Skip to main content

Wilkinson Coutts & Matthews Integrity Training

Who are we?

WILKINSON COUTTS / MATTHEWS INTEGRITY HUB: an up-to-the-minute information mix designed to help you with your lifework and career development in the asset integrity, inspection and NDE industries.

Matthew Petroleum Notes

How to pass your degree

Don’t you think it’s strange that, when you start your degree, no-one tells you  the secret of passing it, apart from  offering advice like ‘work hard’ and ‘don’t fall behind on your assignments’?. Luckily, passing a degree is a fairly mechanistic procedure if you approach it in the right way. As long as you have a reasonable mental processing ability, passing a degree comprises a fixed equation of 5% flair and natural ability, 5% chance and 90% predictable, mechanistic procedure. Engineering integrity degrees are no exception to this, in fact they fit the formula better than most.

Passing your degree is helped along by the increasing contemporary assumption that most candidates should succeed, surrounded by a sparkling array of assessment structures, grades and sub-grades. The first thing is to set your target.


Which of these three targets you choose will set the agenda for all the time you spend on your degree course. The problem with these targets is that if that you don’t consciously choose one (from the three) one will always choose itself for you, attaching itself to you without your knowledge. It is therefore best to choose one for yourself, so you know what it is, and can fit in with it.

  • Target C

About 50% of undergraduates will choose this one. Target C is deciding  to do just enough to pass all the parts of the syllabus you need to get your degree. Grade is not important to you, and you are happy to rely on a bit of luck to hopefully get better than you deserve.

  • Target B

Maybe 35% of undergraduates choose this route. Target B is just target C in shabby disguise. Whilst fundamentally sharing the target C views, they have identified that the business of passing qualifications must have some error margin floating around. Aiming just to pass could mean that with a bit of bad luck, unplanned absence or misreading of exam questions, it might just be possible to fall victim to this error margin, and fail. The solution is to try a teeny bit harder, to ensure they place themselves just above the error band and keep their fingers crossed.

  • Target A

Target A is a study of predictability. Target A undergraduates analyse the content, and structure, and timing of the course, well in advance. This way they always know what is coming next so when subjects appear they come as no surprise.Target A is not necessarily about getting the top marks in the class, ,just being in charge of the predictability of the whole process.

Set your target

Planning and time management is the bedrock of target A territory. You need to get the course syllabus in advance, see how long each part takes, make plans for doing it, learning it, revising it, sorting out your problems with it and then anticipating the way that its content will be slid into the examinations. None of this is random – it is all planned in advance so that ultimately there are no surprises. You are managing it, rather than it managing you.

To hit target A requires complete mastery of the main ‘ball skills’ of your course. This includes learning basic maths routines and methods until they become second nature. Recognising mathematical formats and equation types is a requirement of many degree subjects so this will pay itself back in benefits many times. Once you have achieved this mastery you will find yourself attracted to classroom and homework examples that contain them, rather than imaginatively avoiding them – which is what the target B and C groups do.

Summary: your choice of target

There is no single more important part of passing an engineering degree course than the target C, B or A, that you choose. Throughout the course it will determine what you do, how you do it, how much effort you put in and whether you pass or fail. That’s important.

Putting it into action

For some reason (nobody knows why) most people doing degrees don’t seem to organise themselves in a way that makes it easy for themselves. That’s why falling behind, relying on last-minute deadlines and copying stuff from your housemates or the internet is a fairly common feature. Happily, most students get the message sooner or later and get themselves better organised. It’s just so much easier however if you do this at the start, rather than as the inevitable result of a few crises along the way.

If you want to know more about how to develop your career once you are already in the integrity industry then go to our Integrity Job Roles page and have a look at the articles there.

Plan your Internship

Many integrity-related degrees now include Internships. These do not always run as smoothly or efficiently as they could do, so it’s worth putting a bit of advanced thought and effort into the procedure to help things along. See our suggested plan and checklist for this in our article; Planning your Internship.


If you want to check your knowledge for a specific job role in the integrity industry then try our trial technical interview.  Its purpose is to test you on the technical aspects of the job you are thinking of applying for.  There's no time limit on it but expect it to last at least 20 minutes.  After the discussion we'll give you honest feedback on how you did.  Just let us know the type of position you are going for; we'll do the rest and respond with at time slot for you to call us.

There's no charge, but we will expect you to call us at the allocated time and be ready to answer technical questions.

Remember your trial interview is on a purely technical subjects.  We are not interested in you personality traits, do-gooding activities or any wonderful extra-curricular interests you may have.

Technical Interview


CONTACT US Tel: 07746 771592

Matthews Integrity Training