Instructor Examination (IE) Day 1

So, I’m officially a PADI open water scuba instructor! Yay!

The culmination of 3 weeks of work ended with a two-day whirlwind exam. Saturday was a really early start at 5am. I didn’t know how long it would take to get to the hotel in Waikiki so I got up extra early. I had everything packed the evening before and was able to get up and out pretty easily. When I got to the hotel the parking was valet only. That threw me a bit because I had to get all my stuff together quickly and get out of the car. I managed to get everything I needed though the valet wasn’t thrilled with me gathering my things.


The set up at the hotel was pretty confusing as far as finding the conference rooms. Up an escalator, elevator and a flight of stairs I finally found it. Everyone trickled in followed by the arrival of the Japanese Scuba Shop Sunshine Scuba and their 8 candidates. I found out recently that Sunshine Scuba is the busiest dive operation on the island. Apparently it’s cheaper to come to Hawaii and be trained as a scuba instructor than it is to do it in Japan. Even after the lodging costs. That surprised me for sure.

We met our 3 examiners, 2 from PADI America’s and one from PADI Japan. The lead examiner was also fluent in Japanese. They started by reassuring us that they were not going to ask us to do anything over the weekend that they wouldn’t be asking us to do anything we hadn’t already done in training. We knew that but it do go a little ways toward putting me at ease. When we received our assignments the 3 of us realized that we weren’t assigned a single thing that someone in the group had not already presented during our class. None of us drew CESA which we were also thrilled with. For those who don’t know CESA is controlled emergency swimming ascent. But I prefer “controlled emergency screaming ascent”. It’s a pretty complicated skill to teach and because of that it’s just that much easier to make a mistake.

After a rather long introduction we finally started our exams. I had my theory exams first and my standards exams second. I aced both. I got 92% on each of the 5 sections. That works out to 11/12 questions in each one. I scored 88% on my 50 question standards exam also.

After the written exams it was time to prepare our knowledge presentations. I drew on my classmate’s experience and thought I was prepared. My assignment was to teach a standards question out of the Divemaster course. I had a trouble coming up with a second PADI material since the encyclopedia of recreational diving doesn’t have anything about standards and divemaster candidates would already have the instructor manual. My presentation started off fairly well and I thought I had everything covered, until I realized I hadn’t turned to the prescriptive teaching guide on the slides. I was about to wrap up when I realized it so I pulled it out at the last-minute. I passed the exercise but didn’t receive the marks I was hoping for. Score aside, it was time to move on to the pool and prepare that presentation. We broke for lunch and made the trip to the YWCA in Kaneohe.


My presentation in the pool was rescue breathing using a pocket mask. Simple enough to set up and at the surface so signals are not really involved. I didn’t forget the demo this time and the briefing went smoothly. The first student didn’t seal the mask and I spotted that right away. The second student had a problem I had not anticipated or practiced and I missed it. He was blowing on his arm instead of around the opening of the mask. I should have caught it but I was just thinking that different people use different technique to simulate. I guess I just figured that’s what he did at his shop. It wasn’t a critical fail though because no one was in danger. So I passed easily in the 4’s but I was a bit disappointed in myself.


The next thing was our skill circuit. We had to perform 5 skills to demonstration quality scoring at least 17 cumulative points. The minimum score was 3 for each skills and we needed at least one 5 to pass. The 5 skills we were assigned were, remove and replace the weight system underwater, removed and replace the mask underwater, hover, CESA and alternate air source breathing stationary. I was very nervous about the hover since I had had a lot of trouble getting it just right in the pool. The day before at Turtle Bay pool I had moved my weights around in a different configuration so that I wouldn’t turn upside down. But it was a gamble because I didn’t get it exactly right in time but I had a good idea of what would work. It paid off though because I nailed it! The CESA was a bit of a struggle and I had to repeat it but I got it done. With CESA they really stress not going too fast for safety reasons. But it’s tricky to got fast enough to make it on one breath but not so fast that you are unsafe. I tend to go too slow and not make it on one breath. But in the end it’s done and I moved on to day 2.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. babyfeatyfeat
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 14:02:56

    great job! Good luck on day 2


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