5. GUIDELINES FOR ADMINISTERING ORAL EXAMINATIONS
5.1 General Oral Examination Guidelines
DOE facilities should develop procedures that describe how to develop and administer all
types of oral examinations used at the facility. These procedures should address the
Materials that will be available to the trainee during the examination (these
should include materials that are normally available to a person during job
Qualification of personnel who conduct each type of oral examination, or
how a person is approved to conduct oral examinations (this includes
determining the makeup of an oral board).
Management of non-typical situations (e.g. interruptions of oral examinations
due to unexpected facility conditions, high background noise, etc.).
Methods of grading oral examinations to ensure reliable, consistent, and
equitable oral examinations.
Methods of assigning relative importance to questions (e.g. questions relating
to significant facility processes, safety systems, etc., are valued higher than
questions relating to non-vital auxiliary systems or components).
Oral examinations should probe the trainee's understanding of fundamental principles, the
ability to apply these principles to practical situations, equipment and system operation,
and normal and abnormal operating procedures. Examinations should be based on
knowledge of information within the scope of the learning objectives.
An effective way to probe understanding is to ask the whys, hows, and what ifs. The
following are examples of the types of questions that can determine a person's
Why is the equipment built as it is?