Pre-application checklist What you need to know and bring
© James Eade 2016
Know the basics You will need to be familiar with basic electrical calculations and principles. If the equations above look like gobbledegook and you think voltage drop is something you suffer after too much beer, then you are unlikely to be successful. If however you use them regularly then the course will present few challenges. We do recap on the basics so don’t worry if you are a bit rusty as it does all get explained.    
Documentation You need to have copies of (or access to) both BS 7671 and BS 7909. If you are working with electricity anywhere in the UK you would be expected to have at the very least a copy of BS 7671. BS 7909 adds some requirements for temporary events. You should also have a copy of the memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. This can be downloaded free from the HSE here.  You can purchase BS 7671 and related guidance (including a guide to BS 7909) direct from the IET here.   
A Calculator Yes, it will be required unless you are exceptional at mental arithmetic. One with a built in printer isn’t necessary though. A scientific calculator which can work out sin and cos functions is ideal, but an ordinary calculator as commonly found as an app on most smartphones will be sufficient.  
Useful background reading The IET publish the wiring Regulations (BS 7671) and various guidance notes and books. They are available from better online book retailers or direct from the IET. For copies of BS 7909 the most direct route is via BSI here. Check first with trade associations or unions that you belong to as they may be able to provide discounted copies. Well written, easy to understand guides to the principles and application of the requirements of BS 7671, can be found in the following books by Brian Scaddan, all published by Newnes. These give practical design advice demonstrating how to meet the fundamental requirements of BS 7671. 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations: Design & Verification of Electrical Installations (6th edition) 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations: Explained and Illustrated (8th edition) 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations: Inspection, Testing and Certification (6th edition)    
The assessment There are 10 modules over the two days. Each module has an assessment paper at the end, so you are tested at the time you cover the subject so it is fresh in your mind. There are typically 10 questions per paper, each requiring a short written answer. Each answer is short and need not be longer than this paragraph. Many questions have even shorter answers, for example: Question: Name two hazards electricity presents that we need to protect against at an event. Answer: Electric shock and thermal effects (e.g. fire). There is an additional final paper at the end where you need to answer 5 out of a possible 25 questions. Again the answers are short. You are allowed 20 minutes per paper although you can have extra time if you need it. To pass you need to get a minimum of 40% in each module, and 65% overall across the 11 papers. 
Don’t Fret! Many who sit the course haven’t been in a classroom for a long time - literally decades in some cases. They are competent people with years of experience and found the course enlightening and really valuable for their daily working lives. So if you understand the basic theory and are keen to update your knowledge and skills then you should not have a problem passing. It is challenging, but then you will be learning new things. One common reaction amongst delegates is that they didn’t expect ‘to be in a classroom’ which it effectively is. So have that in mind when you turn up, be prepared to listen and you may well be surprised at what you’d forgotten and particularly what you didn’t know.