Advise on where to go next?

Hi everyone,

 im looking for some guidance. I'm currently doing my level 7, all I have in my way of finishing is passing the 7HRC exam. Problem Is I can't seem to pass it! I took the exam last May, and knew I failed to manage my time effectively, and this caused me to fail. As spent too little time on section b... I marginally failed. I decided to retake straight away, which in hindsight was silly, as I was so busy with work I didn't revise very much, in addition I was going through early stages of pregnancy, not an ideal combination! Again I failed, I wasn't suprised as felt unprepared compared to the first time! I just got my results from the Jan retake, where I did revise a lot, and this time I spent more time reviewing the learning objectives, & past papers, which I didn't do before.. I felt when I took the paper I panicked, as struggling to link the questions to the learning objectives & once again spent too much time on the case study. I tend to panic in exams, I can't think straight, and it is I'm sure leading to my failure. Having passed all other modules and the other exam with only a days revision I'm feeling very stressed. 

Any advise on the best way forwards? I get offered no support in this area from my study centre, I've done the revision class each time, but I'm thinking maybe instead I should pay for my individual feedback? Problem also is my first baby is due the day before the next resit, I'd like to do it then, but a risk if baby comes early.. As if I wait, I'll have to try manage this with a young baby & a lot of my knowledge will have left the building...  

Sorry for  long post! Hoping someone can offer some guidance.


thanks Cher  

  • David

    | 20938 Posts

    Chartered Member

    27 Mar, 2015 07:51

    Hi Cher.

     just looked up a past exam paper for this, where the case study gave me a good laugh - the fictitious organisation had been named Asian HR Solutions, or AHRS, which is quite an amusing acronym to use in this context when you say it out loud.

    Seriously, though, this exam seems to be requiring quite in depth knowledge of the U.K and global economy, and how economic and political policy and events impact upon strategic HR practice.

    This is such a very very wide topic that all I can suggest is that you closely and regularly study such as the Economist; Financial Times: Sunday Times etc as well as maybe some books on UK etc macroeconomics, and at same time try to make a close study of a topic you're interested in, such as vocational education and training or Britain and the EU. With any luck, the next paper you try will include questions which give you a chance to air your new knowledge

     all best with it and with baby



  • Keith

    | 10639 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    27 Mar, 2015 09:28

    Personally I would forget doing the resit the day after the due date for your first baby - there will just be too much going on and too much stress at that time even if baby is late.

    Your knowledge wont have left the building if you wait till the resit after that.

    I would recommend two things:

    1) It sounds like its all about exam technique so I would look at (if you can afford it) getting some coaching from someone specifically on this area. There are lots of people who do this (and wouldn't limit myself to people who do this in the HR field). or (if you cant afford it) seeing if there is anyone in your CIPD branch who can do some one to one coaching on exam techniques.

    2) It may simply be the way I read it - but have you really looked long and hard at each of your attempts and really understood what you did well and what you didn't? There seem to be a number of "excuses" (the way I read it) such as didn't revise etc etc which may be masking the underlying challenges for you in these exams.

    Good luck

  • Thank you both for your replies. I do think my exam technique is an issue. I tend to panic in exams, and I can't seem to think straight, I often find myself sat in this exam struggling to think of the answer, when I know I have an understanding of the topic. And the more times I resit this one, the more pressure I feel, thus panic even more. 

     I would like to look at technique for my exam, & revision, as apart from my second attempt which was half hearted, I did spend a lot of time revising. But I feel reading the text, & attempting to memorise a hell of a lot of data is not effective, so I need to find what I need to know. As this topic is so vast, I find it challenging to know what to focus my time on. 



  • Liz

    | 1256 Posts


    27 Mar, 2015 11:19


    It wasn't till I was older and going to university to do my HR qualifications that I realized I had developed a revision and exam technique for myself.

    When I first went to uni, I studied Economics. This was a lot of essay writing and exams, and most annoyingly, writing essays in exams. So I was conditioned over 3 years of my undergrad degree to write essays in a time -bound situation. Exam technique comes with time, but I like to approach an exam like this:

    Get into the exam and assess how much time you've got for the exam, against how many questions you have to answer. Usually, you'll know this before you get into the exam, particularly by attempting past papers and by your tutors telling you what to expect. If you have 3 hours to answer 8 questions out of 10 from Section A and then 1-2 out of 4 essay type questions from Section B for example, you need to think about how much time you'll need for the bigger essay style questions, and then try to allocate other time for the Section A questions. There is nothing to stop you starting with Section B questions first and coming back to the others, as far as I know.

    Before I've even done this though, I've spent 15-20 minutes looking at all of the questions, and marking/indicating which ones I'm going to answer. I'll even put some notes on the question paper (if allowed) or on note paper of brief details to remind what I wanted to write in answer to that question. Even with essay questions, I write down everything I can remember about that topic that I think is relevant, before I start attempting to write a coherent essay answer.

    All this allows me to get on and answer the questions without panicking about time constraints or remembering details. If I didn't have a clue about a particular question and nothing sprung to mind about answering it, I would either leave it and answer a different question or leave it till last and answer it at the end.

     As for revision, I do 2 things. Firstly for things like HR legislation, I learned this parrot fashion by recording it on to an mp3 player and listening to it on my lunch time walks at work. Eventually I got to know legislation, details, dates etc because it stuck. (Can't remember any of it now mind you..)

     And secondly, for huge topics covered per semester or over a period of an academic year, I would take each part of the topic in turn and re-write my notes that I'd taken in class. I would keep re-writing each part of the topic making it slimmer each time, with a view to ending up with 1-2 sides of A4 with an entire topic containing just key words that when I read them, it would spark to remember whole chunks of the topic. I've had a lot of practice at that, and it's probably not the most efficient way of revising but it worked for me.

    Hopefully there may be somebody at your local CIPD Branch that could help? More than likely, they've been where you are at some point in the HR career and can offer help, support and guidance in getting you through this last exam.

    I hope this helps, and if it doesn't make sense or you want to chat it through further, please do not hesitate to contact me privately.  


  • Hi,  can you're local CIPD Branch offer any guidance or support?  I have noticed a local branch to me hold a CIPD event for students, particularly focusing on the dissertation part of their course work but there may be some sort of support or resource available focusing on the exam element?


    Sorry not much use  - currently doing level 6 and struggling with that!


    All the best with it and Im sure you will get there

  • David

    | 20938 Posts

    Chartered Member

    28 Mar, 2015 17:43

    Hi Cher

    You comment

      As this topic is so vast, I find it challenging to know what to focus my time on.

     - that may seem so, but it seems to me that this topic is 'about' the impact upon UK HR strategy and operations of the national and global economy within which HR  has to operate, so, if you analyse carefully past papers, you'll probably find in each questions which in effect ask you to summarize all this.....so, if you 'mug up' upon this particular topic, chances are you'll get to be in a position to answer enough of the paper to suffice.

     It's a bit of a risk, that you might be left with questions on topics you know little or nothing about, but these exam papers are usually carefully structured as regards their scope, so chances are you'll be OK and I think that such an approach is far better than trying to be a Cher of all trades but a master of none which will suit the examiners


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