So. You’ve decided to become a PADI instructor. Your PADI IDC is probably going to be the most important course that you’ll ever take in your diving career. It’s sure to change your life. But you need to make sure that you get the best possible course, and make the most out of the process. Your IDC will mould the rest of your Diving life. You’ll never forget your IDC, so you need to make sure your memories are good ones.
Here are the Ultimate Top 10 Tips to make sure that you make the right choice, and enjoy success.
What to do before you even commit to a PADI IDC.
Top Tip No. 1: How can I find the right Course Director for me?
The right Course Director will be one who you get on with and feel comfortable with. One who cares about your needs.
A good tip is to do an EFR Instructor course or Preparation course with the Course Director before you book your IDC. That way you get a chance to see their teaching style, and get to ask loads of questions about your IDC.
Choose a Course Director who is “Match Fit” and has taught at least 4 or 5 IDC’s during the last year.
They will be right up to date with the latest skills, teaching techniques, and the ever changing expectations of the PADI Examiners.
Pick a Course Director who has a great reputation for success on Instructor Exams and also one whose candidates go onto become successful and popular instructors.
Ignore claims of 100% pass rates! MOST of these claims do not relate to a first time Instructor Exam pass. On closer examination, you’ll find that they are either: 100% pass rate on your IDC – this isn’t really a difficult thing to promise! IDC’s are like every other PADI course, they are performance based. If you can’t do something, you repeat it until you can.
100% pass rate on Instructor Exam – eventually! There is no claim to pass first time. It might take someone 5 attempts, but as long as they eventually pass, the Course Director can continue to claim a 100% record. If the claim is for a first time pass, then it’s because the Course Director will strongly recommend that you don’t take your IE if you are weak in one area. Sometimes, however, it’s a good strategy that you take the IE to pass in the areas in which you are confident, and then return with much less stress to concentrate on your weaker area. This is not encouraged by Course Directors who care more about their own reputuation rather than your development.
On our IDCs you will always have 2 people to help you. Janet (my wife) and I work as a great team for your benefit. Over 12 years of Instructor Development we have developed unique “Prior Knowledge” materials that will help you during your training. We probably have the best IE pass rate of all, our main aim is to make you a great instructor that will be successful with your future students.
CONTACT US to get your FREE series of 3 QUICK QUIZZES: The questions are very similar to ones that you’ll find on a PADI Instructor Exam. Take your time, send me your answers, and I’ll mark them for you. I’ll even give you tips on how to improve. This leads onto our next Top Tip.. preparation:
Top Tip No. 2. How can I prepare for my PADI IDC?
As with most things, Preparation is vital. First off you need to be fully prepared for your written exams. You should start right now! Start to revise or learn your Dive Theory as soon as you can. You’ll also need to be up to date with PADI Standards, so get a paper version of the latest Instructor Manual.
If your Course Director offers a Preparation Course make sure that it is tailored to YOUR needs. (Not just using PADI Materials, but able to explain alternative methods than the Diving Knowledge Workbook or Encyclopedia.)
Our Preparation course makes sure that you are right up to speed with theory, latest standards, latest skills and rescue procedures We also get you comfortable with the computer software that you will be expected to use during your IDC and IE. We use unique teaching techniques that make the most difficult subjects simple and is designed to help individual people’s needs. It’s a great way to learn, and you can use the same techniques with your own future students. Janet is continually writing new exams to keep up with the constant changes of PADI Standards. We also have a YouTube Channel that has several videos that you might find useful. You can find them here.
CONTACT ME to get your FREE series of 3 QUICK QUIZZES: send in your answers, and I’ll mark them for you and point you in the right direction for revision! This will give you a fantastic start to your PADI IDC preparation.
Top Tip No. 3. What is the Full Price and what am I paying for?
Although price is always important, it shouldn’t be a deciding factor when choosing your IDC. It’s usually a big mistake to go for the cheapest course that you can find.
But be careful that you are being told the full price. Ask your Course Director questions about:
Cost of Preparation course (if any)
Cost of PADI IDC
Cost of IDC Crew Pack and any other materials
Cost of EFR instructor course
Cost of Specialty Instructor training (MSDT prep)
Cost of PADI registrations for IDC, PADI IE, EFR Instructor and Specialty Instructor including VAT.
Costs any other expenses that you will be expected to pay (Air fills, Travel, Accommodation, Entrance fees etc..)
You need to know all features and benefits of all courses. Look for true added value. A free Nitrox course might look attractive at first glance, but it isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. However an option to shadow experienced instructors; gaining valuable experience for a month following your IDC is a truly beneficial offer.
We don’t like nasty surprises ourselves, so we are very open about all prices. Our website has a page that explains all prices, you can find it here . We also have a page that lists all materials and pre-requisites that you need. You can find it here
CONTACT ME As a Platinum Course director, I can buy PADI IDC Crew Packs at a very discounted rate. Let me know if you need a quote for an IDC Crew Pack. I’m happy to pass the discount on to my customers. I can also let you know an exact FULL cost of what your PADI Instructor training will be.
How to succeed once you have started your PADI IDC
Top Tip No. 4. What is “Commentary Diving” and how can it help me?
This is one of the very best tips for demonstrating and teaching skills underwater. While you are underwater, you “talk to yourself” as you demonstrate a skill; imagine that you are “talking out loud” to your audience. This is a technique that a lot of top sports people use to help with their concentration.
An example during a partial mask flood demonstration would be to say to yourself:
“Look at me; I’m putting a little water into my mask. Can you see that I’m only putting water in up to my eyes? Now I’m looking down, and then, as I look up…. can you all see that I’m blowing out through my nose?”
While you are “talking” you are demonstrating the skill.
This is an excellent tip to make sure that your demonstrations are perfect. It’s also a good technique to use when directing students and assistants around underwater.
Of course nobody can hear you, so you won’t feel very silly!
This is just one of the many tips that we use during our IDCs. Janet runs a “Skills Masterclass” where she shows some great tips on how to demonstrate skills, including some unfamiliar ones from the Rescue Diver course and she will show you how to position your class according to different skill demonstrations.
CONTACT me for tips on how to demonstrate skills. Please avoid some of the videos on Youtube, some are very out of date, and often not what the Examiners (nor your future Students) are looking for. Many skills and techniques have changed recently, it’s important that you are as up to date as you can be.
Top Tip No. 5 How can I stay focused and relaxed during my IDC?
You need to be very relaxed during the whole of your IDC. You will learn much quicker if you are having fun and are at ease. Stress and nerves will only help to block out information. So relax and let the course flow over you.
But you might think “that is easier said than done!” So let’s look at the biggest cause of stress – The Unknown.
In many walks of life, it’s the “not knowing” that causes apprehension. Here are some great ways that you can stay in control during your IDC, and take away the uncertainty.
Make sure that you track your progress by using the “Candidate Information and Training Record” That way you’ll know what you have accomplished and know what still needs to be done.
Ask your Course Director for a Counselling Session from time to time. You will probably be doing better than you think you are, but it’s always good to know. You can ask questions like “How can I improve in a certain area” It’s the Course Directors job to give individual help and advice.
During your IDC you should practice taking written exams, giving classroom and skill presentations as much as possible. You won’t be learning much, but the process of being evaluated will become second nature. This will give you heaps of confidence.
We have many ways to reduce exam stress. Different people feel stress in different ways. We always tailor your learning to you, and dealing with stress is no different. Janet has many mock exams for you to practice with. They are being updated all the time. Our IDCs have a built in process where immediate feedback is always given and simple advice always offered.
Before your Instructor Exam, both you and I will agree that you are ready for it. I will always give you my true assessment of whether I think that you’ll pass it or not.
The final decision will always be yours.
See our TESTIMONIALS page to see how others have learnt to relax during their training
Top Tip No 6 How can I have a good time on my IDC?
You’ll never forget your PADI IDC; You’ll form a bond with your fellow candidates that will last a lifetime. So spend some quality time with them in the evenings. Relax and have a few drinks to unwind. Get to bed at a reasonable time and get some quality sleep. Keep your nose out of your books! There is nothing that you can be learning at this late stage, so the evenings are for relaxing and getting your body ready for the next day.
You can only learn when you are refreshed, happy and having fun. So look after yourself.
Your Course Director will be making sure that you are focusing on areas specific to your needs during the course, but in the meantime, you need to be looking after yourself.
Our IDCs always finish around 5.30 pm whenever possible. I don’t believe in issuing homework, so every evening, once the course is finished, your time is your own to relax, and have some fun!
CONTACT ME to get a FREE series of 3 QUICK QUIZZES: send in your answers, and I’ll mark them for you and point you in the right direction for revision!
Top Tip No. 7 How can I cope with the mountain of paperwork?
Get all of your paperwork ready days/weeks before your Instructor Exam. The worse thing that you can do is leave it until the morning of your exam to get everything together. Hopefully your Course Director will take responsibility for your paperwork for you, but if not, you’ll need to be prepared. You’ll need your Instructor Application form, Your Diving Medical, your IDC Certification of Completion and details of all of your past core courses. Everything will need to be ready to give to your PADI Examiners on the first morning of your Exam.
Janet will take responsibility for your paperwork. Long before the IDC starts, she will ask for certain pieces of information. From that information, she will generate all of your paperwork for you and even bring it along to the exam on your behalf. She will keep a copy so that she can deal with any future problems should your paperwork get lost in the system.
CONTACT ME if you have any questions about paperwork, medicals, prerequisite amount of dives etc…
How to succeed during your PADI Instructor Exam
Top Tip No. 8 How should I behave on the Instructor Exam?
During your Instructor Exam, you should behave exactly as you did during your PADI IDC. That is relaxed and laughing! We have seen it a million times when a candidate tries to impress the PADI Examiners because they believe that they are looking for something special. They are not!
If taught correctly, your IDC will have fully prepared you for your Instructor Exam. Usually the Exam is a very natural process and will seem very similiar to your IDC.
Your IDC should not only prepare you for your Instructor Exam, but also prepare you to teach in the real world afterwards.
With us, you will use the same Prior Knowledge materials on your exam that you used during your IDC. Everything will be just the same, even having fun! The examiners are human! As divers, they are happy people and enjoy a laugh. So relax, and behave just like you did on your IDC.
CONTACT ME if you want more information about what happens on a PADI Instructor Exam. The more that you know before you start, the more relaxed you will be.
Top Tip No. 9 How can I stay alert and fresh during my PADI IE?
You need to be relaxed and comfortable during your Instructor Exam. It will help a lot if you have someone around who can help with logistics. If you are not accompanied by your Course Director then make sure that you carry plenty of water and snacks and use time sensibly, It’s a known fact that even the slightest degree of dehydration can have an adverse affect on your concentration levels.
Divide your time between preparation, eating and moving from one location to another. Take time out to compose yourself so that you are fully ready for the next stage.
Over the last 5 years, Janet and I have always accompanied our candidates during their Instructor Exam. We give lots of advice regarding where to be, and when to prepare for the next stage. We fetch food and drink, and even make sure that last minute check lists have been made. We are the ultimate “safety net” during these two important days.
CONTACT ME to get a FREE series of 3 QUICK QUIZZES: send in your answers, and I’ll mark them for you and point you in the right direction for revision!
Top Tip No. 10 What if I freeze during my written exams?
It’s natural to have “exam nerves” and these often present themselves in different ways. However a common one is when you look at the first question and think “I don’t ever remember seeing this before!” Then you look at the next question and think the same. Before long, you wonder if you are in the right exam room!
Keep scanning down the page, you’ll eventually find a question that you recognise. When you do, you’ll settle down and relax, and then all the questions will make more sense.
During your Instructor Exam, you’ll answer 60 questions on theory, 12 for each of the 5 subjects, and 50 questions on PADI Standards and Procedures. You’ll have 90 mins to answer the theory questions and 90 mins to answer the Standards ones.
The way to approach these exams is to realise that each question is worth equal points.
So if you can’t answer a question, just leave it! Just move on. You’ll find many questions that you can answer quickly and easily. Just concentrate on them for the first 15 to 20 mins. You’ll be surprised at how many you DO know! Just leave out the ones that you don’t.
Once you have done this, tot up your scores. You’ll be surprised at how many questions you have answered. Maybe around 50% and that is after only 15 or 20 mins. This will give you lots of confidence, and you will have plenty of time left to go back and answer the ones that you were not so sure of.