What if I Fail my NEBOSH Certificate Exam(s)?

9 minute read | 23 April 2019 10:57:38 BST

Don't panic if you have failed one or more of your NEBOSH Certificate exams.  There are a couple of options available on what next to do. This post will offer the practical steps to take which will help you get fully qualified and on the road to advancing your career as smoothly and stress-free as possible.

Firstly, when you get the news that you have been unsuccessful in your NEBOSH exam you have one of two choices to take:

  1. Re-mark your exam(s) or
  2. Re-sit the exam(s)

1. Re-marking – known as “EAR” by NEBOSH - Enquiries About Results

This option is only appropriate for a very small percentage of people but if you feel that your mark is not what you expected based on how realistically you feel the exam(s) actually went on the day. If you feel you were very near the pass mark for the Unit paper and you would like your exam paper marked again, you can appeal to NEBOSH and request a re-mark.

For an EAR re-mark, you will need to complete an Enquiries About Results NEBOSH (EAR) form within 20 working days of the result being issued. Contact your course provider for guidance how to do this or enquire directly to NEBOSH. Late EAR submissions will not be accepted. If there are, extenuating circumstances for the late submission NEBOSH will decide if they will accept it.Suceed in your NEBOSH Certificate retake

The cost of an EAR is £75 for each NEBOSH Certificate Unit paper. Payment must be made by cheque, postal order, BACs or debit/credit card to NEBOSH and you will receive your result within 40 working days of receipt of full payment. Your paper will be marked again and there will be one of three outcomes: your mark will increase, remain the same or go down. Therefore, this is a decision that should not be taken lightly. You must be sure that you want to spend the money on getting a paper remarked. It is worth discussing this with your course provider.

If the remark results in an upward regrade of the unit for example from a “refer” (this means a near fail) to a pass, the cost will be reimbursed. Similarly, if there is an upward regrading of the qualification for example from a pass to a credit, it will be reimbursed. Downward regrading will not be refunded.

2. Resitting your NEBOSH Certificate exams(s)

Your other option, and one that the majority of people choose, is to sit the exam(s) again. Before you do this there are a number of steps that we highly recommend you take, to give you the very best chance of success.

Contact your course provider

Speaking to your course provider, whether you learnt online or in a classroom, should be one of the first things that you do. It may be that you were not happy with the training that you received from your course provider and you are planning to try somewhere new to begin afresh. If you are be happy with the provision and level of support but feel that your result is down to a lack of time spent on effective revision hours on your part.

Either way, you should make contact in order to discuss your result with them and look at possible reasons for your failure. They may also be able to help you with an action plan for sitting the exams again and improving upon your original mark. Gaining some relevant feedback from your course provider can help you focus upon any specific areas to work.  A good quality course provider should proactively offer you positive solutions to help you successfully retake your exam whether this is accessing the course again, access to a tutor for guidance or additional resources.

Study the examiners’ reports to see where you went wrong

NEBOSH examiners' reports are published twice a year by NEBOSH following the March and September exams for the NEBOSH General Certificate. These reports are free for students to download and provide invaluable insight into what examiners were expecting from the paper, as well as specific areas of under-performance. Looking at these examiners' reports can be extremely helpful if you did not receive the result that you were hoping for as they will shed some light on the expected standard of answers required.

6 key points to remember from the examiners

Six key points that the most recent examiner’s report raised as being mistakes that cost candidates marks are:

1. Misreading/misinterpreting the question
Read the question a few times and plan your answer

2. Not responding effectively to the command word used (This is relevant to people taking the 2014 spec NOT the new 2018 spec)
Know how to answer the NEBOSH command words used in the question. Check out this NEBOSH command word guide 

3. Making poor use of time allowed
Use your 2 hours well. Make a time plan and stick to it. 30 minutes for the long question and 90 minutes for the rest of the questions so 9 minutes for each 8 mark question

4. Repeating the same points
Structure your answer so that each point is made clearly and tick it off

5. Not attempting all questions
Follow your time plan and on questions you are unsure of, attempt at least part of the question

6. Illegible handwriting
Write as clearly as possible, use plenty of white space and structure your answers with paragraphs

This blog on the NEBOSH Examiners' Reports: the do's and don'ts of a successful certificate exam provides more detail on these examiners reports as well as information on how to find them.

Review how you revise

If your original method of study did not bring you the results you wanted, then it may be worth looking at your take a look at how you reviserevision material and methods. Think about preparing a revision timetable so you can commit a realistic number of hours regularly before the exam.

Organise your time well; it is recommended to study in sessions of 20 minutes to an hour and then take a break.

Have a look at your revision techniques; it may be worth considering new ways of revising. It is recommended that rather than just reading material over an over, completing an active task, which involves organising material and finding ways of remembering it to suit you can be an effective way of studying. 

Try to summarise what you have read into several bullet points or key words. If it helps, draw sketches or diagrams. Read this post Preparing for your NEBOSH Certificate Exams 

NEBOSH Certificate Practical Assessment retake

If you have failed the NEBOSH Certificate Practical Assessment, don’t worry we can help you pass your retake exam(s). Review the blog posts on how to successfully complete the Practical:

  • If you have taken the NEBOSH Certificate 2014 spec  visit GC3 NEBOSH Certificate Practical Application.
  • If you have studied the new NEBOSH Certificate 2018 spec, visit NEBOSH General Certificate - NEW Risk Assessment Practical Key Facts Part 1

You can pass your NEBOSH Certificate exam!

Be positive and prepare well for your retake exam. Practise past questions under exam conditions. Read the links to these useful blog posts in this article. Good luck!!

NEBOSH General Certificate exams in & outside the UK

More information about your NEBOSH General Certificate exams in the UK can be found by visiting our dedicated UK NEBOSH exam page, which provides full information on exam dates and processes. If you are looking to sit your NEBOSH exams at a venue outside of the UK then please visit our dedicated International exam page.

Tags: NEBOSH General Certificate

Jason Mordecai

Jason is Exams Co-ordinator at Astutis.