Free tests and exam questions to prepare for the expert knowledge examination (§ 34a GewO) are very useful for practising. However, tactical tips are almost as important. Because even if you don’t immediately know the answer to an exam question in the 34a test, you can pass the 34a exam with the help of a few tips & tricks.
No idea, no answer? Please don’t!
You can’t know everything. Even if you have prepared well for the 34a test with test questions, mock exams and other study material, you may simply not know what to do with some questions. Yes, you do: Even if you don’t know the answer to an exam question, you can still clear the hurdle of the expert knowledge exam!
10 simple tips on how to pass the examination of professional competence
If you take the following tips for the written IHK examination for expertise § 34a GewO into account, you can also score points for gaps in your knowledge:
It can a solution be correct, or it can two solutions be correct. Therefore, never give three or more solutions as correct!
Singular or plural? Pay attention to whether in the Questioning after one or more correct answers is asked! Example: In the case of a question that begins with “What prerequisiteen, a security guard must fulfil,…” begins, there is more than one correct solution.
Note the Context of the question (subject area)! If, for example, a question is asked about a fact in criminal law (StGB), an answer referring to civil law (BGB) cannot be correct.
Pay attention to Negative formulationsIf there is a negative in the question, so maybe the question is asking you to tick what exactly you want to tick. not applies? Then you need to rethink and choose exactly the opposite answer options!
Key terms like “never” or “never or “always” or “always should be warning signs! It is rather rare that e.g. prohibitions or permissions always or never apply, i.e. are absolute. For many things there are exceptions or certain framework conditions and no strict black and white. Such key terms in an answer indicate that it is rather wrong.
Other terms that should set alarm bells ringing are those such as “exclusively” or “without exception”. The same applies here as in the previous tip. It is not often that something applies without any exception.
In the written examination you have enough time. Take your time and read the questions in detail and, if necessary, several times. If you cannot think of the answer, put the question back. Mark the question so that you do not forget to look at it again later.
You are unsure of the correct answer to a question. Work according to the Exclusion principle and sort out the possibilities that definitely cannot be true. This often helps.
If you don’t have a clue about a question, don’t leave it unanswered. Guess if you have to! Not answering a question definitely gets you 0 points. Even if your gut tells you one or two solutions, luck may be on your side.
Finally, the most important thing: Even if this article is about “tactics tips” in the narrower sense — it’s not about tactics. prepare yourself! Timely and purposeful learning is the essential factor for passing the examination.
You can get many more tips on how to successfully master the 34a professional qualification examination if you read our free newsletter subscribe. Directly afterwards we will send you our 34a PDF with a total of 25 tips for the expert examination to.
The expert knowledge examination according to § 34a of the Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation Act is an entry-level qualification for employees in the private security industry. It serves as proof of basic knowledge, especially with regard to fundamental legal aspects relevant to working in the guard and security service. In addition, the successfully passed expert knowledge examination with proof from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce is a prerequisite for carrying out special guarding tasks and being allowed to become self-employed as a security contractor.
A certificate of competence is required for the following activities
As a security guard (employee), you need proof that you have successfully passed an examination of competence at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) (according to § 34a GewO) if you provide security in the entrance area of discotheques in the hospitality industry (bouncers), patrols in public traffic areas (e.g. city patrols), patrols in areas with actual public traffic, activities to protect against shoplifters (department store or store detectives). (e.g. city patrols), patrols in areas of the premises with actual public traffic, activities to protect against shoplifters (shop detectives), guarding of asylum and refugee accommodation (only in a managerial capacity) as well as guarding of large events with protected access (only in a managerial capacity).
The purpose of the expert knowledge examination
Why there is the expert knowledge examination has several reasons. When private individuals — including employees of security companies — guard other people’s lives or property, this entails special duties and a great responsibility. As a security guard, you have to know your rights and the legal limits, i.e. what is allowed and what is forbidden. On the other hand, due to their position as guarantor, they are obliged to prevent damage to the client. In contrast to the police, you do not have any special powers and must therefore be able to weigh up exactly to what extent you are allowed to interfere with the rights of third parties in a particular situation. If you go too far, you run the risk of being charged with offences such as deprivation of liberty or bodily harm. If you sleep on duty and do not comply with your duty to protect, you can also end up in court for committing an offence by omission if you cause harm. For these reasons, among others — listed here as examples — it is important to acquire the specialised knowledge in order to later have the necessary confidence to act in the guarding business.
In April 2021, in the blog post “Are there currently any examinations at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce because of Corona?” about the current state of affairs at that time regarding the implementation of IHK professional examinations. For a while, exams were cancelled or postponed. A strict hygiene regime applied.
After the back and forth of politics regarding covid protection measures and different rules, some of which were difficult to comprehend factually, a large part of the previous requirements have now been repealed in most federal states.
In principle, masks are no longer compulsory. However, it is recommended to carry an FFP‑2 mask.
Wearing at least a medical face mask during the examination is recommended, but is usually no longer compulsory.
Proof of testing, vaccination or convalescence is generally no longer required. (= no 3G requirement)
If you have tested positive for SARS-CoV‑2 and your examination date is coming up, it is best to enquire at the responsible IHK about the currently possible course of action. It is conceivable to withdraw from the exam and take it again at a later date or — depending on the federal state — to take it under certain protective measures.
Note: All information is without guarantee (as of 20.11.2022). Please note the current requirements of the examining IHK or the federal state!
Both Jörg Zitzmann as well as Kai Deliomini are very well known in the private security industry.
Among other things, both are represented in IHK examination committees in the field of protection and security, are active as authors of books for the preparation of the expert knowledge examination and are represented with many helpful videos on YouTube and in podcasts.
With not infrequent failure rates between 30 and 50%, the question naturally arises: What’s the reason?
Some factors for success or failure are obvious. Some problems can be solved quickly and easily, some simply require intensive learning, practice and perseverance. Before I go on to point out what I consider to be the main (mis)success factors, here is the very interesting conversation between Jörg Zitzmann and Kai Deliomini on YouTube:
My top 5 reasons why so many people fail the written and oral IHK specialist knowledge examination
From my experience, the following factors are the main reasons for failure with the “34a-licence”:
Lack of motivation / lack of interest
Many participants do not see any added value in the exam. They have no real interest in the content, so they don’t want to learn at all. This is particularly pronounced among people who are “sent” by their employer or the employment agency and are not actually interested in the private security sector at all. But even if the participation itself is of their own accord: The examination is often not seen as an opportunity but as a necessary evil. Lack of motivation and interest, however, are diametrically opposed to exam success.
No sufficient preparation of the content
Some people take the exam lightly. Multiple-choice questions with pre-set answers to tick off and only 50% necessary correct answers to pass — what could go wrong, you ask yourself. But far from it. The legal topics in particular are tough. In addition, there is excitement, especially in the oral exam, and questions where you may have to think a little outside the box. If you don’t have the necessary knowledge and thus the confidence to act, you will quickly be eliminated. Comprehensive preparation is the be-all and end-all for exam success!
Insufficient knowledge of German
A lot has already been asked and said about German language skills. One thing is certain: many people who work in the security sector are not native speakers of German. Multilingualism is often important for the job, but so is sufficient knowledge of German. This is because the examination is offered exclusively in German and you must also be able to communicate confidently in German in your everyday work as a security guard. Legal texts are written in difficult language, “officialese” is usually just as difficult to understand, and the exam questions sometimes depend on individual words that can change the meaning in one direction or another or provide hints for solutions.
Structure and manner of the examination are unclear
Many people are not completely clear about the framework conditions of the exam. But only if you know which topics are important and how, and how the exam is structured, can you prepare for it specifically and efficiently. For example, there are topics that you can quickly get over, which can usually be answered with common sense. Some topics, on the other hand, count twice and some require more intensive study. In addition, there are empirical values for the oral examination and tactical tips for working through test questions, which should be conveyed by a competent lecturer or author, for example.
Difficult individual conditions
Of course, people are different. Everyone has different personal prerequisites and the general conditions (e.g. family obligations, free time for learning, learning environment, etc.) also play a significant role in success and failure. You may also know people who can memorise things with a “quick glance” and recall this knowledge at the snap of a finger. Others, on the other hand, find this significantly more difficult. Some people also have no problem at all speaking in front of others in an exam situation, most are naturally tense, some participants suffer downright from exam anxiety.
Ask yourself to what extent the points above apply to you, how you can avoid mistakes in your preparation and compensate for any deficits. You can find more information on this right here in the subject knowledge information portal numerous tips and Links to other sites or media such as YouTube.
Whether pandemic-related 34a exams are currently being conducted is a hot question
As things stand, the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK’s) are trying to stick to the existing dates for examinations. Yes! The exams usually take place. However, there can be deviations, because in principle each chamber can decide for itself whether an examination is carried out, cancelled without replacement or postponed. In the case of the current corona crisis, this also depends on the regional incidence value, the current legal requirements and political decisions.
Pandemic plans/hygiene concepts and specifications of the IHK
Most chambers have hygiene concepts that specify the conditions under which examinations can be carried out.
For many chambers, the following rules apply (without guarantee):
A self-disclosure form must be filled out (no signs of illness, no previous stay in risk areas, no contact with infected persons, etc.).
Access and stay is only permitted with a mask (FFP 2 or comparable), so-called community masks (fabric masks) are usually not sufficient.
There are disinfectant dispensers at the entrances that are to be used for hand disinfection upon access
A minimum distance of 1.5 — 2 metres must still be maintained
Handshakes and other physical contact are not permitted.
Lifts are not to be used or are not to be shared
The examination rooms are ventilated continuously or at intervals (therefore remember to bring warm clothing if necessary!).
Only the participants’ own writing material may be used, working utensils may not be exchanged among the participants.
The gathering of people in the premises (corridors, etc.), e.g. during breaks or before and after the examination, will not be tolerated.
Further applies: It is best to find out directly from the examining IHK what you have to observe — whether, for example, a medical certificate must be submitted or whether changes have occurred at short notice. The website of the respective IHK (keyword News / Corona) quickly provides substantial information here.
Again and again one reads in job offers, job applications or course offers about the big or small “Security certificate” — sometimes just called a large or small note.
Such terms are also frequently used in forums, on social networks or even on the pages of course providers. But beware: There is no such thing as a large or small security pass!
What is meant by “security certificate”?
Section 34a of the Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation Act (Gewerbeordnung) contains important provisions on what a person must fulfil if he or she wants to “professionally guard the lives or property of other people”. The § 34a GewO is primarily aimed at Security contractor and regulates what they must fulfil in order to register a guarding trade. However, it also regulates that the tradesman may only entrust the performance of guarding tasks to persons as Workers who, as guards, on the one hand, are permitted to requiredReliability on the other hand, have certain Minimum qualifications have to show. With regard to qualification, this ominous “certificate” often comes into play: by “large certificate” some mean the successful passed examination, i.e. proof of the passed test performance at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The “small certificate” is sometimes called the Participation in the briefing This is a course in which you only have to complete 40 teaching units and receive a certificate of attendance, the “certificate of attendance”. Proof of instruction, is given. During the instruction, no knowledge is systematically tested, only a kind of short comprehension test takes place. In the case of the examination of professional competence, on the other hand, there is a 120-minute written test and a subsequent oral examination. The Expertise test is accordingly clear higher-quality than the instruction and one is also allowed to take on special surveillance activities, such as patrols in public traffic areas or working as a shop detective. How the instruction procedure and the examination of competence work, what is asked and who does not have to take part in it, if applicable, is described (among other points) in the Surveillance Ordinance regulated.
Why are the wrong terms used for the expert knowledge examination?
In my estimation, this has various causes. Some people simply do not know any better, some pronounce Convenience only briefly of the “appearance” and some persons (especially companies) use intentionally wrong terms. Since the actually wrong terms are quite common in certain circles (especially among the less qualified), many people who want to prepare for the examination of professional competence simply search for the term “security certificate”, for example. Or else Companies mislead prospective customers into believing they have more than they actually have in them: In the past, there have always been training companies that offered a “safety specialist” qualification. That sounds like more! But what is actually included is usually “only” the preparation for the qualification. At a price of many hundreds or even more than a thousand euros. The specialist for protection and security, on the other hand, is a real 3‑year vocational training — there is a risk of confusion! My tip: So pay close attention to the terms used and, if in doubt, ask what is specifically meant by them. It is best to express yourself clearly and use the right terminology. This will show that you know your stuff 🙂
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News always in the blog
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My name is Hannes Fichtel, I am an examiner in various examination boards in the field of protection & security at the IHK. I have been working in private security since 2006. Starting with the instruction according to § 34a GewO and the training as a specialist for protection and security, I have developed further via the advanced training as a master for protection and security (IHK) up to the bachelor and master studies in the security industry. I run the expertise infoportal and am happy to answer any questions you may have!