Chiefs and Seconds Motor EK Exam Technique

 and Sample Questions and Answers

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  • The Examination paper consists of nine questions. Each question is worth 16 marks. Six questions must be attempted and the time allowed is 3 hours. Half an hour a question, right? Well not exactly. If you're the sort of bloke who, when a piece of kit breaks down on board ship, leaps in with spanners in both hands, and you tend to do the same with exam papers (except with pens in both hands), then you are at a distinct disadvantage.

  • Relax, sit back and consider the questions; spend 5 - 10 minutes reading through the paper. Some questions may make the heart give a little leap: "I can do this one!!"; some may give you a sinking feeling "Oh ****!!."

  • Read the questions thoroughly; make sure in your mind that you understand what you are being asked. Decide which questions you are going to attempt. It is quite OK to answer them in any order, so start with the one you feel most confident with.

  • Be strict with your time. Allow yourself about 25 minutes to answer the question. At the end of that time, move on to the next. If you haven't finished (so much to write, so little time), leave space before starting the next question.

  • If the question consists of several parts, subdivide your time depending on the marks allocated (approximately 1 minutes per mark)

  • Don't fill your answer with unnecessary padding or "bumf"; you won't get any marks for it. It may be wise to put  bullet points down first and then expand on them.

  • Don't wander off the subject; If asked how to gauge a cylinder liner, don't start explaining how to change one.

  • Your sketches must be clear. Use a pencil and a straight edge. One of those stencils for drawing circles can be handy. Use half sketches for symmetrical components (e.g. piston, relief valve.) Your sketch must "work" If for instance there is no clearance for a relief valve to lift, then it won't work.

  • Use a thumbnail sketch to help an explanation even if it isn't asked for. A quick sketch will help you convey an idea more succinctly.

  •  When you have worked your way through all six questions you should have about 20 minutes left. Go back to the questions you may not have finished and complete them.

  • Read through your paper from start to finish, making any corrections.

The rules for answering the 1st class questions are the same as for the 2nd class. A greater depth of knowledge is required, and the questions lean more towards the analysis of problems and procedures. "Sketch and describe" questions do crop up, so you must know how to draw the standard items.

When preparing for the examination, practice writing out answers. It may seem a little awkward, especially if you are the only one reading it, but you can check your answer out afterwards, and also it gets you used to putting the information down on the paper in the allotted time. Practice will increase your legibility; remember, if the examiner can't read it, you won't get any marks. Learn the sketches, especially the most common ones; exhaust valve, VIT fuel pump, composite piston etc. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Those who prepare are those who pass.

Set yourself a routine and stick to it. You know how you work best. Some people get up early in the morning and work before breakfast, others like to study in the  evening. But believe me, unless you are a real whizz kid with a photographic memory, you're not going to stand much chance if all you do is glance through Pounders and Lambs Q and A while eating your cornflakes or watching TV.

The following examples give, in my opinion, a full and comprehensive answer to the questions. However I do not set the questions, so do not know exactly what the examiner is looking for. I accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions. If you disagree with any of my answers then please email me. Some questions may seem a little ambiguous. Read the questions carefully, and decide what is being asked before deciding on your answer.

The Questions with model answers from the past 18 years (over 600 questions) are available in the members section of the website. Membership is 15 for 4 months. If you wish to subscribe click here. The books of questions and answers are also available as printed copies.

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Chief Engineer Sample Exam Questions

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