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

IRSE Professional Exam - Frequently Asked Questions

This page is for prospective and current exam Candidates and all those supporting them

FAQ 1: When is the exam?

In 2022, there are two exam days: Saturday 26 March and Saturday 1 October 2022.

  • Saturday 26 March is for Certificate (Module A) candidates only.
  • Saturday 1 October is for all candidates (see FAQ 9 for information about which modules are available)

FAQ 2: How much is the exam?

Prices have been agreed for October 2022 for £115 per module.

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, however 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 gradeNote that study materials for the Advanced modules are only available to IRSE members. 

FAQ 4: I am not an IRSE member yet but would like to sit Module B, C and/or D. How can I apply to sit these modules in October 2022?

It is unlikely that if you have applied for your membership after 11 February 2022 that your application will not be processed in sufficient time to enable you to apply to sit the October 2022 exam. 

However, assuming that you are successful in your application for membership, you will need to pay your subscription fees before your booking for the October exam(s) is accepted.

Please note that only IRSE members have access to study materials for the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and D).

FAQ 5: Can you please clarify the rules for sitting the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and/or D)?

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 have passed a previous exam module

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: Do I need a Sponsor?

For 2022, 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

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?

On 26 March 2022, only the Certificate (Module A) will be available to be sat.

On 1 October 2022, candidates can sit:

  • Either the Certificate (Module A)
  • Or between one (1) and three (3) of the Advanced Diploma modules (Modules B, C and D) (see also FAQ 3 and FAQ 9)

FAQ 10: What time is the exam?

Candidates for 2022 exams will choose their timeslot at time of booking. 

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.

FAQ 11: Where do I go to sit the exam?

In 2022, 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.

FAQ 12: 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 13: 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, in October, those candidates sitting the Advanced modules (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.

FAQ 14: 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 exam@irse.org.

FAQ 15: I'm busy on 26 March / 1 October 2022, can I sit the exam on another day?

No. Exam day is for all candidates.

Candidates choose their own timeslots in 2022 in order for them to plan their day's activities around the exam.

FAQ 16: Will there be two opportunities to sit the exam every year in the future?

It is the intention to give candidates the opportunity to sit the Certificate (Module A) twice yearly (in March / April) and October, but keep the Advance Diploma modules (Modules B, C and D) as yearly. 

This is subject to Education & Professional Development Committee approval and sufficient candidates for the March / April Certificate (Module A).

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 (see FAQ 14 and exam terms and conditions).

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

Questions for the Advanced modules (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.

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 if you type your answers directly into the exam software.

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?

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 March and October 2022 exams.

FAQ 21: 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.

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 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 is done by volunteers so results will not be issued immediately on completion of the exam.

Note that marking for the Advanced modules (Modules B, C and D) will take longer as they are essay-type answers marked, checked and moderated by volunteers.  The announcement of results is dependent on the numbers of candidates and the quality of their work each year.

FAQ 23: When 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 Advanced Diploma 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 see the exam webpages and the associated documents and then if you are still unsure, contact the exam team at exam@irse.org.