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exam time again


stardancer
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My dd is due to take her advanced 1 exam soon but she has to decide where to do it.

Has anyone been to different exam centre;s and found a difference in there marks.

And also are the floor;s nice in these places.

we have only been to london to do exams before.

 

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I am presuming RAD - I doubt if there is a difference in marks between the centres, because every year there is a different examiner, so maybe one year a particular centre will have an examiner who gives higher marks and the next year not. In general they are supposed to mark alike as they have the same criteria, but of course personal preferences will always out. In principal my students generally get the marks they deserve, even if they don't always agree with that! And I have noticed too that the examiners do usually place the students in the same "batting order" that I would place them.

 

Therefore, I think your decision should be made on the actual quality of the exam studio in each centre. Is the studio big enough? Does it have a good sprung floor that's not too slippery? Is there an extra studio for warming up? Is the person in charge pleasant? All this will help your daughter to do her best.

 

My advice would be to look for a studio your daughter feels comfortable in. Of course, if there is a centre where your daughter can take a class or two before the exam, that would be a big help. Going in for an exam in a strange studio is hard - it does help to try it out beforehand.

Edited by Dance*is*life
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sorry bluebird 22 it was rad.Thank you dance is life i agree it would be best to try the studios first.we have tried birmingham /leeds and london.

but my dd wants to no more about sterling newcastle and liverpool.i wounder if there are any classes to try there.or if anyone has been there to tell us about the place.

london was fantastic but i do feel the marks are graded down.As you have all the major schools to be compared with.or it could of been my dd got a hard examiner that year.we got miss green from the royal ballet school,my dd said she was very nice

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My daughter doesn't like the studio at Manchester. She said it was very sticky and not very good for pirouette's. They also had to warm up in a very small changing room. My daughter much preferred Birmingham as they got to warm up in a studio first.

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I'm sure the examiners mark based on how they see the student perform on the day and nothing else. They will be marking each student against set criteria, not against each other,so it shouldn't matter who else is in the room. There is always bound to be a bit of inter examiner variation but I'm sure the RAD have stringent quality control processes to keep that to a minimum. I would think that would be one of the things they would have had to demonstrate in order to get the qualifications accepted on the national framework and eligible for UCAS points etc.

I guess the venue could affect the outcome if it was somewhere that the student felt uncomfortable and therefore performed less well, or vice versa, but I doubt very much that there will be any noticeable difference between marking in the different centres.

Edited by Pups_mum
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I think someone on the forum, or the previous ballet.co forum, once said that the Liverpool RAD vocational exam centre - which may actually be in Birkenhead? - had a slippery floor. So the opposite of Manchester, Amethyst, but equally bad for dancing at one's best.

 

I stress that I don't know whether that is the case, but I do seem to remember the comment.

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I am sure there is no difference in marking between the centres and certainly no marking down in London or anywhere else.  The RAD do have stringent quality control processes.  In fact I was led to believe that one of the reasons results are issued to everyone at the end of an exam session was because all results and examiners are checked over to make sure that no examiners are marking too leniently or too harshly compared to the others.   

 

Personally I would have thought travelling to an exam centre in a completely different part of the country instead of one that is convenient for you would add more stress to exam day.  I seem to remember that your DD covered the exam syllabus for her last vocational exam in a very short time - that may have had more bearing on why her mark was lower than expected than the venue or examiner.  I also do not feel that examiners names should be put on a public forum like this.

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I too understood that the exam results are released only after 'quality control' reviews of the marking across the board. If there really was marking down for exams at HQ, there would be very few dance schools willing to enter their students for exams there. I would have thought that the facilities at HQ are likely to be second to none, plus the advantage of pianists who are probably - or at least possibly - the most familiar with the syllabi and the correct tempi, etc (and senior RAD staff on hand if required?)

 

I can understand that knowing that you were taking an exam with a vocational school pupil might be off-putting, but I assume that Elmhurst and Hammond pupils don't travel to London to take vocational exams at HQ, so you may have the same issue at Birmingham or Manchester - or Liverpool and Leeds for that matter.

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Thank you for all your replys.2dancersmum i think you are right when you say my dd marks were

more reflected

on the short time she did the last exam.my dd only had about five month,s and to get a merit for that it

is fantastic.

i think we will look for somewhere where my dd would feel comfortable.

Has anyone been to sterling or newcastle. if so what was it like

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It makes such a difference, taxi4ballet, I am so glad that the pianist in London played exactly like the CD music. RAD vocational exams are stressful enough, they really don't need the additional panic of trying to keep up with a racing pianist or doing adage that seems ten times longer than usual because of v-e-r-y slowly played music!

 

I would have thought that London would be a first choice for those within relatively easy reach for several reasons.

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For dd vocational exam in march at HQ the pianist was faster than normal ( DVD/CD and pianists from local school). Had no impact on marks though as everyone did well and as expected.  The group that went in after my dd were able to hear the pianist from the changing rooms so were able to plan for the faster playing!

DD thought going to HQ improved her performance as it was out of her usual dance studio ( not that we have the choice on vocational). 

 

I think the examing is very rigorous and consistent and well moderated in RAD though I think there will still be a tendency for hawks/doves in marking.  I guess its important that the examiners move around nationally/internationally so no centre gets the same examiner all the time ( which i presume happens) my dd's teacher examines overseas regularly.

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The RAD certainly seem to work their vocational examiners hard and worldwide! One of DD's teachers is a vocational examiner and has only just returned for more than a weekend since January, as she has been abroad examining in several countries. She says the standards do tend to differ from country to country, so I am glad that an RAD examiner can be from anywhere worldwide as that must surely be an added 'quality/level' standard, no matter where you take an RAD exam.

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Our school avoids Manchester and says its very sticky!

 

As a matter of interest, one of my daughters teaches for several schools - she had two groups of students from different schools being examined at different locations in a Major ballet exam - all students were of a similar standard and she didnt expect there to be more than 4-5 marks between them all.  There was a difference of over 20 marks between the two examiners!

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You are able to query results, as taxi4ballet says. I suppose there will always be differences between examiners, especially when it comes to the marks for presentation, as what appeals to one person won't necessarily appeal so much to another. Or the students with

lower marks might have had to contend with a less than optimal studio floor, or a pianist doing their own thing, or could have had an off day?

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Yes thats true. 

Also they seem to be very good about taking known special circumstances into account - couple of girls had ill health issues affecting mobility in recent exams that were taken ino consideration and so marks were not effected adversely....different I know to appealing a result but generally all signs of sound assessment procedures.

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Just wanted to note that I had a former student who went to Elmhurst and took his Advanced 2 from there. Interestingly, they did send him down to London to take his exam - not to Birmingham. This was about 5 or 6 years ago, so perhaps the Birmingham Centre didn't exist then????? Unfortunately, in spite of taking his exam at HQ there were no other boys taking it with him. He passed with 82 and was eligible for the Genee that year, which was supposed to be in the UK. Of course that had to be the year that the Genee was cancelled through lack of funding and by the following year he had turned pro. He was very frustrated as I had dangled the carrot of the Genee in front of him when I wanted to encourage him to take his exams!

Edited by Dance*is*life
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I don't know if RAD examined in Birmingham then but it may just have been a timing issue as vocational exams are only held one a year in Birmingham - late October.  It is the closest venue to us but students from our dance school often to go London or Bristol depending on when they are exam ready.

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