Exam delivery 2020: frequently asked questions


When will the 2020 exams be running?

The NIE scheduled for 2020 will be held, as planned, on 8 September 2020 and 24 November 2020.

The Direct Entry Superintendents' Examination will be held, as planned, on 17 November 2020.

The 2020 Inspectors' NPPF Step Two Legal Exam will be held between Monday 12 October and Wednesday 14 October 2020.

The 2020 Sergeants' NPPF Step Two Legal Exam will be held between Monday 9 November and Wednesday 11 November 2020. 

How did you decide on the dates for the rescheduled sergeants' exam?

We consulted with forces and relevant stakeholders to establish an appropriate date on which to hold the rescheduled sergeants' Exam in 2020. In identifying the date for the rescheduled Sergeants' exam we have considered the notice we need to provide to candidates for revision. We have also tried to identify a date that is least likely to impact on planned leave or those with caring responsibilities.

What if I am unable to take the Sergeants' exam on the rescheduled date?

We are unable to advise at this stage if we can provide an alternative date for candidates who cannot sit the exam on the rescheduled date. The next Sergeants' exam is scheduled for March 2021.

I thought you would identify one date for the NPPF exams. Why have you asked us to reserve three days when they could take place?

Because of the large volume of candidates taking the exam we want to make sure that our online solution means everyone is able to have a good test taking experience, which isn't compromised by the number of candidates accessing the exam at the same time. We will be able to clarify the dates when we have tested the system and will write to FEOs to update them on this as soon as we can.

When will I know the exact date of my NPPF exam?

We are providing indicative dates for NPPF exams at this stage to provide candidates with sufficient notice and allow them to prepare. The exact timing of exams of individuals will be communicated to forces and individuals as soon as they are confirmed.

I passed the Sergeants' National Police Promotion Framework (NPPF) Exam in 2015 and I was due to sit my next Sergeants' NPPF Exam in March 2020. How long is my exam pass valid for?

If you achieved a pass in the 2015 Sergeants' NPPF Step Two Legal Exam and you were registered to sit the exam in March 2020, the validity of your exam pass has been automatically extended until the date of the rescheduled 2020 Sergeants' Exam. This only applies to candidates who were registered for the exam on 31 January 2020, after the official withdrawal date. If you passed the 2015 Sergeants' NPPF Exam but you were not registered to sit the exam in 2020, the validity of your pass has not been extended.

Can my pass in the NPPF exam be extended because of the lack of Step Three processes running in force due to COVID-19?

We are only extending the exam validity for officers who achieved a pass in the 2015 Sergeants' NPPF Step Two Legal Exam and who were due to sit the exam in March 2020. We will not consider any further extensions.

How do I register for the exam?

We will advise forces in due course about how to register for exams in 2020.

I wasn't registered for the Sergeants' exam that was due to be held on 17 March. Can I register for the rescheduled exam?

No, only candidates who were originally registered to sit the Sergeants' NPPF Step Two Legal Exam in March on the 31 January 2020 can sit the rescheduled exam being held in November.

I registered for the Sergeants' exam that was due to be held on 17 March but withdrew. Can I sit the rescheduled exam?

If you withdrew before the official withdrawal date of 31 January 2020 you are no longer registered to take the exam and cannot register to sit the rescheduled exam.

I was registered for the Sergeants' exam that was due to be held on 17 March and did not withdraw. Do I need to register for the rescheduled exam?

No, candidates will not be required to re-register for the Sergeants' Exam. The College will contact your Force Examination Officer (FEO) in due course to confirm the candidates in their force who are registered for the rescheduled exam.

When will the results of the Sergeants' exam be released?

We will be advising the timeframes for receiving results for all exams in due course and we anticipate that we will be able to issue results to candidates in a shorter than usual timeframe. We will aim to have the results of the Sergeants' exam issued by the end of November 2020. If at any point we discover this is not going to be possible we will advise you of this.

If I am unsuccessful in the rescheduled Sergeants' exam will I know in time to register for the 2021 Sergeants' exam?

Candidates who are unsuccessful in the rescheduled 2020 Sergeants' NPPF Step Two Legal Exam will be permitted to register for the 2021 Sergeants' NPPF Step Two Legal Exam.

Can I register for the 2020 Inspectors' exam?

At the present time we are not asking candidates to register for the Inspectors' NPPF Step Two Legal Exam as the registration process is likely to change to account for the move to online delivery. We will advise FEOs as soon as possible when we will open registrations for the Inspectors' exam and will be able to close registrations for the exam much closer to the date of the actual exam than we would normally. In the meantime we advise forces to identify their officers who would like to register for the exam and start checking their eligibility for entering the exam in preparation for when we are able to open registration.

I am on the Fast Track or Direct Entry Inspector programme. Will I be taking my exam online?

Yes, all officers taking the NPPF Inspectors' Step Two Legal Exam will take their exam online. You will not be automatically registered for the exam and will need to register in the same way as all candidates when we open registration.

How will you make sure that officers taking the exam online do not cheat?

We expect all officers to act with integrity and in line with the principles and standards of behaviour as set out within the Code of Ethics. We will be exploring a number of mechanisms to minimise the risk of cheating and our ability to detect it, such as the use of technology and the design of the exams themselves. Any candidate who is suspected of cheating or disclosing the content of the exam will be investigated and could have their exam result nullified and/or be banned from entering the exam in future. Candidates suspected of cheating will also be referred to their force's Professional Standards Unit.

How will the exam be supervised?

We will advise on this in due course.

Can I refer to notes or the manuals during the exam?

The move away from on-site invigilation for these exams means candidates will be able to access notes and manuals during the exam. The number of questions and timing of the exam will be such that taking the approach of referring to notes or manuals is likely to be ineffective or counterproductive, therefore we encourage candidates not to rely on books or notes during the exam. We will be testing the candidate experience in advance of the launch and ensuring the final results from candidates are analysed to ensure policing standards are maintained.

What will I need to take my exam online?

We will provide further details about this in due course. We anticipate that you will just need a laptop, desktop computer, mobile device or tablet to take the exam. We will provide full details of the device specification you will need to take the exam.

Where will I take my exam?

We anticipate that online delivery of exams will enable you to take your exam in a place convenient to yourself and without the need to sit the exam at a physical examination centre alongside other candidates.

Will the exams be timed?

Yes, the exams will still be timed.

Will I be able to take breaks during the exam?

No, the exam must be completed in one sitting, unless this is part of an agreed reasonable adjustment.

How long will it take to get my results?

We will advise you of the timeframes for receiving results in due course. Results will not be issued instantly, as we will need to analyse the results of the exam and have these ratified by the debrief panel. However, we do anticipate that we will be able to issue results to candidates in a shorter than usual timeframe.

Will the exams be in a multiple-choice question format?

Yes, the exams will still be in a multiple-choice question format.

Will moving the exams to online delivery mean they can be held more frequently?

Moving exams online will mean that in the future we may be able to deliver exams in a different way, for example, more frequently and on demand rather than on specified dates. We will explore the feasibility of this over the coming months but additional examinations will not be available in 2020.

What reasonable adjustment or accommodation will you provide?

If you have any condition, temporary or otherwise, that might cause you to be disadvantaged during the exam – for example, pregnancy, injury or disability, including dyslexia – you may be entitled to an accommodation or reasonable adjustment. Any accommodation or reasonable adjustment will be based on the information provided to us in a relevant report produced by an appropriately qualified professional. Reasonable adjustments may include additional time, change of background colour, or other adjustments as recommended by a specialist.

For further information about how to apply for a reasonable adjustment or accommodation, please refer to our reasonable adjustment document.

If you had been granted a reasonable adjustment for the March 2020 Sergeants' Exam, we will contact you via your FEO to ensure that the adjustment or accommodation you had been granted is still suitable for an online exam.

Are there any changes to the exam syllabus I should be aware of?

The syllabus for the NPPF and National Investigators' Examination (NIE) examinations are detailed in the relevant candidate handbooks, which can be found on the College of Policing website. Candidates undertaking the NPPF or NIE are advised to revise for their examination, as per the legislation contained with the Blackstone's Police Manuals 2020 and the Blackstone's Police Investigator Manual 2020.

Candidates for the Sergeants' and Inspectors' Exams will not be examined on content relating to police complaints and discipline contained in the Blackstone's Police Manuals General Police Duties, specifically:

  • Chapter 4.1 Complaints and Misconduct
  • Chapter 4.2 Unsatisfactory Performance and Attendance.

Will this be the new way of delivering exams or is it just a one off because of Coronavirus?

The focus of the College has been delivering alternatives for those candidates whose exams have been disrupted by COVID-19. However, it has been a long-term ambition of the College to deliver examinations online and moving them online this year will mean that we may be able to deliver exams in a different way in the future. We will explore the feasibility of this as part of evaluating the delivery of exams online in 2020.

How can I give feedback about taking my exam online?

As part of the monitoring and development of the online exams we would like to hear your views on your experience and we will invite you to take part in a candidate feedback questionnaire after your exam.

I purchased a Blackstone's Police Manuals online subscription for the postponed NPPF Sergeants' Examination in March 2020. Will this be extended?

Due to the postponement of the NPPF Sergeants' Exam in March 2020, Oxford University Press agreed with the College of Policing to offer extended access to existing subscription holders to the Blackstone's Police Manuals online services. All Manuals subscribers with current subscriptions on April 22nd, 2020 and subscribers whose access ended between March 1st and April 22nd , were sent a token to claim an extension to their subscription. These were issued directly to the subscriber's registered e-mail address. Now that the dates for the rescheduled Sergeants Exam have been announced by the College of Policing all extended subscriptions will have access all the way through to the end of Wednesday, November 11th 2020. Those subscribers will receive an e-mail to confirm this and there is no further action required.

I purchased a Blackstone's Policing Online Investigators subscription for the postponed National Investigators' Examination in June 2020, will this be extended?

Due to the postponement of the National Investigators' Exam in June 2020, Oxford University Press agreed with the College of Policing to offer extended access to existing subscription holders to the Blackstone's Policing Investigators services. All subscribers as at May 4th 2020 to the Blackstone's Police Investigators' Manual and Workbook Online 2020 service were sent tokens to extend their access, at no cost, and these subscriptions will be active through to the end of Tuesday, September 8th. These were issued directly to the subscriber's registered e-mail address.

 



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