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Top Tips from Patrick Print FBHS

The best piece of advice I can offer for any candidate is to be relaxed. If you’re relaxed, you can think more clearly and articulate answers clearly and sincerely. My helpful advice should help ease some of those nerves and preconceptions about BHS exams and ‘scary’ assessors…

Arrive in plenty of time.
The majority of exams will start at 8:30am and some centres can be difficult to get to because of heavy traffic in the morning. Plan your journey thoroughly to help prevent you being late. Late candidates are often flustered and upset, which can have a negative affect on their mood and performance.

Whatever the weather, bring a spare set of clothes.
If it’s a hot day, you’ll appreciate a clean, dry shirt to change into if you become hot and sticky after the riding exam. The same goes for if it’s raining: a change of clothes will make you feel warm and comfortable again. Don’t feel like you have to bear the elements in just your show jacket or jumper if it’s cold or wet. Please bring a warm coat with you - and wear it. We hate to see candidates struggling to carry out tasks and answer questions because their teeth are chattering and their hands are numb.

Although it’s nice to chat and make friends with your fellow candidates on the day, don’t get intimidated by others who come across as having more experience or knowledge.
The assessors are examining you against the syllabus only and not how you compare to other candidates. Of course there are varying levels of candidates at every exam but we’re only assessing you on the standard for the level of exam – nothing more and nothing less. Quite simply, on the day of the exam, if you meet the standard set out in the syllabus then you’ll pass.

Don’t become hung up on the mythical (and old-fashioned) ‘BHS way’ mentality.
As with anything to do with horses, there is no one set way to do things. Any method of carrying out a task is acceptable as long as it doesn’t compromise the health, welfare and safety of horse and rider (and assessor!) in any way. Equipment must also be kept safe. The idea that there is one strict ‘BHS way’ is nonsense! Be yourself and do what you would normally do. That way, you’ll be more relaxed and come across as more established in your methods.

If you do have a ‘blip’ at some point during your exam, don’t dwell on it.
For instance, if you have a refusal or a pole down in a jumping exam, this will not mean an automatic fail. It’s how you deal with the situation that the assessor will be looking at so pick yourself up, take a deep breath and try to forget about it. The chief assessor will take an overall view of your performance on the day; after all, not everyone has a completely perfect day with horses – they don’t know you’re taking an exam!

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