Continuing Competence Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please refer to the following frequently asked questions before contacting WAMITAB.

Before taking the test

1. How do I know if I have to take the test?

2. Do I need to do this test if I was previously waste exempt?

3. What test should I take?

4. What does the test include?

5. How many questions are there?

6. How long will I get to take the test?

7. What is the pass mark?

8. Do I need to be able to use computers?

9. Where do I go for support?

10. Can I take a paper-based test?

11. What material can I revise from?

12. Can I take a practice test?

What if I have difficulties?

13. Are there provisions for people that require a reasonable adjustment to use the system?

14. I am dyslexic. Can I use the system?

15. I have hearing difficulties.  Can I still use the system?

Booking the test

16. How do I book a test?

17. Who do I contact if there is a problem when I try to book my test?

18. How do I cancel/re-schedule my test?

19. How much does the test cost?

20. Will I receive confirmation of my test booking?

21. Will I receive an invoice for my payment of the test fee?

22. How do I pay for the test?

What happens when I arrive at the Test Centre?

23. What happens if I do not arrive for the test?

24. What happens if I am ill on the day of my test and I cannot attend?

25. What happens if there are adverse weather conditions on the day of my test and I cannot attend?

26. What happens at the test centre and do I need to bring any identity documents with me on the day of the test?

27. How do I answer questions?

28. Can I change an answer after I have selected one?

29. Can I skip questions I am not sure about, and go back to them later?

30. What happens if the computer system breaks down?

31. How do I know when the test is finished?

After the test

32. How will I know if I have been successful?

33. What happens if I am unsuccessful in the test?

34. If I fail do I get feedback on what I got wrong?

35. If I pass when will I get my Continuing Competence certificate?

36. If I fail how do I rebook?

37. How can I comment or complain?

Answers:

1. How do I know if I have to take the test?

The test is part of the joint CIWM/WAMITAB Operator Competence scheme which is applicable in England and Wales for those individuals who are:

  • Existing holders of a CoTC -  who achieved their CoTC before 22 December 2008, which was the date our Scheme was approved
  • New entrants - who achieve one of CIWM/WAMITAB's new competence qualifications (4, 6 and 12 unit qualifications, VRQ and EPOC) after this date
  • 'Deemed' competent operators – according to the Environment Agency (EA):
    • Period 1 - if you achieved your continuing competence certificate between 1st March 2009 and 29 February 2012, the certificate needs to be renewed between 1st March 2012 and 28th February 2014.
    • Period 2 - if you achieved your continuing competence certificate between 1st March 2012 and 28th February 2014, the certificate needs to be renewed between 1st March 2014 and 29th February 2016.
    • If you achieved your Operator Competence certificate between 22nd December 2008 and 29th February 2012, you will need to successfully pass the continuing competence test between 1st March 2012 and 28th February 2014.
    • If you achieved your Operator Competence certificate after 29th February 2012, you will fall into the new rolling 2 year programme for Continuing Competence - where the new certificate design clearly states the expiry date two years from the date you passed your test. For example, if you passed on 5th March 2014 the certificate will state an expiry date of 5th March 2016.
  • 'EA assessed' - individuals other than those where EA assessment is a pre-requisite for obtaining the two-year CoTC exemption
  • Exempt activities - operators who registered as a relevant exemption prior to 5th April 2010 and now require an environmental permit. These people have 12 months from the date their first permit is issued to take the test to demonstrate that they are competent. Further guidance is available from The Environment Agency.

Your local Environment Agency officer in England or Natural Resources Wales will be able to advise if the test applies to you. For reference, please note that the relevant agencies are: Environment Agency (EA) in England and Natural Resources Wales. Links to each of these agencies websites can be found on the waste resources page.

2. Do I need to do this test if I was previously waste exempt?

Many previously exempt waste activities now require an environmental permit and operators must demonstrate they are competent to hold a permit. The Environment Agency (EA) is making special provisions for operators who have to move from being an exempt activity to a permitted activity. These provisions apply to individuals who held a management role in relation to an exempt activity which now requires a permit.  Further guidance is available from The Environment Agency.

Individuals who are moving from an exemption to a permit can demonstrate technical competence by taking an initial test which is available through the CIWM/WAMITAB scheme.  This Generic test comprises questions on legislation, health and safety and environmental protection.  An operator has 12 months from the date their first permit is issued to arrange for all nominated managers to pass the initial competence test. This means that the issue of a permit will not be delayed by the need to demonstrate competence.  The transitional timetable is shown on the EA web site together with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) entitled Waste Exemption Review – Getting Ready for Change.

3. What test should I take?

Everyone takes the Generic Knowledge Test (GKT). You will then need to select the Activity Specific Test(s) that you need to achieve/maintain.  Guidance can be obtained from your local Environment Agency officer in England or Natural Resources Wales.  However, it is essential that you know which Activity Specific Tests to take before travelling to the test centre.

4. What does the test include?

The format for the tests is based on question and multiple choice answers.  The questions cover two components; a Generic Knowledge Test (GKT) (‘generic’) comprising questions on Legislation, Health and Safety and Environmental Protection; and an Activity-Specific Test (AST) (or ‘option’) which comprises questions on the specific competence or competencies which need to be maintained.  If you hold more than one competence award and want to maintain all your competencies then you will have to choose an 'activity specific option' for each competence (you can take up to 3 at a time).

5. How many questions are there?

The test comprises 18 questions for the Generic Knowledge Test part (covering legislation, health & safety and environmental protection) and a further 8 questions for each activity specific test. Depending on how many you choose (maximum of three Activity Specific Tests). The total 'test time' allowed will be 60 minutes.

6. How long will I get to take the test?

Depending on how many Activity Specific Tests you choose, the overall time for the tests will be as follows note times are an approximation for example purposes:

Generic Knowledge Test plus one Activity Specific Test:

  • Generic Knowledge Test: Approximately 25 minutes
  • Activity Specific Test: approximately 11 minutes

Therefore time to take Generic Knowledge Test and one Activity Specific Test is 25 minutes + 11 minutes = 36 minutes approximately.

Generic Knowledge Test plus one Activity Specific Test:

Time to take Generic Knowledge Test plus three Activity Specific Tests will be 25 + 11+11+11 = rounding up this gives the total 'test time' allowed 60 minutes.

7. What is the pass mark?

Candidates will need to correctly answer 50% (9 questions) or more of the questions in the Generic Knowledge Test section and 50% (4 questions) or more of the questions in each option(s) chosen and achieve an overall pass mark of 65% (minimum 17 questions in total).

Example: An individual sits one activity specific test

Number of generic questions + Number of activity specific questions / 26 x 100 = ......%

Please note: If you do more than one activity then you must repeat this process for each.

Example: An individual sits two activity specific tests - one for Metal Recycling Sites and one for End of Life vehicles. 

Number of generic questions + Number of Metal Recycling Sites questions / 26 x 100 = ......%

Number of generic questions + Number of End-of-Life vehicle questions / 26 x 100 = ......%


In all cases candidates must achieve a pass in both the Generic Knowledge Test plus option(s); neither the Generic Knowledge Test nor option can be passed and certificated on their own (unless the Generic Knowledge Test is the only part required by the Environment Agency).

If you take more than one option then this applies to each option; for example, if you take two Activity Specific Tests it means you may pass one and fail the other.  In this case you will be awarded one Continuing Competence certificate and will have to take the Generic Knowledge Test and the option you failed again.

8. Do I need to be able to use computers?

Yes, you will need to be able to use a mouse.  There is a short tutorial to get used to the system before starting your test and you can access practice questions or a PDF of this tutorial on our website. You may decide to undergo some IT training/practice before booking the test -  if you cannot use IT then call Pearson VUE on 0161 855 7316.

9. Where do I go for support?

Support in terms of training programmes is available from a range of organisations. Syllabus Revision Guides are also available on the WAMITAB website for those candidates who wish to 'self-learn'.

10. Can I take a paper-based test?

No. However, if you have Special Needs then you need to call Pearson VUE on 0161 855 7316 for further information before taking the test.

11. What material can I revise from?

The syllabuses containing the learning outcomes and the Revision Tips and Links are available via WAMITAB’s website. Candidates can undertake self-learning based on the specific syllabus or access one of the training providers.  We strongly advise candidates to prepare thoroughly for the test as this is one of the key success factors.

12. Can I take a practice test?

The WAMITAB website has a practice test which includes questions from the Generic Knowledge Test element of the test and there is also a WAMITAB ‘tutorial’ on the website which illustrates what candidates will see when they go for their test.

13. Are there provisions for people that require a reasonable adjustment to use the system?

As a Regulated Awarding Organisation, WAMITAB is required by the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments where a learner, who is disabled within the definition of the Equality Act 2010, would be at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled. WAMITAB will consider applications for reasonable adjustments (e.g. a reader or extra time) on a case by case basis.

If you want to apply for a reasonable adjustment after 03/11/2016, please complete this form and email it to janet.western@wamitab.org.uk with any evidence. If WAMITAB approves your application, you will receive a confirmation email within 5 working days. You will then need to contact Pearson Vue 24 hours after approval, in order to schedule a test with an ‘accommodation’ at the test centre.

14. I am dyslexic. Can I use the system?

Yes, the system has the option for dyslexic candidates to listen to the test being read in English.  For people with dyslexia additional time may be available but must be arranged at the time of booking.

15. I have hearing difficulties. Can I still use the system?

Yes, the test has been set up as a multiple choice test and candidates should follow the instructions on the screen.

16. How do I book a test?

You can book your Continuing Competence test at any time on www.pearsonVUE.com/wamitab. You will need a valid credit or debit card and will select the location, date and time of your test.

17. Who do I contact if there is a problem with the booking system when I try to book my test?

Contact Pearson VUE on 0161 855 7316 or email wamitabcustomerservices@pearson.com regarding cancellations, bookings or any problems you experience during the registration process. 

18. How do I cancel/re-schedule my test?

To cancel or reschedule your test, you must contact Pearson VUE directly. Cancelling or rescheduling an exam must be done at least 24 hours prior to the exam appointment time. Late cancellation requests will result in forfeiture of your exam fee and you will need to pay the fee again to take the exam. There is a button on the right-hand side of CIWM/WAMITAB landing page which allows you to re-schedule your test.

19. How much does the test cost?

Each test costs £130 irrespective of the number of Activity Specific Tests chosen (a maximum of three Activity Specific Tests can be taken at one time).

20. Will I receive confirmation of my test booking?

Pearson VUE will send a confirmation letter via email to the email address supplied by the candidate in the registration/booking process.  This will confirm the details of your test booking.

21. Will I receive an invoice for my payment of the test fee?

No, all payments are made using debit or credit cards at the time of booking and the confirmation letter via email is evidence that the test has been paid for.

22. How do I pay for the test?

Payments are made using a web-based, registration, scheduling and payments system.  The payments system requires credit or debit cards.  For organisations wanting to purchase vouchers (minimum order 10 vouchers) contact:

http://www.pearsonVUE.com/vouchers/pricelist/wamitab.asp

These vouchers will have to be paid for by credit or debit card.

23. What happens if I do not arrive for the test?

If you do not arrive for the test (‘no-show’) or arrive 15 minutes late for your test and are refused admission, you will forfeit your exam fee and will need to pay the fee again to take the exam.

24. What happens if I am ill on the day of my test and I cannot attend?

If you are unable to attend your test due to illness, and do not cancel or re-schedule at least 24 hours before your appointment, you will forfeit your exam fee and will need to pay the fee again to take the exam.

25. What happens if there are adverse weather conditions on the day of my test and I cannot attend?

If for some reason the test centre is closed due to adverse weather conditions or ‘force majeure’ candidates will be offered a re-test at no cost to themselves. If however the centre is open and candidates are unable to attend this will be considered as a no-show and you will forfeit your exam fee and will need to pay the fee again to take the exam.

26. What happens at the test centre and do I need to bring any identity documents with me on the day of the test?

We ask that you arrive at the test centre 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. This will give you adequate time to complete the necessary sign-in procedures.

Be prepared to show a valid form of personal identification that contains both a photo and a signature (the table below outlines the ID accepted by Pearson VUE) which would be either a modern driving license or passport. If you have none of these you may present your WAMITAB ID Card.

ID accepted by Pearson VUE for WAMITAB exams until 31 December 2016

Identification Requirements Primary & Secondary required; Pearson VUE will not seat a candidate for an exam unless he/she provides both forms of valid ID.
Primary ID * A current valid signed passport of any country containing the candidate's photograph and signature.
* A currently valid signed UK photocard driving licence (full or provisional).
* WAMITAB ID Card that includes a photo (this must be presented with       secondary ID).
Secondary ID

Please note: only required if candidate presents a WAMITAB ID card.

* Any valid ID containing the candidate's full name and signature (e.g. credit or debit card, paper driving licence).

To obtain a WAMITAB ID Card please complete the form available here and follow the instructions for supplying passport photos.  The ID card will be produced at no cost to you and sent by return through the post.

IMPORTANT - PLEASE NOTE: From 1st January 2017 the WAMITAB ID Card will no longer be accepted as proof of identification for the Continuing Competence test.

27. How do I answer questions?

The test is based on multiple-choice with one question at a time shown on the screen.  Underneath the question the various answers are set out.  To select an answer you use the mouse to touch the button on the screen beside the answer you want (see WAMITAB Practice test and tutorial).

28. Can I change an answer after I have selected one?

Yes, during the Generic Knowledge Test you will be able to go back and change your answers by using the mouse; once this section is finished you will not be able to go back to it.  Likewise with the option(s), you will be able to go back to change your answers in that option within the time allotted.

29. Can I skip questions I am not sure about, and go back to them later?

Yes, each section of the test has a review screen at the end of the section. This feature allows you to mark a question to ‘flag’ and to be reviewed at the end of the section so that you can go back to it.

30. What happens if the computer system breaks down?

If there is a short interruption to the test, candidates are usually able to continue with the test.  The answers that have been given up to that point will not normally be lost.  If there is a large disruption then you will be offered a new test free of charge.

31. How do I know when the test is finished?

All sections within the test are timed. Once you have completed all the sections within the test, a message will appear on screen advising you that the test is now complete. Please ensure you complete Generic Knowledge Test plus your option(s) before leaving the test centre.

32. How will I know if I have been successful?

You will be notified if you have been successful or not by WAMITAB within 10 working days of the test. Candidates will need to correctly answer 50% or more of the questions in the Generic Knowledge Test section and 50% or more of the questions in each option(s) chosen and achieve an overall pass mark of 65%.

33. What happens if I am unsuccessful in the test?

If you need to achieve the test by 28 February 2014 you will need to consider scheduling a re-sit test if you do not pass within the timeframe, ideally before the 28 February 2014 deadline. However, you should note that your next renewal date will remain as 29 February 2016, even if you achieve the test after the 28 February 2014 deadline.  

34. If I fail do I get feedback on what I got wrong?

At the end of the test you will receive your score report which provides the scores for each component of the Generic Knowledge Test i.e. legislation, health and safety and environmental protection and the score for each option(s) taken.  If you are unsuccessful this should enable you to focus your learning for the subsequent test.  As the questions are chosen at random we will be unable to provide information on the specific questions that you did not answer correctly. 

35. If I pass when will I get my Continuing Competence certificate?

If successful your Continuing Competence certificate will be sent to you by post within 10 working days.

36. If I fail how do I rebook?

You go back to the booking section of the website using the right hand navigation - Schedule a test.

37. How can I comment or complain?

To comment or complain about the online booking service, please send an email to wamitabcustomerservices@pearson.com

If you have any comments about the structure or questions then please contact WAMITAB on info.admin@wamitab.org.uk

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