So, you have the NEBOSH exam coming up, and you’re looking for some advice to help you pass with an excellent mark? Read on for our top 8 tips to pass your NEBOSH exam.
If you’re new to NEBOSH or haven’t started your course, here’s a quick breakdown of the NEBOSH exam. Or, go straight to the tips.
NEBOSH Exam Structure
To gain the NEBOSH qualification, you need to pass two assessments and complete a closing interview. One assessment is the NG1 OBE (Open Book Exam); the other is the NG2 risk assessment project.
NG1 Open Book Exam
The NG1 covers syllabus taught in the first week of your NEBOSH course and has four elements focusing on legal requirements and safety management system (plan, do, check, act).
You have one day to complete your OBE; you’ll gain access to the paper in the morning and can structure your day as you please. NEBOSH recommend spending 2 hours on the NG1 question paper, and there is a word count of 3000 words. You can go 10% above or below the word count.
NG2 Risk Assessment
The NG2 assessment covers the syllabus taught in the second week of your course and has seven elements focusing on hazards such as work equipment, fire etc. You have to complete a risk assessment of your own workplace using a template provided by NEBOSH.
NEBOSH provides an example risk assessment and allows you to see the marking criteria, so you have a good idea of what NEBOSH expect.
The risk assessment is broken down into four parts, and you must complete all four as instructed by NEBOSH. There are word counts for some sections of the risk assessment project, which are indicated on the template.
NEBOSH recommend spending 3 hours on the NG2 Practical Assessment (risk assessment).
After you submit your NG1 OBE your training provider will be in touch to schedule a closing interview. You can complete the interview remotely via Zoom, WhatsApp or similar.
The purpose of the closing interview is to confirm that the work you have submitted is your own.
The OBE will last 15+ minutes, and you will be asked to prove your identity, confirm that you are on your own and unaided. Once verified, you will be asked three questions related to the answers you gave in the open book examination.
NEBOSH Exam Tips
NEBOSH recommend you complete 68 hours of tutor-led training plus an additional 40 hours of self-study before sitting your assessments lasting 5 hours. That’s a recommended 113 learning hours in total.
The Nebosh General Certificate course is available to study online Virtually with a real-time live trainer. Classroom-based Nebosh courses will be offered as the covid restrictions are lifted.
We have 8 tips to help you pass the NEBOSH course and gain a valuable qualification for your career.
#1 Look At How Many Marks Each Question Is Worth
When you see the maximum number of marks that can be awarded for each question in the NG1 assessment, then that is how many points you need to make in your answer.
For example, if you see a question such as:
Based on the scenario only, comment on the current health and safety culture in the company (15)
You need to provide suitable and sufficient information to get the 15 points. After you have written your answer, reread it and see how many marks you would have awarded yourself and then use your answer to decide whether to progress to the next question.
Keep in mind the word count (3,000 words, give or take 10%) so try not to waffle but make sure you “make a point to get a point”. Avoid writing half a page on one factor because that won’t score you any higher than 1 point.
The marks are also a good indication of how long you should spend on each question. If a question gives you 15 marks, then you should allocate more time to that than a question that only awards you 5 marks. You may have 24 hours to complete the paper, but wasting time is wasting energy.
#2 Use available resources to study
As you will be completing an open book examination (OBE) you will be allowed to use resources such as notes, textbooks, learning materials and online resources, but you must not copy and paste as this is regarded as plagiarism and will not answer the types of questions asked in NEBOSH OBEs.
That said you can use the information from the various sources to help you understand the topic, but you will then need to apply your knowledge and understanding to answer the scenario-based tasks in the question paper.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website (https://www.hse.gov.uk/) has a wealth of information that you should make full use of as it contains approved codes of practice (ACOPS) guidance notes, frequently asked questions etc.
NEBOSH have also provided a resource page on their website.
#3 Plan Enough Time To Study
So, it’s recommended that you put in 40 hours of self-study, but where do you find those 40 hours? We know how life can get pretty hectic and time to spare can be quite limited, but it is crucial to give yourself enough time to study.
Make a plan, allocate the time to study and set it in your diary. Try to stick to it as best you can. It would be good to have a conversation with your employer and ask them, can some of your work time be allocated to NEBOSH study time?
If your employer cannot accommodate this, you will have to study in your private time. Try to remember that you are investing in yourself by completing the NEBOSH General certificate. The dedication and time spent studying will be worth it.
So, create a plan early. Splitting 40 hours over 4 weeks is more comfortable than trying to find 40 hours in 1 week! It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people realise that they will have to move a lot of commitments around to fit the hours into their plan.
Simply dedicating time every day for self-study can help create a pattern and make it much easier to follow if you are consistent.
[links to planning tools and templates]
#4 Organisation Is Key
Studying for a NEBOSH exam can be quite hefty. This is why it is a good idea to organise your workload.
A good start would be creating a list of all areas you feel are your weakest. By creating a list, you’ll be able to identify what you should focus on more. That way, you can work through the list from top to bottom and cover all areas – but strengthen the areas which need greater focus!
#5 Creating A Study Group
Whilst studying a NEBOSH course, you’ll be accompanied by other delegates. You may find creating a study group with fellow delegates to be beneficial for you. You may have questions which they have answers to and so on. As you’ll all be studying the same topics, you may find your knowledge will strengthen and learn various learning techniques as well.
As long as you and your study group keep studying as a main priority and not get distracted, a study group can be very effective.
Please remember that although study groups are effective, there must be no collusion during the assessment paper (NG1) and the risk assessment (NG2). Both must be all your own work. Please see the NEBOSH website for ‘Malpractice Policy and Procedures’.
There are plenty of platforms and tools out there to help organise study groups, we like Google Classroom but something as simple as a WhatsApp group or weekly Zoom meeting could really help to keep you motivated and support one another.
#6 Practice Makes Perfect
I’m sure this is a statement we’ve all heard a good few times in our lifetime. That’s because it’s true! On the NEBOSH website, you will find an NG1 example paper, which shows the format of the questions (identified as tasks) but not the answers.
Now you know what you should expect to see in an exam paper. There will be a scenario and then the tasks with allocated marks for each answer.
NOTE: The example NG1 only has 50 marks available the actual assessment paper will be for 100 marks.
Also, on the NEBOSH website you will find NG2 risk assessment example. Ensure that you do not copy it in any way but use it as a reference point for what NEBOSH are looking for content-wise.
Once you’ve attempted some of the questions, attempt to mark your work. How many marks would you give yourself, and why?
#7 Focus Your Study
There is a clear break between the second week of your NEBOSH training and the exam date. This is designed for revision. As we mentioned above, 40 hours of self-study is recommended however don’t feel as though that is an exact number. Put in as much time as you think you need to gain the knowledge to pass the NEBOSH exam.
It can be challenging to study at home, but putting in the work now will mean that you have a very high chance of passing the exam first time.
For NG1 NEBOSH has changed the format of the assessment paper, for example, it is not about remembering the wording a specific section of the HASAWA 1974, it is about interpreting the HASAWA 1974, relating it to the scenario NEBOSH have provided, and then you must produce a real word answer to the associated question.
e.g., New type question (Task):
Task 1: Improving formal consultation.
The health and safety committee now look at consultation within the company.
What formal meetings could you plan, that are likely to help improve consultation in this workplace?
Note: You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the scenario.
As you can see from the question in bold italics, your NG1 study time needs to be devoted to understanding the legislation and how it can be used in a real-world situation to improve health and safety.
For NG2 you will be writing a risk assessment for your work and need to look at and identify the hazards and study what type of control measures would be suitable to introduce to improve health and safety.
#8 Passing The NEBOSH Exam
While the NEBOSH exam can be challenging, it certainly isn’t impossible to pass.
Putting the effort in with self-study while knowing how long to spend on each question and recognising how much information you need to put down will stand you in good stead.
The exam can be challenging if you aren’t used to being tested in this environment; however the rewards for passing are well worth the time you spend revising, so put the effort in now to benefit your career in the future.
Once sitting down to complete the NG1 assessment paper or NG2 risk assessment, please make sure you have a nice quiet place free from disturbances. Although you will be conducting the examinations at home, work or some other suitable location, you will need all the basics that would be in place at an exam facility, such as appropriate:
- Internet connection