Exemptions are a happy recognition of prior learning or experience and can reduce the time and cost of achieving your precious qualification substantially. But the choice to utilise the exemption option should be carefully considered before a decision is made. First instinct tells us to grab that exemption with both hands and that may very well be the right choice for you; but let’s have a look at four areas you should contemplate in order to make a balanced decision.
Every time you claim an exemption it saves you time and money in study, travel, tuition/training and examination fees. However, this may not be as substantial as you had hoped. What will it cost to actually claim that exemption? In some cases exemption fees are equal to exam fees. If you do not choose wisely and end up sitting the higher exam twice, your savings may be significantly eroded.
Have you carefully reviewed the syllabus that you are being exempted from? Is it sufficiently reflective of your prior learning that you won’t be disadvantaged by skipping over this module.
If you have current relevant learning it should transfer easily to the next level. But if your prior learning is from back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, you might want to decline the exemption and resit the module.
Timing is also important from the perspective of how long you will have to wait to resit your exam if you take an exemption and are subsequently unsuccessful. If there are limited sittings a failure could be quite the delay and you will be none the better off timewise.
Getting back in the swing!
If you have not been in training/education for a while, it might be a good idea to revisit past success in order to get your mojo back and let the exemption pass. On the other hand, a failure on your first attempt by accepting over-ambitious exemptions could put a real dampener on your aspirations.
As with all judgements in life, taking the time to consider and research all the options will pay the dividend of better decision making. Exemptions are wonderful if they are the right choice for you, but don’t be lured in by a quick fix that might cost you later on. (For an amusing take on the topic of short term versus long term gains see Ted Talks ‘Don’t eat the marshmallow…yet’)