CIOL Qualifications Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI)

About the exam

Is it right for me?

The CIOL Qualifications Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) is a qualification for those who work, or would like to work, in one of these areas:

  • Law: courts, solicitors, immigration
  • Healthcare: hospitals, clinics, GP practices
  • Local Government: housing, social work, education

Level: first degree-level qualification in terms of language skills required.

The qualification is available in the following pathways:

  • English Law
  • Scottish Law
  • Northern Irish Law
  • Health
  • Local Government

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits to holding the qualification:

What format does the exam take?

The qualification is composed of five units for each pathway:

  • Unit 01 (Level 6): Interpret consecutively and simultaneously (whispered) in the public services
  • Unit 02 (Level 6): Provide a sight translation into English in the public services
  • Unit 03 (Level 6): Provide a sight translation from English in the public services
  • Unit 04 (Level 5): Translate into English in the public services
  • Unit 05 (Level 5): Translate from English in the public services

For detailed information on the content and format of the qualification please refer to the DPSI Handbook and the DPSI qualification overview.


Which languages can I take the exam in?

You can take the DPSI in a wide range of languages. View the DPSI languages list for more information.


It is the responsibility of each candidate to ascertain that they are sufficiently prepared for the exam and are familiar with public service procedures and specialist vocabulary relating to the pathway chosen. The exam is available both to candidates attending courses in centres recognised by CIOL Qualifications and to independent candidates.


Role play topics are published on the CIOL website prior to the exam. 

How can I prepare for the exam?

It is essential that you read the DPSI Handbook (under Key documents) and our Candidate Regulations to find out detailed information about the exam format, criteria, topic areas and regulations.

It is good practice to prepare for a professional qualification by following a course of study. Courses are available in different regions of the UK. Please refer to the list of centres and contact course providers directly. Please note that as the Awarding Organisation, we are unable to endorse or recommend any particular course.

You may wish to supplement your studies with a five-part interactive preparatory online workshop available for sale here.

In order to prepare for the DPSI exam, you must become an IoLET Affiliate member of CIOL. This will give you access to a number of past papers and examiner reports via a tab in this section of the website.

Please see the IoLET Affiliate page for further information and to register online.

A selection of free sample exam papers can be accessed by prospective candidates.

Non-members and Student Affiliates can purchase past DPSI papers using these forms: June session and November session. Remember however that you can access these as a membership benefit through:

IoLET Affiliate membership

All candidates for the DPSI exam are required to first become an IoLET Affiliate of CIOL*. This will give you access to exclusive preparation resources including past papers and examiner reports.

*Higher grades of membership (Career Affiliate, Associate, Member and Fellow) are also eligible to enter for exams and access the same exam preparation resources


When can I take the exam?

  • English Law pathway: all five units, three oral and two written, can be taken in June and November
  • All other pathways: all five units, three oral and two written can be taken in June; written units only can also be taken in November

Exam dates to be announced

How much does it cost?

Candidates must pay exam fees and a centre fee. Fees are reviewed annually.

Exam fees



2019 fees 

Unit 01



Unit 02 



Unit 03 



Unit 04



Unit 05



Full registration fee (all units)*



*Fees are capped at £680.00; if the total cost of the units you are sitting exceeds this amount, the maximum payment is still £680.00

Centre Enrolment fees

If you register to sit the exam at one of our centres, centre fees are arranged and payable directly to the centre.

2019 fees for the CIOLQ Open Centre: 

Unit 01: £55.00

Unit 02 and/or 03: £55.00

Unit 04 and/or 05: £55.00

Full CIOLQ Open Centre Enrolment Fee:  £159.00
(all five units)


Where can I take the exam ?

See our list of exam centres to find the one nearest you.

    The IoLET Open Centre in London accepts candidates who haven't attended a course or can’t find a centre locally and wish to take the exam.

    Advanced Learner Loans

    The DPSI qualification is available for Advanced Learner Loans which as of the 2016/17 academic year are expanded to learners from the age of 19 and to include designated qualifications up to level 6.

    The loan applies to tuition fees for DPSI preparation courses delivered by colleges or training providers in England approved to offer loans by the Skills Funding Agency. Please check with the course provider to find out about their eligibility and availability of a course.

    Loans are available for learners starting a course after 1 August 2018. The last date for enrolment in any future course will be 31 July 2019.

    Please note that CIOL Qualifications does not offer courses and therefore does not deal with any aspects of these loans. As the Awarding Organisation our role is limited to nominating the qualification for Advanced Learner Loans designation.

    Find out more from the Advanced Learner Loans Qualifications Catalogue, and Advanced Learner Loans.


    Entry criteria

    The examination is open to anyone who wishes to take it. There are no absolute entry requirements, but regular attendance on a course is strongly recommended.

    Candidates are required to become an IoLET Affiliate before registering for the DPSI.

    How do I register ?

    Registration for the DPSI exam sessions is August is open until Tuesday 30 June 2020.

    To register, download  the DPSI Entry Form. Complete all fields electronically and save to your files. If you are sitting at the IoLET Open Centre in London please submit the completed form by email to If you are applying to sit at a different Examination Centre please submit your Entry Form to your Centre directly. Please note that centre entrollment fees are independent from CIOL exam fees; you must ensure the payment for the centre and the exam are cleared before your exam takes place – a candidate is only fully registered when the exam fee has been received and payment has been cleared.

    Candidates will be notified in writing as soon as possible whether there is sufficient demand to set an examination in a particular language/pathway or whether a supplement fee will be payable.

    Candidates preparing for the DPSI are supported through membership of CIOL as an IoLET Affiliate. This membership grade provides access to resources to support preparation as well as other membership benefits. Exam candidates are encouraged to join CIOL as an IoLET Affiliate as soon as they know they intend to take the exam to ensure they get the most out of their membership. Registration with CIOL as an IoLET Affiliate or in professional membership grades is a pre-requisite for exam registration. The applicant's current membership number must be quoted on the exam entry form in order to be processed. Please see IoLET Affiliate membership for further details.

    Please read the Candidate Regulations.


    After the exam

    From marking to issuing results

    Quality assurance is built in throughout the life of a qualification. The diagram below describes a set of procedures CIOL Qualifications follows from the examination taking place to issuing results. Rigorous checks are crucial to the quality of each of our qualifications and ensure the accuracy of the assessment decisions.

    After the exam - from marking to issuing results


    When do I get my certificate?

    You will receive your certificate within two months of the release of results.

    Please advise CIOL Qualifications immediately of any change of address as certificates cannot be reissued.

    What if I have a complaint?

    You have 21 days after the end of the exam session to submit a complaint in writing. Please see the complaints policy and procedures.

    What if I want to lodge an appeal?

    You have two weeks after receiving your results to lodge an appeal. Please see the enquiries on results and appeals policy and procedures.