Many Deck Cadets consider their greatest obstacle to gaining that precious ticket is learning the Collision Regulations.
I have put this post together to help take the fear away from the ‘Learning’ part of the process, with some suggestions on how to transfer those words into the memory, ready to be thrown back out in a confident form to an examiner. Give them a go, a couple may work for you…
When learning the Colregs the most important method to use is that their is no single method. Not only are we all different in our learning styles, but we soon become stale when cramming for exams. What is needed is a selection of revision tools, a selection that provides new ways forward when a saturation point has been reached. So, here is my toolbox of Colreg revision methods
Walk and Talk
My favourite. Combines revision with some fresh air, exercise and a chance for a change in scenery.
Take the Rules on a walk, and recite out aloud as you go. Don’t be frightened to repeat the same sentence over and over until it is engrained. Do not be tempted to whisper, it is the confident speaking allowed that locks the words into the brain, and allows the mouth to be trained to only come out with the right answer.
Choice of route plays an important role, after all, there are some places that being seen talking loudly to yourself may not be appreciated, or at the least will gain you a wide berth.
The link between landscape and memory will help hugely, places, words and sequences becoming linked.
A method best left for after you have identified the problem cases. Write out the Rules that are victimising you and stick them up in strategic locations that you pass every day. Back of doors are commonly used, and as are inside of cupboard doors. Every time you use the door, read the Rule. Do not be tempted to wallpaper your flat with this method though, the landlord will not be happy, and too many words will not sink in.
Simple and effective. Work through your pocket book of rules highlighting the key words of each rule. The ones needed to make the Rule make sense. Then run through the book using another colour to highlight those stubborn words that cause you problems. Be selective though, a book awash with neon yellow will not work.
Write write write
Access to a copious supply of scrap paper will assist greatly for this.
Copy the Rule from the book several times, cover the book, then attempt to write it again from memory. This is a method that demands honesty. Do not cheat, read your answer and be a critical self marker. If you are studying for a written exam you must include this method. It is your hand the needs to know the rule, not the mouth.
Key words only
A possible follow on follow from the highlight method. Write the Rules with only the key words, maybe in a pocket book or on a a card. Then using this as a crib, practice reciting each Rule by filling the gaps.
Letters only method
Write only the initial letter of each word only. Then use this to recite the Rule. For example Rule 5 Evsaatmaplbsahawabamattpcac.
Writing by letters only
A great compromise between the power of writing the Rule out, and the time it takes to write each word in full. Write down the first letter in the head whilst speaking the Rule out, or saying it in the head.
Model ships, model seas method
This is where it becomes fun. Use some model ships to set up shipping situations and talk through the relevant rules. The big advantage of this method is that it replicates the examination room. There is no need to buy expensive teaching models, just pop down to a cheap toy shop, or use pencils.
This is a must, if possible. Work together as a group asking each other questions, then be critical on the answers. I recommend a relaxed informal setting for this, away from the normal workplace.
Into depth method
Time to dig into the books. Once a good knowledge of the Rules has been gained its a good time to start digging deeper. Approaching the Rules from another direction will keep the interest going. My Amazon store contains some suggestions.
So, hopefully this list has given a good range of methods to choose from. If you have any other favourites please feel free share them with a comment to this post.
For some Really Handy Kindle books to learn the Collision Regulations Click here