Amateur radio examinations

TesttakingstudentThere are three levels of Amateur Radio Examination:

  1. Foundation
  2. Intermediate; and
  3. Advanced

The three levels are progressive; and although one exam can be taken immediately after the other, they must be done in that order, and a pass in one is a prerequisite for the next.

Whilst the examinations must be taken in a progressive order, there is no requirement for candidates to progress through all three levels; it is for individuals to choose whether to progress, and if so, when.

All three levels of Amateur Radio Examinations use a multiple-choice format to examine the relevant syllabus, which is produced and maintained by the RCF in consultation with key stakeholders, including the RSGB’s Training and Education Committee.

The examinations are administered by the RSGB Headquarters Examinations Secretary with locally appointed Examination Secretaries and Invigilators conducting the actual examinations in accordance with RCF procedures. Examinations may only be arranged by RSGB registered Examination Centres, and normally take place in a Registered Examination Venue.

There is no requirement for Candidates to attend formal training courses prior to any of the Amateur Radio Examinations; indeed many candidates train themselves through reading books and listening to the amateur bands. Some candidates may already be competent through prior knowledge/experience in the electronics/radio industry.

There are a number of practical assessments that must be completed by all candidates prior to sitting the Foundation and Intermediate Amateur Radio Examinations; these must be signed off by an RSGB Registered Assessor prior to the exam being taken.

Foundation and Intermediate examinations can be arranged at any time, subject to at least ten working days’ notice to RSGB Headquarters. Named Invigilators mark these examinations on site, and candidates are given an Indicative Mark Slip with their results as soon as the marking is completed. These indicative marks cannot be used to obtain a Licence, but provide instant feedback. Licenses cannot be obtained until RSGB Headquarters staff have verified the results and uploaded them to Ofcom.

An indicative pass at Foundation or Intermediate level is sufficient for entry to the next level examination. It is therefore possible to complete all three examinations in a single day if all practical assessments have been completed in advance.

Advanced Amateur Radio Examinations are timetabled to take place seven times each year, cycling through the days of the week and including at least two daytime sittings each year. Advanced exam papers are not marked locally but are returned to RSGB Headquarters for marking.

For all three levels of Amateur Radio Examinations RSGB Headquarters staff notifies the validated results to Ofcom and sends a certificate to each candidate through the post. This process is timetabled to be completed in six working days from receipt at RSGB Headquarters. It is therefore important that Invigilators return papers promptly.

Disabled Candidates

Examination Centres are to make reasonable adjustments for candidates with disabilities.

Candidates needing special examination requirements are catered for according to their individual requirements. Some examples include:

An examination paper without diagrams is produced for the registered blind and a Reader/Writer provided.
Extra examination time (amount depending on the degree of disability) is allocated when a reader/writer is required.
A home examination will be approved if the candidate is physically unable to attend the examination location.
An examination paper printed on coloured paper for those who are dyslexic.

Exam Secretaries must notify the RSGB of any special examination requirements at least 28 days in advance of the examination date.

For the examination the candidate will need advice from his or her medical or educational professional.

Exam Secretaries do not require a certificate of the candidate’s disability but they do require proper advice from a competent person on what to do about it in order to provide the candidate with a fair examination. Neither the RSGB nor the RCF are competent to make that decision.

A template letter requesting details of what reasonable adjustments would be appropriate is available from the RSGB Headquarters Examination Secretary by request.

Once the requirement is known, the RSGB will seek to meet the requirement so far as is reasonable. If the requirement cannot be met, alternative suggestions will be offered.

This process is not quick and it is vital that any candidates that are likely to require reasonable adjustments are made known at an early stage; 6 to 8 weeks is typical for this process to run its course.

Examinations summary

Examination details are as follows:

Foundation Licence Examination
Examinations must be held at an RSGB Registered Exam Centre, unless there are special needs (see above).
At least 10 working days’ notice required
Cost – £27.50
26-question multiple-choice paper
Marked locally for indicative results, and verified using optical marking at RSGB Headquarters.
Pass mark: 19/26.
Time – 55 minutes.

Intermediate Licence Examination
Examinations must be held at an RSGB Registered Exam Centre, unless there are special needs (see above).
At least 10 working days’ notice required
Cost – £32.50
45-question multiple-choice paper
Marked locally for indicative results, and verified using optical marking at RSGB Headquarters.
Pass mark: 27/45
Time – 1hr and 25 minutes.

Advanced Licence Examination
Examinations must be held at a RSGB Registered Exam Centre, unless there are special needs (see above).
At least 15 working days’ notice required (specific dates published)
Cost – £37.50
62-question multiple-choice paper
No local marking for indicative results. Papers are marked and verified using optical marking at RSGB Headquarters.
Pass mark: 37/62
Time – 2hrs.

Identification and documents

The candidate must take the required means of identification and other documents to the examination. Details are provided in the RCF Conduct of Amateur Radio Examinations booklet.

Conduct of the Examination

This is covered in the RCF booklet Conduct of Amateur Radio Examinations and will not be repeated here.

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updated 2013-11-12 G5FM