NEBOSH Exam – Revision techniques


NEBOSH Exam – Revision techniques

Whichever course you are doing, it is vital that you revise properly; revision is essential if you are to give yourself the best possible chance in the exam. This blog post will give some pointers to help you get the most from your revision…

The heading says it all – you can’t hope to get the most from your revision if you don’t make some kind of plan. I know it’s boring, but half an hour spent writing a revision timetable really is time well spent – provided its realistic and you stick to it! The alternative is to dot around the syllabus without any real structure, in which case you are likely to miss things or spend more time on areas you know well, when you could have been working on turning weaknesses into strengths.

I run revision sessions for all three units of the diploma and am frequently surprised by the lack of preparation shown by some students. “But I have a full-time job as well” they say. Well, so what? I mean, really, so what? Ultimately, you get to decide which exams you want to sit, and when. This means that you can draw up a timetable for learning and revision that suits your work/life needs. Who, then, do you have to blame if the exam is two weeks away and you have not started revising?

Use of past papers

If you’re doing the Certificate, revision can be based almost exclusively on trying past questions – but make sure you check your answers against your course notes! Looking at past questions is also helpful when revising for the diploma, but diploma candidates should not stop there – they will be expected to read relevant HSE guidance and approved codes of practice, as well as the material presented in the course notes.

A word of warning though – whatever you do never, ever, try to rote learn an answer, especially at diploma level. If you do, you may find yourself misreading a question and giving an inappropriate answer – it is far, far, better that you develop a sound knowledge of the underlying principles that you can then apply to any question.

How much and how long?

If doing a block course, aim to do at least an hour’s revision each evening – preferably two. In that way, the material you cover during the day will start to sink in and you won’t leave yourself with a mountain to climb just before the exam (often a good way to fail). If you’re doing distance learning, you may find yourself with several weeks of revision time, in which case a revision timetable will always be a good idea – look at the amount of time you have left, then divide it up so you spend roughly equal amounts of time on each element.

Diploma revision will take at least six weeks per unit – preferably ten. A revision period of up to ten weeks will enable you to focus on one element per week.

Its up to you…

How you revise is up to you. Some people read the notes carefully, making their own summary notes as they go, followed by testing themselves by doing past exam questions. Others make up packs of revision cards with key points that they read through on the bus or tube, or when they have a spare few minutes – ultimately, its up to you to decide on the method that suits you best.

Don’t neglect your revision – this is where the real learning takes place. Making plans at an early stage and having a clear strategy for what exams to take and when to take them will pay dividends.


Andrew Ashford

Andrew Ashford

Andrew Ashford BSc (Hons), GDL, Cert Ed., CMIOSH

Long-standing RRC Associate Tutor, NEBOSH Principal Examiner (Unit A), Barrister (non-practising) and Safety Practitioner  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/andrew-ashford/33/722/304