Why is the ICB's Business Literacy split into three levels, and what must I do if my result is 'not yet competent' in any of the levels?

The ICB examines NQF Level 3, 4 and 5 in one subject – one Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) and one final exam. 

We’ve bundled the three levels into one subject, so that the PoE content and the final exam covers all the levels sufficiently. 

The benefit is that you only have to enter and pay for one subject, but get accredited at all three levels. This saves you having to complete three separate subjects.

You will get a result for each level. If you fail one of the levels (you are ‘not yet competent’) and would like to rewrite the subject, you will need to complete all three levels again in order to pass the subject.

Example of exam paper


Changes have been made to the mark allocation per BUSL level outcome.

  1. BSL1 (NQF3) result is made up of Section A of the exam paper and is out of 60 marks.
  2. BSL2 (NQF4) result is made up of Section A and Section B of the exam paper and is out of 120 marks.
  3. BSL3 (NQF) result is made up of Section C of the exam paper and is out of 60 marks.


The same PoE result is added to all levels for a final result.



New results breakdown:




You will still receive an Exam Detail Report per BSL level. These have been recently changed to: 


  1. Match the new exam paper format 
  2. Give you accurate BSL results per level


In the previous exam detailed reports, the question results per level were not correctly displayed and all questions for the whole paper were included for all exam reports. The new detailed report now only includes the BSL result for the level you have completed. 


Example of new exam detail reports: