Red Seal Exam Postmortem - When, How & What
This is the process of reflecting on the Red Seal Exam you have just written. Then making notes that will assist you if a rewrite is needed.
Let’s face it, we are not always successful on our first try. And that’s ok. The key is to learn as much as you can from your first try. Then use that to better prepare you for your next attempt.
So, when should you perform the Exam Postmortem (EPM)? How should you record it? What should be written down?
When to Reflect on your Trade Exam Attempt
The EPM should be performed as soon as possible after writing the Red Seal Exam. Everything is still fresh. The EPM should then be reviewed and added to the next day. Many details are lost in the post exam fog. More details often become clear a day later.
How to Record Your Thoughts
You want the EPM in written (Legible) or typed form. This will make it easy to review if needed. We recommend text format for easy edits as details become clear to you. However, it can be useful to make an audio recording of your thoughts. Then convert it to written or text format afterwards.
What about Your Trade Exam Attempt is Important?
What about your Red Seal Trade Exam should you take note of? Here are the most useful reflections that can help you prepare for a rewrite.
- How long did you take to write the trade exam? Did you have extra time? Did you run out of time?
- Was there any specific questions or topics that consumed more time than others. This is key to preparing for a re-write. You want to quickly identify these questions and leave them until the end. As well, you will want to spend more time practicing these types of questions.
- Make a note on any questions you found difficult or confusing. You will likely encounter similar questions on a re-write. You want to have this information written down!
- Was it the topic?
- Was it the format (calculated, procedural, diagnostic, etc.)?
- Was it the wording?
Make a note of any topics that caught you off guard. These topics are set by the Red Seal Program. You will see this topic again!
Make note of everything on the exam that caused you anxiety. You want to confront these triggers before a rewrite. Key items would include:
- Verbiage. Unfamiliar technical words or phrases.
- Question formats (calculate, procedural, diagnostic, etc.) Practicing Trade Exam style questions is a great way to address this.
- Exam anxiety is contagious. Taking with other exam takers can cause you anxiety. Headphones and a personal favourite playlist is recommended.
Pay attention and make note of anything that brought you physical discomfort. You want to prepare for these if a rewrite is needed. Here is list of common discomforts and solutions:
- Annoying sounds? Ear Plugs or White Noise Headphones can help.
- Motion/Visual distractions? Perhaps writing in a room with others is too distracting. Request an accommodation.
- Distracting smells? The exam room is supposed to be a scent-free environment. Colognes and perfumes are not acceptable. Bring it to the proctor’s attention. Accommodations can be made.
- Temperature regulation troubles? Were you too hot or too cold? Be sure to wear layers that are easily removed or added. Zippers make this process much easier.
- Was any article of your clothing uncomfortable? Be sure not to wear it again. It is advisable to test out your exam clothing days before.
- Hungry or stomach discomfort? Plan your meals for the day before and the morning of your exam. Avoid digestively challenging meals.
- Thirsty? Be sure to bring water.
- Excessive restroom breaks? Try to avoid diuretics such as caffeine. Try to drink water in smaller but more frequent sips