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What procedure do I follow to write a FGASA Theory Examination?

The FGASA theory examination


  • The FGASA theory examination is an assessment tool used to determine your theoretical knowledge pertaining to the different levels of guiding qualifications. 
  • Examination sittings are held four times per year in centres throughout South Africa.
  • Some centres (indicated on the exam application form) are used frequently, but others are arranged on an ad hoc basis to suit candidates as best as we can with the facilities available.
  • Normally, all theoretical evaluations take place at 10h00.  (Times at individual venues may change – you will be informed of any changes)
Each national sitting examination has a closing date for entry (1 month before the examination date).  Please ensure that you send in your application and payment for the relevant examination before the closing date.

NOBODY will be allowed to apply for a National FGASA theory examination after the closing date.  The closing date is one month before the set examination date.  The closing dates are made available well in advance.

Process to follow when applying to write a theory examination:

  • Paid-up members can register online for the FGASA Field Guide (NQF2) exam only, OR
  • Download the examination application form from the FGASA website.

  • The examination application form can be filled in at the Johannesburg office,

  • It can be sent to you via fax or email on request.
  • Complete the examination application form by filling out all the required details.
  • Pay the FGASA examination fee into the FGASA account. (Refer to Point 3 of this section)
  • Email the examination application form and proof of payment for the examination to the FGASA office (

Confirmation of the examination venue

Candidates are urged to check the FGASA website or to phone the office 10 days before the exam to confirm the venue and time of the exam, especially if they are not writing at one of the established centres. 

Members who have cell phone numbers indicated on their profile will be notified by SMS.


If for some reason a candidate must cancel an exam session written notice must be sent to the Johannesburg office, the exam fee will be transferred to the next available exam session. However, if the FGASA Johannesburg office is not informed beforehand, the examination fee will be forfeited and the candidate must pay again for the next theory examination.

It is FGASA policy NOT to make old examination papers available.  The type of exam questions you can expect at the different levels under each module can be found in the FGASA workbooks / study guides.

The Advanced Field Guide and Specialist Field Guide theory examination

The writing of the Advanced Field Guide (NQF4) theory examination is dependent on 

firstly, having attained a full FGASA Field Guide (NQF2) qualification (both theory and practical competence), and
secondly you must have logged a minimum of 1 year (260 days) of active guiding experience before you can apply for the exam. (Logged days in your logbook need to have been verified and signed off by your mentor and the FGASA office) Of these days, 130 days can be logged as non-guiding activities, such as mentored guiding, anti-poaching, tracking, rhino monitoring, etc.
The writing of the Specialist Field Guide theory examination is dependent on

firstly, having attained a full FGASA Advanced Field Guide (NQF4) qualification (both theory and practical competence),
secondly, you must have logged a minimum of 2 years (520 days) of active guiding experience before you can apply for the exam (verified and signed off by the FGASA office).
You can write the theory examination before completing the required workbooks, however it is recommended that you complete Workbook No.1 before writing the examination as this prepares you for the theory examination.
However, to be eligible for the Specialist Field Guide practical assessment you must have successfully completed all the relevant workbooks and these must have been verified and signed off by your assessor.  (Your assessor will send confirmation of competence for the workbooks when submitting the practical assessment sheets to the FGASA office for moderation)
You also need to have completed the birding slide and sound examination, as well as the birding practical assessment before the practical takes place.
Upon proof of extensive guiding experience (logged), a candidate may ask special permission to write the Advanced Field Guide or the Specialist Field Guide theory examination directly. This may be granted on condition that, should the candidate not prove competent, he/she must then go back and complete the FGASA Field Guide (NQF2) theory examination and practical assessment.

General theory examination information

Oral examinations

  • The opportunity to be examined for the theoretical component by means of an oral examination is granted to individuals who cannot read or write. 
  • The oral examinations will however not take place on the same day as the FGASA National theory examination sittings. 
  • You will need to apply separately to the FGASA office with valid reasons if you want to undergo an oral assessment for the Field Guide (NQF2) theory examination. 
  • The date for an oral examination will depend on the availability of an examiner in your area of operation, however generally these are held at the FGASA office in Johannesburg. 
  • As some degree of literacy is essential to get to the FGASA Specialist Field Guide, oral evaluations will normally be restricted to Field Guide (NQF2) and Advanced Field Guide (NQF4).
  • Oral evaluations will be more a case of the assessor helping with the interpretation of questions, while a FGASA Specialist Field Guide candidate must be literate enough to complete the evaluation in writing. 
Special examination sittings

  • The FGASA endorsed training providers are entitled to request a special theoretical examination sitting to be held at their premises at the end of each course that they offer.
  • Learners still need to go through the process of application if they are attending a course offered by a FGASA endorsed training provider if they want to write a special examination.
  • It is important that you ensure that the training provider you are being trained by confirms with the FGASA office that you are eligible to write this examination.
  • Other special examination sittings can be arranged depending on how many learners there are at the specific venue. Special examination sittings may be held in the Johannesburg office on request and adequate reasons provided.
  • If you are permitted to write a special examination sitting and you do not pass you may not write another special sitting for the same Level. You will have to apply and re-write the examination at the next available FGASA National examination date.
How do I get my Theory Examination Results?

For all qualifications that require a theory assessment, the examination papers from the various regions are returned to the office where they are marked, moderated and the marks entered onto the FGASA database.

Only then can the latest examination results be released. FGASA has 20 examination venues in South Africa, and it takes time to get all the answer sheets back to the Johannesburg office, marked and moderated.
This process takes three weeks. Examination results will then be published on the FGASA website under the member profile and can only be accessed if the member is currently paid up.

Please do not phone the Johannesburg office for examination results before a period of four weeks after a theory examination date. [Note that the final results can only be made available from the Johannesburg office after all examination papers have been marked and moderated].

In principle all examination papers with percentages between 69% and 74% are remarked during the moderation process. If you get 72% for an evaluation, for example, you can be assured that the moderator has done all he/she can to increase the marks by checking ambiguous questions, etc. but simply cannot find and allocate more marks for your answers.


Each candidate may write a theory exam 3 times only.  If, after the third attempt, you are still declared incompetent for your theory exam, then you will be allowed to sit one oral exam at the FGASA offices. 

  • You cannot just request to do an oral exam unless
  1. You can prove you are dyslexic and this is problematic.
  2. You can prove that you have a learning disability.
  • If you are found incompetent after sitting for an oral exam, you will not be allowed to write any further exams with FGASA