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Theory Exam FAQs

Who can take the exams?

  • Anyone who is an ordinary member of the CSVS
  • Clinical vascular scientists aspiring for AVS
  • Vascular researches, nurses, surgeons etc who want to test their theoretical knowledge

When can I take the exam?

Every month there is one exam date giving you the flexibility of choosing 12 different dates across the year. The time of the exams will vary throughout the day to allow you flexibility to fit it around your training and personal commitments. You must apply to sit your exam no less than 10 days before your intended exam date. For example, should you wish to sit your exam on July 16th, you must have paid and therefore registered to sit the exam by midnight of July 6th.

Where can I take the exam?

The exams are taken electronically via any PC (at home/work) via an online proctoring system preventing the need to travel to a test centre. This is a secure online proctored system which ensures you can complete the exam in a similar way to the way you would in a test centre environment.

How much is the exam?

The cost is £125 for each exam taken. You must be a current ordinary member of the CSVS in order to take these exams.

How do I register for the exam?

The exam will be conducted using an online platform provided by the company Mercer Mettl. To register for the exam, please go to the ‘Apply for Theory Exams’ page on the CSVS website: Once you have paid for your exam you will receive a confirmation email of it being successfully processed. Once payment has been successfully processed, the theory exam team will send you the link to access your exam with Mercer Mettl (the online theory exam provider) and further important links on how to ensure you are set up to sit the exam.

How can I prepare prior to the exam?

  • Revise using the 'Exam Syllabus & Recommended Reading' page on the website and by attending the annual revision day organised by the CSVS. The revision dates are communicated by the CSVS on the website and by email.
  • Both exams are to be completed on a laptop/computer. N.B. A SECURE BROWSER HAS TO BE INSTALLED PRIOR TO THE EXAM. MANY NHS TRUST LAPTOPS/COMPUTERS HAVE FIREWALLS WHICH PREVENT DOWNLOAD AND INSTALLATION OF THIS BROWSER. It is strongly recommended to complete the exams on a personal laptop or computer to prevent issues with download and installation.
  • Once registered for an exam, download the Mercer Mettl secure browser as soon as possible. The download link will be provided to you when you are registered for the exam. It is advised to download the secure browser at least 5 days prior to the test. This browser is essential for the test and cannot be completed without it (it prevents candidates from using any other browser during the test).
  • A camera and microphone are essential for test completion as an online proctor (invigilator) will review your room prior to the exam and watch you throughout the exam to ensure the test is completed under strict test conditions.
  • For further information and support you can also visit the Mercer Mettl pages using the following links (these will also be sent to you by the theory exam team upon exam registration):

Mercer | Mettl Help Center

Mercer Mettl Helpdesk | Taking an assessment Knowledge Center

Mercer Mettl Helpdesk | Troubleshooting Knowledge Center

  • You will be sent an examination pack by the theory exam team that includes 2 sheets of paper and a pen (for noting down equations and working out calculations etc). This is to be opened on the day of the exam ONLY, when instructed to do so by the proctor.

Additional requirements?

The CSVS recognise that some exam candidates will need to apply for extra time in their CSVS theory exams. We offer a standard 25% extra time for specific reading and/or writing impairments such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD and dyspraxia.

The exams are usually conducted over a 2 hour and 30 minute time period. With a 25% increase you will be allowed 3 hours and 7.5 minutes. Extra time allowance is not to be confused with supervised rest breaks.

To be eligible for the extra time you will need to provide certified documentation/evidence of your needs for extra time. You will be required to send this by email to the Theory Exam Officers at least 14 days prior to your exam date.

Contact details for the above, and for any other queries, can be found below/at the end of this FAQ document.

How to reschedule an exam?

To reschedule the date/time of your examination please email the theory exam team at least 10 days prior to your exam date. In the event of emergency where you are unable to sit the exam on the day, please email the theory exam team as soon as you are able. Contact details are at the end of this FAQ document.

Cancelling an exam?

To cancel your examination please email the theory exam team at least 10 days prior to your exam date. In the event of emergency where you are unable to sit the exam on the day, please email the theory exam team as soon as you are able. Questions regarding the refund policy should be directed to the relevant email for your exam:  or

What to expect in the exam?

On the day of the exam:

You will need to access the exam link 15-30 minutes prior to the exam start time to allow for ID and room checks to be completed.

Your room needs to be clear of all paper work, study books, pens, notes, mobile devices, calculators etc. All that is permitted is:

  • ID (valid forms of ID are a driving license or passport).
  • Laptop/computer with a single screen (additional screens must be shown to be unplugged).
  • CSVS exam pack. Only to be opened when instructed to do so by the proctor. 
  • Water in a clear plastic bottle with no labels, or a clear glass.
  • Table/desk and chair.

A complete review of your room will take place prior to the proctor beginning your exam. Any delays in clearing your room may result in a missed exam, as entry to the exam will only be granted once the room satisfies the exam conditions. Late entry will not be permitted.

During your exam:

Each theory exams lasts 2 hours 30 minutes and consists of 100 multiple choice questions.

No one is allowed to enter your room during the exam – consider putting an ‘Exam in progress’ sign on your door.

A scientific calculator is available on screen during your exam. No personal calculators are permitted.

You can flag questions as you progress through the exam, to allow you to navigate back to them conveniently.

Skipping questions is permitted.

There may be images or short videos (cineloops) shown with a related question.

Instances which result in exam termination:

Use of a mobile device – instant termination

Use of a personal calculator – instant termination

Attempting to open another web browser – instant termination

Attempting to plug in an additional screen– instant termination

Detection of someone entering the room - this may result in a warning or instant termination, at the discretion of the invigilator.

After your exam:

You will be emailed your exam mark within 5 days of sitting the exam.

Exam Scoring

You will receive your score reports within 5 days of sitting the exam. The primary test result will be a PASS or FAIL decision. In addition, you will receive a percentage score. You need a percentage score of 70% or more to PASS the exam.

A successful pass in a theory exam is valid for 5 years if then wanting to go on to apply for the practical exam. There is possibility of extending this validity due to extenuating circumstances. For example, maternity leave may be added on to the 5 year period up to a maximum of 1 year. Evidence will need to be provided. This would need to be discussed with the practical exam officers: 

What do I do if I fail the exam? 

You can take the exam as many times as you would like. However, if you wish to retake the exam, you must wait a minimum of 3 calendar months after your failed exam before sitting your next exam. 

Further Questions? 

For exam queries, please contact the appropriate email for your theory exam: