Self-Studying for the CBCI? Now is the time to do it

  • 20 Sep 2019
  • Michelle-Lee

I have a confession to make, despite really wanting my MBCI rather than AMBCI, it has taken me over a decade to sit my CBCI exam... Why I hear you ask? Quite simply cost and timing. It doesn’t seem much at roughly £2000 for a course to ensure you know the GPG terminology and £400 for the exam, but to me it was a complete road block. For a start most organisations I have worked for since I graduated from Coventry University with a BSc in Emergency and Disaster Management in 2010 have either had restrictions on external training or your colleagues’ posts are being cut for cost saving and asking for funding seemed (to me personally) morally dubious. 

Then there is the self-funded route which for a long time had been a non-starter, from being a literally broke graduate in debt, to desperately saving for a deposit for a flat, then for a wedding, and after to saving to afford that unpaid portion of maternity leave and now the eye watering cost of childcare almost wipes out any savings I have. A spare £2k or even £400 hasn’t just been sitting there in my bank account. 

But as you all know, where there is a will there is a way, so by forgoing a holiday this year and studying like a crazy on the train I finally booked and passed my exam (bring the cost to under £500). It also just so coincided with the removal of the requirement to score 85% to automatically qualify for membership. This is important to all you who like me have been in the industry for a while and taking the self-study self-funded route. Why? Because if you pass which is only 70% you now can become a member. A huge relief if you have literally put your own money where your mouth is to try and achieve your membership.

Also, because there is no doubt that it is undeniably harder when you are not a blank canvas when it comes to learning something like the GPG where you need very detailed and specific knowledge of one document (any students or new practitioners out there, find the £500 and just sit the exam now as soon as possible you will find it much easier!). As if you have been around for a while, it starts all melding and merging with other bodies of knowledge from the ISO’s to LinkedIn articles you may have read and the questions become harder as each will trigger another memory.

If you are self-studying and like me you haven’t studied for a while you will be pleased to know that technology has also moved on, rapidly. Which really makes the task so much easier, even for this full-time working mum. For example, I downloaded a well-known flashcard app on my phone and made 93 cards on definitions and processes which I could use at anytime which showed me how well I was learning each card, gave tests even a fun little matching game where I raced to beat my own best time. 

By using nothing more than this flashcard app and my GPG cards for a month on the train to and from work, I achieved what was a merit pass mark without breaking either myself or the bank. So I can do it and if like me all that is holding you back is the cost of a full on course, why not go down the self-study route, as it really is the best time to try.

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