Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Judgement day

I sit my theory test for my motorcycle license today.

I have to drive down to Southwark for a 1pm test (on the bike, naturally).

35 theory questions (multiple choice, of which I need to get 30 right) and 14 hazard perception clips (where I need to score more than 44 out of a potential 75).

It's the latter that get me. It's a perfectly simple idea. Show a film of a view driving down a road and get the person being tested to click each time they see a hazard.

At least that would have been the simple way of doing it. But the instructions surrounding the test are so convoluted in that way that only really bureaucratic organisations can devise.

Click when you see a potential hazard. Click again when the hazard develops. If you click too soon, you miss the 'window of the developing hazard' which only opens a few seconds after the hazard first appears. So if you have razor sharp reactions, you lose??? If you click too late, you score less, or maybe none at all. If you click too many times, you are penalised by losing all your points because you might just be clicking indiscriminately.

Confused? I am.

A paramedic I know took the test recently. Some of the hazards she scored full marks on and some she got nil. Turned out, when she saw a school bus unloading at the side of the road she clicked once for every pair of children's feet departing the bus (i.e. counting every child as an individual hazard rather than a bus and a group of kids and one single hazard). This was bad and scored her nil points.

It is strange how we learn to work the system and sit tests the way they are designed to be marked, rather than thinking about the real life implications. She just saw the paramedic's reality of 'every child is a potential hazard/casualty'. And got penalised for it. Where's the justice in that?

Wish me luck...

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