These are frequently asked questions by candidates about preparing for and taking the RCE amateur radio examinations

And these are frequently asked questions by trainers about preparing for and setting up the RCE amateur radio examinations

Where can I find a Foundation training course?

Use the Find a Trainer search form, or look for training courses on the RSGB Events site.

How do I find an amateur radio club near me?

All club information and locations are available on the RSGB website. Use the Find a Trainer search form.

What are the fees for Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced examinations?

Look on the examination Fees page.

Can I get a syllabus for the Foundation/Intermediate/Advanced exam?

Yes you can find copies of the Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced syllabus – on this page

Do you have sample papers for the Foundation/Intermediate/Advanced exam?

Yes, you can access them in the resources section for each of the exams on this site:
Foundation Exam resources
Intermediate Exam resources
Advanced Exam resources

Can existing qualifications in related subjects be used to obtain an amateur radio licence?


I have learning difficulties, can the RSGB assist me?

Please contact the RSGB Examinations Department on 01234 832 717 before your examination secretary applies for the exam. Contact should be made as soon as possible, as the usual 10 working days notice is often not sufficient to gain appropriate advice to best help the candidate.

Can I sit more than one exam on the same day?

Yes, provided you pass any practical assessments in advance.
A reduced fee is also now applicable to anyone taking two or all three examinations at the same time. There are seven opportunities a year when all three exams can be sat in a single day.
Please note however, that if you do not pass the lower exam(s) you will not be able to take the higher exam(s) and you will forfeit the higher exam fee(s).

How long after my exam can I apply for my licence?

The RSGB process the examination papers on the 6th working day of receiving them and the result will then be communicated to Ofcom.  You will receive a pass certificate in the post, and this contains your candidate number that you will need when applying to Ofcom for a callsign.  Ofcom endeavour to ensure that you can apply for a licence as soon as possible after they receive notification from the RSGB but this can take up to 5 working days.

I have passed my exam. Where do I obtain my callsign from?

Log on to the Ofcom website at http://services.ofcom.org.uk/. Please note that if you have not yet registered to use the Ofcom Online Licensing Service you will need to do so. On registering you will need your candidate number, which can be found on your certificate.

I have passed the practical assessment but failed my foundation exam. Do I need to re-sit the practical assessment?

No, your Candidate Practical Record of Assessment (CPRoA) is valid for 12 months.


Do I need to be registered to teach on a course?

No, only Assessors need to be registered.

How do I become a Registered Assessor?

Full details are on the RSGB website on the How do I become a Registered Assessor page, from where you can download an application form.

Does my club need to be registered before it can offer training?

Your club does not have to be registered to offer training, but a Registered Assessor must be present when assessments take place, and the club must be registered before it can request examination papers or hold examinations. The application form can be found on the Exam Forms page.

How far in advance do Examination Secretaries need to apply for exam papers?

Please allow 2 weeks (10 working days) for Foundation and Intermediate. For Advanced exams please refer to the Advanced Exam Dates page.

Why can’t we have a single exam to go straight to Advanced?

Because the Advanced exam is part of a three-tier progressive system, on its own it does not cover all aspects of the Harmonised Amateur Radio Education Certificate (HAREC). We could generate a new exam that covers all aspects but that would require significant investment in syllabus design and reconfiguration of the exam management system. There are seven opportunities a year when all three exams can be sat in a single day and we have introduced a discount rate for those that so that. The demand is not huge.

Why can’t we have an ‘operators only’ exam?

We do, it is called the Foundation Licence. The idea that appliance operators should sit a different exam to gain Full Licence privileges is unlikely to find favour with Ofcom who are keen to see more people progress to the Full Licence level. We are required to meet all aspects of the Harmonised Amateur Radio Education Certificate (HAREC) and we have detected no appetite for removing the technical content within the international amateur radio community.

Why can’t Advanced exams be marked locally?

The RCF policy was that the top level exam should not be marked locally. The policy will be reviewed now that the exams are under a new management arrangement. However, a number of exam centres are also against local marking for the Advanced level on the grounds that the time taken for the exam plus marking would take them over their room hire time limits. Turn around time for HQ marking is about seven days from the exam, which is a considerable improvement on the weeks/months that the old City & Guilds system used to take.

Why can’t we do exams online?

This has been looked at but the cost of providing suitably secure exams is currently prohibitive. The RCF keep a close eye on what technology is available so it is still on the agenda, but you should not expect anything in the short term.

Why do we have to wait a week or more for our exam results?

The system has time built in to allow any appeals or irregularities to be reported. It would be unfair to issue results before a candidate has had time to register an appeal since, once issued, exam results cannot be changed. Appeals have to be registered within five days of the exam, and thus papers are not processed until the sixth working day after being received at HQ.

When will the Train the Trainers course be available again?


Train the Trainers courses run periodically and in different parts of the country. They are announced in Radcom and on the RSGB Tutors Yahoo Group as soon as the venue is confirmed.

Interest has been very high so we now aim to expand the team of volunteers who can deliver TtT, to ensure we can offer a full programme in 2016.

updated 2013-11-01 G5FM

What should I do if I fail the Advanced exam?

You should request feedback from the RSGB Exams Department. The feedback report will show where you did well, where you did not do quite so well, and how far away from the pass mark you were. Based on that you can decide whether to book a quick re-sit and do some some targeted revision, or whether to undertake further study and consider a re-sit after a longer period of time.