7 reasons why people fail NEBOSH exams


A lot of people ask this question. A colleague attempted NEBOSH IGC exams, and was referred in IGC 2 twice. There was a day he called me and asked; what is really happening?

“I answered all questions, I even had enough time to go through my answers, but at the end I still get a referral”.

I told him, you may have answered all the questions, but the answers you provided may not have been what NEBOSH expects from you.

A lot of people make costly mistakes in their NEBOSH examination resulting to repeated failure in the Exams; be it NEBOSH IGC, NEBOSH Construction, NEBOSH oil and gas, NEBOSH Environmental certificate, NEBOSH diploma, etc.

NEBOSH examination is the way to go for all Health and Safety Professional. It is an internationally recognized certification for all HSE professionals. Gaining a NEBOSH certification is inextricably linked to your progress in the Health and Safety career. But if you do not understand the rules on how to pass NEBOSH exams, you could be frustrated. To pass NEBOSH exams is simple; you just need the right information and good guidance.

Lets go back to the question; Why people fail NEBOSH exams?

I will give out some practical reasons as to why people fail NEBOSH exams:


Tips to why people fail NEBOSH exams

  • Poor choice of examination course provider: NEBOSH do not train anyone for their exams, they only provide the course syllabus and the examination materials. They have accredited course providers around the world that are licensed to trained students for the exams. Your choice of a course provider could help you pass or help you fail the exams. Before choosing a course provider, make findings about the course provider to determine their proficiency level in the training. You can get such information from people who had previously enrolled with them. Make sure you choose a course provider with a good student support.


  • Wrong choice of the type of training: There are majorly two types of training; class room training and online training. Here some people are blinded by cost thereby picking what is not favourable for them. Online training is much cheaper, but it is not for everyone. I will not recommend online training for a non-practicing Health and Safety professional, you may not meet up. Online training can be recommended for practicing professionals if they do not have time to undergo class room training, but has hand-on experience.


  • Inadequate planning and preparation: Planning and preparation is key to every success. You need to have a reading plan to enhance your preparation. Make use of past questions, see how the questions were answered. This will give you a clue on what to expect in the exams and what you are expected to do. If you fail to do this, then failure in unavoidable.


  • Poor understanding of the question: A lot of candidates are very happy with themselves after the exams, because they believe they did well in the exams. At the end, the result proves otherwise. So it is better that NEBOSH also is happy with you the same way you are happy with yourself after the exams. Do not jump into answering any question, read the question with understanding, then ask yourself; what do NEBOSH expect in this question. Not what you think.


  • Inadequate answer depth: Every question has different answer depth. When you EXPLAIN instead of LIST, you are wasting your limited time. When you GIVE instead of DESCRIBE you are throwing away your marks. In general terms, learn and understand all the action verbs that you could come across in your exams (READ 20 amazing tips to pass your NEBOSH exams)


  • Entertaining distractions in the exams hall: Distraction is a time killer and also an idea stealer. The little time you give to distraction is time lost. The little time you give to distraction is an idea lost. The major form of distraction will come from your fellow candidate. You have to be very wise and smart if you must interact in the exams hall. But my advice is this; try to avoid every form of interaction in the exams all. Concentrate and pay attention to yourself. When you concentrate and also pay attention, it will help you think and remember.


  • Poor self confidence: Entering the exams hall with poor self confidence is like going in with a license to fail. Fear is a thief of self confidence, fear blocks your thinking faculty, so never entertain fear of any kind.

Have this understanding: IF OTHERS MADE IT, I TOO CAN MAKE IT


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By Ubong Edet

A passionate Health and Safety professional with a good level of field experience and relevant certifications including NEBOSH, OSHA, ISO, etc certifications. An Health and Safety activist who believes in the growth and continual improvement of the profession. He is going all out to create awareness and safe precious lives.

12 thoughts on “7 Candid reasons why people fail NEBOSH exams”
  1. 11 September 2017
    I passed my nebosh examination. It requires a lot of work. I devised a study plan and stuck to it. I did mind maps as well for example on trains. I had an interest in the subject which helped. I did it myself. I was not sent or forced by an employer, infact I told noone.(so no ex employer or current employer/managers can take any credit for it or for my work) I paid for it myself. (I am not from a rich family either). I got very tired at times, but carried on. Nobody saw me much because of the intense reading I did. I looked at old exam papers and I did not know anyone who had done the course, but figured it out somehow. I got a safety coordinator contract and other safety and security linked roles and now looking for another safety role. I also have a FDA degree in security and risk management which was also very detailed, but I think the nebosh helped as a foundation, as I had an idea what to expect. I also have a foundation teaching short course and do regular online training updates, but not now so intense and enjoy reading various online subjects relating to this. It may help if you have an interest in law matters as well.

    1. Good day sir, congratulations.! I am about to write NEBOSH environmental management exam. Please how can I get past questions

  2. Good day Mr, i will be writing NEBOSH IGC in the next two months, please i need proper guidance. I would really love to pass in flying colors and possibly pass with a distinction. What must i do sir to achieve this. Thank you

  3. thank you for the information, i just completed the igc nebosh couple of days ago and wish i read this before going in for the exam, but still hope for the best.

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