About the NDB Exam

Known generally as “the NDB exam”, candidates for the National Diploma in Beekeeping actually undergo a number of assessments of different formats during the year of examination. Eligible candidates must usually hold the highest certificate of one of the National Beekeeping Associations of the British Isles.

NDB assessments are usually held in alternate years, the next being 2024. The theory paper is normally taken in the month of March, alongside the BBKA Module exams, and the practical examination in July or August, at a suitable venue, which has included locations in England & Scotland in the last few years.

2024 NDB Assessment dates

Applications will open for the 2024 exam around Dec 2024 for the next National Diploma in Beekeeping assessment. This is normally advertised on our website.

The theory exam will take place on March 2024 (TBC), with the practical assessment held on the weekend of July 2024 (TBC). The practical exam venue will be Gloucestershire (TBC). A hardship grant towards the examination fee is available, in confidence, using the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Composite Parts of the NDB examination

In order to be awarded the National Diploma in Beekeeping the candidate must have achieved a successful assessment in the following parts which comprise the NDB:

  • A three hour written paper
  • A written assignment on a topic provided
  • The preparation of a portfolio of beekeeping experience
  • The preparation of a portfolios of plants and insects of relevance to beekeepers
  • A practical assessment involving bee handling, disease recognition and general biology
  • A viva voce including a presentation on the written assignment and a short spontaneous presentation
  • It should be noted that the NDB is not a modular qualification and normally candidates are expected to be successful in all the constituent parts in the year of their assessment. The Board of the NDB reserves the right to use its discretion to vary this requirement.

Candidates are expected to have:

  • A good working knowledge of honey bee biology
  • Competent practical bee handling abilities in all situations
  • Expert colony reading skills
  • Ability to prepare and assess hive products
  • Disease diagnosis and knowledge of the appropriate remedies
  • An ability to communicate
  • Demonstrable training ability

Further Information

Further guidance is available on the skills and preparation required of candidates read more

Past papers, example topics for the written assignment, and guidance on the portfolio of beekeeping experience are available read more

Syllabus and plant list read more


Queries should be directed to the NDB using the form below.

All content copyright The National Diploma in Beekeeping Board.

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