Why is the time such an enemy when facing the review board? Did you ever dig into the overwhelming amount of sub-competencies that are checked, measured and evaluated? For each competency and sub-competency you must get a tick from most (if not all) members of the board in order to get a passing score. If possible, the MCA board would give you all the ticks on the planet, just give them enough evidence through your answers.

So, let’s do some math:

• There are 7 competencies, each one having about 6 sub-competencies. On my last count there were 55 separate discrete sub-competencies, which means 220 ticks in total (55 for each board member).
• Timewise you get 30 minutes of presentation time, 2x4x10=80 minutes of assessment and 5 minutes of closing; that accounts for 115 minutes of review time.

That gives you no more than 2 minutes per sub-competency or just under 30 seconds per tick! Questions asked are at least 10 seconds long, so your answers should be quick, crisp and to the point – or you’ll burn your time out. Learn the cycle: listen; think; answer; shut-up. If all runs well, you can feel ticks piling and reviewers smiling.

But what happens when a candidate is underprepared and the presentation misses the point? First 30 minutes are out, the exploration of Technology depth will shave at least another 20 minutes off and the last 5 minutes will turn into an awkward ‘thank-you-this-was-very-frustrating-experience’ mumbling. The available assessment time is reduced down to mere 60 minutes, which is a bit more than one minute per sub-competency, or around 16 seconds per tick. Assessors need 8 seconds to bark-out the questions so there are less than 8 seconds allocated for your answer. If you are lucky. And often you are not lucky…

Trust me, in such situations you will feel the crunching pressure in the room when board members will rapid-fire questions out of frustration – they want to give you those damn ticks, if you’d just give them the darn evidences! And it is your time you are burning in vain! Give us something! Answer! Answer! Answer!

I heard of some miraculous recoveries after offensively bad presentations, but don’t bet on it – if your documentation and presentation didn’t create a good background for at least one half of the measured sub-competencies, if your answers are not short and to the point, you are doomed and there is not much you can do about it. Better luck next time, mate!

No pressure, of course. J