Upcoming changes to SBL exam

From the September 2023 exam session, some changes are being introduced to the Strategic Business Leader (SBL) exam. This will include students having access to an SBL Pre-seen, 2 weeks ahead of the exam.

What is the SBL Pre-seen

The SBL Pre-seen is a PDF document which will contain information about the business activities of the case study organisation and the industry in which it operates. The document provides important contextual information to help students better understand and apply the information that will be contained within the exhibits in the exam.

The SBL Pre-seen will be made available 2 weeks ahead of the exam date on Exam Planner. Students will be notified by email when the Pre-seen is available and advised to familiarise themselves with the content ahead of the exam.


Why we’re making 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 availability of the Pre-seen means there is more emphasis for on exam-day on students being able to demonstrate their strategic thinking and professional skills rather than on reading exam content.

Guidance for students

Plan ahead 

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 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 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 implemented 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.

What support is available?

We have lots of support resources within our SBL study resources area to support you with these changes.