So, our final FGASA exam and practical assessments are finally upon us after all the preparations and time spent learning everything we can during our time at Bushwise! Lucky for us just before the intense week that is exam and assessment week, we were given the opportunity to practice ARH (Advance Rifle Handling) drills which everyone was relieved about. It felt like a nice break from all the theory and practical exams we had been doing in the previous few weeks and a few people are concerned about the ARH assessment so we will take all the practise we can get! The ARH assessment is pretty intense. Having to be able to load three rounds into a rifle in under 15 seconds doesn’t sound to hard but when the clock start ticking and the pressure builds it’s a while different story. That doesn’t even involve actually having to accurately aim and fire the rifle! We took it in turn shooting with live rounds while others practised using dummies and simply going through the different drills. Nonetheless, it was a fun activity and that gave everyone that little break that was needed before the intense studying the would be required for our FGASA test that was to follow in the next few days.
It is safe to say that the weekend before the big test was for the most part a quite one on Bushwise campus. Most people could be found sitting with their head inside the level 1 manual or making sticky notes of all the definitions we had to remember and sticking them on every spare bit of wall in their rooms. Everyone had their own way of preparing for the test. Many people chose to steady together, asking each other questions or by themselves. Over the time of the course you realise what method of studying is best for you and you stick with it! But if I could personally give future students a piece of advice and im sure many of my fellow students would agree, make sure you take a break! Go make yourself a cup of coffee, go for a short walk just to stretch your legs, do a bit of birding or go have a chat with someone. It will help you focus once you get back to it. But everyone is different maybe you are lucky and have a photographic memory! So came the big test. The thing we had been working so hard towards all these months and like a flash it was over. Luckily, we had some guidance from our trainers to help us prepare for what might come up on the test and compared to some of the Bushwise tests this wasn’t as bad. But it wasn’t over yet, we still had to do our drives.
The assessment drives started the day after the FGASA exam so some of us didn’t have much time to prepare but after learning everything again for the exam there was a lot of fresh information in our brains! Unlike the test which works on percentages the drives are either competent or not competent. You need to be able to provide a good guided experience for your guests in a safe and professional manner. While ticking all the criteria that is required to pass level 1 of course! But I have faith in my fellow students, everyone has worked hard to get to this point and this is make or break. So far it has been great to see that everyone has their own style of guiding and makes it work for them. Here is to the future!
I mean, we definitely have one of the best offices in the world!
By Lucia van den Berg