Preparing for your NEBOSH General Certificate Exam

With NEBOSH exams fast approaching, we’re sure a lot of you have pre-exam nerves, to help we have put together some key top tips!

  1. Revise, revise, revise!

No one likes revision, particularly with busy schedules, families and work commitments, but it really is crucial if you want to excel in your exams. After completion of each element, take time to jot down the key learnings, this way you can revert back to your notes at the end of the course. We also advise allocating more time to weaker subjects, it’s tempting to delve further into the topics that you enjoy and understand, but it’s key to focus on the areas that you don’t like, or even understand.

RoSPA’s NEBOSH General Certificate revision course is suitable for anyone sitting the NEBOSH National General Certificate exams, whether they trained with RoSPA or elsewhere. You can find out more about them here:

  1. Make sure you understand NEBOSH speak

Command words are used very carefully in a NEBOSH General Certificate exam paper. Each question has a certain order of words to try and enable candidates to understand exactly what examiners are looking for. In every question the skills required by the specific command words are also shown in the marks allocated for the question.

Understanding command words in your exam is crucial to answering successfully. NEBOSH’s guide to command words is a great document to read through before your exam.

  1. Read the whole paper before you start

It’s important to answer the questions you are confident in answering first. Remember you only need 45% to pass – so you should be halfway there by starting with your strongest answers! If you are stuck on the answer try not to spend too much time on trying to answer it, move on to the next question, and come back at the end.

  1. Manage your time

The National General Certificate is divided into 3 units, the first two of which, NGC1 and NGC2 are assessed by written exam. In order to maximise your point earning potential you need to understand how scores are generated.


  • Each exam lasts two hours
  • Each consists of 10 short answer questions and 1 long answer question
  • The short answer questions are each worth 8 marks, and the long answer question is worth 20 marks
  • Time wise, this means that you should give yourself 8-10 minutes for the short answer questions and 20 minutes for the long answer question. Our delegates tell us they find it useful to take their own watch into the exam, and have it visible on their desk, it helps them keep to time.
  1. The examiner is looking to give you points

The NEBOSH Certificate exam is positively marked, with points awarded for the correct application of knowledge, rather than deducted for incorrect answers. Therefore, if in doubt, have a go! You really don’t have anything to lose.

  1. Keep up to date

Try to keep abreast of developments within the safety community, as doing so will mean you can stand out from the crowd by including topical examples and pertinent issues into your exam answers. Free news e-bulletins, such as SafetyMatters are useful for this.

Finally and most importantly, enjoy! You’re on track to receiving a fantastic qualification and becoming a qualified safety professional. We wish you the best of luck in your exams, and if you do have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch on +44 (0)121 248 2233 or email us on





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