Last November BOHS introduced some major changes to the Occupational hygiene Module examinations. The multiple choice questions in part A were replaced by 40 short answer questions (SAQs) and the longer question in Part B was replaced by “micro essays” (5 from a choice of 8). The exam timings were not changed – 90 minutes for Part A and 45 minutes for Part B – i.e. a total of 2 1/4 hours. I do not think any consideration had been given to whether it was practicable to complete the new style exam during the time available. Our experience was that most candidates found it hard work; the “micro-essays” in particular.
We advised candidates to spend no more than 2 minutes for the SAQs leaving about 10 minutes per “micro essay” but this did not seem enough time to allow candidates to think before putting pen to paper and then produce a well written, structured answer, particularly for Part B.
Course providers have given some feedback to BOHS on this and they’ve had a rethink. There were two main options – reduce the number of questions or increase the length of the exam. As might have been expected, they have chosen the latter approach.
From January 2011, for the SAQ section of the papers, candidates will be allowed an average of three minutes per question, i.e. 120 minutes for Part A. For Part B, the time allowed will be extended to 60 minutes. This means that the exam duration will be increased to 3 hours.
We are considering the implications of this for course timings and will be consulting candidates attending our next few courses on the options. If you have a view, get in touch.