/ How to pass your WML

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robjob - on 05 Mar 2014
OK so i could just put : 'Learn to suffer and enjoy digging' and that would be that but I wrote a little blog with pics on my WML that I passed at Glenmore lodge the other week with some top tips and my take on what you need for anyone considering the "dreaded" WML
Enjoy and let me know what you think


AdCo82 on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to robjob:

A good read, useful and interesting. Made me laugh about the Northern Lights and your 'axe in the bag' bollocking, haha!

peebles boy - on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to robjob:

"Little wonder that the Scottish Qualification Association recognises that the WML is equivalent to a BA degree."

Rob, just wondering where you found this out (and what it actually means - are you awarded SCQF points for it?) - I had a quick search around the SQA website but found no links between WML and SQA.

Good write up - gutted you didn't get woken up to see the lights!
Lots of top tips, I think I would add "recent experience" to it - it's all very well and good having a long history of experience, but I think that some people (certainly on my assessment course) have a history that's a bit too disjointed in that they mainly knew their stuff, but weren't recent with it so things weren't as good/slick as they should be (hence their deferrals!). I guess "get out there" as much as you can prior to assessment is what everyone wants to aspire to.

Goggles, definitely. Two pairs. ;)


JohnnyW - on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to robjob:

Planning mine for next winter after putting it off for years. You've both re-iterated what I think already I know, and reminded me of what I have in store.
robjob - on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to robjob:
Thanks guys, glad you liked it.

@AdCo82 yep, never switch off until the assessments over. Its also the level of professionalism that you have to show that really comes to light on the MIA/C and BMG over the lower awards that the WML touches on because of the seriousness of the environment you operate in. IMO anyway.

@peeble boy this is the SQA info but I have read a more in depth look at it just can't remember where right now. Its the SQA that credits it because the WML is a Scottish award but the others are UK awards and the English equivalent aren't bothered looking at it i guess. There was a discussion on qualification equivalents on the MTA FB forum recently about WML= BA MIA= etc etc. raised some interesting points on professionalisation of quals and how they are seen. I could did it up if you are really interested.

Also thats what I meant by practice, everyone had lots of experience but I think what helped me sail through was I took a week up there previous to the exam to get into Scottish mode. Some of the other guys admitted themselves that it was lack of "recent' practice.


Post edited at 12:59
peebles boy - on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to robjob:

Cheers for that, I might ask SQA to send me out an update of where they think my various outdoor and other qualifications sit in the big picture of the SQA/SCQF points framework. As you say, an interesting look at how outdoor awards are perceived, I think it can only be a good thing that SQA are willing to go down this line (quite rightly too, considering the effort, expertise, time and learning involved with the higher end quals!).

I went week on/week off at work for the 8 weeks running up to my assessment - everything felt slick and good come the week itself, which was just as well because conditions were appalling and I had a dose of man flu that kicked in the night before exped!! There were a couple folk there who had only managed, at most, half a dozen days out that entire winter. They didn't pass.

Dave Perry - on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to robjob:

Nice write up Rob. And an interesting read too!!
mountain musher - on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to robjob:

Great write up Rob.

Navigate, nav some more, avalanche, navigate, work hard, navigate, avalanche, group saftey, navigate etc.

Passed mine a few years ago in heinous conditions, having to have one of the party continously digging the entrance clear all night with what was a foot entrance becoming a 12 foot entrance by the morning!

Think MIC assessment is way harder, may be due to the massive amounts of self induced pressure or the fact your more 'alone' rather than a group during the assessment.

Well done on passing.... good luck on the MIA/C scheme.
pasbury on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to robjob:

The bit about slope aspect nav piqued my interest - i'd like to go out and try it now.

However my nearest hills are the Black Mountains and I wonder how well it will work there - those who know them might see what I'm getting at.
robjob - on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to pasbury:

Anywhere you have a landscape with feature, a map of it and a compass you can practice slope aspect, its such a great tool in winter because everything is buried however the aspect never changes. Reading the ground not features is the key.

The Ex-Engineer - on 06 Mar 2014
In reply to peebles boy:
> "Little wonder that the Scottish Qualification Association recognises that the WML is equivalent to a BA degree."

Just in case people want some more info but don't want to dig into it in great detail. ML(W) is 'worth' 31 credits at level 9 or very, very roughly 310 notional hours of 'study'.

However, one year of normal undergraduate University study is 'worth' 120 credits or is considered to be notionally around 1200 hours of 'study'. An ordinary (non-Honours degree) also needs at least 60 credits to be at level 9.

You could therefore argue, if you so wish, that ML(W) is therefore 'vaguely' equivalent to between 1/4 to 1/2 of the 3rd year of a Scottish University course. Equally you may decide that trying to compare Apples and Oranges is pointless.

When I last looked into this in detail (2012) I was rather disappointed that neither MIA or MIC were as yet included on either the SCQF or the English equivalent. If anyone is aware that this has changed, or is likely to, it would be great to know.
robjob - on 06 Mar 2014
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

Thanks for that bit of info. I read a lot about it a few months ago and I did come across some information re: MIA/C but you're right its not actually a THIS = THAT situation.

It is quite useful though to demonstrate the amount of work it takes to get to your man on the street as it were. It isn't just going for a stroll in the snow! The reaction of all my friends was great when I told them I had an exam/assessment...
them:" oh good luck when is it?"
me; "next week"
them; "what day?'
me: "no... all of next week including some nights out!"

cue puzzled faces and a few having a lot more respect for the profession when they learn how much money/time/effort I am investing in myself over the next 18 months.

KevinJ - on 09 Mar 2014
In reply to robjob:

I think the relevant page on the SCQF site is this

The WML is rated by SCQF as a level 9 qualification which reads across to a Bachelors Degree. As you stated though, not sure that it can be read as a direct equivalent. I think it needs to be read in conjunction with the skills indicators on another part of the site.

Well done on passing the assessment. Went through the WML assessment at Glenmore a couple of weeks ago. Got a deferred pass (logbook) so got to do a handful of extra days out in Scotland. Can't wait!!!
Have to say, I have always been confident with my nav, but the constant concentration all day every day makes it that bit more challenging. Looking back? Great week, glad I did it.

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