Policy and rules for the conduct of oral examinations

You must read and agree to this policy and rules of conduct before booking your exam.

The oral examination is an important component of the final assessment for issue of International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW) and Marine Order 505 certificates of competency.

By accepting the meeting invite for the oral exam you are agreeing to the policy and rules of conduct. If you do not agree to the policy and rules, do not accept the meeting invite and contact us .

Conduct of oral exams

Online exams - We conduct most oral exams online using Microsoft Teams. 

Face-to-face exams – We offer face-to-face oral exams at request, subject to examiner availability. We also insist on face-to-face exams after 3 repeated exam failures.

You must tell us if you wish to attend a face-to-face oral exam when you book.

Candidate integrity 

We expect you to approach the exam with honesty and integrity. We also train our examiners to look for signs of dishonesty. 

Our examiners may decide you are not complying with the agreed conditions of the exam if: 

  • your eyes concentrate on a specific place on the screen, desk, or background
  • you type or move your mouse when the examiner hasn’t asked you to 
  • you repeatedly lose connection, video or microphone 
  • you frequently move your arms or hands 
  • the examiner hears the sound of moving paper 
  • the examiner hears prompting sounds in the background.

If the examiner thinks you are not complying, they may stop the exam and record it as a failure. The examiner’s decision is final.

Examiners’ decisions

The examiner’s decision on whether you are competent in your exam is final.  If the examiner deems you ‘not yet competent’ we will send feedback on areas for improvement. 

What happens if you fail your exam

If you fail an oral exam, you must wait before you can book a resit.  These wait periods give you time to review your results and prepare for a resit. 

Waiting periods for exam resits

Exam failureNo resit before
12 weeks
22 weeks
34 weeks
42 months
53 months
63 months or more (at examiner's discretion)
7 or moreNo less than 4 months

Repeated failures

If you fail the oral exam 3 or more times, you will need to attend your next exam attempt in person, face-to-face. 

Complaints and grievances 

If you have complaints or concerns with the conduct of your exam, you can lodge a complaint. See our service charter for information on making a complaint. 

Last updated: 23 January 2024