Exam Nerves!

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Location: Basingstoke
Organisation: Frangipani Frames
Interests: 1940-50s fashion, lifestyle and memorabilia. Sewing, crafting, and of course picture framing

Exam Nerves!

Post by Frangipaniframer » Mon 14 Oct, 2019 7:35 am

Good morning forum! :)

I am booked in to do my GCF exam next month and starting to get a bit nervous! I’ve had great advice from my colleagues who passed years ago, but I’m wondering if there’s anyone on here that has done the exam recently and willing to share any tips?

Many thanks! Fran :wink:
Fran Howson GCF APF

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Re: Exam Nerves!

Post by Justintime » Mon 14 Oct, 2019 9:53 am

Hi Fran,
I was in exactly the same state a month before mine, in August. My business had an amazing up turn this Summer and I new that I wouldn't have time to prepare until the last minute! I set aside the week before, I only took customers' work in and worked on my three pieces and studied hard all week.
I only started to relax, when I started to realise that I did actually know a lot of what I needed to. I have never spent so much time on three pieces of work in my two and a half years of framing and I still had to triple check myself. I printed off a few copies of the 100+ multi choice questions. I began by going through them, ticking the ones I was 100% sure of, to give me a base to work from. I spent hours rereading the study guide, finding the answers to the ones I wasn't sure about, underlining any that might trip me up later. The night before, I took a clean copy and timed myself to complete the entire sheet, which went really well.
As far as the practical pieces went, by the time I had finished them, I knew that there were a few things inside those packages that I would do differently next time. The pressure I put myself under to complete them in time definitely affected my work, but I knew exactly what i wasn't happy about (but no time left to correct them...)
The examiners were relaxed and friendly and went through each piece, extracting my knowledge from me as they went. I was marked down, as expected for some simple (thankfully minor) errors.
My advise is give yourself as much time as possible to complete the three pieces, make them the best you can do. Be 100% sure that you are using the correct methods and tapes for the required levels of each piece. If you're not experienced at washlines, wait until you're feeling calm and relaxed and do them until you can't do them anymore. It gets better and they get easier!
Whoever you have from the FATG on speeddial, get them on whattsapp and talk to them whenever you need to check something. If you don't have someone to contact, call Steve McKee, Ian Kenny, Jo Palmer etc and they will put you in touch with someone I am sure.
What also helped my nerves was thinking about why I wanted to pass. What the certification would mean to me, as a person and how it would help my business reputation and future growth. It can be a lonely, confidence challenging business, but its given me a lot more confidence to face the challenges ahead.
Be prepared to explain your methods, materials choices, just like you would with a customer, but in more depth.
I hope this helps, good luck!

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