Updated Practical Assessment Method

 JULY 2024.

2024/07/31 00:00:00


We are pleased to inform you of the latest development regarding our continuous improvement efforts: the successful pilot and subsequent approval of an updated practical assessment process for Drilling Well Control Level 3 and Level 4 candidates. 

In alignment with IWCF’s mission, vision, and values, a thorough review of the practical assessment process was conducted. The objective of this exercise was to identify and define a realistic, reliable, fair, and efficient practical assessment method that reflects current industry practices. The outcome of this review was tested by a group of IWCF members, and an updated assessment method was proposed.

The changes include:

  • Role reversal: Assessors now play the opposite role (Level 3 driller or Level 4 supervisor), rather than another candidate, ensuring a consistent, fair, and unbiased assessment.
  • Enhanced realism: The assessment is more realistic as the trip tank is now used to monitor the well, BOP failures are tested, and the Level 3 driller is given posted instructions.
  • Reduced assessment time: Candidates now spend less time outside the classroom as their assessment time has been reduced.
  • Focused assessment: Efficient use of assessment time, promoting a more valid assessment by focusing on the critical tasks required for each role and removing criteria that no longer add value to the assessment.
  • Standardised instructions: Candidates receive standardised instructions from the assessor, minimising potential bias or variability in the assessment process, eliminating ambiguity, and promoting a more objective and fair evaluation of the candidate’s performance.
  • Improved assessment tools: The use of assessor checklists, standardised instructions, and automatic score calculation increases the reliability, fairness, efficiency, and objectivity of the assessments, creating a more robust and effective assessment process.

To ensure a smooth transition for our training providers, we invite you to watch the training video and read the frequently asked questions. This is with the view that all accredited assessors will transition to the new method by Wednesday 31 July 2024.

Supporting Documents can be downloaded using the links below: 

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to maintaining the highest standards in well control training and assessment.


This video training session will cover the updated practical assessment method, its associated modifications, and its benefits. Once an accredited assessor has attended a training session or watched the recorded training session and feels confident to deliver the updated assessment method, they will be permitted to deliver that method at their training locations.


These Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) has been prepared to address the most asked questions received during the practical assessment training sessions conducted throughout April and May 2024. The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) have been prepared:

  • Practical Assessor Handbook
  • Level 3 Driller Practical Assessment
  • Level 4 Supervisor Practical Assessment
  • Documentation
  • General

Practical Assessor Handbook (AC-0018)

Q: Can the auto choke function be used during a Level 4 supervisor assessment?

A: Once the problem has been resolved, the auto choke function may be used only during the simulation speed increase. Real time must be applied at least 100 strokes before the gas reaches the BOP (Section 7.1).

Q: Can you load one snapshot to assess the Level 3 driller and then continue the assessment for the Level 4 supervisor?

A: You must load a new snapshot for a Level 4 supervisor candidate, regardless of whether they have a Level 3 driller candidate before them. This ensures that a supervisor always has a minimum 6bbl influx.   

Level 3 Driller Practical Assessment Grading Sheet (PD-0039)

Q: Can the auto driller function be used once the Level 3 candidate has applied the correct weight on bit?

A: Yes, the Level 3 candidate can use the auto driller function during drilling.

Q: For the Level 3 driller assessment, should there be a float in the drillstring?

A: No, currently, there is no float in the drillstring.

Q: What happens if our simulator cannot simulate one of the Level 3 driller BOP problems?

A: In this circumstance, you must rotate between the two available problems instead.

Q: The posted instructions state that the flow check should take at least 15 minutes, but how long should we wait?

A: The posted instructions have been designed to reflect a realistic scenario. Once the Level 3 driller has asked for the supervisor or there have been between 2 and 5 minutes of no activity, the assessor must ask what has happened and what the current condition is. They can then inform the Level 3 driller that for the purposes of the assessment, 15 minutes have elapsed with no flow, and they can continue drilling.

Q: If the Level 3 driller sets up the trip tank incorrectly, should the assessor inform and/or correct the mistake?

A: The assessor must not inform the candidate of this mistake or correct this mistake (Section 6.3 Practical Assessor Handbook).

Q: If the Level 3 driller fails to set the alarms, do we set them for him?

A: The assessor must not correct any mistakes the Level 3 driller makes in setting or activating the alarms (Section 6.3 Practical Assessor Handbook).

Q: Should the Level 3 driller record the Flowback?

A: Flowback is included in the Level 3 driller’s posted instructions. It should be set up before the Level 3 driller starts the assessment

Level 4 Supervisor Practical Assessment Grading Sheet (PD-0040)

Q: In the Level 4 assessment ‘BHP control after problem start up until evacuation of initial influx’, what is meant by ‘under control’?

A: Under control means that the Level 4 supervisor has control of any lag time effect and stays overbalanced.

Q: If the candidate has failed to recognise the problem, how do we score ‘give appropriate instructions and coordinate restart of operations with driller’?

A: The candidate would receive zero marks for recognising the problem and zero for giving appropriate instructions. The assessor would then inform the candidate that they will accelerate the simulator.

Q: What would you do if the Level 4 supervisor thinks there is a problem and shuts the well in, but the problem has not yet been initiated?

A: Ask them for the reason for shutting in, and then inform them to continue. Do not grade the candidate’s response to the problem until it has happened. If the candidate decides to shut the well in because they think something has happened, that is considered good practice.


Q: Can the candidates receive a copy of the grading sheet?

A: The grading sheet cannot be given to candidates. It is important that candidates are provided with clear information on the assessment criteria (left side of the grading sheet) to ensure that the assessment process meets the conditions of validity and fairness. You can share the assessment criteria with the candidate but not the scoring system.

Q: Does the kill sheet (Level 4 assessment) and posted instructions (Level 3 assessment) need to be uploaded to FORUM along with the grading sheet and graph?

A: The kill sheet and posted instructions do not need to be uploaded to FORUM. The following practical assessment documentation must be uploaded to FORUM for each candidate’s practical assessment:

  • A colour copy of the graph signed by the candidate and the assessor.
  • A copy of the practical assessment grading sheet digitally signed by the assessor.

These documents can be uploaded as one document or separately.


Q: Can we use the virtual simulator for practise and the physical simulator for assessment?

A: Yes, you can; however, to ensure continuity between training and assessment, we recommend that candidates be trained using the same type of simulator on which they will be assessed.

Q: Would IWCF accept a digital signature on the graph?

A: Yes, digital signatures can be used.

Q: Is the training time 90 minutes for each level, or can levels be combined?

A: A minimum of 90 minutes of simulator time for training must be allocated to candidates. This can be done as a group, but each level must be trained separately. If you have a combined course as a minimum simulator, training time would total 3 hours (90 minutes for Level 3 candidates and 90 minutes for Level 4 candidates).

Q: Does the simulator training need to be included in the lesson plans?

A: Yes, the course outline and lesson plans must include simulator training time. The auditor will check to ensure compliance during an audit.

Q: Do centres need to resubmit any materials to IWCF?

A: Materials can be updated over time; there is no requirement to submit anything to the Accreditation team.

Q: Does IWCF provide a kill log?

A: This is not something that we currently provide.


A: For practical assessments, there must be at least three different exercise wells for each stack type. Previously, you needed six assessment wells for virtual assessments. This is no longer the case.

If you have any questions on the updated practical assessment method, please email assessmentdevelopment@iwcf.org.