Seconds Motor EK Exam Technique
Sample Questions and Answers
The Examination paper consists of nine questions. Each question is
worth 16 marks. Six questions must be attempted and the time allowed
is 3 hours. Half an hour a question, right? Well not exactly. If
you're the sort of bloke who, when a piece of kit breaks down on
board ship, leaps in with spanners in both hands, and you tend to do the
same with exam papers (except with pens in both hands), then you are at a
Relax, sit back and consider the questions; spend 5 - 10 minutes
reading through the paper. Some questions may make the heart give a
little leap: "I can do this one!!"; some may give you a
sinking feeling "Oh ****!!."
Read the questions thoroughly; make sure in your mind that you
understand what you are being asked. Decide which questions you are
going to attempt. It is quite OK to answer them in any order, so
start with the one you feel most confident with.
Be strict with your time. Allow yourself about 25 minutes to
answer the question. At the end of that time, move on to the next.
If you haven't finished (so much to write, so little time), leave
space before starting the next question.
If the question consists of several parts, subdivide your time
depending on the marks allocated (approximately 1½ minutes per
Don't fill your answer with unnecessary padding or "bumf";
you won't get any marks for it. It may be wise to put bullet
points down first and then expand on them.
Don't wander off the subject; If asked how to gauge a cylinder
liner, don't start explaining how to change one.
Your sketches must be clear. Use a pencil and a straight edge. One
of those stencils for drawing circles can be handy. Use half
sketches for symmetrical components (e.g. piston, relief valve.)
Your sketch must "work" If for instance there is no
clearance for a relief valve to lift, then it won't work.
Use a thumbnail sketch to help an explanation even if it isn't
asked for. A quick sketch will help you convey an idea more
When you have worked your way through all six questions you
should have about 20 minutes left. Go back to the questions you may
not have finished and complete them.
Read through your paper from start to finish, making any
The rules for answering the 1st class questions are the same as for the
2nd class. A greater depth of knowledge is required, and the questions
lean more towards the analysis of problems and procedures. "Sketch
and describe" questions do crop up, so you must know how to draw
the standard items.
When preparing for the examination, practice writing out answers. It
may seem a little awkward, especially if you are the only one reading
it, but you can check your answer out afterwards, and also it gets you
used to putting the information down on the paper in the allotted time.
Practice will increase your legibility; remember, if the examiner can't
read it, you won't get any marks. Learn the sketches, especially the
most common ones; exhaust valve, VIT fuel pump, composite piston etc.
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Those who prepare are those who pass.
Set yourself a routine and stick to it. You know how you work best. Some people
get up early in the morning and work before breakfast, others like to
study in the evening. But believe me,
unless you are a real whizz kid with a photographic memory, you're not
going to stand much chance if all you do is glance through Pounders and
Lambs Q and A while eating your cornflakes or watching TV.
The following examples give, in my opinion, a full and comprehensive
answer to the questions. However I do not set the questions, so do not
know exactly what the examiner is looking for. I accept no
responsibility for any errors or omissions. If you disagree with any of
my answers then please email
me. Some questions may seem a little
ambiguous. Read the questions carefully, and decide what is being asked
before deciding on your answer.
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Chief Engineer Sample Exam Questions
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