Studying a NEBOSH Course

7 minute read | Feb 01 2018

Are you planning to study a NEBOSH qualification? If the prospect of dedicating time and brainpower effectively is keeping you awake at night, read on for valuable and reassuring study techniques for studying for your NEBOSH qualification.

Plan your Studying

Planning your study time in advance is essential and proven to be a very effective strategy for your NEBOSH course. For the NEBOSH Certificate a total of 129 hours is recommended (80 hours of tuition and 49 hours of private study). This indicates how much additional studying you need to do in order to pass the exams and be better equipped to use your knowledge back in the workplace. Don’t leave all your revision to the night before. This is ineffective and unreliable; you will only retain it in your short-term memory.

Dependent on your method of study i.e. online or classroom and the date of your exams will determine the intensity of your study time; you can plan the number of study hours a week in line with the recommended study hours of the NEBOSH course and the exam dates. For online learning, if you want to complete the course and exams within 6 months you will need to devote approx. 5 hours a week of study. However, allow for some flexibility in your study plan to fit in with other commitments.

Set some regular study time aside; 20 to 60 minutes study sessions are effective but follow what works best for you.

Set yourself realistic study goals. Use your selected NEBOSH course syllabus and learning outcomes as a guide. Exam questions set are to assess the learning outcomes so this should be a perfect guide for your study plan. Look at the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus to get a feel for the course. Work through the syllabus and your materials systematically.

How do I Revise?

If revising for exams feels like a distant and unsettling memory, start afresh with a new mind set for studying and revising for your NEBOSH qualification. Revising needs to be an active task: understanding content, being able to apply it to different scenarios and finding ways of remembering it.

Create memory or flash cards to promote active recall of a topic using associated key words and phrases. Physically adding memory cards to your home or office will help reinforce the topic. If you prefer to listen to help remember the content, why not make audio recordings of topics using an app on your phone or computer? You can listen in the car or on the go; mixing up how you revise can be refreshing and motivating.

Summarise topics into into several bullet points or key words. If it helps, draw mind maps, diagrams linking key words or phrases together and then test yourself, or get someone else to. Repeated testing is a very effective revision technique and it helps you to be more engaged and stop your mind from wondering!

Practise Makes Perfect

Getting to know NEBOSH exam questions and how you are expected to answer them is fundamental to passing the exams. Throughout the course, make sure you familiarise yourself with typical exam questions and expected answers. Your course provider should be setting regular questions on each topic for you to practise as you learn new concepts.

Having a go at exam questions after elements/topics of the course and set the timer. This will help you prepare properly under exam conditions and improve your technique such as reading the question properly, answer planning and writing an answer in the timeframe. Practising questions will also consolidate your learning. Poor timing is always a commented on in the NEBOSH Examiners’ Reports so time yourself when doing exam questions. Review the NEBOSH Examiners’ reports for your course to get some invaluable advice based on past student papers.

NEBOSH Command Words

NEBOSH use command words in their questions, which help candidates to understand the answer the examiner is looking for. You must understand the command word in order to be able to write a good answer. The NEBOSH website has a guide to the command words used for each qualification. Know the definition of the NEBOSH command words well as this will determine what is in your answer and the level of detail. For example the NEBOSH General Certificate uses five command words in exam questions: identify, give, outline, describe and explain available on the NEBOSH website as below.

NEBOSH General Certificate Command Words Definition

Command Definition
Identify To give reference to an item which could be its name or title. NB: normally a word or phrase will be sufficient provided the reference is clear.
Give To provide short factual answers.  NB: normally a word or phrase will be sufficient provided. 
Outlne To indicate to principal features or parts of. NB: an exhaustive description is not required.What is sought is a brief summary of the major aspects of whatever is stated in the question.
Describe To give a detailed written account of the distinctive features of a subject. The account should be factual without any attempt to explain. When  describing the subject or (object) a test of sufficient detail would be that anther person would be able to visualise what you are describing.
Explain    To provide a clear understanding. To make an idea or realtionship clear. NB: this command word is testing the candidate's ability to understand why or how something happens. Is often associated with 'how' or 'why'. 

Study Support

It’s always beneficial to share your learning, revising and exam techniques with other NEBOSH students. Use discussion forums your course provider should offer to ask questions and pick up tips. Find out if there are any webinars to prepare for exams and assignments that you can participate in. Use your course tutors on online or classroom courses for guidance and feedback throughout your studying.

Try not to be overwhelmed when you start studying. Break your studying down into sizeable chunks and build on your learning following the guidance. Be positive, proactive and organised and you will succeed.

Working Outside the UK

If you work outside the UK find out more about the NEBOSH International General Certificate.

Want to know more? Get Your Free NEBOSH General Certificate Info Pack

Tags: NEBOSH courses, Studying, Exams

Kate James

Kate is the Marketing Manager at Astutis. Having worked in the health and safety professional services sector for over 14 years she has developed an understanding of the challenges companies and individuals face. Using her experience of working with NEBOSH, IOSH and IEMA and the changes in the marketplace, she shares her knowledge on hse subject areas to provoke thought, debate and offers guidance to people. As a proud NEBOSH Certificate holder, she values and shares the importance of qualifications and the opportunities it offers people in any role.