2391 Course: City and Guilds (Inspection and Testing)

2391-52 Simulator

There are 40 questions in this 2391: Initial Verification of Electrical Installations Mock Exam. You must score 60% (24 out of 40) to pass. You may review answers after each question by clicking the 'check answer' button or you can wait until the end of the test for your final score. Good luck!

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The C&G 2391-52 course content relates to the initial verification, testing, inspection, and certification of electrical installations. Therefore, it is a critical learning programme for all electrical professionals. Given the far-reaching and complex theory involved, alongside some challenging practical elements, the C&G 2391-52 is recognised as a particularly difficult qualification to navigate. However, due to the breadth of skills and knowledge acquired, successful participants will hugely benefit from attending. The course is loosely carved into two sections.Firstly, it addresses the initial verification of ‘new’ electrical instalments, i.e., units that have yet to be operated by clients or the general public. Within this verification stage, certain tests and inspections are required to be performed, with relevant certification produced at its conclusion. The other section of the course concerns itself with periodic testing and inspection. This relates to the testing, inspecting and certification of pre-existent electrical installations. Therefore, in simplistic terms, one part is about setting-up an instalment for safe use, the other is about maintaining this dynamic.

City and Guild course structures and considerations

This qualification is actually an amalgamation of the C&G 2391-50, and the C&G 2391-51 training modules. These are still offered by many learning providers as independent courses, but prospective delegates are encouraged to take the combined course package. The C&G 2391-52 streamlines the content offered in the aforementioned qualifications, and therefore saves time, money and energy. This is particularly helpful for those undertaking ‘front-loaded’ training routes, who target classroom-based theory and practical assessments before workplace experience. Unlike apprentices, their route towards becoming a fully-fledged electrician is not ‘sponsored’. Therefore, any cost-saving endeavour is worthwhile embracing.

This course is facilitated by an extensive list of learning providers, so those on front-loaded pathways will have no shortage of options. These students should assess the credentials of each provider before signing up for attendance. The City and Guilds qualifications are an industry-recognised marker of competence in a range of electrotechnical pursuits. Indeed, C&G accommodate a number of courses across various trade professions. The body is a highly reputable skills and certification provider, so candidates should feel assured in undertaking their respective courses.

It’s also advised that delegates have a solid foundational knowledge of electrical theory, as well as relative experience in testing & inspection. Industry stakeholders have stated that six months of prior activity in this discipline is almost a compulsory requirement. This is because the themes covered in this course are already in developed form. For example, the 2391-52 will launch straight into discussion around general testing principles and 3-phase systems. If delegates are lacking key insight into these or other areas, they’ll quickly find themselves left behind.

Selecting the right learning path for this discipline

However, the City and Guilds do facilitate a set of beginner’s courses in this field. The C&G 2394-01 Initial Verification and Testing, and the C&G 2395-01 Periodic Testing and Inspection are aimed at novices and those with little experience. Since the City and Guilds discontinuation of the 2391-20 course, there is no combined, introductory alternative to the full 2391-52 module. Therefore, in these are direct, entry-point equivalents to the C&G 2391-50 & 2391-51.

Nevertheless, to become fully competent and compliant in verification, inspection and testing of electrical instalments, all students must eventually engage in the C&G 2391-52 (or a suitably-graded comparable qualification). This is important, as there will be some natural duplication of themes here, and will also obviously be a bigger time and financial investment to conduct all three courses.

Skip the introductory courses?

Therefore, candidates should view this qualification in the context of their wider career aspirations. If their ambition is to become a domestic installer, then a rudimentary grasp of these disciplines will most likely be adequate. However, if prospective delegates are looking to acquire full status as an electrician, it’s highly recommended that the foundation course is avoided. Rather, it would be more beneficial to establish a core understanding of electrical inspection and testing, and also try to gain a little experience in the field. In doing this, candidates would find themselves well-placed to attend the 2391-52, without having to participate in the foundation course(s).

It’s also worth noting that this course replaces the old C&G 2394/95, which was similarly an amalgamation of all inspection and testing principles and practices. The new course is armed with information on the government’s new landlord inspection requirements. These were incorporated into law in July 2020, so training content is extremely relevant and up-to-date.

For reference, in case you’re looking to research this module online, the correct, full course title is the C&G 2391-52 Level 3 Award in Initial and Periodic Inspection and Testing of Electrical Installations. Given the amount of current and legacy courses in this discipline, this is a useful description to have!

Course structure

The course environment and timeframe will be dependent on learning provider and personal preference. Many facilitators offer the option of conducting the training, and the qualification’s assessments, remotely. For those studying on a part-time basis, or tethered to family commitments, this provides a perfect platform for learning. However, although this solution may be imperative to some, it is encouraged that, if possible, candidates undertake a hybrid format of study. This will mean engaging in at least some classroom-based tuition. Peer group debate, face-to-face tutor support, and access to live equipment, are advantages that cannot be easily accessed virtually. Nevertheless, this is ultimately a personal decision, and prospective delegates should pick the best fit for them.

Despite this opportunity for fluctuation in approach, most courses will last approximately seven days. This is comprised of a range of theoretical, practical, and assessment elements. Again, there will be considerable variance in the frameworks offered by different learning providers. However, most will follow a similar format to the following description:

  1. e-Learning modules (two days)
  2. Classroom/virtual-based training (three days)
  3. Assessment of learnings (two days)

Important documentation

The course is centred around the practices and principles related to the IET’s Inspection and Testing Guidance Note 3 (18th edition). The IET (Institute for Engineering and Technology), in accordance to their mission statement, intend to inform, inspire and influence engineers. In this way, they provide pivotal support to the electrotechnical industry, particularly in the crafting of its supporting literature. The IET’s work also materialises in an advisory role towards governments, organizational bodies, and industry stakeholders.

However, it’s perhaps most recognised, in a UK context, for its input into the periodically released bs7671 wiring regulation guides. The 18th edition of this publication, which is the most recent, is the standard of electrical compliance that all UK-based electricians must adhere to. Furthermore, given its coverage of the principles of verification, inspection and testing, this guide is also a key reference point for those undertaking the C&G 2391-52. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that both Guidance Note 3, and the 18th edition bs7671 wiring regulations, are re-visited prior to attending the course.

Although the qualification is predominantly concerned with verification, inspection and testing, focus is also given to the certification stage. At the conclusion of a successful initial verification, an Electrical Installation Certificate is produced. This report basically states that, at the time of inspection, the new circuit has been determined safe to use. With regards to periodic testing, an extremely similar certificate is generated. The Electrical Installation Condition Report declares that an existing electrical instalment, at the moment of examination, is fit for purpose.

Course content coverage

Although the following list isn’t exhaustive, it articulates the main elements covered on the C&G 2391-52 qualification:

  • Protective conductor continuity
  • Checking continuity of ring final circuits
  • Understanding insulation and earth electrode resistance
  • Polarity and phase sequencing
  • Earth-fault loop impedance
  • Prospective fault current
  • Understanding how to use residual current devices
  • Understanding how to safely isolate electrical installations
  • Understanding how to initially verify electrical installations
  • Periodic inspection and testing activity and regulated timeframes
  • Understanding how to inspect electrical instalments prior to becoming operational
  • Understanding how to safely test and commission an electrical instalment or electrical equipment
  • Understanding how to safely use equipment intended for the purposes of inspection, testing and commissioning
  • Therefore, the course is extremely detailed in nature, and will equip candidates with all required knowledge on verification, inspection and testing.


The examination schedule for this course reflects the challenging level of its content. Comprised of a multiple-choice, written, and several practical assessments, the 2391-52 is renowned for being one of the toughest qualifications to acquire in the industry.

Multiple-choice exam

It’s important that delegates register a positive score on the multiple-choice test, as this is the least complex. The exam is conduced online, contains 40 questions, and lasts for a duration of two hours. This means that candidates have three minutes response time per question.

The C&G have integrated a useful ‘flagging’ tool in all of their computer-based terms. This allows candidates to re-visit any questions they’re originally unsure of, at the conclusion of the test. Therefore, individuals are able to maintain answer momentum, and not fixate too long on a particularly challenging question. It’s essential that you offer a response to each question, even if it’s a guess. These answers could be extremely important in the final tallying of results.

This is an ‘open-book’ assessment, which means approved reading material can be brought into the examination hall/virtual environment. Clearly, for this course, this is the Inspection and Testing Guidance Note 3, and the 18th edition wiring regulations (bs7671). However, be careful not to use this as a crutch for ‘sense-checking’ answers. If you’re reasonably confident in your response, just press on! The guides should only be used to support when information is unclear, or you require a specific electrical formula or algorithm. Using it to pre-emptively grade your paper is not wise, as it could easily lead to you running out of time. Also, you won’t be awarding any scores out!

Lastly, it’s worth noting that the multiple-choice format can often be under-estimated. Even though the right answer is presented in front of you, this could still mean that significant calculations are required to locate it. Exploit the processes learned, and work methodically through each potential outcome. This will allow you to acquire the correct answer through a process of elimination.

Written exam

The written element of the assessment is often deemed the most difficult. This involves crafting responses to six detailed questions, which could allude to any of the course topics covered. As responses are expected to include substantial theoretical information, delegates will construct their answers in narrative form. This will mean that responses will need to well-structured, flow smoothly, and be grammatically correct.

The written test is 90 minutes in its entirety, offering delegates 15 minutes to compose each of the six texts required. Assessors are looking for responses which include reference to the terminology contained in Guidance Note 3, and the 18th edition wiring regulations. However, this is unfortunately a ‘closed’ book exam, unlike the multiple-choice format.

Although this test presents a significant challenge, it is possible for candidates to navigate this successfully. This will be achieved by those who diligently focus on course content throughout the qualification programme, revise effectively, and remain calm on exam day.

Practical exams

The final, practical assessments will most likely occur at the very conclusion of your course. These are broken down into two testing criteria. These match each overriding theme of the C&G 2391-52, namely initial verification, inspection and testing of new instalments, as well as the periodic testing and inspection of existing electrical installations. Attention will also be given to the production of their reports, which are the Electrical Installation Certificate and Electrical Installation Condition Report respectively.

Each assessment section is then identically condensed into three further areas of focus. These are inspection, testing, and certification (in this order). Within both disciplines, delegates will be expected to comprehensively inspect a simulated electrical circuit. They will then perform a suitable test to glean what faults are present, before articulating these back to the assessor. When conversing with the invigilator, individuals must also offer solutions on how to address these issues.

Executing learned skills can be a difficult task in examination environments. However, its important to remember that you’ll have honed these techniques in your training sessions. And, ultimately, you wouldn’t have progressed to this stage without a decent level of competency in this discipline.

So relax, be confident, and calmly work through the process.

The assessments represent a tough end to a challenging course, but with suitable preparation, revision, and capability, delegates can find a way through.

In Summary

The C&G 2391-52 course, relating to the initial verification, periodic testing, inspection and certification of electrical installations, is a fundamental component of an electricians’ tool kit. In order to competently and compliantly perform these disciplines, electricians must pass this qualification. Given the complexity of course content, and the unparalleled difficulty of its exams, this is a tough nut to crack.

By reviewing course content, duration, structure, and assessment schedule, you should be well-placed to make a decision on whether this qualification is right for you. Remember, the City & Guilds do offer foundation-level training for novices. This is perfect for those looking to embrace the domestic installer role.

Although the course may feel a little daunting, it’s an essential component of your training journey, and therefore must be addressed accordingly. However, there’s a good chance that, if you’ve followed the entry criteria, you’ll be well-positioned to take this on. If you’ve not had relevant experience in inspection and testing, please don’t try to skip ahead!

If you require any further information on this course, please either visit the City and Guilds website, or, if possible, liaise with a tutor. You may also decide to touch base with an industry professional.

Lastly, if you do decide to progress with the C&G 2391-52 qualification, we wish you the best of luck in completing your course, and undertaking its subsequent assessments!