Courses Available Online, Virtually and Classroom
Fully Certified NEBOSH, IOSH, IEMA Accredited
7-Day Customer Service
Andrew Froude B.Eng (Hons), CMIOSH, MIIRSM, OSHCR

NEBOSH Certificate Exam Day Guidance Part 1

The day has come to take your NEBOSH Certificate Exam. Here is a guide on what the prepare yourself for when the time comes for you to take the exam.

March 2016

Please note that NEBOSH has now introduced an open book exam, therefore the exam is no longer applicable. You can find more information about the new open book exam here.

Now the hard work of preparing for the exams is over. That day has finally arrived – exam day. It can be a worrying and stressful time and you need to ensure that you do yourself justice after all the hard work you’ve put in to revising.

Thinking about the exam itself can lead to many questions, such as:

  1. What are the arrangements on exam day?
  2. What will the exam paper look like?
  3. The command words – how do I ensure my answer is in line with these? Covered in Part 2 Relevant only to people taking the NEBOSH Certificate 2014 spe
  4. How do I ensure I answer the questions fully and not go off on a tangent?

In this blog we will have a look at points 1 and 2.

1) What are the arrangements on exam day?

You will be informed of the date, venue and time of the exam. The NGC exam(s) usually start at 9.30am so make sure you arrive in good time for the start – you don’t want to turn up all flustered with minutes to go. Therefore make sure you plan your journey to the venue with this in mind and have all the practical details covered you know exactly where you are going in advance including the room where the exam is taking place.

If something unexpected happens on the way to the venue or you feel ill then still try to get to the venue on time. Make sure you inform the invigilator (there are usually two invigilators) of the situation as soon as you arrive. NEBOSH operates a “Requests for Special Considerations” policy

Reasonable adjustments

If you had already applied for “reasonable adjustments” for things such as disability, learning difficulty etc. check that these agreed adjustments are in place when you arrive at the exam venue.

Prepare yourself for the exam

Having arrived in plenty of time, make sure you only place on the exam table the things you need for the exam: your watch to keep time, pens etc. in a clear bag, keep all other items in your bag and make sure you have turned off your mobile phone. Your bag should either be kept by your desk or at the back of the room. You can have a drink on your desk, but the labels on any bottles must be removed. You are also allowed sweets as long as they don’t make any noise, so something like hard sweets without wrappers would be best.

Exam materials

The exam desks will be positioned so that you are away from everyone else and the invigilator will check your photographic ID, check you candidate number and give you your answer book. Your answer book is simply a stapled book containing pages of lined paper each page having a square in the top left corner where you write the question number you are answering. You don’t need to write anything on the front of the answer book as it has already been pre-printed with your candidate number on the front.

The invigilator will then open the exam paper envelope, give out the exam paper and let you know when the exam is starting. You can then begin. The invigilator will also indicate when the exam will finish, usually by writing the exam finish time on a board or flipchart. There will also be a clock in the room so you can check the time. The exam lasts 2 hours.

If you need to visit the toilet during the exam then be sure to attract the attention of the invigilator who will then authorise you to leave the exam room. One invigilator may accompany you out of the exam room to ensure there is no cheating or malpractice takes place.

2) What will the exam paper look like?

The exam paper comprises of an A4 sheet printed on both sides. It contains two sections, the first section is made up of one 20 mark question and you are advised to spend about 30 minutes on this question. The second section comprises of 10 questions, each worth 8 marks. You are advised to spend 1.5 hours on this section.

Don’t start writing as soon as you receive the exam paper. Read through the whole paper first. This will give you a little time to think and plan how you are going to answer the paper. You can answer the questions in any order that you like so use the first minute wisely. Some people may like to answer the question they feel more confident about first, others may prefer to leave these to the end.

Exam answer requirements

  • All notes or answer planning should be done in your answer book.
  • You can answer the questions in any order.
  • Write the number of the question you are answering in the box on the top left of the page in the answer book.
  • Start a new page for each question you are answering.
  • You should not write anything on the exam paper.

Remember before and during the exam

Don’t panic: You’ve done all the hard revision prior to the exam and you don’t want to blow it because you have worked yourself up into a state and you are panicking. Try to relax a bit by taking some deep breaths. Read the paper first, and this will help to settle you into exam mode more easily.

Read the question: Make sure you read the question carefully and identify the context of the question, any key words in of the question. 

Read the question again: A reminder to stop and read the question again carefully before attempting the answer.

Watch the time: 2 hours sounds a long time but it will pass by very quickly during the exam. It is therefore important that you plan your time carefully. Let’s break it down:

Time usage breakdown

  • 120 minutes to earn 100 marks
  • 1 min of writing= 1 mark

Question planning

20 mins of planning time for 11 questions:

  • 2 mins to read the whole question paper
  • 1.5 mins of planning for the 10 questions worth 8 marks
  • 3 mins of planning for the 1 question worth 20 marks

Question answering

  • 80 mins of writing for the 10 questions worth 8 marks
  • 20 mins of planning for the 1 question worth 20 marks

Make sure you have a watch with you on your exam table and you keep an eye on the clock in the exam room. Be disciplined, once you run out to time on one question, move onto the next – you can come back to it if you have time at the end.

Links to other useful blogs on preparing for the NEBOSH Certificate

If you haven't already enrolled to study the NEBOSH General Certificate, click the button below for more information and guidance!

Related Blogs

  • Why the UK Might Fail Their 2030 Net-Zero Targets Image
    Enock Ebbah

    Why the UK Might Fail Their 2030 Net-Zero Targets

    Read more to understand how the government might miss their 2030 targets and why concerning trends could have an impact on its long-term Net Zero goals.
    23.02.24
  • How to Communicate in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS): A Practical Guide Image
    William Gaunt

    How to Communicate in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS): A Practical Guide

    Occupational health and safety is the bedrock of every successful organisation. We boil down its essential elements and list three things you absolutely have to know. Additionally, find out why it matters and how OHS professionals are trained.
    21.02.24
  • Research Suggests 3 Reasons UK Failed Car Charging Station Goals Image
    Enock Ebbah

    Research Suggests 3 Reasons UK Failed Car Charging Station Goals

    The UK Government has failed to meet its goals for installing electric vehicle charging stations nationwide in 2023. We list some key reasons why and explain the frustrating impact this will have on their Net-Zero mission.
    16.02.24
  • What is Occupational Health & Safety? 3 Things You Need to Know Image
    William Gaunt

    What is Occupational Health & Safety? 3 Things You Need to Know

    Occupational health and safety is the bedrock of every successful organisation. We boil down its essential elements and list three things you absolutely have to know. Additionally, find out why it matters and how OHS professionals are trained.
    14.02.24
  • Who is Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace? Image
    William Gaunt

    Who is Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace?

    We look at who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace and what employees and employers should prioritise when creating their health and safety plan for their organisation. Click to find out more.
    09.02.24
  • Climate Crisis as Net-Zero Targets Missed In 2023 (Expert Opinion) Image
    Enock Ebbah

    Climate Crisis as Net-Zero Targets Missed In 2023 (Expert Opinion)

    Our Net-Zero expert, Enock Ebbah, delves into the seismic challenge in front of our planet to decrease the rate of global warming after the UK fails to meet its projections for 2023 - revealing the potentially devastating implications.
    07.02.24
Section Curve
Case Studies

Real Life Stories

Find out how learners look back on their training with Astutis. Our case studies give our learners, both individual and corporate, a platform to share their Astutis experience. Discover how training with Astutis has helped past learners and delegates make the world a safer place, one course at a time.
More Image
Bottom Curve
What People Say

Hear What Our Learners Have To Say

We're always there for our customers. 98% of our learners rated their overall experience as good or outstanding. We will always pride ourselves on our customer service. But don’t take our word for it, here is what our customers have to say
  • "I enjoyed the course that i took with Astutis, IEMA Environmental Sustainability Skills for Managers. It really well put together, and ultimately I passed the test and gained the certificate, so the information imparted covered the syllabus well. Was a bit surprised to see that the test was Open Book after I'd clicked to 'start' - I'd been revising for a few weeks, if this had been communicated better it might have saved me a bit of anguish!"

    Laura
    22.02.2024
  • "I enjoyed the course that i took with Astutis, IEMA Environmental Sustainability Skills for Managers. It really well put together, and ultimately I passed the test and gained the certificate, so the information imparted covered the syllabus well. Was a bit surprised to see that the test was Open Book after I'd clicked to 'start' - I'd been revising for a few weeks, if this had been communicated better it might have saved me a bit of anguish!"

    Laura
    22.02.2024
  • "I felt a divine prompting to seek my Boss's recommendation when considering another learning partner, and she graciously suggested Astutis. Choosing Astutis turned out to be a decision without regrets. Even when I didn't pass the RA on my first attempt, the Director's response to my inquiries boosted my confidence to request a remark, which was facilitated at no extra cost thanks to the Director's advocacy. Astutis provided unwavering support throughout my journey, from inception to completion. I eagerly anticipate enrolling in additional courses and pursuing a diploma with them."

    Femi
    20.02.2024
  • "Nebosh need to be consistent with the marking, I felt the marking can be somehow subjective. Different marker graded same script differently. I failed the first time because someone(marker) didn't understand the guideline and the second marker did mentioned something different. Good study material and content."

    Femi
    20.02.2024
  • "Provided all necessary supporting documentation alongside the virtual training."

    Jodie
    20.02.2024
  • "I found the NG1 course particularly useful in understanding what was required for the exam."

    Jodie
    20.02.2024
  • "Good communication, helpful and friendly"

    06.02.2024
  • "Interesting and relevant."

    06.02.2024
  • "ASTUTIS has good customer care. They trustworthy and coordinative .They work as a team. A special thanks goes to madam Hilary for the great work rendered."

    Rogers
    06.02.2024
  • "I thought the course was so easy but I found it even tougher than IGC but interesting when you get used to it."

    Rogers
    06.02.2024