Who is the Awarding Body?
The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) are the awarding body for the courses you can study with us. They are nationally accredited qualifications and are recognised throughout the industry and will prove to your employer that you have achieved excellence in the relevant subject.
When are the examinations?
In order to achieve the qualification at the end of your course you will need to take an examination. Currently the WCSM offer the examinations twice a year, usually in December and June. You can take the examination when you wish and you should only do it when you are sure you are ready and have learnt all the material in the course. You may if you wish take the examinations in stages, for example by sitting the mandatory units in June and the optional units you have chosen in December. There is no restriction on this, only that you must have passed all the units of the qualification within three years of the first time you took the examination.
Preparing for the examinations
If you have not studied for a long time, it is also possible you have not taken an examination since school and we all remember how scary they were! But don’t worry, here at Insight Optical Training we will do everything we can to prepare you to pass first time. Remember you take the examination only when you feel you are ready. Make sure you do all the self test quizzes and submit the assignments at the end of each module, and make a note of any feedback given by your tutor. Use the revision flashcards and practice examinations to help you prepare. If you still feel you need more practice or there is something not going in, then please contact your tutor for further support.
How to do I apply?
The examinations are conducted by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) on behalf of the WCSM, so in order to register for the examination, you will need to complete the application form and pay the fee to them. Application forms along with the fees and the dates are available on their website. Fees for the examinations are set by ABDO and you will need to pay when you register.
Where are the examinations carried out?
If you are taking a Level 2 or 3 examination you can take it online in your place of work. This saves you time out of the practice and you will take the same examination as everyone else, and at the same time. There is some software to load but ABDO will guide you through the process.
If you are taking a Level 4 examination you will need to attend one of the venues to take it in written form. If you doing a Level 2 or 3 examination you can also select this option if you wish, maybe computers are not your thing! ABDO will usually offer a venue in London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast, but please check their website for confirmed venues when booking for your examination.
If you are taking the Level 4 Diploma for Optical Technicians second year examinations, you will also need to attend the practical examination day as well as the written theory examinations. The practical examination is usually done at ABDO College in Godmerhsam, Kent, the examinations team at ABDO will confirm this for you when you register.
What do I have to do to pass?
In order to achieve the qualification you must get 50% in each unit. Should you fail any unit, you will only need to resit that unit, not the whole examination. Results are sent to you in the post usually about 8 weeks after the examinations by the WCSM. Certificates are presented in a special ceremony in October each year and you can find out more about this on the WCSM website.