Level 4 Examination Process

The purpose of this page is to outline the standards expected from candidates to achieve their Level 4 Fencing Refereeing Qualification and to set out the relevant syllabus and assessment conditions and criteria.

Level 4 is the highest domestic refereeing qualification and is the expected level of achievement for referees that wish to referee the latter stages (L8) at major Opens and National Championships. Referees wishing to achieve their Level 4 National Referee qualification will need to be an existing and experienced Level 3 BF referee. 

A Level 4 qualification and a valid EFC C-Grade qualification is a pre-requisite for sitting the actual FIE refereeing exam.

The Level 4 exam takes the form of a mock FIE exam and will therefore seek to replicate the same process and conditions as the actual FIE exam.

Referees may re-sit the exam as many times as they wish however there will be a cost (see below) and priority will be given to candidates in line to be put forward to FIE exams.



In order to replicate as closely as possible the current FIE exams, BF will invite a senior (non GBR) International FIE (weapon specific) referee to act as the examiner and run the examination process.

As in the actual FIE exams, referees will be required to:

  • attend a referee seminar,
  • pass a theory exam
  • pass one practical assessment (assessment can only take place on successful pass of theory exam)


Minimum Standards

Referees should be able to demonstrate they:

    • Are capable of refereeing competently at the latter stages of domestic senior  competitions and national championships.
    • Are capable of refereeing competently at the latter stages of international cadet competitions.
    • Hold a EFC C-Grade qualification (where appropriate).
    • Have a wide knowledge of the technical rules of fencing. This knowledge should be focused on scenarios commonly found during fencing competitions.
    • Can perform clear, clean and consistent hand signals.
    • Are able to explain simple phrasing in French as well as English.
    • Have an excellent knowledge of the penalty sheet of the FIE rule book (t.170) and consistently apply these when necessary.
    • Are able to be consistently punctual and dress respectably.
    • Are able to consistently act as role models, upholding the values of British Fencing and be  positive ambassadors for the sport.


Theory Exam

An initial theory exam at which the candidate must score over 80% to continue with the assessment will be conducted.

This is done on the first day of the designated BF Event – either prior to the competition starting or during the poules and DE’s.  Successful candidates from the theory exam will be permitted to participate in the practical assessment of the examination.

The exam will consist of a seminar, and an individual theory and video examination.  These will be general and weapon specific.

Practical Assessment

Practical assessment will be carried out on the second day of the designated  BF competition.

The candidate will be expected to referee throughout the competition from pools, through to the finals where necessary.

Candidates will be expected to reach a minimum standard of 80% of correct calls.

Verbal and written feedback will be supplied to the candidate.



The designated competitions are the:

  • Cadet and Junior National Championships
  • Senior National Championships.
  • U23 Championships

Level 4 exams may be held annually or biannually depending on the number of eligible FIE candidates or when the FIE exams are being held.


BF will subsidise the cost of the Level 4 exam for some candidates.

GBR Referees who are members of the BF Referee Pathway Programme and have been identified as likely to be put forward for an FIE exam will have a 100% subsidy for their first Level 4 exam only and will have priority access to L4 opportunities.

The costs to other referees will vary depending on how much funding is available.

Referees that have refereed at least 3 major BF National Championships in the preceding twelve months will be offered priority spaces and a higher level of subsidy.



Level 4 candidates must complete an application form  to register their interest and submit a minimum of one month in advance of any assessment to the BF Referee Manager.






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