I am not an exam type person, so am not commenting on what the examiner should or should not be looking for, but I am keen on bee improvement so will make comment from that angle.
I think everyone should be assessing their colonies for whatever criteria they want. I think it's a mistake to have too many criteria for a small beekeeper, otherwise you will be culling all the time.
My approach is to mentally split my colonies into two roughly equal groups. Group A are the best and I'm happy to raise queens from any of those colonies. Group B are the poorer ones and I will requeen them when I get the opportunity. I have found this works well.
I don't know if it's deliberate or not, but 5 colonies is quite difficult, but that isn't a bad thing as it might make the candidate think more about several options. An example is that in some circumstances you could have a queen mated in a full colony, yet with 5 colonies it may be good policy to have a spare nuc, but that would be 6 colonies, so are they trying to catch you out? I hope not.
Jon will be along soon to disagree with me, but for small numbers of queens I think mini-nucs need quite a lot of managing and I have seen many fail with beekeepers who haven't had guidance. If you want to go down this route I suggest you get plenty of practice first.
As Jim suggests I favour the 2 frame standard nuc. They work really well, cost next to nothing and can be made to work hard during the season.
I don't know what the exam board want, but I agree with Gerry that fairly simple criteria can be recorded at every inspection. You are probably assessing the colony anyway, so why not jot it down? I would suggest some kind of scoring so you can make a sensible judgement.
Quite frankly I think beekeepers should be doing this whether they are taking assessments or not.