is crucial for the examinations. Depending on which exam you are taking, they can be between 30 minutes and 1 hour long. You need to spread your time evenly across all of the questions. Do not spend a large amount of time of one question and then find yourself short of time towards the end.
Remember the examiners are not setting out to trick you. There is more than enough time to read through all the options, (the exams are generally multiple-choice). Also, each question carries the same mark. If you find you do not know an answer, take a guess anyway. It us much better to answer a question than to leave it blank.
For a lot of SIA training you will be working as part of a team. On some courses you will get to act out potential scenarios you might expect to encounter once working as a security officer. In all of this you will be expected to contribute, be friendly and willing to work with others. If you are a naturally shy person, this doesn't mean to say you have to become extroverted over-night. It just means that you must show a willingness to be involved. If you can cooperate with others you will find you will have a far better time on the course, and in your future security career. Once you have your SIA licence and have landed that first job, you will generally find yourself working with others anyway.
Revise what you have learnt
Throughout the various training days you will receive course materials, handouts, links to websites for further information etc. (This all depends on how the course is presented by your training provider)
All the same, you should spend time each evening, going through what ever notes and materials you have to make sure it has all sunk in.
If you have spent the afternoon going through some practical exercises with your group ask if anyone wants to grab a coffee or a beer afterwards. This is a great way of getting to know those on your course, as well as an enjoyable way of discussing what's been covered that day. You will find the information will stay in the mind if you take time to go over it outside of the classroom.
Obviously, in preparation for your exam you should always allocate time to go through all your materials so that you are fully prepared.
Have the right attitude
Having the right attitude will get you far in life. If you're turning up to your SIA training late, having long lunches or disappearing for cigarette breaks, or simply turning up and not paying attention, you will not succeed. Not only will you fail to learn what you need to, your attitude could be questioned by the trainers and you may not even be able to take the exam.
Working as a security officer is a position of responsibility. When employed in a role, you will be expected to show the correct level of professionalism at all times. You should demonstrate this professionalism during your training also. Put bluntly, if you are unable to take the training seriously, what chance do you have of taking a career in the field seriously.