The Home of the Original Oral Preparation Course | MCA Oral Prep for Deck & Engineering

“Exactly what I expected; very happy with the service received. Keep it up! Fantastic experience; will be back for Master Prep. Julie has great people skills; very helpful.”

OOW Candidate

“The course was excellent in explaining how to simplify complex subjects/drawings/topics into a format appropriate and easy to reproduce/explain under oral exam conditions.”

Y1 Candidate

JPMA are renowned for our well designed and highly successful Deck and Engineering MCA oral prep courses and pre-course prep packs, set up by the late Captain John Percival, which have seen thousands of candidates since the late 90’s.

Since his unfortunate passing in 2014, our instructors have continued John’s legacy, resulting in continued high pass rates on first attempt.


Instructor and Student during an MCA oral prep course


We offer MCA oral prep courses for the following UK CoCs:


OOW (Yachts) <3000gt,

Master (Code Vessels) <200gt,

Master (Workboats) <500gt,

Master (Yachts) <500gt,

Master (Yachts) <3000gt


MEOL (Y), Y4, Y3, Y2 & Y1


SV EOOW <3000gt/<9000kW (previously SV 2nd Engineer),

SV Chief Engineer <500gt/<3000kW

SV Chief Engineer <3000gt/<9000kW.

We also deliver oral prep courses to Merchant/Commercial and Workboat professionals.

*New for 2023* – the John Percival Oral Prep (Deck) Bundle

At JPMA we constantly review and update our services to crew. We have recently launched the John Percival Oral Prep (Deck) Bundle, for candidates preparing for OOW (Yacht)<3000gt, Master (Yacht) <500gt & Master (Yacht) <3000gt oral exams. (This is in addition to our standard MCA oral prep courses)


MCA oral preparation course and bespoke oral prep


There are several individual elements to this extensive service, which are detailed below:

  • Step 1 – You will receive our famous prep pack by email. This is essential for you to work on prior to your attending the course.

  • Step 2 – You will receive 14 hours of bespoke study time with one of our Deck oral prep instructors, via Skype, or face to face if you are near Hoylake.
  • From our experience, those candidates who have not undertaken any preparation prior to attending our oral prep courses find it extremely tiring and frustrating when they have to start learning the verbatim elements of the syllabus, as well as revising the work covered in the modules they have completed.
  • The 14 hours can be spread over any period of time, whether it be 1 hour every 2 weeks, or full day study sessions. This will enable you to focus your studies on the elements of the syllabus where you have identified a need for extra work, with the support of a JPMA instructor.
  • This aids with continuity when moving on to the final part of the John Percival Oral Prep Bundle, as you will have been working with the instructors who teach our full oral prep courses.
  • Note that Individual contact hours are usually available between 0900-1700 Monday to Saturday and must be pre-booked in advance.

  • Step 3 – Finally, you will attend an intensive 5 day oral prep course at our training centre in Hoylake, immediately prior to your oral exam (note that online prep courses can be offered to those unable to travel to the UK).

Notes for the John Percival Oral Prep (Deck) Bundle:

Oral preparation for MCA oral exams is not mandatory, and therefore oral preparation courses do not need MCA approval or accreditation. This means that there are no guidelines or set standards that must be met by those offering oral prep courses. As we are accredited by the MCA to run many Yacht and Small Vessel courses, you can be sure that our oral preparation courses are designed to meet the same exacting MCA standards. Our instructors hold mandatory MCA Train the Trainer certification, in order to teach other MCA courses.

We take a maximum of 4 students per session/prep course, and whilst in the classroom you will have full access to all of the relevant publications and charts needed for your studies. The course runs over 6 days (5 days of prep and 1 day of self-study), usually Monday to Saturday, with Thursday taken as a day to digest the first 3 days of the course, and prepare for the final 2 days

The course is designed to finish as close to your exam date as possible. Depending on the length of time between the last day of your course and the date your exam is booked, we can offer ‘Booster’ oral prep days. These are optional, and not included in the standard Oral Prep Bundle fee, but we strongly recommend that you maintain your level of knowledge and ability with these bonus days, in the lead up to your exam date.

Fees for the John Percival Oral Prep (Deck) Bundle :

The standard fee* for our John Percival Oral Prep (Deck) Bundle is £2,050.00. (£2,145 from 1st January 2024)

A stand alone 5 day intensive oral prep course can be booked by those not wishing to access the 14 hours of bespoke instructor study time. The fee* for this is £1,399.00, which includes our famous prep pack. (£1,475 from 1st January 2024)

If you are just starting your studies and do not know if you want to access the 14 hours bespoke study time, you are able to pay a £350.00 deposit to access our famous prep pack, without committing to the full Oral Prep Bundle.

Additional Booster days after your prep course are priced at £325.00 per day, and can be done online as well as in the classroom. These are helpful if there is a gap between the end of your course and the date of your oral exam. (£335 from 1st January 2024)

These prices are inclusive of everything – lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments are provided for classroom courses.

We offer a full concierge service for your oral prep course, helping with travel arrangements, taxi bookings and accommodation (off-site).

* Due to the way we book our oral prep courses to suit dates of MCA oral exams, there may be times that you are the only student on the course. To avoid us having to cancel your course, if this is the case, there will be an additional charge of £500.00 for a 1-2-1 oral prep course, whether it is a stand alone course or part of the Oral Prep Bundle.


Our Other MCA oral prep courses are:

Master (Code Vessels) <200gt & Master (Workboat) <500gt – 8 days – usually Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs, Sat, Sun, Mon & Tues

OOW (Yacht) <3000gt, Master (Yacht) <500gt & Master (Yacht) <3000gt – Standard 5 day courses, excludes 14 hours bespoke study time – usually Thurs, Fri, Sat, Mon & Tues.

Engineering Yacht & Small Vessel at all levels – All 5 days – usually Thurs, Fri, Sat, Mon & Tues.


Each day is fully timetabled from 0900 – 1700. (Merchant/Near Coastal candidates are given an extra day of prep, dedicated to cargo work/boilers and other elements that are not covered in the Yacht syllabus).

We can arrange your oral prep course to match as closely to your oral exam date as possible, depending on instructor availability.

Once you have your NoE, and know your availability, we can let you know if we have any courses already running or if we need to set new dates for you.

We take a maximum of 4 students per course. (In extreme circumstances we will place a fifth student onto a course).


Extra prep days are available before and after our standard MCA oral prep courses:

Many students worry that they have not had enough time to study, prior to arriving for the course. We can arrange extra revision days in the lead up to your oral prep course, covering the essential information from our prep pack (ColRegs, lights, buoyage, certificates etc).

We strongly recommend that you do not arrange any extra prep via Skype or other means during your prep course. Our course is fully timetabled to cover what you need – the homework you will be given each evening is essential and you are encouraged to work with the other students on your course in your free time. Over recent months we have found students who choose to do extra external prep have struggled to keep up – this is because the external sources do not necessarily complement our course package and can lead to confusion due to doing things in the wrong order.

If you feel that you need extra prep prior to your course, please let us know and we will endeavour to arrange this to match up with your course dates. Deck candidates – see info above about our new Oral Prep Bundle!

Depending on the day of the week your exam is booked, JPMA offer ‘Booster’ oral prep days after the final day of the course, leading up to your exam, if there are a few days between the end of your course and your exam. These are optional, but we strongly recommend that you maintain your level of knowledge and ability with these bonus days.


Online Study

We are currently offering Deck & Engineering oral prep and some 1-2-1 tutoring online, as well as our classic oral prep courses in the classroom.

For seafarers who are in the middle of their studies, and don’t know when their oral exam will be, or for seafarers who are struggling with a certain subject – we can help!

Our instructors are available to offer hourly, half or full day 1-2-1 online sessions.



Course Fees:

if there are 2 or more students on the course:

Deck 5 days £1,399.00 – includes lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments; (£1,475 from 1st January 2024)

Deck 8 days £2,224.00 – includes lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments; (£2,360 from 1st January 2024)

Engineering 5 days £1,399.00 – includes lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments. (£1,475 from 1st January 2024)

if no-one else books on the dates and you are the only student on the course:

Deck 5 days £1,899.00 – includes lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments; (£1,975 from 1st January 2024)

Deck 8 days £2,724.00 – includes lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments; (£2,860 from 1st January 2024)

Engineering 5 days £1,899.00 – includes lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments. (£1,975 from 1st January 2024)

Prep Pack Revision & Post-prep Booster Days £325.00 per day – includes lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments. (£335 from 1st January 2024)

email to book these courses


MCA oral prep course fees are inclusive of everything:

Lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments are provided;

We will email our famous prep pack and pre-course reading for you to work on before the course (pre-course study is essential);

We have a full range of Deck and Engineering equipment available for all students to use during the courses – smartie boards, sextants, charts, publications, model buoys and an assortment of engine parts etc.

Our instructors also run mock oral exams to prepare you for the nature of the final oral exam.

Concierge Service:

We recognise that making a journey to us from overseas can be stressful, so we have always done our best to lighten the load. As a complimentary part of your booking process, we offer a concierge service, helping with travel arrangements, taxi bookings and accommodation (off-site).



Don’t just take our word for it..:

Our Master <200gt (Code Vessels) and Master (Yachts) <500gt oral exam candidates had a pass rate of 100% at first attempt, in 2021.

OOW (Yachts) <3000gt oral exam candidates had a pass rate of 85% in 2021.

Following on from our outstanding results in 2020, we’ve maintained an overall Deck oral exam pass rate higher than it’s been in nearly 15 years at JPMA

Every one of our Y4, Y3, Y2 and SV Chief Engineer <3000kW oral exam candidates passed on their first attempt in 2021.

Our Engineering results remain at an impressive level, with 91% of our Engineer oral exam candidates passing on first attempt. 

With this number of JPMA students passing first time, why would you go anywhere else for your oral prep?!

We’ve seen hundreds of loyal students who have begun their studies with us at RYA Yachtmaster Offshore or AEC level and continued with their studies to the highest level possible. We’re delighted to see these students returning for their oral prep, cementing the knowledge they gained from the modules they have done at JPMA.




The MCA have recently published MIN 690, which details the updated application process to allow for applications to be made online using the submission of electronic documents, as well as the new online booking process for online oral exams. We have covered a few pertinent points here: 



Revised NoE Application Process:

If you are applying for your first UK CoC, your NoE application must be accompanied by original documents and certificates, which you must post to the MCA. However, as candidates will need to keep their passports with them for travel and identification reasons, the MCA have agreed that a photocopy of the passport, signed, dated and stamped by the Captain of the vessel, along with his/her CoC number, will be accepted. You can also send your birth certificate as a form of ID.

If you already hold a UK CoC, the MCA now accepts subsequent applications, electronically, via email. The application form must be completed and emailed to the relevant team with the required documentation. 



Training Record Books:

Under the new electronic application system, if your CoC requires the completion of a TRB the original physical TRB will need to be submitted to the MCA, but you must retain scanned copies of the overview signature pages from the TRB. These will be required for your oral exam.

If you meet the requirements, an NOE will be issued. Currently this is done through email and you will receive an electronic NOE. Only after you have received your NOE can you book an oral exam though the central team.



MCA Oral Exams:

The way in which you can book your oral exam has changed. The MCA have rolled out a new system from April 2022 where you will be able to book your oral exam using the Online Booking Service.

You will need to send your electronic NOE, scanned Government ID and scanned Discharge Book (and certain pages from your TRB) to:

Once received, the Online Oral Exams team will check the details and send you a link to the Online Booking Service which will enable you to book your oral.

The oral exam is currently being delivered through Microsoft Teams.

A full rundown of how to apply for an electronic NoE, booking an oral exam, and what to do with your paperwork after the oral exam is available in MIN 690


NOTE: the oral exam is designed to show the MCA that you have the knowledge contained within the written modules, and the practical experience from your sea service, resulting in them finding you competent to hold a UK Certificate of Competence.

We strongly recommend that all of the written modules are completed prior to attempting the oral exam. An NoE pass is valid for 3 years, so if you sit but do not pass a written exam, you can re-sit it after the oral exam.

Candidates for Master (Yachts) <3000gt who do not hold a Master (Yachts) <500gt CoC MUST have completed and passed all of the modules etc before attending the oral examination, otherwise they will receive an automatic fail. Read more here.