BBKA Basic Assessment

The basic is a ‘one to one’ oral assessment

The basic assessment is designed to provide new beekeepers with a goal and to give them a measure of their achievement so far in the fundamental skills and knowledge of the craft.

To enter the basic, which is an oral assessment, a person must have at least one year’s experience of keeping bees.

The basic is the springboard from which to launch into more demanding assessments and a pass in the basic is a prerequisite for entry into all the other assessments.

Most of what you need to know will have been discussed at apiary meetings

To help beekeepers prepare for the basic assessment, Meridian runs an annual revision day organised and tutored by Louise. The one day session covers the whole syllabus which may look daunting on first glance but in fact, most people know more than they realise after keeping bees for a while.

The 2022 revision day was attended by Robin Sergi, Zara and Phil O’Connell, Fiona Hickley and James Savage.

Zara and Phil at an apiary meeting last year.

Catherine Pardoe generously hosted the event at her house and according to all accounts, provided endless tea and coffee, cooked a delicious quiche and made a beautiful salad and went above and beyond in every way to make the day a success! Thank you very much to Catherine.

From Catherine’s point of view, Louise was absolutely brilliant (as usual) and must have been exhausted after all that concentration and talking! Thank you from everyone to Louise, not just for Saturday’s revision day but for everything she does for us.

Attendees said what an useful event it had been; there was a lot of discussion about what their bees had done over the last year and Louise spent much of the day saying ‘ well your options might have been…….’

James Savage, seen here at a recent apiary meeting, said the revision day was very good!

With the proper preparation, the basic assessment is an enjoyable and instructive exercise which takes place at one of our teaching apiaries. The assessor will ask a few questions while you show them through a hive, pointing out what you see as you go.

Robin Sergi talking assessor James Donaldson through a hive inspection during his basic assessment at Swanmore in June 2022.

Some of the candidates at the 2022 assessment in Swanmore admitted feeling a bit nervous when they arrived but a cup of tea and chat with the assessor soon put them at ease.

Anthony Raymer making a brood frame; part of the practical assessment

As well as gauging your basic skills, the assessor will give you tips and information along the way. After they had completed their assessments all candidates said what an useful and enjoyable experience it had been.

One of the stand out learning moments for most people was being shown an easy method of collecting a sample of bees.

The assessor asks questions to test a basic knowledge of diseases and pests, the lifecycle of the honey bee and good apiary hygiene. You can read the full syllabus here.
This book is enjoyable and easy to read, has clear photography and illustrations and is the definitive text for the basic assessment.
It can be purchased from the BBKA shop

To find out more about the basic assessment, click here.

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