IMCA Courses | The Best Way to Pass IMCA Examination


Posted: 14 June, 2019

The Perfect Way to Pass the IMCA exam

The Perfect Way to Pass the IMCA exam

Contributed by: Alan Rhodes
Head of Diving (Training Department)

We are often asked what is the best way to pass the IMCA exam?

As someone who has been training students to do this for 14 years, Alan’s answer is very simple; ensure you have had quality time on the panel as a trainee diving supervisor, as questions are scenario based as well as knowledge based AND - preparation, preparation, preparation. It’s not just about ‘passing an exam’; as a diving supervisor, you must be confident to run dives and respond appropriately in an emergency. Here is one recent success story of a KBAT student and what you can do to pass the IMCA examination. 

  • Firstly, pre-exam self-study. Offshore or onshore, it is always best to do little and often, rather than trying to cram all into the week before the exam. You will find you have never left enough time.Repetition cements the required information and knowledge in the brain until it becomes second nature.
  • Secondly, attend the full course again. The student did this, although there was no requirement for him to do so, as he had already gained his panel hours in the allotted time. However, this is a great way to make sure all the basic knowledge has been covered and is fully understood.
  • Immediately after the full course, the student had already booked a one day one-to-one session with the trainer, where we were able to determine his weak areas, offer different questions and get the candidate into the mindset of how to look at and approach each question.
    • For example, don’t immediately jump in to select the correct answer out of the four choices. It is far better to rule out the answers which it cannot possibly be. This then usually leaves you with two possible answers. You should be able to use your knowledge to then isolate the correct answer.
    • For example, students frequently fail to study the medical and physiology section sufficiently. We also advocate, if you don’t know all of the signs, symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment of EVERY diving related illness, then how are you possibly going to be able to isolate and choose the correct answer? Impossible right? Students frequently tell us that they know all of the medical signs and symptoms; but sadly, in most cases, when quizzed more deeply, they respond with half or confused answers. It is obvious that knowledge is not fully comprehended and sometimes subtle differences between ailments are not understood, so it is no surprise that success is not gained.
  • So far, our student had the correct strategy. After the one day refresher course, he planned to sit the exam in another two days. This is the perfect gap, allowing enough time to go over all of the material again, and if there are any doubts, there is still enough time to contact the trainer for an explanation over the phone or email.
  • The student can approach the exam full of confidence, ensure that he has the skills and breadth of knowledge to tackle any questions that are likely to come up in the exam. We must always remember the exam data bank has over 1000 questions which are randomly selected for each exam, so rogue learning is not productive. If you think this will get you a pass - it won’t!

In Summary

  1. Study everyday - little and often.

  2. Attend the full course again.

  3. Do a one day one-to-one refresher course immediately after the full course.

  4. Leave 1 or 2 day gap to go over all the material.

  5. Go into the exam full of confidence.

Consider your Return of Investment – work hard with some costs and pass; OR fail and lose jobs, work and the effect on your career path as well as having to spend more money (due to additional costs to prepare and to re-sit the exam again).

A note of caution given to all students, and that is, if you do not feel 100% confident about passing the exam, DO NOT sit the examination. This is particularly relevant now due to the recent revised IMCA exam protocol.

Footnote: We are very pleased to report that the student (who preferred to remain anonymous) has passed the exam with flying colours and having taught him and seen his approach to learning and supervising, we are sure he will make an excellent Diving Supervisor.

Click here for more information about the range of IMCA-approved training courses.


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