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What are the NEBOSH Certificate exams?

What are the NEBOSH Certificate exams?

04 June 2020

In March 2020, NEBOSH launched a new Open Book Exam (OBE) for it's most popular qualification, the NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. It follows a major syllabus update launched in 2019, which better reflects the role of a real-life health and safety professional. 

The new OBE is taken online and opens up a world of opportunity for those looking to get NEBOSH qualified. With the use of an online exam portal, you're now able to complete your entire course from the safety and comfort of your own home.

What exams are there for the NEBOSH General Certificate?

The NEBOSH General Certificate (2018 specification) has 2 assessments:

  1. NG1/IG1: an open-book exam (OBE) and supporting interview.
  2. NG2/IG2: a 3-hour practical assignment in your workplace.
Both units accounts for 50% of your final grade. 

NEBOSH General Certificate Open Book Exam

The Unit NG1/IG1 open book exam (OBE) replaces the 2-hour written exam traditionally taken in an invigilated exam center. 

The new OBE assesses the same learning outcomes from elements 1-4, but with scenario-based questions. This helps to test your ability to apply your learning, rather than just reference key bits of information. The exam is taken entirely online, so you can use digital resources and textbooks to help you.

The exam will open with a scenario describing a real-life incident or safety intervention. It'll outline organisational activities, worker behaviour, and the role you play within the developing situation.

You'll be asked to complete a series of tasks based on the scenario. Remember, the aim of the OBE is to test how you apply your knowledge of risk management in the real world. Your answers will need to be relevant to the situation you're presented with and, in some cases, reference specific evidence from the scenario itself.

The paper is worth 100 marks and you need to achieve 45 to pass. You'll be given 24 hours to submit your answers, but it should only take you around 3 hours to complete. 

Take a look at the new NEBOSH Certificate Learner Guide for more information on the Open Book Exam.

NEBOSH General Certificate NG2/IG2 Risk Assessment Practical

Unit NG2/IG2 of the NEBOSH General Certificate is a work-based assignment that assesses your practical application of risk assessment and hazard control. You can take as long as you want on your assignment, but it should only take you around 3 hours to complete. 

You'll be asked to carry out a risk assessment of a workplace. We recommend you use your own, but you can use any workplace of your choice (even a fictional one).

The assessment is split into 4 sections, each with their own marking criteria which needs to be met:

  1. Description of organisation and methodology
  2. Risk assessment
  3. Action plan
  4. Review and communicate

Your risk assessment should identify a range of hazards from different categories, such as workplace, equipment, electrical or fire. For each hazard you should consider who could be harmed, existing control measures, additional control measures, and timescales. 

You'll then need to identify the 3 most urgent hazards and present actionable control measures. At this point, you'll need to express the legal and financial implications of not controlling them, likelihood and severity of harm, and the specific control measures needed to reduce risk. 

Read our guide on how to complete the N/IG2 Risk Assessment for more tips and guidance. 

NEBOSH General Certificate Pass Marks

You need to get 45 marks in both the NG1/IG1 Open Book Exam and NG2/IG2 Practical Risk Assessment. Your overall final grade is determined by the following marks:

  • Distinction: 75+
  • Credit: 65-74
  • Pass: 45-64
  • Refer (Fail): 0-44

You have 5 years to pass both units of the NEBOSH Certificate which starts from the moment you pass your first unit. 

NEBOSH General Certificate Results

NEBOSH will email you your results within 50 working days of taking your exam and/or submitting your Risk Assessment. They'll use the email address that you put on your booking form, so always double check it's correct.

Your hard copy certificate will be sent out 6-8 weeks after you've passed both exams. As of 2019, you'll only receive one hard-copy Certificate for the whole qualification. The certificate will show your final qualification grade: pass, credit or distinction.


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