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Examinations Questions/Answers & advice for others
 #59  by DianeBees
 22 Jul 2018, 16:33
You don't have to take the exam even if you attend a study group. All learning is good and you might enjoy the studying more in a group than you would on your own.

Exam technique is important - the number of marks a question has next to it is a useful indication of how much information the answer requires.
The amount of time you allocate is also important. Don't spend very long answering the one point questions.
You have an hour and half to get 100 points (maximum) - so 90 minutes
so each point shouldn't take you more than 1 minute to write, else you will run out of time.
Allocate longer to the 30 mark questions. but don't forget you need to do 4 out of the 5 medium questions.

Practice past papers. Do one timed under exam conditions so you can see how you find the time allocation.

Use the questions to help build 'complete answer guides' to the different topics. This process of working with the information you have and writing it up as a complete mini guide will assist you in revising too.

Use the syllabus and calendar to make a schedule so you can have plenty of time for learning material and revising.

Use the reading time to think about which questions you'll do.

Read the questions. Underline the important words: months are often important.

Take a watch with you. Even if there's a clock in the exam room a watch is useful!

I have competed all the written exams from the BBKA. I took two at once to start with (Modules 1 and 2) and then did them one at a time after that.

This is what I've posted on a FB group...

I completed all the module exams between November 2014 and March 2018. I’ve studied for them all independently apart from using study groups on Facebook. The first two were quite well used – modules 1 and 2 - probably because they’re the ones most people take.

As well as reading through books and compiling information, I found that past papers were very useful.
Writing model answers to questions works as a great way of condensing information and then reviewing answers means you can decide which of these are most relevant to the question. Indeed re-reading the questions can then decide which of your answers aren’t relevant.

I’ve always assumed that one well written sentence for an answer is worth just that – one good mark!
I’ve been told recently that sometimes there are half points available, but this must mean that they’re short and snappy points to be written down.

Get the past papers and print them out. I used them as a study aid and have for some modules, sliced up the questions and then grouped them into topics. This allows you to see the full range of questions on a subject and helps you build your own learning resource on that part of the syllabus.
Doing a whole paper is a really worthwhile experience too and will help you realize how the time needs to be broken down and how in practice you can achieve this.
My advice on this is to take a practice exam at least a week before the real exam. This gives you an idea of how long you’ve actually got. Doing it under exam conditions is a good idea – ask the rest of the family to leave you alone for an hour and a half, and crack on and get it done. You can do the maths on the timing yourself – or use this rough schedule.

1-10 are very short questions whose answers will instantly pop into your head.
11 – 15 are worth 15 marks each, but you only do four out of the five.
16 and 17 are worth 30 marks each but you only do one.

You have 90 minutes – and if you’re aiming to get 100 marks (out of 100) then this equates to a bit less than one mark a minute.
So for the first set of questions you want to spend as little time as possible on these.
The second lot – four questions – each about 13 minutes – so you can have a minute reviewing your answer and adding in anything else that comes to mind.
The last big question you should allocate about 25 minutes.

This varies slightly from the timing suggested in the Module 2 answer paper document:
1-10 10 minutes
11-15 10 minutes each
16 or 17 – 30 minutes
Leaving 10 minutes to check your answers.

So go write your answers out in this time frame when you’re practising. Always practise your exam questions with a pen and paper. It’ll give you chance to practice your handwriting. They don’t deduct marks for spelling mistakes but if they can’t read your writing they will really struggle to mark it!

Deciding which questions to do.
You have to give yourself a fighting chance. You have a few minutes reading time prior to the exam starting so use this to read through and think about questions. Which question in the middle section do you like least?

I prefer questions with a multiple points break down - where it has several subparts and points are allocated in brackets to these parts – allowing you a better idea of how much you should be writing. A general question with 15 marks is a lot harder to answer in my opinion and might be easier to go off track. You only get the choice of this is the question setters have been kind though.
Some people like to start the big question first. I don’t. I prefer to whiz through the short questions and then dive into the middle section.
Each long answer needs to be started on a separate page and so it doesn’t matter what order you do them in. Just remember the time! Having a watch on your desk will help.

Always re-read the question. Underline anything that might be important – any month that gets mentioned has been mentioned for a reason. This will help you answer the question that has been set and not the one you’d like it to be.

Giving yourself five minutes at the end will allow you to read through what you’ve written, cross through anything that you don’t want marking, and add in the things you’ve thought of that you’ve missed out. It’s a good time to add a quick sketch if that helps you explain something better.

The syllabuses for the modules can be found here
An answer sheet for module 2 available here there.
And there are some very good blogs dealing with various aspects of the modules.

Mid Bucks study notes are very useful indeed. They cover the Basic assessment and the modules.

Adventures in Bee land covers Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 6

Miss Apis mellifera covers some aspects of some of the modules ... dentifier2

My own blog that is mostly used for linking references for the modules
 #1809  by Sunny@beekeeping
 31 Jan 2019, 14:37
Hello Diane and thank you for the helpful exam advice.
I am just at the start of studying for Module 1 exam and one of my sources of help is the excellent mid-Bucks guide.
I already have a query at the very first point and that is of Hive types. In some of the text, for example, it says the National will house up to 55,000 bees and on the next page there is a table of hives which says the National max capacity if 54,725 with a likely number of laying cells of 43,780. So that is a choice of 3 figures, just for 1 hive! Do you know if we need to learn all these figures or if the rounded up number of 55,000 will suffice in an answer?
Thank you for your help.
 #1810  by Jim Norfolk
 31 Jan 2019, 18:04
Sunny, I look for clues is in the syllabus:
the types of hives and frames used by beekeepers in the United Kingdom, including comparative
knowledge of the following hives, National, WBC, Smith, National Deep, Commercial, Langstroth and
Dadant (details of exact frame sizes will not
be required).

That suggests details are not needed of the frame sizes and presumably then the number of cells is also no longer needed. I also feel it is the number of brood cells which is important rather than the number of bees. There is always more room for bees in supers and even in the roof space. I learnt round numbers for brood as I recall off the top of my head they were: 40,000 WBC, 44,000 National, 72,000 Langstroth etc.
 #1812  by AdamD
 31 Jan 2019, 19:02
To add confusion, some beekeepers will use 12 or 11 frames per National brood box - and one less in a WBC. AND the spacing of the frames is 35 mm for Hoffmans and 38 mm for push-on ends - and for the wider spacing, you can only get 11 frames in a National, even if you push VERY hard ! ;)

Rounding the numbers would be fine in my view..

The Thornes catalogue Page 20 of the downloadable March 2018 catalogue has the figures I tend to use. What the BBKA say is that if you can give the reference to an answer, then you can't be marked wrong - so if you said "National 11 frames, 50,000 worker cells (Thornes catalogue)" you can't be wrong.
 #1828  by DianeBees
 01 Feb 2019, 14:27
AdamD wrote:
31 Jan 2019, 19:02
What the BBKA say is that if you can give the reference to an answer, then you can't be marked wrong - so if you said "National 11 frames, 50,000 worker cells (Thornes catalogue)" you can't be wrong.
Yes I think if you have something interesting or more unusual to add then giving the reference means the person marking can go and read it if they haven't already
 #1831  by NigelP
 01 Feb 2019, 17:41
I noticed during my long years taking these damn things....alas afterwards....that many of the questions about the properties of honey could have been taken directly from Eva Cranes "Comprehensive guide to Honey". Which unfortunately is a relatively rare and expensive tome....but cheap copies do appear on fleabay.

Also MidBucks notes are very very basic. If you wish to more than just "pass" you will need to read much wider than that. The text books Bee Keeping study notes [Modules 1-5 and 6-8] by Yates are slightly more comprehensive (although wrong in places and annoyingly opinionated). But they do cover the syllabus and get you off the mark, but you will still need to read and read and read other material.
 #1873  by DianeBees
 06 Feb 2019, 15:07
I've not got any Eva Crane books as they're all too expensive. Some of the books are horrendously expensive.
 #1960  by MickBBKA
 17 Feb 2019, 03:54
Read the questions twice, quite often they are badly worded and indirect which can lead you to misinterpret the question. If you have a literal mind like me you won't immediately understand the direction of the question sometimes.
 #2006  by DianeBees
 19 Feb 2019, 09:32
MickBBKA wrote:
17 Feb 2019, 03:54
Read the questions twice, quite often they are badly worded and indirect which can lead you to misinterpret the question. If you have a literal mind like me you won't immediately understand the direction of the question sometimes.
Indeed. And underline the important words. Any month that gets mentioned is there for a reason.

And if it says "do artificial swarm without finding the queen" then don't write "I always find the queen"
 #2007  by NigelP
 19 Feb 2019, 12:50
DianeBees wrote:
19 Feb 2019, 09:32
Indeed. And underline the important words. Any month that gets mentioned is there for a reason.

Yes, months are put there to flummox those of us in the North as we are on a different beekeeping timescale to the South.