Associate Standard and Exam - Frequently Asked Questions
IEMA now offers an efficient and convenient ‘on-demand’ online exam as a route to achieving Associate membership, making it possible for a growing number of members to progress to Associate membership and will ensure that the standard is future-proof.
This FAQ highlights likely questions on the standard, assessment method, timings and costs. If we haven’t answered something you’d like to know here then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +44 (0)1522 540069.
Who can take this online assessment?
This method is offered to those independently seeking to upgrade without doing a training course.
How long does the exam (and wait for the results) take?
The online exam, where candidates progress through on-screen question pages, will take a maximum of 2.5 hours. Candidates take the assessment by typing answers and then submitting the completed exam via an internet connection. This will then be marked with a six-week turnaround before the result is passed on to the individual.
Who do I register with?
You have to register with IEMA. Details are available from here.
Once you have registered you will have a period of one month in which you can take your exam. However, once you begin at any point within the month you will have a one-off slot of 2.5 hours to complete it.
Where will I take the assessment?
You will need a valid e-mail address and a computer with access to the internet, but this can be anywhere you choose. It can be done any time day or night.
I haven’t taken an online exam before, what it is it like?
If you are used to typing on a computer using a program like Microsoft Word then you should be fine.
What support will I get to prepare for these new questions?
We will be running a series of webinars to bring you up to speed on these areas. If you call us we are happy to talk you through learning resources.
How much does it cost to achieve Associate via this method?
It costs £146.40 including VAT to take the assessment which includes all registration, processing, marking and certification costs.
What is the pass mark?
Candidates must score a mark of 60% in order to successfully pass the Associate Entry Exam.
How long will the assessment take?
You will have 2.5 hours to complete the examination.
How long will I have to wait for my results?
You will receive your results in 6 weeks or less.
How will I find out my results?
IEMA will send your results by post along with a note of congratulations.
Will I get a certificate?
Yes – IEMA will issue results and certificates to all successful candidates.
What happens if I am unsuccessful?
IEMA will provide you with a breakdown of your marks and inform you of how you can try again in the future. You can request feedback through our result enquiry service and retake the examination upon payment of the appropriate fee. There is no limit on how many times you can try to pass; we realise that sometimes members just need a little extra time to gain experience and knowledge.
As the assessment is online, how can I be sure it is safe, secure and fair?
The site utilises the latest internet security standards – you can verify that your information is secure at any point by the visibility of HTTPS in the address bar (https://iemaassociateexam.com). This means you have a secure connection, utilising 128-bit encryption. Our service is hosted within an industry-leading data centre so you can be assured of reliability and security. Our examination team do not know any of your personal details, you are only identifiable to them through your candidate number and the list that links your personal details to this number is held separately on different servers and in a different location to the examination system.
What happens if my computer or internet connection fails while I’m taking the assessment? Can I try again?
If your internet connection fails or there is a power cut during the course of your assessment any completed answers will be saved, up to the point where your connection was lost. If there is a problem during the examination that affects your performance then IEMA has a Special Consideration Policy and Application Form Candidates requiring special consideration for their examination must submit a Special Consideration Application Form within 7 days of the examination.
Am I more likely to pass if I study for this online assessment through an Approved Training Provider or independently?
It depends on your knowledge, past experience and the way you learn. If you have a good level of environmental awareness and knowledge, and you are familiar with the areas of the Associate syllabus then the self-study route may be the best option for you. If your knowledge needs updating or you are new to the environmental profession then completing the IEMA Associate Certificate course may be the appropriate route. IEMA will be able to advise you on the appropriate route.
Will it be any easier to get a job as a result of taking the Associate Examination?
We know that many environmental job adverts stipulate IEMA Associate membership as a pre-requisite for making an application. Whilst there are no guarantees, IEMA Associate membership is the industry benchmark for working in an environmental role and will certainly help you to stand out from the crowd.
Can I talk to someone who has already gone through the process?
Not yet, but as Members go through the assessment we will share their feedback. In addition, IEMA will support candidates by providing preparatory webinars and support materials. IEMA’s Advisers will be happy to take any questions or settle any queries with you at any time.
Can I retake the exam in the same format?
Yes – Retakes for self-study and training candidates are permitted.
Are there other routes to Associate Membership?
Yes, you will still have the option of achieving Associate membership through either the online assessment (self-study) or the training course route.
I have already taken and passed the Associate Certificate course / Associate Open Book Assessment – does this new format affect my qualification?
No, but as ever the Associate standard has been updated to reflect any changes in the environmental management and assessment context so we would always recommend updating yourself and undertaking continuing professional development. A good way to do a quick review for yourself is to map your knowledge and skills against the IEMA Environmental Skills Map at the Operational level – this is broadly mapped to the Associate standard.
But essentially your Associate status remains unchanged; the changes do not mean that what you achieved has been cancelled out. You are still an Associate member as long as you retain your membership.
Is anyone working with IEMA to deliver this format?
Yes we are working with an Ofqual recognised Awarding Body, to deliver the online assessment platform. Ofqual is the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland so you can be confident that the system is effective, safe and appropriate as well as being a recognisable method used by other industries and professions.
Why has this organisation been chosen as IEMA’s partner?
As part of IEMA’s strategic objectives we wanted to work with a recognised awarding body that could provide the online functionality we require. Our Partner’s values and ambition matched with those of IEMA – both organisations are committed to maintaining and enhancing standards.
Is IEMA the awarding body?
Yes - IEMA is responsible for setting the standards, the assessment used and awarding Associate membership to successful candidates. Your certificate will also come from IEMA.
Who will write the questions?
IEMA has a Chief Examiner, Helen Manns to lead the development of the examination question papers and marking schemes. She will also have a quality assurance role on Associate to ensure fairness and consistency. This work is overseen by IEMA’s Professional Standards Committee.
Who will mark and grade the assessments?
A small team of examiners (approximately 5 including Helen) will mark all answer scripts.
How are they chosen?
Examiners have been selected through an open process of recruitment based on a role specification approved by IEMA’s Professional Standards Committee.
How are they monitored?
By the Chief Examiner, examiners’ marking will be standardised and monitored.
Can I become an examiner?
IEMA will advertise for examiners from time to time, as required as should you meet the requirements we’d be happy to receive an application from you.
Are the Examiners bound by any confidentiality agreements?
Absolutely. Also, the assessment uses candidate numbers so only IEMA will be able to identify candidates.
Who will have access to my results?
Candidate results will only be provided to the named candidate from IEMA, where our staff work under stringent confidentiality and data protection policies so your details are totally safe.