By Penny Ellis, Founder, Bali International Spa Academy
CIBTAC Centre of the Year Winner 2015 and Finalist 2014
Just reading or saying the word ‘exam’ typically sends shudders down the spines of most students. It can be a particularly terrifying prospect for people who have not attended school in a long while, no matter how many years they have been working as a professional.
However, like most things in life confidence comes with proper preparation. Passing the CIBTAC theoretical and practical exams is no different. CIBTAC examiners take their job seriously and they expect high competency from candidates in their areas of study. As a result, all quality CIBTAC centres devote tremendous time and resources to ensure their students pass, but ultimately it comes down to effectual study habits, a strong personal commitment to success and the total support of their CIBTAC School.
Having taught many CIBTAC students during their 10+ years of operation, Bali BISA tutors and Founder, Penny Ellis, possess a strong appreciation of how to best prepare students for exams, starting from the very first day. Yet, their goal goes far beyond just exam scores, but to ensure graduates are 100% work force ready with drive, enthusiasm and a creative approach to each customer.
Here are some useful tips to help CIBTAC students breeze through the exams.
- Take meticulous notes in your manual or in a separate notebook. Review these every evening. Do not wait until the last minute to cram the concepts and details. Make the effort to comprehend the underpinning principles, not just the facts. Use the many websites available to further research important topics.
- If you do not understand something, ASK your tutor for CLARIFICATION. There is no shame in stating that you do not understand. In fact, you are only doing yourself a dis-service if you fail to seek another explanation. If you still do not fully comprehend the matter, I have an open door policy with students and am happy to address issues which are not crystal clear.
- Studying with others can be quite useful and reinforce the information learned during the day or week, but do not rely on them to give you the correct answers. They may confuse you either more! However, paired with students at the same level, repetition of the material in another person’s voice can be helpful.
- It is possible to review past exams to become familiar with how questions will be presented and what level of detail is typically being asked for (for ideas, check out this website – http://www.healthypages.com/community/forums/past-exam-papers.30/.Ensure you do not just memorize data though; rather fully understand all of the underlying philosophies, for example why certain techniques are used. Examiners can quickly identify students who are just parroting facts versus those who have an intimate knowledge of the topic.
- To get ready for the practical test, it is crucial to practice, practice and practice. During class hours, there is plenty of time to practice on tutors and outside models, but to flawlessly execute a treatment(s) it is wise to follow the prescribed pattern on your own time with a friend. It can even be helpful to have someone video you, so you can review it later and compare to the strokes pictured in your manual. At Bali BISA, there is also always a detailed mock trial run so students are comfortable with the process on the exam day.
- On the morning of the exam, continue with the meditation and yoga as practiced every morning at Bali BISA. This will help you to relax and breathe! Be sure to arrive early as running late will only create unnecessary stress.
For the theory examination, please note the following guidelines;
- All exams are multiple choice. This means sometimes it may look as there are two correct answers. Go with your gut feeling.
- Don’t rush. Think through each question as you have plenty of time.
- Be well prepared for the anatomy and physiology questions.
- For the practical demonstration, please keep this things in the forefront;
- Be sure to keep your station tidy and clean at all times, throw rubbish away immediately and wash your hands regularly. CIBTAC examiners pay close attention to health, safety and hygiene.
- Carefully review the consultation form as it will dictate how you adapt the massage or body treatment. The examiner is more concerned with an effective massage than the sequencing.
- Posture is crucial. The examiner will deduct points if you do not use your body mechanics correctly.
- Timing is essential, so pay attention to the clock.
- Check the condition of the patient’s body. Avoid open wounds. If the client shows any signs of discomfort, do something about it.
- During the testing, if you do not understand the examiner’s instructions or questions, ask for it to be repeated or explained in more detail.
- Afterwards, do not re-think the questions and compare your answers with other students. This will not change the results. And keep in mind that you can retake any part of the exam that did not receive a passing score. Second chances do come true!
If you are a non-native English speaker, it is possible to take a bi-lingual theory exam.
Every student learns differently, so feel free to use strategies that work for you. Also ask other students, even if they are not studying the same topic(s) as you, for ideas. Ultimately it really is up to you to apply study methods that you find the most effective, always keeping in mind that the staff at Bali BISA are always available to assist.