Direct Entry to Full Licence: RSGB Consultation


By Tony Kent, G8PBH, Examination Standards Committee Chair

At the beginning of 2021 the ESC/ESRG consulted the UK Amateur radio community on the draft Direct to Full (D2F) syllabus. Over 1,200 responses were received.

About 86% of respondents felt the scope of the syllabus (range of topics covered) was appropriate for D2F, with 8% thinking it was too narrow and 6% thinking it was too broad. On the question about the standard (level of difficulty) of the syllabus, 80% thought it was about right, the remaining 20% split equally between too easy and too hard. A clear majority, 75%, thought the proposed number of exam questions is appropriate, while 17% thought there were too few and 8% too many.

On the question regarding the duration of the proposed exam, 80% thought it was about right and the other 20% split equally between too short and too long. A significant minority of respondents, 24%, thought the proposed pass mark was too low, while 70% thought it was about right, and only 6% thought it was too high. To the final question on the survey, as to whether on balance the respondent thought there should be a D2F exam in parallel with the current three-part exam, 89% said yes.

Many written comments were also received; most directly reflected respondents’ responses to the questions, but some more substantive comments were received:

  • One concern expressed was that candidates with a high level of technical knowledge could pass D2F without correctly answering a sufficient number of questions on the licence conditions and operating practice. A possible way to address this, which is under consideration, is to split the exam into two sections, requiring a pass in each section
  • Another concern was that, if the questions were selected completely at random from the current three-level question bank, the D2F exam may contain too many questions at Foundation and Intermediate level and so be too easy. This will be addressed by creating a new D2F question bank containing questions from the highest level available for a particular syllabus item, e.g. if a syllabus item in D2F is covered at all three levels in the three-part syllabus only the Full level questions would be used.

We would like to thank those members of the community that participated in the consultation as individuals or in groups. Based on the overwhelmingly favourable response, it was decided to press ahead with the proposals.

Despite the strong support for the D2F proposal, further work on it had to be put on hold. This was so that the ESRG could address the urgent need to update the syllabus to address the new Ofcom licence conditions related to exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (EMF).

Looking ahead, now the EMF syllabus changes have been finalised and will be published shortly, the ESC/ESRG will restart work on D2F in addition to the continuing review of the three-part syllabus.

Proposed syllabus