BCS examination: Pro paper is a big success

The new BCS Professional Examination has achieved instant success, with a 30% increase in candidate numbers over the previous...

The new BCS Professional Examination has achieved instant success, with a 30% increase in candidate numbers over the previous year, when the old exam was run, writes John Kavanagh

Demand has been such that the society is planning a pilot second sitting for the certificate in October to assess the potential of running two sessions for all the qualifications.

Refinements are now being made. The top qualification, the Advanced Diploma, has been renamed the Professional Graduate Diploma to reflect its status as the equivalent of a UK honours degree.

In addition, there are now exemptions from some Certificate and Diploma modules for holders of certain qualifications from bodies such as the BCS Information Systems Examinations Board, the National Computing Centre, the Institute for the Management of Information Systems, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and, from outside the UK, the Australian Computer Society.

"Until now, BCS exams have been held once a year, in April, but demand for the new exams, plus comments favouring more sittings, especially from outside the UK, is leading us to try an extra session," says development director Malcolm Sillars.

The new Professional Examination was launched last year after the biggest review of the society's exam system since its introduction 30 years ago.

There is now the Certificate, at HNC level, the Diploma, at HND level, and the Professional Graduate Diploma, at honours degree level.

"We redesigned the examinations programme after extensive consultation with industry, course providers, BCS members and potential candidates," says Elizabeth Hull, who chairs the BCS Professional Examination Board.

"One of the clear benefits for employers is that by encouraging their staff to undertake the new, more relevant qualification they show they are committed to their employees' continued professional development.

"For employees, the Professional Examination is a natural progression to their existing qualifications, and enhances career prospects.

"In addition, the new structure also makes it easier for employees to study without losing critical time on projects."

Sillars says the new BCS exam has already become recognised outside the UK and prized as equivalent to a UK degree. People overseas are well represented among the candidates.

It will therefore maintain the international popularity that the earlier exam scheme has had, especially in Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, which both have more than 1,000 BCS members, and in Mauritius.

Details of the new examinations scheme are available at www.bcs.org.uk/exam.htm, with a full list of exemptions.

  • The Certificate in IT for Insurance Professionals, launched jointly by the BCS and the Chartered Insurance Institute, has also proved an instant success, beating the target number of candidates by 50% in the first year.

  • Read more on IT jobs and recruitment