The NEBOSH Certificate Open Book Exam process

The NEBOSH Certificate Open Book Exam process

The NEBOSH Open Book Exam is unlike an invigilated paper based examination, because learners can have access to textbooks and the internet.

The difference in the questions asked, and the answers NEBOSH expect differ. The Open Book Exam (OBE) format is designed to test your ability to analyse, evaluate and apply the learning gained during your NEBOSH Certificate course.

The NEBOSH Open Book Examination is designed to not only test what learners know but what they can do with this knowledge. NEBOSH are looking to see application of the learning.

The OBE will describe a workplace scenario including its normal operational activities and worker behaviour. Learners will then be asked a series of questions and what NEBOSH are looking for is answers to reflect the workplace given.


Here's the NEBOSH Open Book Exam process

Within each of the specific courses, this is explained in detail relevant to the NEBOSH Certificate course selected. However, this provides the generic process common to all NEBOSH Certificate courses:


Your exam date is set at the time of booking your NEBOSH Certificate course

Upon booking your course you will be automatically sent joining instructions which outline the specific NEBOSH Certificate course details. Once your booking with RISK is confirmed, we register you to the Open Book Examination (OBE) specified with the course. NEBOSH send you a Confirmation of Registration email that includes your learner number, and important information relating to your OBE. You must ensure that you check your name is spelt correctly, and if any changes are required report this to us and we'll coordinate the changes with NEBOSH.


8 Days before your exam NEBOSH send a NEBOSH  delegate login

This is sent directly to the learner from NEBOSH, which is why it's so important that we have the correct details on your registration form, including direct delegate contact details. RISK (nor any other training provider) has any influence over the accessibility or technical connectivity between the delegate and their NEBOSH login.  Which is why it is critical learners log on at the earliest opportunity and to familiarise themselves with the NEBOSH Open Book Exam platform. We strongly recommend learners log in, change their password and familiarise themselves with the platform well before the day of the examination.


All delegates have a 24 hour window (48 Construction) to complete and submit their examination paper

This exam is the same for everyone in this cohort of delegates, the start time of the exam in the UK is 11.00am, for non UK delegates it's the comparable time in their country (i.e. the same 24/48 hours for all exam takers). All delegates have a 24/48 hour window to complete and submit their examination paper. Having a 24/48 hour window, gives you plenty of flexibility in fitting it in around other commitments i.e. work etc.

In summary:

You will have 8 Days to check there are no issues

It's critical you log on at the earliest opportunity and to familiarise yourself with the NEBOSH Open Book Exam platform.


24/48 hours* to complete and submit your assessment.

The Open Book Examination (OBE) will be based on a realistic scenario, that will test both what you know and what you can do. 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. You will be asked to carry out a series of tasks using evidence from the scenario and the underpinning knowledge gained through your studies and revision. You will have 24 hours to download, complete the 10 questions based upon the scenario and submit your assessment.

* The NEBOSH Construction Certificate has a 48 hour window


An example question might be:  

How could you improve consultation with the workforce in the organisation described?

If learners answer by simply reproducing text from course notes, this will not be enough to pass. We need learners to demonstrate they can apply knowledge by providing answers to the scenario given and, in some cases, specific evidence will be required to support answers.

Further information about the structure of the Open Book Examination is provided in the NEBOSH Open Book Examination Learner Guide - add link


Your assessment will be marked by an external examiner appointed by NEBOSH. These examiners are chosen for their experience and expertise to ensure that learners are assessed by the very best from our industry.


RISK get access to your submitted exam papers 3 days later

RISK access and download delegate exam submissions in preparation for closing interviews. All other delegates will have interviews scheduled over the next 10 days.

At this point the exam hasn't been marked by NEBOSH. The aim of this interview is to ensure that the work was completed by the delegate themselves and exam scripts have not been plagiarised.

A copy of the Closing Interview Guide will be provided to each of the delegates at the end of the specific NEBOSH Certificate course taught. - add link


RISK conduct closing interviews

NEBOSH has a strict and rigorous approach to malpractice, plagiarism and collusion. This ensures fairness for all our learners and provides reassurance for the organisations who employ our qualification holders. You must not collude or share answers with other learners and all the work you submit must be solely your own.

Although the closing interviews are not assessed NEBOSH will not publish your results if you do not attend. The closing interview is a key part of their malpractice approach and includes multiple steps:

RISK are provided with a list of interview questions which are bespoke to the examination paper and designed to check you have the underpinning knowledge and understanding behind your answers. Learning Partners ask the questions in a random sequence so not every learner will be asked the same combination of questions; this prevents learners from predicting the interview questions or coaching others. RISK then complete a Closing Interview Record Sheet for every learner.

NEBOSH specifies that the interviewer must have a NEBOSH General Certificate (or equivalent) or at least three years’ experience in the health and safety industry. Before the interview they will read your examination paper so they can ask more detailed questions if required.

During the interview you will be required to: 

Show your identification to check you are who you say you are. This is the same as an invigilated examination.

Show the room you are in to make sure you are alone.

Answer questions about your examination. If you have not written the answers yourself it will be difficult to answer the questions.

To make sure the closing interviews are carried out correctly NEBOSH silently observes a targeted selection of interviews AND scrutinises Closing Interview Record Sheets. If your RISK interviewer or NEBOSH suspects malpractice at any time we will investigate further.

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