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Toby Howell BA PGDip

How to Complete Your NEBOSH Diploma Assessment

About to start the NEBOSH Diploma? Thinking about it? If you are concerned about how the course is assessed, this blog is designed for you!  

September 2021


  •  The NEBOSH Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals can prove to be a long, difficult and trying process. Endurance and long-term motivation is key to maximise success.
  • The assessment process is split up into four parts (see below) 
  • Be prepared to write about your own experiences. Combining critical theory with your own examples ensures your answers have the best chance to get maximum marks. 
  • It is imperative learners practice with mock exams, especially when it comes to the short research project. Focus on writing clear and succinct arguments for and against a certain viewpoint or principle. During this stage it is crucial learners read over this part several times to ensure there are no typing errors. 
  • Out of the 600 marks available, learners need a minimum of 150 to pass the course. Learners receive a Credit with 196 marks+ and if learners get 226+ marks they get a Distinction. 

The NEBOSH Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals is a leading qualification in health and safety. It provides a comprehensive mind map of information, equipping learners with what they need to succeed and climb the ladder. The 2021 syllabus update incorporates a refreshed assessment structure. It features one workplace-based stage and two case study question papers. 

This blog will dissect the assessment process and work out how to successfully approach your NEBOSH Diploma assignments. We will go through study tips, revision techniques and methods to heighten your chances of passing the assignments. 

Once you begin the assignment phase of the course, you will have a total of six weeks, or thirty working days, to complete all four sections of the assessment. It’s also helpful to note that NEBOSH will not accept your assessment once that time expires. 

The assessment stage is split into four different stages

  1. Questions based on a fictitious, but realistic scenario 
  2. Tasks you will need to complete in a suitable workplace
  3. Reflective tasks
  4. Short research project


1. Scenario-Based Case Study Tasks

These case studies are engineered to provide real-life scenarios to assess and provide your opinion on. The paper will provide you with a wealth of information on a situation; it is down to you to understand what is important and immaterial. 

You will be presented with an in-depth scenario that replicates real-life. Be aware that this scenario could be pretty wordy, totalling potentially several sides of A4 paper. 

When addressing the scenario, remember that you will be awarded one mark for each correct point you make. It is recommended you attempt to write as much as possible to showcase your knowledge: one-word answers or lists are unlikely to gain marks. 

Once you have thoroughly read through the scenario, you will be presented with several tasks that you must complete. You will be asked to answer every task and question, do not skip any task on the question. 


2. Workplace-Based Tasks

This assignment is designed to allow you to showcase your knowledge and understanding concerning your work environment. It asks you to amass all your learning and analyse a working environment with a critical eye. It doesn’t need to be your working environment. Learners are more than likely to choose their place of work out of accessibility and ease. This doesn’t mean that you criticise everything about your workplace. Instead, be ready to incorporate your understanding of risk assessments and how to readily seek out dangers before they become apparent.


3. Reflective Tasks

During this stage of the assessment process, you will be asked to draw upon personal experiences. It is designed, more or less, to help you promote yourself. You will be asked to reflect on your personal or work life, demonstrating your leadership and communication skills.

You will be given a recommended word count for each response to instil a succinct writing style. We recommend you begin attempting to write concisely before you begin the assessment process. Writing in a concise manner helps remove the clutter from your answers and cut directly to the point. This does mean that you should try to include as much detail as you can. However, it is your choice what details you should include.

Ensure you discuss how you have improved any skills mentioned overtime. Display clearly how these skills have strengthened, and they contribute to your ability to lead effectively. 


4. Short Research Project

To conclude the assessment stage, you will be asked to conduct research regarding a specific topic and subsequently answer a question. Your answer will be in the form of a report allowing you to display your knowledge and opinions on the subject. It is critical that you provide evidence with credible sources. It might be easier to see the project as an academic essay. If you haven’t written one in a while, it may be worth practising the referencing process. 

A considerable part of this stage is showcasing evidence-informed arguments and being able to counter them. Therefore, rushing this stage is entirely against your best interests. It will require you to research the topic before even approaching the writing stage. With the format being a report, it is essential that you can express these arguments in a well-written, well-formatted setting. Therefore, it would only help to ensure you draft the report several times. Allow for plenty of time for edits! Allow yourself to improve your first few attempts and find that delicate balance.

It is imperative that you fact check, spell check and read over your report several times. But ensure you don’t delay submitting the finished project by constantly editing without finishing it. 


Pass marks

Each assessment is completed electronically and submitted through the NEBOSH exam portal. As explored above, you will have no more than six weeks to complete your assessments from your chosen exam date. 

The entire paper will have a total of 600 marks available. These will be split between each of the four parts (150 marks per section). You must pass all three units to achieve your full NEBOSH Diploma. Your total number of marks will determine your final qualification grade:

Pass: 150-195 marks

Credit: 196-255 marks

Distinction: 226+ marks

Remember there are 600 marks available. To pass you only need 150+. Meaning you only need ¼ or a quarter of the total marks. Learners of the past have always been instructed to not think of it as an easy pass. Be assured it takes preparation, persistence and drive to pass the NEBOSH Diploma. Do not think that because it only takes 150 marks to pass, your revision can be laxed. The Diploma is equivalent to a UK University Degree, which usually take three years to complete.

On the other side, don’t walk into the process daunted by the possibilities and investment. Understand that by committing to the NEBOSH Diploma you are beginning a life-changing journey. A positive, mind-expanding journey. Learners have had their careers skyrocket and blossom because of this accreditation. One quote that perfectly symbolises the effort required was coined by Former US President, Theodore Roosevelt who once said: “Nothing good comes easy”. 


How can I study better in the lead-up?

First of all, it is paramount to acknowledge each learner is different. There are thousands of online lists on studying better, but not all lists work for each learner. Therefore, it is paramount that you understand what works for you. 

Establish what kind of learner you are before you start the course. So, if you are a learner who prefers to read content, follow that mould. If you are a learner who needs to write the material down, then do that. It might seem overly simplistic, but many learners attempt to study in ways that don’t benefit them. Understanding what method works for you is crucial in cementing the knowledge. 

As part of studying the course with Astutis, all learners will be provided with several mock exams. It is highly recommended that all learners use them to their advantage. It cannot be stressed how valuable understanding the structure and line of questioning could be. Use the exam webinars to your advantage, it may even be that you might wish to go through a mock exam with your tutor.

Remember you will receive everything at once. You will get one big paper containing all four sections. Receiving such an important document can be daunting. It is only natural to have a moment of shock upon reading through it. The six-week countdown begins once you start your assignments, leading many learners to think they need to start quickly. Don’t fall into this trap. It is critical that you maintain the same pace throughout. Therefore, don’t set an unrealistic pace for yourself: the key is to prepare yourself beforehand. It could be beneficial to create a study plan ahead of the process. Learners have said study plans brought valuable structure to their day-to-day study. Some learners have told us that recording their notes and playing the recording out loud helped them tremendously. Find your preferred way of revision early and dominate your study.

Use the mock exams to your advantage. You will already know the structure, style of questions and flow of the assignments. Before you begin the assessment stage, set yourself a plan which you know you can stick to. Having a prepared schedule gives you the structure to stay on top of your studies, giving you an advantage in the assessment stage.  

Click the button below to view our NEBOSH Diploma Exam Hub!

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