- 1 The CSCS
- 2 The CITB
- 3 What can I expect to see on my CSCS Managers and Professionals test paper?
- 4 What CSCS cards are linked to the CITB Managers and Professionals test?
- 5 How do I book my CSCS Managers and Professionals test?
- 6 How much does it cost?
- 7 What do I do if I have special requirements?
- 8 Is there anything I need to bring with me to the test centre?
- 9 Summary
Although this exam is commonly referred to as a ‘CSCS test’, it’s actually facilitated by the CITB. However, as the CITB is the parent organisation of the CSCS, these bodies are often referenced interchangeably. The test is primarily used to support applications for CSCS cards. These cards are used to identify a worker’s skill-set, experience, and capability level. Some trades have their own version of these cards, which help to highlight that an individual is capable of carrying out a specific job role.
The CSCS, or Construction Skills Certification Scheme, is a reputable, industry-recognised programme. The overwhelming majority of construction companies accept CSCS cards as legitimate proof of worker competence, aligned to the qualifying criteria of the specific card in question. Therefore, if you’re in a possession of a CSCS card, you can confidently assume that this will help to support a construction-related job application.
Importance to employers
It is not mandatory to own a CSCS card in order to gain access to a construction site. However, most employers will make holding a valid, relevant CSCS card a compulsory requirement. This is due to two main reasons. Firstly, it allows on-site leadership teams to allocate tasks with efficiency. CSCS cards are characterised by colour, and therefore offer a visual illustration of what type of skills a worker is equipped with. Therefore, supervisors and managers can avoid asking under-trained or inexperienced workers to complete works that require an advanced level of technical awareness. This mitigates the risk of a worker causing injury or harm by adopting an inadequate or non-compliant approach. Furthermore, it helps to deliver a better quality of project, as this enables the right workers, to be tasked with the right duties, at the right time.
Secondly, it demonstrates that the employer is committed to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations. This legislative act, established in 2015, demands that employers facilitate safe and compliant workplaces for their members of staff. The CSCS card proves that workers have been appropriately trained in their chosen field of discipline, and can carry out their roles to industry compliance standards. Therefore, ensuring that all workers are in possession of a CSCS card, helps to show that a company is promoting safety values.
The CITB, or Construction Industry Training Board, are an extremely well-respected organisation within the building and construction sector. Their chief objective is to drive quality standards throughout the industry, which they seek to achieve via a number of different initiatives. The CITB distribute learning materials and resources and facilitate training courses and qualifications. They also establish fair testing criteria, which helps industry stakeholders accurately measure the capabilities of workers.
The CSCS Managers and Professionals assessment is part of a specific series of CITB testing. This is known as the Health, Safety, and Environment Test(s). There are two other exams within this suite of testing, known as the Operatives and Specialists tests. These are also designed for workers hoping to qualify for a specific type of CSCS card. However, neither of these tests is aimed at individuals looking to immediately acquire a management position. We will discuss these alternate two tests later on.
This article focuses on the content, structure, and format of the Managers and Professionals test. Furthermore, it provides information on which CSCS card schemes are linked to this specific assessment. There is also discussion on the exam booking process, how to approach your test day, and the costs involved. We’ve even included a mock test for you to try at the conclusion of this article. This offers you a great opportunity to get to grips with the question style, and refine your approach prior to the ‘real’ test.
For reference, this assessment is often referred to in the industry as the ‘MAP’ test. Therefore, this acronym will be used on occasion throughout the text.
What can I expect to see on my CSCS Managers and Professionals test paper?
The Managers and Professionals test is regarded as the most challenging assessment out of the three exams present within this testing series. It includes the vast majority of content covered in the Operatives and Specialists exam, plus incorporates some additional, exclusively management-based questions. Every CITB Health, Safety, and Environment test is centred around five core areas of focus, all of which have fundamental importance to health and safety practices on construction sites. These topics are as follows:
- Legal and Management
- Health and Welfare
- General safety
- High-risk activities
The Operatives test, which is the least difficult assessment, and aimed at members of the general workforce, is solely focused on these subject areas. The Specialists test includes questions on these topics, but also possesses a host of Specialists sections. The section that the delegate answers is entirely dependent on the CSCS card they’re applying for, and by extension therefore the occupation they’re either targeting or already in. The list below details each of the Specialists sections:
- Supervisory (SUP)
- Demolition (DEM)
- Plumbing (JIB-PLUM)
- Highway works (HIW)
- Working at height (WAH)
- Lifts and escalators (LAEE)
- Tunnelling (TUNN)
- HVACR: Heating and plumbing services (HAPS)
- HVACR: Pipefitting and welding (PFW)
- HVACR: Ductwork (DUCT)
- HVACR: Refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAAC)
- HVACE: Service and facilities maintenance (SAF)
Therefore, as an example, if you are a current or prospective supervisor, hoping to acquire a gold supervisor’s card, you would undertake the ‘supervisory’ section of this assessment. Similarly, if you are looking to attain a plumber blue skilled worker card, you would need to provide responses on questions contained in the ‘Plumbing’ section.
MAP test specifics
The Managers and Professionals test will include a cross-section of questions pulled from this list of subjects above, and, as referenced, the five key focus areas. In addition to this, candidates will need to answer advanced questions on three other topics. These questions will relate to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, Demolition, and Highway Works. Please note that questions associated with the latter two subjects will be suitably more challenging than the ones presented for the same two categories in the ‘specialist’ exam.
Structure and Format
The test is in multiple-choice format. There are 50 questions in total which assess your level of technical understanding. You’ll receive 45 minutes in order to complete this exam. Therefore you’ll have just less than one minute per question to provide your response. This timeframe may feel tight, but it should provide you with ample space to comfortably complete your assessment.
The pass mark for this exam is 92%. Therefore, you’ll need to answer 46 out of 50 questions correctly in order to successfully navigate this test. This is one mark higher than what is required to pass the other two assessments in this testing series. Therefore, this test is not only more challenging, but also requires you to register a better score!
Please note that the CITB regularly reviews its question sets. This is delivered with the aim of ensuring tests stay relevant, and reflect current ways of working in the industry.
We would highly recommend that you engage in a solid revision schedule prior to taking this exam. Remember, without a CITB ‘MAP’ test pass certificate, you’ll be able to unable to apply for a high-graded CSCS card (one exception to this rule does exist in relation to applying for ‘white’ CSCS cards. More on this to follow).
Therefore, it’s imperative that you prepare thoroughly, as failing this exam will undermine your chances of acquiring the card you want. Clearly, this can have adverse effects on your immediate job prospects, and could also cause significant frustration for you or your employer. However, please don’t panic!
Providing you prepare for this test accordingly, there should be no issue in gaining your certificate. There are plenty of useful revision tools available online, and, as mentioned, we’ve posted a mock test for you to try. It’s impossible to generate the real emotions you’ll feel on your test day, but taking a mock test is a great way to try and re-create a little bit of nervous energy, and get you fully across the structure and content of the assessment prior to sitting your exam.
Approaching the exam in the right way
Please ensure that you read every single question thoroughly. This is particularly important in the MAP test, as many questions use complex language and advanced industry terminology. Furthermore, some questions may ask you to provide more than one answer. They’re also could be instances whereby you’ll need to state what is not the right course of action as opposed to what is, which is often a style of questioning that catches candidates out.
Lastly, make sure you answer each and every question! Even if you have no clue what the answer is, hazarding an educated guess is always the best option. These ‘guessed’ answers could result in you earning those vital additional one or two points needed to pass your test. You’ll never lose marks for getting something wrong!
There are two CSCS card schemes which require applicants to pass a MAP test before they can hope to acquire their cards. These are the black and white CSCS card programmes.
Black CSCS Card
The black manager’s card is reserved for those occupying on-site management positions, or those operating within a senior leadership capacity. A black card is recognised as the highest grade of card available, and therefore has substantially challenging qualifying criteria.
Black cardholders have significant accountability and are usually ultimately responsible for the safety and welfare of their teams. They’ll work closely with clients to establish project briefs and agree on budgeting levels. Furthermore, in conjunction with their supervisor’s direct reports, they’ll preside over the general, day-to-day operation of construction sites. Black cards are valid for five years, and membership in this scheme can be renewed towards the end of this validity period.
White CSCS Card(s)
There are two types of white CSCS cards available. These are the Academically Qualified Person’s (AQP) Card, and the Professionally Qualified Person’s card (PQP Card). These schemes are for individuals entering new fields, but who have already received an advanced level of training within a closely associated discipline. Therefore, although experience in their current setting is minimal, it’s assumed that these individuals will move onto a position in the industry befitting their depth of general technical knowledge and awareness.
The Academically Qualified People’s (AQP) Card is for those who have successfully gained a further education qualification, and can therefore demonstrate they are capable of understanding complex and challenging themes and practices. This can be shown through achieving an HND, HNC, CIOB or NEBOSH diploma, or a BSc/MSc degree.
Conversely, the Professionally Qualified Person’s (PQP) Card is earmarked for those affiliated with a suitable professional body. These bodies afford a membership to individuals who are highly skilled in their field, and regularly assess whether their members are maintaining pace with the latest rules and regulations present in their chosen trade. However, please note that in order to successfully apply for this CSCS card, the organisation you’re affiliated with must be included on the CSCS’ approved list of professional bodies. There are 65 on this list in total, so hopefully, if keen to apply for this card, your organisation will be on there! You can find the comprehensive list of CSCS-approved professional bodies here.
The function of a white card is to ensure that its holder gains access to a construction site, without needing to be fully trained in the trade or discipline they’ve recently moved across to. In essence therefore, white cards are a type of training card, and just deployed as a stop-gap measure. Each white card programme facilitates a validation period of five years. However, as it’s expected you’ll have completed your initial training in your new discipline by this stage, and therefore be subsequently in a position to apply for alternate card schemes, the CSCS does not permit membership renewal to this programme. There’s no point continuing you on a training card pass if you’re no longer a trainee!
In the unlikely case that you’re unable to complete your studies within this permitted timeframe, you’ll need to consider progressing your career through an alternative route. This would likely be via an alternate card programme.
If you’re unsure about which CSCS card to apply for, then, by default, you’ll also be unsure as to which CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test to take. The best way to select the most appropriate card for you, is by utilising the CSCS’ Card Finder Tool. To use this platform, simply enter in either your current occupation, or the qualifications that you’ve earned to date, and the tool will direct you towards which card is most suitable. If you would prefer to talk through with someone, you can the CITB directly to discuss your card query. You’ll be able to speak to a dedicated CITB test advisor on 0344 994 4488. Alternatively, you can write to the CITB via e-mail at the following address, email@example.com
There is also the extremely useful ‘Types of cards’ page located on the official CSCS website. This provides a comprehensive overview of each card, their respective qualifying criteria, and therefore which CSCS test you’ll need to take in order to apply for that scheme.
When renewing your black CSCS card, you’ll need to re-take the CITB Managers and Professionals test. This is because the card’s qualification criteria demand that all applicants have passed this assessment within the two years prior to the date of application. Indeed, all card schemes demand their renewal applicants to re-take the appropriate version of the CSCS test. The only exception to this rule occurs within the various white and red card programmes. Much like white cards, red cards are fundamentally in place for training purposes. Therefore, on completion of the required courses, there is no reason to continue being in possession of any of these cards. For this reason, neither card is eligible for renewal.
As previously mentioned, in the context of applying for a white CSCS card, there is one route available that involves not having to take the MAP test.
If you’ve already navigated the CIC Health & Safety module, you will not need to take the CSCS Managers and Professionals test when lodging your application for either an Academically Qualified Person’s (AQP) Card, or Professionally Qualified Person’s (PQP) Card. This is because acquiring this qualification demonstrates that you’ve already demonstrated a high enough level of health & safety knowledge in order to operate as a white card holder. However, please note that this exemption does not apply to black card applications. In this instance, you’ll always need to conduct the CSCS ‘MAP’ test when either applying for or renewing this card.
How do I book my CSCS Managers and Professionals test?
The easiest way to book your assessment is through the CITB’s online booking service. To register for this, you’ll need to set up a Pearson VUE account. Once you’ve gained access to the platform, you’ll then be able to book and manage your test appointment slot. You can also organise your assessment over the phone, by using the same telephone number as provided earlier. Please note that this line is operational between 8.00am-8.00pm, Monday-Friday, and 8.00am-12.00pm on Saturdays. A number of local Internet Test Centre’s, authorised by the CITB to host this assessment, can also be contacted directly to make a booking.
If you’re currently undertaking a learning module facilitated by a private course facilitator, they may offer to book this assessment on your behalf. However, please be aware that this may form part of a general service package, which comes with an additional charge. Therefore, it’s worth reviewing whether it’s more cost-effective to book your test independently.
How much does it cost?
The standard fee for the CSCS, providing you book directly through the Construction Industry Training Board, is £22.50. If you’ve taken advantage of this option, you’ll also be able to amend your testing slot up to 72 hours prior to your assessment, completely free of charge. If you need to make changes to your arrangements, but have booked via an Internet Test Centre or through a private learning provider, you’ll need to consult their terms and conditions to check whether you’ll be hit with an additional fee when doing this.
Unfortunately, you cannot currently take this assessment online. Therefore, you’ll need to report to one of the CITB’s approved testing centres. There are various centres located right across the UK, so you shouldn’t have an issue finding a test venue nearby. All partner test centres can be found here.
What do I do if I have special requirements?
The CITB and CSCS will always endeavour to support those with additional needs. Whether that’s helping those who are yet to develop their English skills, supporting those who require reading and writing assistance, or ensuring that accessibility options are in place for disabled candidates, these organisations have various services in place to aid delegates.
For the full list of services offered, please head to the following CITB webpage. To access the relevant information, you’ll need to scroll down to the bottom of this page. It’s important to be aware that not all of these services are available for all three of the different CITB Health, Safety, and Environment test versions. Therefore, please ensure you check what support is available for your specific test before speaking to the CITB.
In any instance where you’re provided with support from an accompanying individual, you’ll be given a private room to conduct your test. You’ll also be given some extra time to complete the exam. In certain situations, you may be asked to provide evidence of your condition, or confirm the reasons for requesting an additional service. However, please don’t be concerned, as this is a routine procedure put in place by the Construction Industry Training Board. This requirement is included in order to ensure they’re providing the correct, specific service for you.
If you’d like to discuss something that isn’t included on the current list of support services, you can reach out directly to the CITB’s dedicated Special Assistance Team. You can do this by calling 0344 994 4491 and speaking to an advisor about your particular request. Alternatively, you send your query to them in writing, by sending a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there anything I need to bring with me to the test centre?
To take the test, you’ll need to have the original copy of either your passport or driving license with you. This can be no longer than six months out-of-date.
If you do not own either of these affects, then you’ll be asked to provide two alternative forms of ID. This must include one item from both of the separate lists referenced below.
- Non-UK Driving License
- Passport without signature
- Work ID Card
- EU Country Card
- CITB Scheme Card
- Student ID card
- Citizen’s Card
- Trade Union Card
- Credit Card
- Debit Card
- Paper Driving Licence
- UK Travel Document
- Inland Revenue Card
- National Insurance Card (or HMRC letter with National Insurance number included)
- B79 Notification of Discharge Letter
- Bank Statement
- Building Society Passbook
- Cheque Guarantee Card
Please note that failure to produce the relevant ID will result in you not being able to take your test. Furthermore, you will also not be eligible for a refund. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to bring the appropriate documents with you on test day!
In order to gain a black or white CSCS card, you must pass the the CSCS Managers and Professionals test within the two years prior to your application date. However, as mentioned, one exemption does apply for those specifically targeting either the white ‘AQP or ‘PQP’ schemes.
This is the toughest exam out of the three assessments included in the Health, Safety, and Environment testing series. Therefore, please make sure you’ve gained the right experience, and have developed suitable skills, before opting to take this exam.
Please also ensure you’re completely aware of the test’s booking process, as this will support you to organise your test efficiently. Remember, the CSCS and CITB are keen to support any candidate who has special requirements. Therefore, providing these organisations have the apparatus to support you, any request will be accommodated accordingly. Lastly, don’t forget to bring a valid form(s) of ID with you to the test centre!
If you require any further information on this specific test, we would recommend you contact the CITB. You can do this by using the first set of CITB contact details provided. Alternatively, you may want to liaise with your course tutor, or a trusted industry professional.
If you’re planning to take your CSCS Managers and Professionals test soon, we wish you the best of luck, and hope it helps you to acquire the CSCS card you’re targeting!