10 quick tips about SMSTS

Written by LetsBuild

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SMSTS stands for Site Management Safety Training Scheme and it is a significant certificate for anyone who wants to pursue a career as site supervisor/manager or project manager  in construction. It can also be a great asset for construction clients and company owners. Especially in the United Kingdom, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to claim that acquiring a SMSTS Certificate is a must if you want to work in construction.

The SMSTS course can provide great knowledge in areas such as safety, green construction, welfare and health. Furthermore, it provides a great understanding of the numerous legal obligations that follow a job in construction.
In a nutshell, here are the 12 focus areas of SMSTS:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act
  • Risk assessments/method statements
  • Occupational health management
  • Behavioural safety
  • CDM (Construction Design and Management) Regulations
  • Recent changes in accepted working practices
  • Confined spaces
  • Scaffolding
  • Electricity
  • Demolition
  • Working at height
  • Excavations

Simply put, the SMSTS certification is an excellent way to increase safety and environmental awareness on site.
That’s the good news about it. The bad news is that it can get tricky to complete the exam if you have no experience with it.

Nonetheless, there is no reason to be worried about it. We did our due diligence, and we present to you 10 smart SMSTS tips that can help you take the most of your participation in the course while also succeeding to the exam:

10. Don’t underestimate it!

Similarly to the CSCS card, SMSTS can be a an expensive piece of paper to get. More specifically, a five day course (full-time) can cost you up to £600. For that reason,  you probably want to make sure that you pass the course first time! But for this to happen, you should not underestimate the difficulty level of the test.

In other words, you should be dedicated from day one to study hard and use all the help that you can get from the people that will be willing to guide you through this process.

9. Do your homework

This advice goes hand in hand with our previous point and it has to do, of course, with keeping up the hard work and maintaining a consistent performance during the 5-day course.

Twelve different subjects (from health and safety to excavations) will be covered in the course and this means that you have to be prepared to learn about 2 or 3 of them every day. It’s an intensive course and that’s why it’s important that you don’t fall behind with your homework.

smsts course

8 . Get some rest

The night before each of your 5 day course make sure you get to bed early and sober. No hangovers allowed or you’ll blow it! There is simply too much information that you have to learn and the only way to achieve your goal is through proper resting and good concentration.

Especially, the night before the exam you want to sleep early and give your brain the opportunity to get ready for the SMSTS challenge. As soon as the exam is over, feel free to celebrate!

7. Take notes

Make sure you turn up with paper to make notes on and something to write with. They may be provided but we are always happier with our own. Also have a reserve pen, pencil or whatever. Once you get home, read all your notes and any handouts from the day.

Read them all again! That starts to stamp it all in! If you have been given sample questions, try answering them. Re-read, re-answer questions until you’ve got them all right.

smsts notes

6. Pay attention

While whoever is delivering your Course is talking, pay close attention. Hang on to every word! In that manner, you will be able to keep good notes and optimize the way you prepare for the exam.

As we already mentioned before, this is a demanding exam that covers a vast amount of information in short time. By concentrating during the course, you can get a solid grasp of the material.

Check out also: Top 20 construction universities in the UK

5. Ask questions

As our teachers used to say, there is no such thing as a stupid question. This is how you should approach the SMSTS teaching sessions, as well. Be prepared to ask questions about anything you didn’t understand first time around. Otherwise, you will end up wasting both your time and money.

4. Participate actively

You will probably be split into groups to discuss what you have been taught. Make sure you take an active part in them. Don’t hang back, all shy! Engage in conversation with the other participants and don’t be afraid to exchange ideas and questions.

There might have been something that slipped your mind. With good collaboration and open discussion, you can feel safe that you have done your best in order to cover every possible aspect of the exam.

3. Find your learning style

Every person has a unique style of learning. That being said, it’s important to find what works best for you. For instance, some people perform better when they are standing on their own, while others are more productive while working in groups.

Follow the courses, keep good notes and try to tailor your studying effort to your preferences and needs. If you manage to do that, you will see a big difference in terms of performance right away.

smsts certificate

2. A last revision is always a good idea

The evening before the final Test try to re-read the most significant parts of the examined material. Don’t let, though, everything for the last minute. You need also to rest your mind before the big day.

As long as you had paid close attention during the 5-day teaching period, a 3-4 hour revision of the main points will be enough for you to pass the exam and add a strong plus to your CV.

1. Don’t panic!

Last but definitely not least, during the exam remember to remain calm and focus on the questions. In case that you are not sure for an answer of yours, there is absolutely no reason to panic. Move on to the next question, and you can deal with them again in the end. The more peaceful you are, the easier will be for you to concentrate and succeed the exam.


To sum up, these are the 10 main SMSTS tips that you need to keep in mind while you are preparing for the exam. It is a demanding exam, but you can make things so much easier for yourself if you have a good preparation plan. Active participation during the course will also help you a lot.

This is a significant investment both for your career and your performance on site. After all, safe and productive construction sites can be the first step towards a better building sector.

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