Introducing NEBOSH Open Book Examinations

NEBOSH Open Book Exams

Introducing the new NEBOSH Open Book Exams

With the new style of examinations we thought it would be best to write a blog post introducing the new NEBOSH Open Book Exams! The first NEBOSH Open Book Exams were held in August and SHEilds had a very successful 397 registrations.  Due to the success of the new format, NEBOSH have decided to use this method of examination moving forward for the National and International General Certificates.

The Open Book Exams

NEBOSH announced the Open Book Exams (OBE) in June 2020 as a result of Covid-19, this was to allow learners to sit their exams from home or alternative locations that were safe and suitable. The OBE is a replacement for, and only applies to, the following units:

Learners that are studying the National and International General Certificate, National and International Construction Certificate, and National and International Fire Certificate can complete the OBE. All existing and new learners are able to complete the NEBOSH Open Book Exams.

For the old specification general certificate exams, fire certificate exams and construction certificate exams; the second unit to these qualifications is still a written exam which requires a venue. The third unit is a practical assignment, so this unit does not require a venue. For the new specification courses, there is only the additional practical assignment therefore there are no units that require a venue.

The registration process

For the new NEBOSH Open Book examinations, the registration process is very simple. Once the registration period opens there will be a link available on the learners e-learning announcements forum, which will take the learner to a page which will allow them to book their NEBOSH exams and make payment. If learners are subscribed to the newsletter the link will also be sent via email. Any learners that have already paid for their exams should contact the examination team directly to book the exams.

For the NEBOSH Open Book Exams, the costs of registration will increase from 1st December 2020, however there will be no sitting fees so overall it will be more cost effective for the majority of our learners.

For exams booked online, an automatic receipt should be received via email upon successful payment.

If the exams have been booked directly via the exams department then the confirmation of registration will come directly from the department.

What happens during the exam?

Many students have asked us “what happens during the exam?” Three days prior to the NEBOSH exams, learners will receive a username and temporary password from NEBOSH via email. Learners will then need to log in, create a new password and familiarise themselves with the platform.

The exam question paper will be available 09:00 British Summer Time (BST) on the examination platform. 24 hours will then be given to complete and submit the exam. NEBOSH also offer 24-hour support during the exam date.

The open book exams are online and need to be downloaded, completed and submitted within the 24-hour period. Learners need to ensure that they have an internet connection and access to a device capable of downloading and viewing a PDF document with the ability to complete electronically.

NEBOSH Open Book Exam Requirements

There are certain NEBOSH open book exam requirements that you must adhere to. To start with, it is important to reference any materials used during your NEBOSH exam as answers are checked for plagiarism. This can be done by listing the sources used, but the reference list will not count towards the overall word count.

The exam will specify a word count, and this will have a 10% tolerance. NEBOSH examiners will not mark past the maximum word count.

The assessment will give a scenario at the beginning of the exam. This will describe a realistic workplace or organisation and may go on to outline a developing situation. The questions will then ask you to carry out tasks in relation to this with the specific role given to you.

Learners will then need to complete a closing interview with the NEBOSH course provider. This consists of three parts which includes identity checks, what the learner felt about the exam, and a series of questions that NEBOSH devise for the interviews in relation to the content of the exams. The closing interview is not a pass or fail and the interviewers are unable to discuss the learner’s exam paper.

The interviews take place using Zoom, Skype, or Teams so that an appointment can be sent along with a link and passcode for the online interview room. There is currently a two-week period in which the interviews are completed. If learners miss the interview, a second one is attempted. If this is also not attended, then NEBOSH will likely withhold the exam results and void the exam.

After the NEBOSH OBE

After the NEBOSH OBE there is a lot that happens. Many students e-mail in asking when they will receive their results. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything a course provider can do to speed up this process and we ask students to be patient during the post examination period.

Results are emailed out 50 working days after the exam date directly from NEBOSH to the email address provided when purchasing the course. If you do not have access to this e-mail address for whatever reason you need to make us aware as soon as possible.

Certificates are usually released by NEBOSH 20 working days after results. Upon confirmation of the delivery address with the learner, they are then sent out via 1st class Royal mail. You can choose to have your certificate posted via a courier service at an additional cost.


Leanie Lewis
Examinations Officer

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