ABBE sample exam paper


We have received some enquiries about the sample ABBE exam paper for the Level 3 Award in Domestic Energy Assessment Professional Development. Unfortunately we do not have an answer sheet and ABBE does not provide any answers with their sample papers. We also understand that some of you have some concerns about the wording and some of the example questions.  We have written to ABBE about our concerns and they have provided the following response:


The purpose of the sample paper is to provide examples of the type of questions that candidates will encounter and aims to demonstrate the level of difficulty, breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding that candidates should possess.  Of course, it is necessary that these questions are as clear as possible and as a consequence of your comments we are proposing to clarify question 1 and amend the diagram in question 13.  We will also investigate whether there is a better photograph to illustrate a biomass boiler for question 20.


The government have expressed concern that DEAs lack knowledge of the scheme rules and of the appropriate conventions for RDSAP and in what circumstances RdSAP should be used.  For example complaints have been made of RdSAP based EPCs being produced inappropriately for new dwellings.  The government have required the exams to test DEA knowledge of the new version of RdSAP, the principles upon which it is based and the scheme in which it is operated.  To an extent the exam also tests established elements of RdSAP altered in previous iterations where it is acknowledged that DEAs frequently make errors also.  Questions that simply tested data input would be insufficient to do this. 


The questions in the sample paper therefore are designed to  illustrate several issues:


·        The questions are illustrative of the subject areas that might be tested but are not a comprehensive sample

·        Questions will have only one correct answer.  However that is not to say that of the four choices that only one is definitely correct and all the others have no grain of truth in them:  The other foils have to have some element of truth in them for the question to be a test but ultimately only one of the four foils will be the correct one and be wholly correct in relation to the question asked.  In some cases this can be interpreted as ambiguity and we take great care to make sure that there is a sufficient distinction between the correct key and the other foils.  For example question 5 is a rather tricky test and is an example of where insightful knowledge would be required. 

·        Questions will test not only the basic facts that a candidate needs to know in order to input for example the rotor dimensions and height of a wind turbine (question 12) but also the underlying principles upon which the inputs are based.  In other words knowledge of the core SAP document (in particular Appendices S and T) is key to answering several questions in the exam and is specified on the reading list. 

·        We need to confirm that due to the short timescales allowed for the development of this, questions were written based on the list of amendments to 9.90 and the failure so far to publish 9.91 has made setting questions a challenge.  However the exam specification was agreed between government, the assessment and training bodies and with the awarding organisations.  The government in the absence of a finalised version of 9.91 have required us to base questions relating to this on the published December 2011 amendments.

·        There are questions that a trainer in RdSAP might not regard as important to the collection and interpretation of data to input into RdSAP and to produce the EPC.  However the NOS for the qualification and the Governments requirements oblige us to test on a wider knowledge than just RdSAP including the Scheme Operating Requirements and the underlying principles why RdSAP might or might not be used for different dwellings.  Questions such as numbers 5, 15, 36 and 38 each illustrate the breadth and depth of wider knowledge required of DEAs.


As these are sample examinations questions, we would like to confirm that this paper is not balanced in the way that the live examination papers will be and it also contains questions that in a live paper would never be used together eg questions 14 and 16 and 31 and 35.


Many thanks once again for taking the time to provide feedback.  An amended version of the sample questions will be circulated shortly.


Please be assured that we will continue to work with ABBE to ensure that questions are clear and relevant and furthermore that all of the required knowledge in order for you to pass the exam is available to you through our training material.