Today we started our MPEP proficiency exam courses, beginning with chapters 100-500.
One of the new ideas brought in to the Academy – I know not why – was that new examiners should take a proficiency exam at the end of their training. This exam is similar to, if not identical with, the exam that GS-12s take before starting the program. Unfortunately, getting a passing score on our proficiency test will not exempt us from taking the “real” exam later on.
Our lecturer did make a comment that made a lot of sense: preparing for this exam will allow us to become familiar with the MPEP and get used to searching it for information. Taking that a step further, I imagine that one of the most important goals of the Academy is to put out self-sufficient examiners who can do most things for themselves. Part of self-sufficiency is being able to use the tools at your disposal to answer your own questions when possible, and being able to do that efficiently. And while some of my fellow cadets may feel that the Academy period is too long, I also see a lot of training going on, day to day. I don’t even mean people who just didn’t “get it.” People who have been paying attention and doing well are corrected for both small and large errors as they go along, because that is part of the learning process. After another four and a half months, those errors should be at a minimum. SPEs shouldn’t have to worry that we’re going to need lots of hand-holding after going through eight months at the Academy.
Anyway, to return to our class, our lecturer spent most of the time covering test-taking strategies and stressing the importance of practice and smart preparation for the exam. She emphasized some issues on effective filing date that can be confusing, and went through the outline of the chapters briefly.
As usual, she was very entertaining, especially given the material she had to work with.