BOHS Examination changes


This week we were running M103, “Control of hazardous substances” in Chester. As usual, we had a good group who were keen to learn, worked hard, contributed to discussions and seemed to get on well.  As usual it was a tough exam, but this will be the last course we will have run with the current style of examination. A few weeks ago BOHS announced that from November the 1st all module examinations will have a new format.

The exam will still be in two parts but from 1st November

  • Part A will consist of 40 short answer questions rather than 60 multiple choice questions.  There are pros and cons for candidates, but the biggest advantage is that there will no longer be any negative marking.
  • Part B will changed so that candidates will be required to answer 5 “micro-essay” questions from a choice of 8.
  • The pass mark will remain at 50%

Personally I think the change to part A will be beneficial. As there is no negative marking it will be advisable to try to answer all the questions. Currently some candidates hesitate on some questions where they are not 100% confident, even though they may know the answer.  And it will only be necessary to get 20 out of 40 right.  Another benefit is that as each question is worth 4 marks, some answers may gain partial marks. This will be particularly helpful with calculation questions where marks can be gained providing an appropriate method is used even if the final answer is incorrect due to a slip in the calculation (working will need to be shown to ensure this happens). Currently a small slip results in a negative mark for an incorrect answer even where the candidate understands the principles involved.

There are still some aspects of the new system that still need to be clarified by the Faculty, in particular:

  • What exactly the “micro essays” will consist of. We haven’t been provided with any clear guidance on this or example questions yet
  • Which type of examination will be given to candidates re-sitting exams taken before 1st November
  • Whether course providers will be given access to the question papers or feedback on the examinations.

We’ll keep you posted on this as soon as we receive the information from BOHS, so watch this space!


Published by ms6282

I'm a consultant and trainer specialising in the recognition, evaluation and control of health hazards in the workplace. I'm based in the North West of England, but am willing to travel (almost) anywhere

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