Congratulations on starting your online course with RRC.
When you study an online learning course, you have more control over your learning since you can decide when you study, for how long and how you study – and that can have enormous advantages.
A Strategy for Studying your Online Course
Firstly, you need to plan when you are going to undertake your online learning. Make a timetable – this is not set in stone and can be changed if needs be to suit your circumstances. The main thing is allocating enough time to complete your study. There is guidance given in the literature or in the course syllabus that indicates an idea of how long the study time for each unit is expected to be. Use this as a guide only. Some students learn quicker than others and this depends on things such as your health and safety background, or even lack thereof. Some students understand specific topics better because they are familiar with them in their daily work, whereas other topics will be totally new.
Ensure that you build into your timetable an extra amount of study time to cover all possibilities e.g. ill health or family matters. If you overestimate then this time can be used as revision time; and don’t forget to include enough revision time, this is necessary if you want to pass first time. Unless you have a photographic memory (I wish) then you will forget the material you have studied or it all blurs into one thing so revision is vital.
Furthermore, write the timetable and stick it in a prominent place – this helps to keep you on track and hopefully shows you the error of your ways if you default. Your family can assist with this (they will probably enjoy this task!). Always keep a notepad handy to jot down any queries otherwise they tend to slip away.
When starting your online study, you are advised to follow the order of units as set up on the course as this is the most efficient way of building your knowledge. Don’t get blasé and think I know this and can skip this section. Even after all this time I occasionally find bits I thought I knew so try to keep an open mind. If it is in the course material then it is important you know it. RRC material is focused to assist you with this and contains all you need to know.
If You do Have Queries
You may find that some of the information or certain topics are not obvious to you. If this is the case there are several options available:
· You can contact your online tutor and they will get back to you
· Use the internet to search for an answer to your query. It is amazing what a wealth of information is out there, such as looking on the HSE website – this is a valuable source. However, remember that different countries may have different regulations so ensure you check details for the correct country
· You can check the resources section on the first page of your e-learning platform
· You can check the NEBOSH website for guidance (www.nebosh.org.uk)
· In your course materials there are suggested examples of sources of information – look these up
Additional Helpful Points
Make sure you try all exercises that are supplied with the online material, these are important or they wouldn’t be there. Try to sort out any issues as you go or they can feel insurmountable if you let them build up.
Continue in the same vein for the other units. Remember you may need to revert back to some units to check things – this is usual, keep a list on your notepad of where you are and then you can easily continue. Stick as well as you can to your timetable and adjust the timetable if things change, but keep looking at the timetable.
Eventually you will reach the end of the course (Yippee!), however, to gain maximum benefit there are some additional things that need to be done to maximise your success:
· Try the mock exam under exam conditions with no books or notes; strictly to the exam timings (2 hours for certificate exams). Write the answers on paper and submit them to the tutor for marking. It is possible to type your answers, but most people type faster than they write, so bear this in mind
· In the certificate exams, NEBOSH expects you to check the marks allocated for each question and this means you need to give at least this number of points in your answer. I say at least as some of your points may not be contained on the examiner’s marksheet, and so the examiner cannot award a mark. Err on the side of caution and include a few more points but only if time allows. If you don’t answer all the questions then you are throwing marks away and every mark can be valuable, even if you are unsure of your answer write something. There is no negative marking and if wrong you don’t lose any marks
· If you are studying an NGC or IGC (2014 syllabus) then you have to be aware of the effect of command words. These are the words in bold type and they are specific, particularly if the question asks you to ‘Outline’ or ‘Explain’. In these questions you must give explanation in your answer or the mark cannot be awarded by the examiner. Take care with ‘identify’ type questions and don’t be tempted to put one- or two-word answers as the wrong word(s) can mean no marks. Try to answer this in a phrase or short sentence
· Even if you are studying the new syllabus (NG1 or IG1) remember there are no command words so give enough detail to ensure you are awarded a mark. There are some hints above the meaning of various words from NEBOSH which are helpful, so have a look – they are in the resources section
Revision Tips & Hints
Revision is vital but don’t underestimate the amount of time it will take. Try to revise one element at a time. To help you remember try techniques such as:
· If you have printed out the textbook then use a highlighter to highlight important facts
· Draw up a memory map of the facts
· Make up phrases (it doesn’t matter how silly as you only need to remember this for the written exam). E.g. GOA could stand for the three parts of a health and safety policy: i.e.
G – general statement of intent
O – organisation section and
A – for the arrangements section
· When studying each element (if you are a 2014 NGC/IGC syllabus student) then look in the resources section and download the examiner’s reports and check the type of questions that has been set on the element you are studying. Sometimes questions are repeated and so it is worthwhile spending time on this. The more exposure you have to the past questions the easier you will find the exam. If you find you wouldn’t have been able to answer a question, then go back and re-read the relevant parts. Repeat for the other units.
Unfortunately, this is a little more difficult if you are studying the 2019 syllabus as there is only the sample paper supplied as of yet. However, you can still download the old syllabus pages (you may need to access the NEBOSH website to do this and choose the old syllabus section). In this case you only need to look at NGC1 exam papers. I am suggesting this as although the format of the questions is different, what you need to know is the same.
Good luck with your online studying – follow the timetable and stick to it!
Eva Ainscough Env (NEBOSH) Dip, GradIOSH, CBIFM, M.Phil, M.Ed, BA, RSA(Dip)