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Offline a|F

SRO License Exam upcoming...
« on: Jul 19, 2012, 06:12 »
Was your written exam easier than the cert?  I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be that way, however, we have a new exam author, and to prove how excellent he is, the license exam validated a full 5% lower than the cert.  I thought it was supposed to be the other way around!

Has there been a push at your sites to test on the lessons learned from Fukushima?

Any words of advice?

Two more weeks until the fun starts...

Offline Higgs

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #1 on: Jul 19, 2012, 06:40 »
My first one was just as hard. My upcoming one I expect to be harder since they were told the last opposite unit exam was too easy.  :-\ YMMV.

Just keep reviewing. Read old exams if you can..., although with a new author they won't give any insight to his style.

Good luck. I'm right behind you in September.

Justin

PS The sim scenerios will probably be easier. I walked out of my first thinking "wow, that's it?"
« Last Edit: Jul 19, 2012, 06:43 by Higgs »
"How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic.” - Ted Nugent

Offline Benwah033

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #2 on: Jul 22, 2012, 05:00 »
Was your written exam easier than the cert?  I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be that way, however, we have a new exam author, and to prove how excellent he is, the license exam validated a full 5% lower than the cert.  I thought it was supposed to be the other way around!

Has there been a push at your sites to test on the lessons learned from Fukushima?

Any words of advice?

Two more weeks until the fun starts...

My NRC exam was significantly harder than my audit exam.  The statement going into the audit for us was that "if you don't get an 85 on the audit you will not pass the NRC."  Prior to that I was under the impression, and we were told all along, that if you pass the audit with an 85 you will easily pass the NRC.

My exam was in March 2012 -  so they had a year post-fukushima to rework the test if desired.  We had no beyond the design-basis questions / JPMs and our scenarios were no different than anything previous. 

Offline STGN

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #3 on: Jul 25, 2012, 12:13 »
I have validated the last four written NRC exams, and two or three of the Audit written exams at my site.  I felt they were on par with each other and about the same level of difficulty.  The questions were obviously different, and depending on your strengths/weaknesses, could give one the impression that one is more difficult than the other.  In my experience, both the written and operating exams have been fair at my site since I obtained my license.  Hopefully your site is similar.  Even with a new test writer, if the rest of those involved have done their job, including the training folks, exam validation teams, Ops management, and the students, I'd expect everyone to do well.  

Regardless, it will be a stressful week or 10 days, or however long it takes to complete the simulator, jpms, and written at your site.  It goes without saying that you want to do well and have committed a significant amount of time and energy to get to this point.  I'd suggest taking one weekend off prior to the exam for detox.  Take the wife and kids out to dinner and a movie and do something fun.  You most likely already know everything you'll need to know, or not.  

Good luck!  
« Last Edit: Jul 25, 2012, 12:14 by STGN »

Fermi2

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #4 on: Jul 29, 2012, 12:51 »
Well considering my Audit exam for my PWR SRO License was actually written for a different plant than the one for my actual NRC Exam, I can say they were different!

Offline VTnuke

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #5 on: Aug 14, 2012, 05:27 »
I'll second the looking at old exams.  You should be able to do a simple ADAMS search on the NRC's website to find all of your plants old exams.  It works much butter for the search if you input the docket number.

Offline Higgs

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #6 on: Aug 14, 2012, 07:35 »
Well considering my Audit exam for my PWR SRO License was actually written for a different plant than the one for my actual NRC Exam, I can say they were different!

We just took an "audit" written for wolf creek. Problem is, the instructor that was tasked with translating it for our plant..., didn't. It was fun trying to decipher their nomenclature. Oh, and I was surprised at how different some things are between a three and four looper.

Any updates alf?

Justin
"How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic.” - Ted Nugent

Offline GLW

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #7 on: Aug 14, 2012, 08:04 »
..... Oh, and I was surprised at how different some things are between a three and four looper.

Well the quick math says at least 25% to 33% different depending on your perspective,....

heheheheheheh,.... :P ;) :) 8)

been there, dun that,... the doormat to hell does not read "welcome", the doormat to hell reads "it's just business"

Offline STGN

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #8 on: Aug 14, 2012, 08:40 »
I cannot convince myself that an audit exam written for a different site can give anyone a warm fuzzy that a candidate is prepared for a license exam for their home site.  In my not so humble opinion, the company is doing themselves and their employees a disservice by not writing a good audit exam for license candidates.  Perhaps I was lucky that the plant I work for is relatively desperate to get licenses and has dedicated some resources to obtain them.  This includes an audit exam written specifically for each class and (I would have thought obviously) for the site, combined with dedicated instructors.  Can the same people who write the program exams during the license class not come up with a good audit exam? 

Sorry....I was about to go into a major rant, but decided to stop before going any further. 

Offline Higgs

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #9 on: Aug 14, 2012, 09:44 »
I cannot convince myself that an audit exam written for a different site can give anyone a warm fuzzy that a candidate is prepared for a license exam for their home site.  In my not so humble opinion, the company is doing themselves and their employees a disservice by not writing a good audit exam for license candidates.  Perhaps I was lucky that the plant I work for is relatively desperate to get licenses and has dedicated some resources to obtain them.  This includes an audit exam written specifically for each class and (I would have thought obviously) for the site, combined with dedicated instructors.  Can the same people who write the program exams during the license class not come up with a good audit exam? 

Sorry....I was about to go into a major rant, but decided to stop before going any further. 

Here at bv, our exam team did write an audit and the nrc exam. We do two audits here.., one "internal" which is when we were given a wolf creek nrc exam..., and one "external" when we'll take the exam team written exam. It's "external" because people from other plants in our fleet will come to administer the simulator and jpm portions.

Yes, the wolf creek exam upset a number of people. We had the white board full of corrections.

Justin
"How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic.” - Ted Nugent

Offline a|F

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #10 on: Aug 15, 2012, 04:32 »
I appreciate all the feedback, gentlemen. 

Justin- I am amazed that you would take another site's exam as your audit/cert.  I agree completely with STGN.  What was the thought process?  Did they fail to change setpoints to reflect your plant?  We're told to review tests from similar plants, but never have they gone that route.  I'd be pissed as well!  That would never happen with Exelon...  :D :D

We finished all of our JPM's and simulator dynamics (scenarios) yesterday.  Written test is Friday, which is what we're most nervous about.  It appears no overall failures so far. 

My knowledge of this is fairly weak, so correct me as necessary- there are critical steps, as defined by the LK's, that must be done during a simulator scenario to pass, correct?  So what happens when the exam author states something is a critical step, but it's not by any sense of the legal definition.  Would that still be a scenario failure?

Offline Higgs

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #11 on: Aug 16, 2012, 12:25 »
I appreciate all the feedback, gentlemen. 

Justin- I am amazed that you would take another site's exam as your audit/cert.  I agree completely with STGN.  What was the thought process?  Did they fail to change setpoints to reflect your plant?  We're told to review tests from similar plants, but never have they gone that route.  I'd be pissed as well!  That would never happen with Exelon...  :D :D

We finished all of our JPM's and simulator dynamics (scenarios) yesterday.  Written test is Friday, which is what we're most nervous about.  It appears no overall failures so far. 

My knowledge of this is fairly weak, so correct me as necessary- there are critical steps, as defined by the LK's, that must be done during a simulator scenario to pass, correct?  So what happens when the exam author states something is a critical step, but it's not by any sense of the legal definition.  Would that still be a scenario failure?

They didn't change anything to reflect our plant, including EOP titles. Turns out, an otherwise identical 4 loop westinghouse PWR has additional EOPs that our 3 looper doesn't. We were tested on them, though.  :-\  Things also react differently when you have another loop, another S/G, a bigger containment, and a bigger pzr. :D Fortunately, they aren't going to be counting this one after the fiasco.


Anyway, as for your question, I think if the NRC signed off on the exam, then whatever critical steps are defined in the exam are what they are going to grade on. I will ask my lead instructor tonight during a break in simulator training to be sure.

Justin
"How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic.” - Ted Nugent

Offline Higgs

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #12 on: Aug 17, 2012, 10:12 »
I appreciate all the feedback, gentlemen.  

Justin- I am amazed that you would take another site's exam as your audit/cert.  I agree completely with STGN.  What was the thought process?  Did they fail to change setpoints to reflect your plant?  We're told to review tests from similar plants, but never have they gone that route.  I'd be pissed as well!  That would never happen with Exelon...  :D :D

We finished all of our JPM's and simulator dynamics (scenarios) yesterday.  Written test is Friday, which is what we're most nervous about.  It appears no overall failures so far.  

My knowledge of this is fairly weak, so correct me as necessary- there are critical steps, as defined by the LK's, that must be done during a simulator scenario to pass, correct?  So what happens when the exam author states something is a critical step, but it's not by any sense of the legal definition.  Would that still be a scenario failure?

OK we looked up the defenition of critical steps from NUREG 1021, and yeah, the utility writes them and the NRC signs off on them..., unless the NRC wrote the exam but that is unusual these days.

It will be tough to challenge a critical step in a scenerio..., unless the crew came up with a way to do something legitimately that the exam team didn't think of.

Justin
« Last Edit: Aug 17, 2012, 10:17 by Higgs »
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Offline Higgs

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #13 on: Aug 17, 2012, 10:58 »
Here's NUREG 1021, BTW. Word search for "Critical task."

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr1021/initial/index.html

Some key things;

If an applicant makes a single error related to a rating factor, circle |
an “RF Score” of “2” for that rating factor, unless the error related to |
a critical task, in which case a score of “1” would be required. Missing |
a critical task does not necessarily mean that the applicant will fail |
the simulator test, nor does success on every critical task prevent
the examiner from recommending a failure if the applicant had
other deficiencies that, in the aggregate, justify the failure based on
the competency evaluations. |




The examination team should pay particular attention to the completion of tasks
that they identified as critical to plant safety. The crew may compensate for actions
that individual operators performed incorrectly, as long as the critical task was completed
satisfactorily. Other less-significant deficiencies should also be accounted for
in the rating factor evaluations to provide a source of information for crew
remedial training during subsequent requalification training.


Basically, missing one critical task in a scenario doesn't necessarily mean a failure. It seems there is a lot of things that have to be taken into consideration.

Justin
"How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic.” - Ted Nugent

Fermi2

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #14 on: Aug 18, 2012, 09:56 »
I have never seen an individual fail a critical task and pass an NRC scenario.

Offline jams723

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #15 on: Aug 19, 2012, 04:27 »
I have never seen an individual fail a critical task and pass an NRC scenario.

I agree, I have even seen an instant SRO have to perform a 3rd simulator session because they thought the RO candidate lead him to much.....

Offline a|F

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #16 on: Aug 19, 2012, 07:59 »
Thanks for the info guys. 

Justin, I definitely appreciate your work in regards to the critical task info. 

Our class breakdown:

13 started.
-7 SRO's - 5 instants (2 ET's, PPWO, retired MMCM (ELT), MMC), 1 engineer who worked with the EM shop for a while, and 1 EO.
-6 RO's - all had over 10 years experience as an EO.

We dropped the engineer and the retired ELT MMCM after systems final, and one of the RO's after EOP's.  2 RO's failed the license written exam.

Total throughput 8/13.  Ouch.

Fermi2

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #17 on: Aug 19, 2012, 08:22 »
Is this a PWR or BWR?

You know, Retired Chiefs rarely do well in License Class. I KNOW there are exceptions and I am not trying to pick on them. But in many cases it has been so long since they've been in any kind of extended school or training program it's a bit of a culture shock.

Offline HydroDave63

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #18 on: Aug 19, 2012, 09:25 »
But in many cases it has been so long since they've been in any kind of extended school or training program it's a bit of a culture shock.

You mean the standard directive of "hey nub, go fetch me a Coke" doesn't work in CIVLANTFLT? ;)

Fermi2

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #19 on: Aug 19, 2012, 09:50 »
Works great when I'm saying it :)

Offline a|F

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #20 on: Aug 20, 2012, 08:21 »
Is this a PWR or BWR?

You know, Retired Chiefs rarely do well in License Class. I KNOW there are exceptions and I am not trying to pick on them. But in many cases it has been so long since they've been in any kind of extended school or training program it's a bit of a culture shock.

BWR.

The retiree put forth embarrassingly little effort.

Offline Neutron_Herder

Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #21 on: Aug 20, 2012, 01:57 »
Don't pick on the retirees too much!  The top 2 in my class are retired...  Of course the two that we lost in systems were both ex Navy also. 

I think a lot of it has to do with the B.S. that the Navy, and some corporate recruiters fill your head with when you're getting ready to get out.  They make it sound like you're just going to walk into a civilian plant and coast through the entire training program.  As we all know that couldn't be further from the truth.

I wish that more of the people getting out of the Navy and getting into these programs had the friends that I have, and had done a little bit of research themselves on what was coming...  Maybe if they knew what the operators out there really thought of the typical Instant SRO coming out of the Navy their work / study ethic would change.  I kinda doubt it, but you never know.

I was lucky enough to have some good friends already in license programs at other sites, and I was able to get some really good info from them (and from the boards here) to prepare me for what was coming.  I made it a point to learn everything I could as fast as I could so I wouldn't be just thrown into that group of typical instants.

It's worked so far, I guess we'll find out for sure when I take my exam near the end of the year!  For now it's just spending as much time as I can in the simulator going through the EPs time and time again...  It's a lot of fun, but a lot of work too.
"If everybody's thinking alike, somebody isn't thinking" - Gen. George S. Patton

Fermi2

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Re: SRO License Exam upcoming...
« Reply #22 on: Aug 20, 2012, 05:00 »
Honestly I have yet to see a retiree come into my plant and retire in place. The ones that did not make it through put in an honest effort and got on well with the others in the class. They were good guys, even the one who introduced himself to me and said he had 23 years Navy experience and if I ever needed any advice he'd be glad to give it. I asked him why the F would he ever think I needed his advice. I know how difficult it is to go into a program in your 40s. To do it after having not been in a formal day to day training program after years of not having to formally study is quite the hill to climb. The plants are complex and you have a mountain of admin to learn to boot. I'd have to check but I think we've had a far better success rate with  O gangers who did their mandatory time then got out.
What we haven't successfully done is get an individuals who were not qualified EOOW through so my guess is we simply will make that the default requirement for Ex Navy.

What happened to the guy who put in no real effort?

 


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