18 January 2010

He passed the PAT!

Grant's email:

"I arrived about 1 and half hours early just to make sure I got there. That's been one of the stressful things about this trip is making sure you get to the different testing venues, because there is always the chance there will be an accident on the motorway or something and then I would miss the test, and it's not just a case of re-booking, I get one shot at these tests. So that's why I get there so early, but still things can happen.

"The test was done on a large carpark of a horse racing place about 20 min drive from where I'm staying. They put 4 cones in a rectangle, marking a 400m course and we had to run it 6 times, I know I failed my maths but that means I ran 2.4 km. There was about 20 of us (3 being female) and depending on our ages had to do the run within different times. I had to do it under 11:30.

"Amanda's friend who recently did the run gave me a great tip, to write down the lap times on my hand so that you can keep pace. So this morning I worked them out on the calculator and wrote the 6 lap times of: 1:55, 3:50, 5:45, 7:40, 9:35, 11:30 on my hand. While we were sitting waiting for the testing to start, I overheard one of the applicants talking to another one and saying: the course is 600m and you have to run it 4 times. So with a few minutes left before we start there I am trying to work out the 4 lap times frantically in my head, it was like sitting the maths test all over again. I worked them out and wrote them on my hand only to hear the instructor confirm that I was correct the first time and the applicant was talking nonsense.

"The heat was awful and was about 25 degrees, and compared to the 5 degrees I have been training in, it was not at all easy. The instructor first got us to warm up which first included a jog once around the course, then some stretches then some more running. I wasn't impressed, lol, I needed to save all my energy for the run and here the instructor was making me use it up on the warming exercises.

"So just struggled through one lap at a time and managed to come in at 11:13, which is under my required time. The 3 females came in last but they do get allocated more time, but I think one of them still did not make it in time. I think the quickest time was by one of the youngsters at 09:50.

"With hardly any rest they set up a measuring board and we each took turns to do the vertical jump. They first measure the point to where your fingers touch when stretched above you and then have to jump and touch 48cm above that point. I found this one easier than when I have been practicing, and touched above the required 48cm.

"Again with hardly any rest it was straight into the pushups, I was required to do 34 but they like you to carry on to see how much you can do, so I managed to do 40. The females had to do 28 but all 3 of them only managed to do about 16, so they all failed the day. I did feel sorry for them cause they aren't naturally build like guys with upper body strength.

"It was then into 2 lines waiting for the squeeze test using a special device that you squeeze and the needle moves to display your squeezing strength. You have to do both hands and the total for the two readings added together has be be more than 95. So when it was my turn I did my right hand and had a quick look and it was 55, which I was pleased with but then the chap in the line next to me who was waiting for his turn fainted and all the instructors rushed over to help him. So when that was all over the instructor came back to me and said he couldn't remember my score and told me to redo it even though I told him it was 55. So I redid my right hand and this time only managed 53. Then onto my left hand which was 42, which meant the total was bang on 95, which is a fail! I was stressing now because I knew I would have passed if they had taken my first reading of 55. Anyway they do give you another chance at it and I had to sit out till the end. I was really stressing because I didn't want to fail the whole day just because my little skinny wrists weren't strong enough.

"So I did it again, and did 54 with my right wrist and then did my left wrist. As I was squeezing he was saying: more, more, need to do more to pass, and I was squeezing as hard as I possibly could and thinking that I was going to fail. Couldn't squeeze any harder and stopped and thought I had failed, but I think the guy's maths was as poor as mine cause the other guy who was writing down the scores confirmed it was actually a pass cause I had got 42 on my left hand again, meaning I had just scraped through with 96.

"I'm sure I've aged loads this trip with all the stress, I'm going to come back with grey hair, or none at all.

"Before the training starts I will have to do all this again cause the test only lasts for 2 months, so I will have to buy something to squeeze to improve my wrist strength, cause scraping through is not nice.

"So next is the obstacle course and interview on Thursday!! The instructor says the obstacle course is an easier test than today's so at least the worst is over."

So that's another hurdle passed! He also said that the instructors told him that applicants aren't put onto the training centre waiting list on a first-come-first-served basis, but each case is assessed and they are placed accordingly. So we are hoping that the fact that we are coming from abroad means he will get a start date on the job offer and won't have to go on the waiting list. Time will tell.

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