DPSI written part - exam conditions
Thread poster: NataliaUK

NataliaUK
English to Russian
Jun 23, 2010

As many other candidates I sat the writing parts in Camden Centre, London – the venue selected by the IoL Examination Centre.

The exams were conducted in a hall (similar to an old theatre hall) with square desks placed all over.

The desks were so small that I could hardly fit my dictionaries (one on top of another), the exam question and writing paper (one on top of another too); it looked (in terms of size) something like this http://www.pha.jhu.edu/~mspecian/Desk.jpg.
My elbows were hanging in the air without support. I had only two dictionaries on the desk (one on top of another), putting all the rest – my bag and two other dictionaries I took just in case – on the floor next to me; the other candidates did the same. During the exam I was putting all the completed pages and rough copies on the floor as well – simply because there were no room for manoeuvre.

The other thing that surprised me was that I had quite a poor lighting in my corner. Despite all the bulbs/lights were on it wasn't enough and I had to strain my eyes. This would not surprise me if we were in a remote village in a technologically underdeveloped country but in London… excuse me.

Somewhere halfway through my hand was tired and my handwriting deteriorated notably. I was thinking: DPSI is a vocational qualification, so, when was the last time I was asked or asked to do a hand-written translation? Oh, yes, I still have a translation which was done for my family 28 years ago. I was wandering what would the client's reaction be if I offered to deliver a handwritten translation of 1000+ words.

I suggest adding an extra paragraph into the DPSI Handbook advising the future candidates to practice in extreme conditions developing – apart from the linguistic skills – strength and stamina let's say by writing 10 pages a day with the dumbbells fastened to the hand.


 

Yelena.  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:41
English to Russian
+ ...
Cambridge Jun 26, 2010

Natalia,

I took my exam in Cambridge and we had exactly the same desks. Very difficult to arrange everything. We sat in a sports hall and first thought from looking inside that the lighting was very poor, however, once we were in, it seemed quite light.

Would you believe it that our exam was delayed by an hour because 10 examinees were stuck in traffic! So 30 of us waited for 10! To avoid this problem I actually travelled the night before and stayed in a B&B so it seemed very unfair to me. Many lessons to be learnt for the IoL for the years to come...


 

juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:41
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Steady... Jun 28, 2010

Natalia, I took my exam in similar conditions with the added pleasure of having one broken arm in plaster! Only I did not bother with dictionaries, because I figured if I could not cope without them I would not deserve to pass.

Also, when you work for example for the police, you are likely to have to write most of your translations by hand. Better to be prepared for it. Ten pages a day is ridiculous, you should be able to do at least three an hour.

Yelena, how would you have felt if you were amongst the quarter of the prospective candidates to be told: sorry, we don't care if it is not your fault, you are late, good by! I think the organisers were exceptionally decent to make sure these people did not miss the exam. I appreciate that it was inconvenient for you, but it was a minor inconvenience.

[Edited at 2010-06-28 21:36 GMT]


 

Yelena.  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:41
English to Russian
+ ...
think ahead Jun 29, 2010

juvera wrote:

Yelena, how would you have felt if you were amongst the quarter of the prospective candidates to be told: sorry, we don't care if it is not your fault, you are late, good by! I think the organisers were exceptionally decent to make sure these people did not miss the exam. I appreciate that it was inconvenient for you, but it was a minor inconvenience.

[Edited at 2010-06-28 21:36 GMT]


Judith,

I live just 73 miles away from Cambridge and yet I knew that no matter how early I set off, I would most likely get stuck in traffic. People were saying they did only 40 miles in 2 hours. For this reason I came over the day before - not to panic, to avoid disappointment. I think we could have started in time and let those who were leate join us later, taking their time off the lunch break. This happened to candidates who were late for the second part (those who were only re-sitting this part).

I hope the organisers learn that Cambridge is not so easy to get to and in future hold the written part in the same place as the orals - Peterborough.


 

juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:41
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Indeed... Jun 29, 2010

I agree, the organisers should have had a warning in the information sent out to the candidates, and better arrangements for this eventuality.
Unfortunately traffic can be totally unpredictable, and not everybody as forward-thinking and cautious as you. At least their predicament was genuine, affecting ten people, not just a couple, who may just simply did not bother to give themselves sufficient time to get there.

Off topic:
My horror story of getting stuck in traffic was when we were flying off to a Spanish holiday in the morning, and my husband decided to drop off the house keys to a friend, living less than three miles away. It was about 8:15 in the morning when he left, expecting to be back within about 15 minutes. The friend was not at home, having left for work earlier in the morning, and it happened before we all had mobile telephones.
We had a taxi coming for 9:00. Taxi arrived, husband did not. I was nervous already, and got into panic when the taxi driver cheerfully said: "No wonder he is delayed, about half an hour ago there was a nasty accident at the traffic lights near by!" But he could not say what cars were involved in the accident. Well, husband arrived another half an hour later, having been stuck in traffic for an hour because of the accident, and we did manage to catch the flight, but the trauma of that morning, thinking that he may have been involved in the accident, haunted me for years when we were going to fly somewhere.


 

NataliaUK
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
My point is... Jun 30, 2010

The IoL exam centre is not doing us a favour, they are charging for arranging/conducting the exams. It doesn't matter whether I pay a hundred pounds or £1, I expect good quality service. Let's say, if you were given coffee in a dirty cup you would ask for another one or go to a different café and wouldn't care less about café's problems with their dishwasher, would you? The same applies here. My point was that the quality of service (and having the invigilators coming on time and providing the exam hall – all of these – is a service) was not up to the standard.

 

Aline C.

Local time: 04:41
English to Finnish
Complain to the centre Jul 9, 2010

Dear Natalia,

Why do not you complaint to the centre? Venting frustration here will do you no good.

You can also write to the CIoL Educational Trust and complain to them about the quality of the centre.

People need to complaint if they want things changed.

Regards

Kasia K.


 


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DPSI written part - exam conditions

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