Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus

How to pass the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 14 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:s198
  1. Mohammed Faisal Kiani, clinical attaché
  1. Department of Cellular Pathology, Hope Hospital, Salford M6 8HD faisalkiani{at}

ECDL is a qualification for basic computing skills that is recognised around the world. In 2001 the NHS adopted it as a reference standard for basic IT skills. The opportunity to gain ECDL is offered to all NHS staff.

More details are available from the ECDL websites— and or from ECDL, The British Computer Society, 1 Sandford Street, Swindon, Wilts. SN1 1HJ.


  • Make a timetable—For people unfamiliar with computers about 80 hours' training is required to pass modules. Make a schedule and stick to it

  • Form a group—It is a good idea to study and practise with colleagues in a group. This saves time and can serve as a morale booster

  • Choose the right study course—Preparatory courses are tutor led as well as distance learning Choose one that suits you best

  • Plan your modules—The level of difficulty increases with each module, but tests can be attempted in any order

  • Practise, practise, and practise—Module one has a theoretical test and two to seven have practical tests; therefore, the key to success lies in practice


  • Be disorganised and waste time—After passing one module the remaining six must be passed within three years

  • Forget to do past papers—Booklets of past sample papers are available on the market. Remember to go through each module section before attempting the test