Course Advice

Course Advice for NZMGA Course Candidates

  • Clarify with the assessor/s if you are a Level 1 candidate and you are unsure whether or not a guiding-related activity is being taught or being assessed.
  • Each assessment task is taken in isolation from all other assessment tasks. Therefore, go back to the beginning each time when you are starting a new task. For example, determine the level of ability of your “client”, and re-do your safety checks.
  • Be aware that you may be asked to take over a task from another candidate part-way through the completion of the task. If so, you may be inheriting a situation that requires knowledge of what has gone on before. Alternatively, the previous candidate may have left the situation in a state that is less than satisfactory, and it is your task to resolve the situation. Keep your attention on what is happening even when you are not in the “hot seat”.
  • Clarify with the assessor/s if you believe the task is not clear. When given a task, don’t assume too much. Ask questions of the assessor/s so that both you and the assessor/s have the same understanding of what is meant to be happening.
  • Your assessor is attempting to replicate aspects of a realistic situation. In order to do this, a certain amount of simulation is inevitable. The combination of what you are actually doing, and what you are pretending to be doing, can lead to ambiguity. Attempt to clear up potential ambiguity by being pro-active with your communication, and by being pro-active with your management of the situation. For example, your assessor may tell you that they are role-playing the part of a client. Ask your assessor what level of “client” you are guiding. Treat this as verbal information on par with what a guide receives when first meeting his/her client, or when reading pre-course information. Then, assess the actual ability of your “client” based on what you observe.
  • Clarify with the assessor/s if you believe you are being pushed into a trap; e.g., being asked to work at another candidate’s set-up site, and you don’t believe it is efficient and/or safe. Remember, the assessment scenarios are typically not merely simulations of reality, they generally involve real danger. The assessors expect to see safe practice. Make obvious your normal safe-practices.
  • Time is a scarce resource during NZMGA assessment courses. The assessors are under pressure to observe all candidates in all topics. It is partly your responsibility to ensure that the assessors get to see you performing. Be organised and prepared.
  • Every guide makes small mistakes in the field at some stage. If you make a mistake while being assessed, don’t give up on the task. What the assessors are interested in is whether you are aware of the mistakes that you make, how you resolve them, and how you learn from the mistakes that you (and others) have made.
  • Assessment style – the assessors need to be in the thick of the action in order to observe what is happening. Assessors also need to record what has happened. Assessors peer over your shoulder when you are working on a task; assessors ask questions of you in order to try to gain knowledge of why you are doing, or have done, certain things (“judgement”); assessors use notebooks to retain information; assessor get together in order to bounce opinions off each other. This is normal. Try to not be intimidated by the close presence of assessors, nor the times when they are recording evidence or muttering among themselves.
  • If, after receiving feedback, you are still unsure how you have performed against the required standard, then ask the assessor/s for a “benchmark” rating. Then, ask them what is required for you to improve your performance in future.
  • If you are unsure as to your overall performance by the midpoint of the Course, then ask the assessors for a meeting so that you can determine how you are doing, and what you need to concentrate on.


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