Exam 2021 FAQs
  1. Licensing
  2. Membership
  3. Qualifications & Careers
  4. Publications & Resources
  5. Get Involved
  6. News
  1. Licensing
  2. Membership
  3. Qualifications & Careers
  4. Publications & Resources
  5. Get Involved
  6. News

Exam 2021 - Frequently Asked Questions

This page is for prospective and current Candidates and Sponsors for the 2021 exam modules

FAQ 1: When is the exam?

Exam day is Saturday 2 October 2021 for all candidates.

FAQ 2: How much is the exam?

Modules are £110 each. There are no discounts available.

FAQ 3: Do I need to be a member of the IRSE to sit the exam?

If you want to sit the Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals (Module A), then no, you do not need to be a member of the IRSE. You do need to be registered on the IRSE website (if you are having problems, please do not re-register, please contact membership@irse.org who will help you).
If you want to sit any of the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and/or D), yes, you must be a fully paid-up member of the IRSE at any grade.

FAQ 4: I am not an IRSE member yet but would like to sit Module B, C and/or D. Can I apply now to sit these modules in October 2021?

No, sorry you are too late.
We advise people to apply for membership by mid-February to ensure that all queries have ben resolved, applications have been considered and approved and all subscription payments made before the booking closing date of 31 July.
Please apply for your membership now and plan your studies for 2022.

FAQ 5: The rules around sitting the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and/or D) have changed. Can you clarify please?

The rules changed in March 2021 after candidates had appealed to Education & Professional Development committee to reconsider the tight ruleset. Hence for October 2021, the rules have been relaxed.
To sit the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and/or D):
a) You must be a member of the IRSE at any grade and to have fully paid all your membership subscriptions, etc AND
b) You must EITHER have passed a previous exam module OR you must have permission from a Sponsor (see FAQ 7 and the exam guidance document for more details).

FAQ 6: I have already passed one/more of the previously available modules (Modules 1-7). Which module(s) do I have to sit to complete the exam / Advanced Diploma?

Please check which module(s) you need to sit by entering which modules you have already passed into our exam checker tool at irse.info/exam.

FAQ 7: Who can be my Sponsor?

Your sponsor is a senior engineer or manager who knows you and can vouch that you will be ready to pass the module(s) you wish to sit.
Your sponsor should be a Member or Fellow of the IRSE (MIRSE or FIRSE).  If you do not know any MIRSE or FIRSE engineers / managers, then please contact the exam team at exam@irse.org who will try to assist you.

FAQ 8: I am an Affiliate member of the IRSE.  Can I sit the exam?

Yes, members of any grade can sit any of the exam modules (subject to the rules in FAQ 5).

FAQ 9: How many modules can I sit?

If you are an IRSE member at any grade and have either passed a module previously or have signed permission from a sponsor (see FAQ 5), then you can sit up to four (4) modules in 2021.

FAQ 10: I have been approached by an exam candidate to be their Sponsor. What do I have to do?

All sponsors are asked to consider whether the exam candidate is ready to pass their chosen module(s) on 2 October 2021.  There is guidance for Sponsors within the exam guidance document.
It would also be beneficial to the candidate if you, as their sponsor, check on their study progress at intervals between now and exam day.
Sponsors must be Members or Fellows of the IRSE (MIRSE or FIRSE) with no subscription debts. Exemptions to this may be agreed on an individual basis by the exam team (exam@irse.org).

FAQ 11: What time is the exam?

We have not yet allocated exact times, as this will depend on the number of candidates and their locations, which can only be determined when bookings have closed. Rough estimates have been published in the exam guidance document and all candidates will be informed in August / September. Please note that all timings will be quoted in UAT.

FAQ 12: Where do I go to sit the exam?

In 2021, all exam modules will be sat remotely. You need to find a location which will be quiet (home, office, other) and has all the facilities you need to sit the exam. Please see the exam guidance document for all requirements.

FAQ 13: Do I need a webcam, and why?

Yes you do need a webcam, either built-in or external.
All exam candidates will be remotely invigilated so your webcam needs to be on while you are sitting your module(s). More details about the remote invigilation software will be given to all exam candidates closer to exam day.

FAQ 14: What do I need on exam day?

You will need a computer with access to the internet, webcam (see FAQ 13) and paper and pen.
Additionally, candidates sitting the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and/or D) and/or Module 2 will need access to a scanner / camera to upload any handwritten / hand drawn answers.
Full details of all computer, internet and other requirements are in the exam guidance document.
Note that Module 2 candidates will additionally need access to a printer prior to exam day.

FAQ 15: I'm busy on 2 October, can I sit the exam on another day?

No. Exam day is Saturday 2 October for all candidates.

FAQ 16: I have heard that there is an exam in Spring 2022, is this true?

The Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals (Module A) may be available to be sat in Spring 2022.  This is subject to (1) Education & Professional Development Committee approval and (2) sufficient candidates.

FAQ 17: I can't type quickly. Can I have additional time?

No.  Additional time is only allowed for those candidates who declare they have a specific need for this and send a doctor's letter / certificate to the exam team at exam@irse.org.

Questions for the Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals (Module A) are multiple choice / similar requiring little typing.

Questions for the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and D)  are mainly essay-type questions which can be typed or hand written. You may also wish to hand draw sketches to supplement your answer. Time will be allocated for uploading these handwritten / hand drawn sheets.

Questions for Module 2 will require answers hand drawn and calculations which may be handwritten.  Time will be allocated for uploading these handwritten / hand drawn sheets.

FAQ 18: My English isn't very good. Can I have additional time?

No.  All modules are set in English and require answers in English.

The exam software for the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and D) has inbuilt grammar and spell checkers which will help you.

FAQ 19: I don't work in the UK. Will I be able to answer all the questions?

Yes.  The IRSE is an international organisation and the exam reflects this in its questions.

Candidates for the Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals (Module A) are encouraged to read and fully understand all the documents in the reading list, some of which are UK-biased.

Candidates for the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and D) are encouraged to state which principles they are referring to in their answers to ensure that the examiners mark with these in mind.

FAQ 20: How do I apply to sit the exam?

Booking has now closed for the October 2021 exam.  Please keep an eye on these pages and our social media posts for more information about the 2022 exams in due course.

FAQ 21: If I fail my module(s), can I sit it again in 2022?

Yes, candidates can re-sit modules multiple times.  However this will be subject to the rule-set of the year (please refer to FAQ 5 and 16).

FAQ 22: When will I know the results of my module(s)?

We will endeavour to send out the results as soon as possible by email to every candidate.

Results for the Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals (Module A) will be issued by early November 2021.  These can be issued quickly as they are computer-marked and then moderated by volunteers.

Results for the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and D) will be issued by the end February 2022 (to be confirmed).  These take longer to issue as they are essay-type answers marked, checked and moderated by volunteers.

It will be confirmed later when Module 2 results will be issued.  It will be dependent on the number of candidates for not only Module 2 but also the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and D) as these are all marked, checked and moderated by the same volunteers as the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and D) .

FAQ 23: When will I receive my certificate for my exam module?

Certificates are sent by Royal Mail to the postal address which you have nominated as your preferred address in your records. Please check this by logging into the IRSE website, go to "My Account" (top right) and then it will open on your details page.

Certificates for those who have passed the Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals (Module A) will be posted by end November 2021, unless candidates are informed otherwise.  These are issued to all candidates who have achieved a pass, that is they have "pass", "credit" or "distinction" grades.

Certificates for those who have completed their Advanced Diploma in Railway Control Engineering will be posted by end March 2022, unless candidates are informed otherwise.  They are issued to all candidates who have achieved a pass ("pass", "credit" or "distinction" grades) in all four compulsory modules, or an agreed combination of Advanced modules (Modules B, C and/or D) and previously available modules (please see irse.info/exam for further details).

FAQ 24: I have previously passed the IRSE Professional Exam.  Can I have a certificate for the Certificate in Railway Control Engineering Fundamentals and/or Advanced Diploma in Railway Control Engineering?

No.  Education & Professional Development Committee have agreed that only candidates who pass one or more of the newly available modules (Modules A to D) are eligible for these newly available qualifications.


If you have any further questions, please read the exam guidance document and then if you are still unsure, contact the exam team at exam@irse.org.