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  1. Licensing
  2. Membership & Registration
  3. Qualifications & Careers
  4. Publications & Resources
  5. Get Involved
  6. News
  7. Store

IRSE Professional Exam - Frequently Asked Questions

When is the exam?

The Certificate is held twice a year - in March and October.  The next exam day is Saturday 7 October 2023

Modules B to D are held once a year - in October. The next exam day is Saturday 7 October 2023 

How much is the exam?

The costs for exam modules in October 2023 have not been announced.

For October 2022 and March 2023, it cost GB£115 per module, with no discounts.

Do you need to be an IRSE member 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, however you do need to be registered on the IRSE website (if you are having problems, please do not re-register, please contact who will help you).

If you want to sit any of the other Modules B, C and/or D, yes, you must be a fully paid-up member of the IRSE at any grade. Note that study materials for the Advanced modules are only available to IRSE members

When do I need to apply to be a member (for modules B, C & D)?

You are encouraged to join the IRSE as soon as possible to gain benefit by accessing the study guides, reduced prices on text book and advanced information of technical papers and visits.

We cannot guarantee that if you have applied for your membership by mid February that your application will not be processed in sufficient time to enable you to apply to sit the October exam in that calendar year.

Do remember that you will need to pay your subscription fees before being able to book for the October exam(s).  Please note that only IRSE members have access to study materials for the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and D).

What are the rules for sitting modules B, C and D?

To sit 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 have passed a previous exam module

I've already passed a previous module, what do I need to do to complete the 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

Do I need a sponsor?

For 2023, no candidate needs to have a Sponsor. However all candidates are encouraged to gain the support of their manager / colleagues whose experience and knowledge will help them prepare for the exam

I'm an IRSE Affiliate member - can I sit the exam?

Yes, members of any grade can sit any of the exam modules

How many modules can I sit in one day?

For the March exams, you can only sit the Certificate (module A)

For the October exams, you can only sit the Certificate (module A) OR between one and three of the other modules (modules B, C and/or D) - subject to the other rulesets

What time is the exam?

Candidates for 2023 exams will choose their timeslot at time of booking from across a wide range of times.

Please note that all times quoted by IRSE's exam team are in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and it is the candidates' responsibility to calculate their local time from the UTC time.

Where do I go to sit the exam?

In 2023, all exam modules will be sat remotely.

Candidates will need a computer or laptop with a webcam and reliable internet connection which can access the exam website and software.

Full details will be given in the exam candidate guides, see the main exam webpage.

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.

What do I need on exam day?

You will need a computer with access to the internet, webcam and paper and pen.

Additionally, in October, those candidates sitting modules B, C and/or D will need access to a scanner / camera to upload any handwritten / hand drawn answers.

Full details of all computer, internet and other requirements will be in the exam candidate guides, see the main exam webpage.

When I took exams at school / college, I had additional help, can this be arranged for the IRSE exams?

Yes. Any candidate who has a diagnosed SEND condition is eligible for reasonable adjustments. To discuss this with the exam team, please email them at

Please note that candidates must do this each time they sit an exam, even if this information has been passed to the exam team in previous years.

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.

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

Questions for modules B, C and D are mainly essay-type questions which can be typed or hand written, although candidates are encouraged to type answers directly into the exam software, if they can, to make use of the grammar / spell checkers and to ensure that examiners can read their answers. You may also wish to hand draw sketches to supplement your answer. Time will be allocated for uploading these handwritten / hand drawn sheets

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 modules B, C and D has inbuilt grammar and spell checkers which will help you if you type your answers directly into the exam software.

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 (Module A) are encouraged to read and fully understand all the documents in the reading list, some of which are UK-biased.

Candidates for modules B, C and D are advised to state which principles they are referring to in their answers to ensure that the examiners mark with these in mind

How do I apply to sit the exam?

Please keep an eye on the main IRSE Professional Exam webpage and our social media posts for more information about when bookings are available for the exams.

Normally bookings open in December and close in January for the March exam and open in April/May and close in July for the October exam.

If I fail my module(s), can I sit it again?

Yes, candidates can re-sit modules multiple times.

However please note that for the Advanced Diploma modules (Modules B, C and D), you need to remain a member of the IRSE and continue pay your membership subscription fees.

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 and this will be confirmed to the candidates at time of booking.

Note that whilst marking for the Certificate (Module A) is primarily computer-marked, moderation and reviewing the remote invigilation software outcomes need to be is done so results will not be issued immediately on completion of the exam.

Note that marking for modules B, C and D will take longer as they are essay-type answers marked, checked and moderated by volunteers and the remote invigilation and anti-plagiarism software outcomes require review. The announcement of results is dependent on the numbers of candidates and the quality of their work each year.

hen will I receive my certificate for my exam module?

Successful candidates will be informed when the certificates are due to be sent out. All 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.

Successful Certificate (Module A) candidates are those who have achieved a pass, that is they have "pass", "credit" or "distinction" grades.

Successful Advanced Diploma candidates are those who have achieved a pass ("pass", "credit" or "distinction" grades) in all four compulsory modules, or an agreed combination of modules B, C and/or D and previously available modules (please see for further details).

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 modules A to D are eligible for the Advanced Diploma.

If you have any further questions, please see the exam webpages and the associated documents and then if you are still unsure, contact the exam team at