From the September 2023 exam session, some changes were introduced to the Strategic Business Leader (SBL) exam. This will include students having access to pre-seen material 2 weeks ahead of the exam.
To provide closer alignment to workplace skills and to ensure that the SBL exam continues to fully meet the needs of employers.
The pre-seen material will allow students to become familiar with the business activities of the case study organisation and the industry in which it operates. Providing important contextual information to help students better understand and apply the further information that will be contained within the exam exhibits.
Placing more emphasis within the exam on students being able to demonstrate their strategic thinking and professional skills rather than on reading exam content.
The pre-seen content will be made available 2 weeks ahead of the exam date on Exam Planner. Students will be emailed to confirm when the content is accessible and advised to read the content ahead of the exam.
Students should fully understand the activities of the fictitious organisation and the industry in which it operates, familiarising themselves with the terms and activities included. Planning ahead will help students better demonstrate professional skills in the exam and support stronger exam performance. Familiarity with the pre-seen material will help students both manage the exhibits, which will continue to be included within the exam, and save time.
Students may do some research to better understand the terminologies and activities of the industry and organisation. However, students do not need to do further research as all the relevant information will be contained either in the pre-seen material, or in the exam itself. The exam is based on a fictitious organisation and the tasks will relate to this organisation specifically and not to any general research that students may have undertaken independently
A number of other changes to the SBL exam are being implented from September 23. Details of these can be found by clicking each of the items below.
As much of the background information will now be provided in advance, the exam duration will be reduced from 4 hours to 3 hours and 15 minutes.
The exam will continue to contain exhibits which will present new information. However, the number of exhibits will be significantly reduced. The exhibits in the exam may take a variety of forms including memos, emails, briefing notes, interview extracts, web pages, financial reports etc. and students should use these to help them answer the exam tasks.
The exam will now have three compulsory tasks, with each task having a varying number of parts and total marks.
All five professional skills will continue to be tested and will still be worth 20 marks in total. However, due to the reduced number of tasks and exam time, each professional skill will be tested only once and will be worth 4 marks. There will no longer be 2- and 3-mark professional skills requirements.
The SBL exam will no longer be answered as a single requirement in one word document.
Each task (or part of the task requirement, where appropriate) will be completed as a separate requirement in a separate response option or options. As a result, the exam workspace area will look slightly different in that only one task will be shown at a time, and it will no longer be possible to view all tasks together.
The exam will continue to be an integrated case study with all requirements relating to a single case study scenario. Students will continue to be given a role or roles that they will assume as they carry out various tasks in the case study, with a focus on the application of knowledge and include strategic thinking, business direction and problem solving.
The exam remains closed book and will continue to have 80 technical marks and 20 professional skills marks. The content of the syllabus will largely remain the same, with some small changes to the study guide to provide increased clarity to some individual learning outcomes.
The quality, integrity and rigor of the exam remains the same.