Wednesday, 4 June 2014

If You Are Waiting for Professional Examination Results...

This post is specifically for those who attended the March 2014 sitting of the Professional Examination and are still waiting for results.  On behalf of all of us at PSB, I apologize for the delays.

We received an e-mail today (June 4) from someone who called us on the fact we haven't communicated about the status of our marking process for this sitting.  We are obviously running behind schedule, and should have communicated this earlier.

Our Process

As you know, the Examination is currently written long-hand.  This is, as several people have noted in their survey responses, a hardship for those sitting the Examination.  It also makes marking more difficult for Examiners.  Finally, it adds time to our process - we have to courier the papers to the Examiners and they have to courier them back to us.  This may not sound like it should make a difference, but it can add six to twelve days to our total turnaround time.  We did scan papers in for the September 2013 sitting, but Examiners commented that the scans were more difficult to read and work with than the hard copies so, for March 2014, we were back to couriering hard copies.

Each paper is marked at least twice and, in the event the first two Examiners disagree, it goes out for a third, determinative, marking.  Our volunteer Examiners want to ensure they mark fairly, so they are careful in reviewing each paper.  This takes time, but is a better process than rushing to complete marking and giving grades that do not accurately reflect the quality of the papers.

We turn the papers around as quickly as possible after we receive them from the Examiners.  As noted, however, each paper receives at least two markings, and some receive three.

How We Are Addressing the Delays

Marking Process

Changes to this process, unfortunately, will not benefit those who sat the Examination this past March.  We can't change the number of markings each paper requires - this is in the standard and is, in any case, a good quality control mechanism.

We expect that, starting with September 2014, Candidates and Candidate/Provisional members will be able to write the Examination on their laptops.  We have identified software that locks out all other computer functions and permits you to upload your completed papers directly to a secure server.  We will then download them and e-mail them to the Examiners - this makes it easier for those writing the Examination and for our Examiners, and also eliminates courier delays.

We will be conducting our regular Examiners' debrief once all the marks from this sitting have been released, and will focus on ways we can make the marking process easier and faster.

We have traditionally waited until all papers were received from a particular "round" of marking.  This makes it easier for us to monitor the process.  However, for this sitting, for papers needing a third marking, we sent them out as soon as we received them instead of holding them.  Starting in September, we will apply this to all rounds.


Starting now, we will keep you advised on a regular basis of the status of the marking process through this blog.  Until we can predict, with confidence, the duration of the marking process, we will be revising the website ( appropriately to indicate that our target is fifty days, but, because it is difficult to guarantee a specific turnaround, Candidates and Candidate/Provisional members should check this blog for progress updates .

On behalf of all of us at PSB, we appreciate your patience with this process.  We are always looking for ways of improving it and welcome your comments on how we can continue to do so - please e-mail me at