Officers education for promotion

Discussion in 'Officers' started by machiavelli, Aug 15, 2006.

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  1. Just a general thread for opinions on MK1 / MK2 and MA oh yes and a few pointers for some "revision / study aides" if anyone has got them.

    For any Shriv DS

    "MK2 is useless as all it is, is rote learning - surely we should be teaching our future field officers how to think not just how to regurgitate facts"


  2. DPM

    DPM Old-Salt

    Some observations on MK2 (no cheating):

    - Time taken logged on completing coursework (I kept a diary in order to avoid exaggeration claims) = 94 hours, not including setting up computers, enrolling, crashes, or time lost due to lack of computer availability or travel (at least another 20+ hours, probably more).

    - Revision time = at least 20 hours.

    - Exams = minimum 5 hours (2 x Fails).

    - Time estimates given to complete the course (60hrs) are accurate, but do not allow for note taking, or going through sample questions (this can take some time due to the method of questioning and inaccuracies in the subject text - least 30% of my time was taken up searching for fairly spurious information), revision or exams.

    - I found the lesson summaries a complete waste of time (although others found them useful) as, although they do summarize the main points of each lesson, they do not generally reflect the exam topics – you could learn everything on the summaries back to front and still only get about 40%, if that.

    - I found discussions with others completing the course more useful than having a mentor, mostly because my mentor didn’t have time to cover the subject matter in detail. I asked a Staff College quall’ed Full Colonel to have a look at a logistics lesson (he was RLC) and his reaction on seeing the test was ‘fairly negative’. My mentor, with a DPA background, sat the DPA test and got about 20%. In essence, unless the mentor looks at the full content, and why should he, especially when the questions are so spurious, you’re better off sharing the workload with friends.

    - The MK help desk are terrible at replying to questions and concerns. I fwd’ed at least 10 question/content errors to them and only got 2 replies, 1 of which asked me to stop being such a spotter – fairly annoying after spending an hour trawling through the lesson to find 1 particular answer to an end of lesson test.

    - For my money, you can read, digest and be tested on Pt 1 in a 5 day week, Pt 2 in a 5 day week, and Pt 3 (longer, but more familiar to a Combat Arm) in 7-10 days, assuming a working day of 6-8hours (which will make your eyes bleed). If a student were unable to ‘block study’ each Pt, I believe that by the time he finished each Pt, he/she’d forget the first few lessons, effectively doubling the revision time required.

    - Notes are fairly essential, unless you have a photographic memory. Testing is not generally on main themes, but on detail.

    - Lesson content is actually pretty good, genuinely interesting, and I enjoyed reading it and fully expect to use it in the future.

    - When AG showed interest in this a while ago, he agreed that it was a unit responsibility to give Capts time to study. You should do MK2 as pre-trg prior to a unit/formation staff appointment, rather than for ICSC. Too late for the current Beige listers of course. This was confirmed in the AG Presentation Team’s backbrief, circulated on TAFMIS. I think that 3 weeks off, in blocks of at least 5 days, would not be unreasonable to pass the course. I think that you need 4 weeks to properly cover the course content, but you soon get an eye for what needs to be learnt as opposed to what you might need in the future. A bit sad really.

    - Advice from the MK powers that be, along the lines of ‘it’s taking you longer because you’re not used to computers’, and ‘you didn’t do MK1, so you should expect to have to study longer’ is fairly patronising. I like to think that I’m part of the Nintendo Generation, or Commodore 64 at least, and any ex-Ops Offr/IO/Adjt or SO3 should have more than enough experience to make up for MK1. The main problem is the format used to present the topics, and the software used which is much less flexible than Windows. A hard copy would make all the difference.

    Having passed it, I find Chain of Command sponsored cheating a bit hard to stomach.

  3. Thanks

    Have yet to cheat but the more i hear unfortunatelty the more i realise how little time i am going to have to get this done.

    It is unfortunatley referred to by MCM as "distance - cheating" - shame because as you mention there are some interesting bits.
  4. Same goes for MK1!
  5. DPM

    DPM Old-Salt

    MCM references like that really grip me - they are a part of the organisation that is forcing MK2 on us. The least they can do is enforce thier own rules.

    Absolutely pathetic, and a sign of what the Army is becoming.

  6. I am more fortunate than most, in that I have a reliable internet connection at work. Even so I am finding MK 2 a bind. I did the book-based MK 1 and was fairly happy to put in the time on it - except for Module 4 which went into way too much detail for the casual user, and as a desk-bound Corps-wallah I am a very casual user. Got an honest pass.

    Just done an MK 2 Module which I studied for, and can honestly agree that the lesson summaries do not provide sufficient information for revision, but to take notes requires a significant investment of time. I'm not tardy, and reading each lesson and scribbling notes took approx 7 hrs for Module A. Organising those notes and revising took, at a guess, another 25 hrs. If anyone has 32 coherent hours to devote to an MK 2 module in work time, then I want their job!

    The nature of my unit is such that I am without Mentor, but actually that just means I get creative with my research - additional time taken. This does mean that I haven't spotted errors yet though...

    Fortunately I am at the beginning of my Captaincy, and can therefore 'pass' MK 2, and then hope and pray that I gain some relevant experience (S03 in Bde/Div HQ or other similar task) that makes it all come alive and start to make sense.

    If we are going to move away from continuous Distance Learning to 'Study Weeks' then the rationale for MK 2 disappears, and we might just as well re-jig the old AJD (spoken of with regard by my seniors) and do a proper job of it.

    Oh, andmilitary IT systems - don't you just hate them. Where's the IPT for that then...

    Rant ends
  7. Teech doesnt it annoy you that say you finish all of MK2 by end of 07. You said that this is the beginning of your captains years so a minimum of 4 ?? more before your first look 2010 - 2011. If you are not a future general and lets be pessimistic you pick up second look 2011 - 2012.


    2007 Finish MK2 - locked out of the system - true.

    2011 Beige (2nd look) - All of the info and factual learning will then be 4 years - 4 years out of date !!!!!

    Hmm excuse mong typing first paragraph
  8. DPM

    DPM Old-Salt

    It shouldn't annoy - MK2 is pre-trg prior to a unit/formation staff appointment, rather than for ICSC.

  9. If that is the case then why make it mandatory for all those going to ICSC who have completed their senior captain's tours?

    MK2 was a good concept that has been brought down with a poor implementation and inflexible support structure.
  10. DPM

    DPM Old-Salt

    That, as they say, is the million dollar question...

    And once you've made it madatory, why sponsor cheating in order that people can pass it and attend ICSC, thereby keeping jobs allocated prior to the course while some candidates who have passed the sodding exam, but have no jobs, remain in limbo? Somebody needs a good kick in the arrse.

    Ooh, and pass me that saucer of milk... :D

  11. Point taken about the pre unit or formation so3 training - however as you mention the million dollar question.....

    Another million dollar question - what will they do at MCM this year for the beige when the majority of individuals will not have passed the sodding thing and therefore (according to my desk officer) not even be preboarded.
    Have seen in writing the comment that no matter what you have been up to or no matter who writes to MS on your behalf no MK2 / MA = no consideration for promotion.

    Will therefore the inevitable surplus of non promoted officers impact on the promotion prospects of those of us due to beige in the next few years ? How can they promote 35% of LTOS officers if there are loads of old ATOS who didn't promote due to non mk status

    Please can i have a sip of that milk ?
  12. DPM

    DPM Old-Salt

    Geroff - its mine! Only space for one [hundred] sour puss[es] here :)

    I'm looking forward to that point, just to see the reaction, but I find it incredulous that MS, safe in the knowledge that most of these guys, some through lack of time management and some for perfectly legitimate reasons, will cheat to pass the test, is happy for the system to run as is.

    I know of 2 Formations close by that have laid on Capt's study weeks, have got to the end of the week, then told the guys to 'get in to that computer room and pass, I'll be next door, wink, wink'.

    The system sucks, but where does the chain of command moral compass point to with this going on?

    They know people are cheating and will let them beige. Some guy, with an ounce of integrity, will fail to make the timing through completing the course properly, and will not be boarded!

    What kind of a message does that send?

  13. Agreed - could i just have the cream of the edge of the dish ??

    The Bde study weeks are apparently a great success - literally in pass numbers etc but also because you have a budget manager explaining TLBs etc so it puts a human spin on the other wise dusty dry computer stuff.

    Think i could win if i sue due to non promotion because of lots of overstretched ATOS ers haven't promoted on time and therefore i am disadvantaged ??
  14. DPM

    DPM Old-Salt

    As an aside, both of my last 2 units have now allocated 3 weeks a year for all Capts to conduct MK2, one in 1 week blocks, the other in a chunk.

    Unsurprisingly, both units have extremely supportive Chains of Command, but I've chatted to a few guys and gals in relation to this subject, and I appear to be one of the lucky.

    Chain of Command support is, ironically, probably the best way to get his Capts back to work - it's bloody marvelous when Bde/Div keep complaining that they can't reach the Adjt/Ops Offr/etc because they are on MK2 study leave.

    How's this for an easy solution - on posting to IO/Adjt/Ops/SO3, every Capt is to be given 5-7 weeks to complete MK2, the BG/Formation Planner's Course, and any other pro course (ISTAR, fer eg). The incumbent stays in place until all pre-trg is complete, the incomer is fully trained, and there is continuity throughout the cycle.

    Not quite AJD, but 'just enough, just in time' rather than not quite enough just too late...

  15. DPM

    DPM Old-Salt

    Bde study weeks are a success because the lads on them are allowed to conduct the test open book and talking to each other.

    None of the lads will stick their hand up because that would have repurcussions beyond themselves, and the Bdes are happy because they get their men back behind the desk asap. Integrity be damned.

    Personally, I think that it should be open book and be done. When posted in to a COIN environment, you get the COIN Pam out. If I need to know the width of a CH2, I'll look it up...