Additionally, earlier this week I received the appointment for my meeting at the Ministry of Tourism for my oral exam. I will actually be the first in my class (I believe) to present — 9 AM on Thursday January 26, in just over 2 weeks. I feel relatively well-prepared, but I definitely have more work to do in preparation. Both in terms of preparing my guiding, and my itinerary for the day, as well as general prep for the open question section of the oral.
For starters, I will say that I feel really good about my performance on the exam, and am fairly certain that I will pass. Obviously, there is no way of knowing for sure until I hear back from them (probably in another 2-3 weeks), but I’ll say that I’ll be relatively surprised if I don’t pass. Mainly this is because, while I would not say this exam was easy, I don’t think it was particularly tough, nor did I think there was any part of it that was “out there” or designed to screw with us. It was fairly straightforward, and I feel like I was about as prepared as I could be. I can’t really imagine getting a test that would be preferable to this one, which is why I would be disappointed if I failed this one.
Way back in the first installment of this series, I promised that I would write a post about a specific study aid that I had come across and which I felt was an excellent tool. Actually, however, this post is about a whole suite of products that are available for sale from a small company called Biblical Backgrounds, Inc.
You won’t find much about the company on their website, though who they are is not the important thing. Rather, what they have created is an in-depth and rather unique way to understand the Land of Israel. Using their tools, you gain a deeper understanding of the events of the Bible (seemingly the main goal of the company), but you also can better learn and comprehend the extra-Biblical history and archaeology of the Holy Land.
So what do they offer?
In this edition of this mini series of posts, I want to discuss a little bit about my strategy in preparing to take the Ministry of Tourism exam to become a licensed tour guide in Israel. Hopefully this will be helpful to others who are going through the course, which was always one of my goals when I started this blog.
As most of you probably don’t know, I used to work in the test prep field, teaching GMATs and LSATs for The Princeton Review. I did that for many years in both New York City and Los Angeles, and have continued to do a bit of that here in Israel, also moving on to other tests such as the GRE and SAT. So whereas I recognize that this licensing exam is vastly different than those highly standardized tests, I still feel that I have some insight into test preparation methods. And hopefully I’m also correct that it has made me fairly good at taking tests!
I’ve spoken many times about the licensing exams that we all need to pass before we can become licensed tour guides here in Israel. But I realized that I never have really discussed much about what is actually on the exams! So as part of this little series on my preparations for the exam, I wanted to summarize for you what is on the two licensing exams I’ll be taking over the next few months.
By the way, I say licensing exams, in plural, because there is both a written exam and an oral one. I’ll fill you in on both in this post.
A while back, when I was just starting the tour guide course, I wrote a couple of posts about the licensing exam and the overall pass/fail rate on them. That was over a year and a half ago, and since then I have not written much on the subject. But now as I approach the end of my course, it is getting down to the time when I need to begin preparing for the exam. (I will be taking the written exam at the end of November.)
So I wanted to write a bit more about the exam, pass/fail rates and, most importantly, how I am preparing for the exam. I will do this in a short series of posts, of which this is the first.
The news story that has most recently gotten all of the anti-Israel complainants in an uproar is this one, quoting Israel’s Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov as calling for a boycott on Israeli tourism to Turkey. This came in response to Israeli news reports that said Turkey had classified Israel as a threat to regional security (though apparently various reports used different terminology for the same apparent move by Turkey). The web has plenty of blog posts and I’ve seen tons of tweets in my Twitter feed that have made this seem like a horrible thing for Misezhnikov to have said.
My question: why all the uproar?
I have said before that I am fairly pleased with the current direction that the Ministry of Tourism is taking. I can’t say I like every single thing they’ve done, but overall I think they are working very hard at increasing the numbers of tourists visiting here. They have stated their goal is to attract an extra 1 million tourists per year by 2012. And with tourism numbers here continuing their steady rise, it seems like they are accomplishing their goals.
But luckily, the Ministry is not just focusing on bringing tourists in, by removing entry visas and advertising around the world. They also apparently recognize that improving the tourist experience within Israel is equally important.
And so, in keeping with the forward-thinking nature of the Ministry’s social media campaigns, they have continued to leverage the technologies of the moment to improve the experience for incoming tourists. On Sunday, the Ministry launched iSrael — an app for the iPhone that is designed to enhance the Israeli tourism experience.