A Bit of History
Back in the mists of time, around 1999, the EKAM Committee recognised that people were joining the club to pass their IAM test and then drifting away as there was no further “official” coaching on offer to them. In an effort to combat this trend the Enhanced Advanced was introduced to enable members to continue the development of their skills. This has the same format as the IAM test but riders are expected to display more awareness and more precise skills in their ride; to aim for the “perfect” ride. Initially the Enhanced Advanced coaching was conducted in small groups with an experienced observer overseeing the entire group and to conduct pre-test check rides. In 2003 the system was changed to mirror the way observing is done in our ITAM, with more emphasis on one-to-one coaching.
The Member's Riding Assessment can lead to a F1RST, as can the initial advanced test, and this level of achievement replaced EKAM's Enhanced Advanced certification from 1st March 2017. Candidates who achieve a F1RST will be included in a national register. Do not confuse the Member's Riding Assessment with the basic Riding Assessment; the former is only open to IAM members, the latter is just an assessment of current riding skills and is used to promote joining the IAM (and costs more).
Until 2016 the standard IAM test was not graded; an associate either passed or failed. Since the introduction of a new marking scheme applied by the examiners this is no longer the case and an associate who achieves a high score can be awarded a F1RST. From 1st March 2017 EKAM has replaced the Enhanced Advanced with the Member's Riding Assessment. However, the objective remains the same; to improve on the basic required standards. Riders will be required to show that they can make safe progress up to the limits imposed by the law, road, weather and traffic conditions. This requires more precise control of speed and positioning, greater awareness of actual and potential hazards and better forward planning. While the emphasis will always be on safety, candidates will be expected to make progress by making full use of the available information.
Prospective observers will be required to undertake the Member's Riding Assessment and achieve a F1RST, if they have not already achieved this standard or the in-house Enhanced Advanced award prior to making the application to become an Observer.
The Member's Riding Assessment will be carried out by an IAM Examiner in the same manner as the normal advanced test. Candidates taking the Member's Riding Assessment cannot "fail" in the accepted sense, but if their riding reaches the required standard they will be awarded a F1RST. In exceptional circumstances they may also be awarded the caveat of "examiner's distinction".
What To Do
Regrettably, EKAM members who have already achieved an Enhanced Advanced award (either Merit or Distinction) cannot claim a retrospective F1RST as the IAM do not recognise our in-house award, despite having adopted a scheme which EKAM has been running for the best part of 18 years!