Each association does it differently and puts its emphasis on a different topic with a different philosophy but in the end they are all the same.
In general, the course must be divided into 3 rough units.
In the theoretic part of the course you learn the basics of diving: equipment, diving physics, medicine and environment.
Often you will receive a small booklet before the lesson. Meanwhile, with some associations this theoretic part can also be done online.
Afterwards you should be able to pass a short test of your knowledge. These tests usually consist of 30 multipe-choice-questions.
Pool, limited open water:
Whether your course takes place at a lake or in a pool is up to the diving school. It is important that you are safe at all times. In a pool, a maximum of 4 students should work with one instructor. In a lake, a 2:1 ratio is reasonable.
The exercises cover practice-oriented situations that could actually occur while diving. Good diving instructors will explain in advance what to do if, for example, the mask gets lost. They prefer to explain several skills and repeat them several times so that their students can understand and use them correctly.
These exercises are more than just compulsory.
If you are stressed out by the exercises – take the time you need to get a good feeling again. Don’t let anybody rush you. By now you will know if your instructor has enough patience and supports you confidently. Breathe calmly and think about how the exercise should proceed. The more time you take, the slower you perform the skill you are trying to acquire, the better it will work.
There is absolutely nothing hectic about diving. On the contrary, the more hectic it gets, the more dangerous it becomes. And an exercise doesn’t work out the first time, you are certainly not the only one struggling with it, it will be repeated until you feel safe.
Last but not least you should complete 2 days with a total of 4 – 5 dive sessions.
The instructor is out and about with a maximum of 2 students.
Again, take the time you need. You decide the pace of your course, not the instructor. The instructor will also make sure that you do not give too much space to your doubts or worries that something could not work. Good instructors can do that. They will motivate and confirm you at the right times.
The individual exercises and skills are specified by the diving associations and are laid down in their standard rules or on the so-called Training Record Card, which you sign at the end of the course.
Finally, you will be issued the so-called Brevet.
If it is important to you to have a picture of yourself with blow-dry hair on your brevet, then you should take the photo beforehand. Because for the brevet, we need a photo of you and mostly the photo is taken after the course.