NEBOSH Open Book Exam Tip sheet
18 April 2022
A quick step-by-step guide to taking the NEBOSH Open Book Exam, and the key things you need to do if you want to pass.
Is it easy to pass the NEBOSH Open Book Exam?
Being an Open Book Exam doesn't make it easier to pass. The new scenario based questions are designed to be more like the real world. They test your understanding and ability to problem solve. They test how you apply learning to a scenario that is unfamiliar to you. Open Book Exam simply means you will have access to resources, like your notes, the internet, books, etc. So you don't need to carry a vast amount of rote learned information in your head. However, it requires much more than just copying information.
How do I answer the NEBOSH Open Book Exam?
As in any exam the key to answering the Open Book Exam questions is to first carefully read them. Take a minute to determine what the examiner is really looking for and create bullet notes of key points, before you start your answer. This will help you focus on key elements of the question - as this will be where the points are.
Answering 'Open Book Exam' questions requires you to answer in more analytical and critical ways, encouraging high-order thinking skills in delegates compared to closed book or traditional exams. Open Book Examinations work only when answers cannot be readily extracted from the material. Which is why the questions will be based around scenarios and the questions will be how to apply the learning to the scenario.
How many questions are there in the NEBOSH Open Book Exam?
In the Open Book Exam you will receive a scenario and a set of ten questions. The scenario will be a hypothetical workplace situation including some background information about the role you play. You need to carefully consider the details of the role and relate to the scenario in your answers.
How do I improve my chances of passing my NEBOSH Open Book Exam?
Be prepared, understand you have a lot of time to answer the questions set - so make good use of it.
- Make sure you access the NEBOSH Portal as soon as possible as the exam paper is available up to 8 days before to ensure there are no technical issues.
- As soon as you can, download the exam paper and read it very carefully. If possible print it and highlight key words in the scenario. A good tip is to copy the questions into another document, so you can craft your answer - keep the document, as you may need it for your closing interview.
- Read all of the questions and the scenario again, but this time, rank them in order of difficulty, answer the ones you feel are easier first, and leave the tough ones until last.
- It’s an Open Book Exam so you can use your course materials, HSG Guidance Documents and revision notes. You should find information in them which you may possibly cover the things you could look for within the exam scenario.
- Bullet point a short list of answers, in the context of the scenario unless otherwise stated. Understand the marks awarded, try to assess how they relate to the answer. i.e. If it’s a 10 mark question, you are probably looking for 10 key points in your answer. Remember, there’s a word count, (this is where working in a separate Word Doc will help). A 10 mark question is about 300 words, so if you’re writing 10 answers for a 10 mark question you want to be writing sentences or small paragraphs of around 20 to 30 words.
- You have 24-48 hours, so take breaks during the exam. NEBOSH say the exam takes 4 hours, but you can use the full 24, so plan your time.
- Once you have finished the exam, it might be tempting to go back over everything again and then submit your paper, but the best advice would be to sleep on it. You’ve got until 11 o’clock the following day to submit the exam, so get up early and review your answers to those tough questions. Check you have answered what they're really asking. See if there’s anything else you can add having slept on it, before submitting.
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► NEBOSH Certificate pre-course preparation information pack – your course warm up!
► NEBOSH Certificate Open Book Exam course framework - makes learning easy!
► NEBOSH Certificate course revision tools – 24/7 support up to your exam!