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Examinations news and updates

The following dates relate to the release of Examination results so far this summer session 2020;

Trainees that sat theory units 3&4, 5,6,9,10,11 exams in July 2020 – Examination results will be sent out on Wednesday 19th August 2020, by 1st class post, to trainees ABDO mailing address.

Trainees that sat FQE Practical Exams on the 10th 11th & 12th August – Examination results will be sent out week commencing the 31st August 2020, by 1st class post, to trainees ABDO mailing address.

Trainees that sat PQE Practical Exams on the 17th,18th,19th,20 August – Examination results will be sent out week commencing the 31st August 2020, by 1st class post, to trainees ABDO mailing address.

Trainees sitting PQE and FQE Theory exams, week commencing the 24th August 2020 – Examination results will be sent out week commencing the 28th September 2020, by 1st class post, to trainees ABDO mailing address.

Trainees sitting Contact Lens Theory exams, week commencing the 24th August 2020 – Examination results will be sent out week commencing the 12th October 2020, by 1st class post, to trainees ABDO mailing address.

Trainees sitting PQE Practical exams during the first three weeks of   September – Examination results will be sent out week commencing the 12th October 2020, by 1st class post, to trainees ABDO mailing address.

Current Exam Information

We have been contacted by some students recently who have concerns that Birmingham could go into lockdown due to an increase in COVID-19 cases being picked up by the track and trace service.

We can assure you that we are monitoring the situation and taking advice direct from Birmingham City Council.

It is our understanding that in the event of a local lockdown travelling to work or education (including attending for exams) will still be permitted in the event of any local lockdown.  We will confirm the position immediately via email, on the exam website and through social media channels if a lockdown is announced.

Please note that the government has advised on how to travel safely adhering to the two metre rule and wearing a face mask.  We have also increased our infection, prevention and control measures within the NRC to provide a safe environment for all staff, examiners, students and patients.  Full PPE is provided and we have clearly marked 2 metre spaces throughout the NRC to support social distancing.

For those scheduled to take practical exams with us in the coming weeks, we are going ahead as planned.

If you do not feel comfortable sitting your exams and wish to postpone them please contact ABDO Exams on 01227 732921.

Current Exams Advice

The following advice relates to all examinations and associated function in light of the latest government advice regarding the Covid-19 virus. We recognise the situation may change in the near future, however, our objective is to continue with plans for examinations with an increased hygiene regime to keep all our candidates, staff, examiners and patients as safe as possible.

We ask that nobody present to any examinations if they feel at all unwell and are considering self-isolation on the day. If you are already self-isolating and the duration overlaps with the time of your examination, please advise us by email to and we will reschedule your assessments for a later date with the objective your qualification and subsequent registration are achieved as soon as possible once it is safe to do so for all concerned. We will request verification from your supervisor/employer of your self-isolation.

Theoretical Assessments

These have been re-scheduled for various dates in July/August. We are still planning to offer these assessments, although we will reduce numbers to conduct these in line with Government advice.

Practical Examinations

The PQE practical exams have now been re-scheduled for August/September.  The FQE practical exams  have now been re-scheduled for August through to December, if necessary.  We are planning for these to go ahead with lower numbers per day and enhanced hygiene regimes. If the government advice changes, we will postpone these practical exams until the situation changes and we are permitted to reschedule.

Practice visits

All practice visits have now resumed, in accordance within government guidelines for both visitors and practice staff alike.  If you previously had a practice visit booked, you will have been contacted by ABDO about re-scheduling this.  If you had applied to receive a practice visit, you will be contacted by ABDO.  It may be the case that the visit then takes place after your examinations which is temporarily permissible under the current circumstances.  If you have any queries regarding your practice visit, please contact Mark Chandler, Head of Examinations on 01227 732920 or email

Manufacturing visit tours

Most of our partners in industry have cancelled upcoming lab tours until further notice. For those students who have not completed their Case 51, if you were booked on a cancelled tour, you will be permitted to submit a researched assignment of 800 words in place of the tour. We will need a signed top sheet from the tour signatory in this case stating the tour was cancelled.

Alicia Thompson
Director of Professional Examinations


The Association of British Dispensing Opticians’ (ABDO) Exams and Registration department has been liaising with the General Optical Council on student supervision, due to the current situation with COVID – 19. The organisations have agreed temporary amendments to supervision arrangements.

The following measures have been agreed to assist students and supervisors regarding supervision due to extended periods of training and potential overlap with new trainees requiring supervision. The following is a temporary update to the supervisor/student ratios:

  • For the period of September 2020 to July 2021 only, pre-approved supervisors may oversee the training of a maximum of 3 GOC- registered students.
  • Supervisors will be required to notify the Examinations and Registration Department by email to for the appropriate declaration.
  • A pre-agreed extension will only be permitted where candidates were already registered to sit their assessments in April 2020 or Summer 2020
  • One of the 3 supervised candidates must have completed 80% of their PQP and ready to sit their final assessments as soon as is safe to do so.
  • If the final year candidate subsequently is unsuccessful in their assessments, the supervision extension will continue to the end of August 2021 to allow the full number of permitted re-sit attempts in that time.
  • If the final year student qualifies earlier than August 2021, the usual supervision rules of a maximum of 2 GOC registered trainees will be re-instated.
  • Supervisors must maintain the GOC supervision policy for all candidates that they have registered to supervise.

This applies only to final year students registered for the April 2020 or Summer 2020 ABDO assessments.

If you have any questions on the above points, please contact Mark Chandler, Head of Exams and Registration on 01227 732920 or at

For the Summer 2020 Certificate in Contact in Contact Lens Practice practical examination session, the case records requirements are those detailed in the 2018 Syllabus.

After that sitting and so for the Winter 2020 sitting (practical examinations to be held in January 2021), any candidate who is involved in a resit of Section 5 should be prepared for the case records requirements of the 2019 Syllabus as the 2019 Syllabus will apply to all contact lens practical sections and examinations in the Winter 2020 examinations, whether a retake or first attempt – and thereafter.

The CHANGES to the Section 5 Case Record requirements at Winter 2020 are:

  • An increase to TWO toric patients
  • An increase to TWO presbyopic patients
  • A decrease to TWO patients fitted with RGP lenses

As the first pair of lenses issued to any case records patients for the Winter 2020 examinations, is required to be issued by 31 MAY 2020, any candidate retaking Section 5 in the Winter 2020 practical examinations should be prepared to meet the change in requirements, by fitting the extra patients and issuing the lenses within the deadline of 31 May 2020.

The 2019 Syllabus gives full details of the theory and practical examinations including the full list of case record requirements. Copies of the 2019 syllabus (and the 2018 syllabus and a document detailing the changes) are available to download from the ABDO website ( information/contact lens exams).

For information

Guidance on the headings which it is felt should be part of new fittings and the consultations which follow, can be downloaded from the ABDO website. The most direct way to find them in the new website, is to use the ‘general search’ option on the home page – entering ‘contact lens records’ – and the lists should either be first or early in the list.

All candidates should be aware that – for all sittings – the requirement for aftercare is that the lenses are monitored over a period of six months: there is no requirement for a specific number of aftercare appointments or frequency, as they would vary according to the patient’s ocular status, lens type and lens wear.

For those planning to sit the practical examinations after the 2018 syllabus examinations have ceased, success in the contact lens theory examinations under the 2018 syllabus will be carried forward.  The seven-year rule will apply to any examination success whether under the 2018 syllabus or the 2019 syllabus.

Online applications are currently closed.  The next available session to apply for Dispensing and Contact Lens exams is the Summer 2021 session which will open in January 2021. To apply you must be logged in to the members area. Please use the following link which will take you to the examinations dashboard where you will see exams that you are eligible to apply for.