Direct-to-Full Exam – Survey Results to 14 March 2021

Essex Ham is currently running a survey about the UK exam system, mainly focussing on the RSGB’s proposal for a Direct-to-Full exam.

Below is a summary of the results from 1353 respondents (data from 22 Feb 2021 to 7pm 14 Mar 2021). A copy of this has been submitted to the RSGB ESC and ESWG for consideration as part of their consultation.

We’d like to thank everyone who has taken part in the survey, and those who contributed to the survey questions and testing.

Survey Headlines:

  • 85.8% of respondents supported the introduction of “Direct to Full” (27.5% with some reservations)
    • The largest reservations were “Staged learning (over a period of time) is a better approach”, with 38.6% and “Direct-to-Full should have a practical element” at 38.1%
  • The subject of ‘practical assessments’ was the most controversial. The current 3-tier system mandates 7 practicals (temporarily suspended due to Covid) and involves hands-on experience on the journey to Full. Direct-to-Full has no practical element. 39.7% of respondents felt that both routes should have practicals, and 28.5% feeling that neither route should have practicals.
  • 67.2% of respondents felt that the syllabus content was appropriate
  • 75.8% of respondents felt that Direct to Full would be popular
  • When asked “if you were taking your first exam today, which option would you prefer?”, the response was that 70.9% would take the exam online at home, compared with 29.1% preferring the club route.
    • 37.4% of respondents indicated that they would prefer an online Direct-to-Full exam from home. This indicates a perhaps higher-than-expected level of interest in Direct-to-Full.
  • 46.3% thought that existing Foundation licence holders may use this new exam to go straight to Full, bypassing Intermediate. Research by two groups indicates this may be an easier route to a Full licence.
  • Only 15% of trainers who responded thought their club would offer training for Direct-to-Full.

Full Survey Results

Findings from the Essex Ham exam survey are in the document below. The PDF contains a 6-page summary of data from 1,353 respondents, and an appendix containing 79 pages of text comments from participants.

Syllabus Comparison Breakdown

A breakdown of Direct-to-Full syllabus items, comparison table and results of a “Foundation-to-Full” scenario can be found in the PDF document below.

If you have any comments, please add them below.


Exam Comparison Table

  2020 Three-tier Proposed Direct-to-Full 2003 RAE 7650
Number of exams 3 1 1
Exam Duration 4 hours and 30 minutes (excluding practicals) 2 hours and 30 minutes 2 hours and 15 minutes
Questions 130 (26 + 46 + 58) 75 80
Practicals 7 assessed practicals None None


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