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Query about the Junior Open Water Diver Exam

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by DaddyJr, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. DaddyJr

    DaddyJr Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Seychelles
    So my daughter has turned 10 and wants to do the PADI Open Water Diver Course. For the past few months we have been going over the manual and video. All is good except that when I let her attempt the questions in the manual, she often doesn't understand the "big" words and consequently, she doesn't fully understand the question. If I break down the question in simple terms, she then gets it.

    But my query has to do with the exam that they take. Are the PADI Junior OWD course exams different for the young? Presumably not, so are children allowed to be aided by the instructor during the exam with regards to assistance in understanding the questions?
  2. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
    I don't allow vocabulary to get in the way of communication.

    If a student knows the significance of a concept I won't let not knowing big words get in the way of their success.

    I don't have a padi decree on this and know some instructors who will not help accommodate language limitations at all. It might be a good conversation with the person administering the exam if you have chosen an instructor with your daughter already.

    I love to hear you're investing time with your child this way.

    DaddyJr likes this.
  3. Jcp2

    Jcp2 Literally virtually diving ScubaBoard Supporter

    I recently took this exam with my daughter, who is 13. The exam is the same for all students. There are four separate shorter 20 question exams matching the first four sections of the book, followed by a 50 question final exam.
    Each one was given after the instructor went over each section in class, and the instructor went over each question that any student got wrong with the entire class until the students were all comfortable with the explanation. If a student did not pass the exam section, after the instructor exam question explanation, the student took a different exam as a retest.
    Our instructor also went over a couple of topics that students frequently had trouble with, even if the students in my class got the exam questions for that area right. I don’t know what happens for a student who doesn’t pass the second retest, as that didn’t happen in my class.
    DaddyJr likes this.
  4. BazzaB

    BazzaB Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Netherlands
    I have had juniors that had trouble, but also adults with dyslexia.
    I just take the exam orally.
    DaddyJr and northernone like this.
  5. JackD342

    JackD342 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Highland Park, IL
    @Jcp2 describes the process well. I primarily use eLearning, but with traditional classroom there are a few items where I have learned to “teach to the test.” For instance, if I don’t go out of my way to show a DIN valve, there will be a high percent of misses on that question. Younger divers have trouble with gas narcosis versus DCI, too.

    Even though this course relies on self study, there are still opportunities to run the classroom sessions in a manner that address your concern. And I always say “if there is a question you don’t understand, I will do my best to explain without giving the answer.” But I can’t reteach a topic mid-exam.
    There is a limit though. If a student has a learning condition that requires each question to be read and explained, PADI standards consider this an oral exam and require a doctor’s note be on file. That is not just my interpretation - I had a phone discussion with them on that topic.
    oly5050user and DaddyJr like this.
  6. ScubaBunga

    ScubaBunga Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: wright city, mo
    My boys both took the OW at 10yrs old. Both times the instructor explained that if anyone didn't understand the question to come up and get clarity. If you daughter is ok with asking questions about the big words she should do fine. Also, if you are going over the manual, the test really doesn't have anything NEW - so if you cover it all beforehand, the additional coverage during the class should get most of it - and a question or two for clarity should cover the rest. I made my boys go through the book twice with me asking all sorts of questions before/during/after to ensure they were able to handle the test. Some of the questions on the test are also worded "funny" (almost backwards to how most people think) which takes a bit to understand. In both classes the instructor covered these topics and mentioned how the questions are asked to help people not get tricked. That level of following is difficult for most 10 yr olds. My first boy had to retake one section because of the wording (everyone loves word problems right?) - but he passed and has now done his AOW and loves it.
    DaddyJr likes this.
  7. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

    I too think it can be up to an individual. My daughter did the cert at 11 and had no issues with the test but I think if I felt like she was not ready to understand we would have waited a year. That said we stayed completely away from our kids doing their all their classroom work, skills and dives. Just felt they were better off being taught and evaluated by a professional with no personal ties or emotions to push them through or hold them back. If they need to step up to the plate they need the confidence in themselves and their skills to do that not the shadow of a well meaning parent. They are both now awesome divers and the daughter is an awesome instructor.
    happy-diver and DaddyJr like this.
  8. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    I agree with the others here in that communication and vocabulary shouldn't be a barrier. However... you might want to consider that if she is having trouble with the "big" words, it's possible she might not be ready to handle the demands of scuba diving. I'm sure when everything works right, she could easily dive. But the whole point of scuba training is to provide divers the knowledge and skills they need to succeed when something goes wrong, and to prevent problems from happening in the first place.

    I've had a handful of junior (10 to 14 year old) students over the years and every one I've certified I have felt confident that they understood the vocabulary used in the coursework and that they had acquired the skills they need to dive safely.
    TMHeimer and DaddyJr like this.
  9. DaddyJr

    DaddyJr Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Seychelles
    Thank you all for the input. I contacted a dive centre with which she has done a few bublemakers sessions with, and they said they would explain/clarify the questions. She will likely attempt the PADI OWD course sometime in November.
    BlueTrin and caydiver like this.
  10. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Yeah, I probably agree that if someone doesn't know the big words they're probably not a good candidate for scuba--I know many dispute this here, and I won't disagree since I've never taught a kid. But, you all know my position against kids under 15 doing anything with scuba. And most disagree with me.
    Bob DBF likes this.

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