Changes to the SBL exam

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.

Why we made these changes

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.

Guidance for students

Plan ahead

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.

No requirement for additional research

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

Other changes

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.

What is not changing

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.

Support and next steps