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FAQs

Questions and answers on the recent qualification updates

 

Certificate Level and ICAEW CFAB Remote Invigilation

Q. UPDATED 15/01/21 What calculator can I use during my OnVUE exam?

A: From 22 January, students can use their own calculator in the exam. They are permitted to use models on the approved list only which is available here.

For security reasons, calculator covers and lids are not permitted in the exam and must be stored away. Students are responsible for making sure that their calculator works on the day of the exam.

There is also an on-screen calculator available should students need it. They can practice using the on-screen calculator in advance of their exam by using this demonstration or by accessing the sample exams. Students can view the sample exams on our website within the ICAEW CFAB  and ACA Certificate Level exam and study resources.

 

Q: UPDATE 15/01/21 How do I write notes during my OnVUE exam?

A. From 22 January, students can use a whiteboard and wipeable pen for any of their workings. We recommend a whiteboard of A4 size (approx. 210x297mm) plus two dry erase markers. Students are required to purchase these items, should they wish to use them. Please note that if students use paper and/or a non-wipeable pen, the exam will be ended and reported as a policy violation. 

Students will be continuously monitored during your exam and must wipe their whiteboard clean at the end of the exam. Please note that students are prohibited from writing down or recoding any exam content. 

If students prefer to write notes online, they will be able to use a scratch pad within the exam which offers the following features: 

  • it is resizable; 
  • it can be dragged anywhere on screen; 
  • notes are saved throughout the exam to view within all questions; 
  • if it is closed, all notes are saved for when it is re-opened; 
  • you can use Ctrl C and Ctrl V to copy and paste text from the exam question; and 
  • to zoom in and out of any screen and notes, hold Ctrl and click + or - . 

Students can practise using the scratch pad via this demonstration link.  

They will also be able to use the online whiteboard feature. Guidance on this feature can be found here

Q : Is there a demo of the exam to see what it looks like and practise how to use it?

A: The remote invigilation exams are the same as shown in the test centres. To practise using the calculator and scratch pad, Pearson VUE have provided this demo. There is also a whiteboard feature which is included within OnVUE exams only, you can read more about this feature here.

Q: Can I use a touch screen?

A: No, a touch screen cannot be used for these exams. However, if your laptop or tablet has a physical keyboard and mouse and meets the technical requirements, it can be used.

Q: What internet connection is required, can I use a mobile hotspot or tethering?

A: For optimal performance, a reliable and stable connection speed of 3 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up is required. If testing from home, ask others within the household to avoid internet use during your exam session. Tethering to a mobile hotspot is explicitly prohibited.

Q: Can I sit my exam on any web browser?

A: You need to use the newest versions of Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox or Internet Explorer 11.

Please note: Internet Cookies must be enabled and any pop-up/ad blocking setting(s) must be disabled.

Q: What will happen if my internet connection drops during my exam?

A: If your internet connection drops, your exam will freeze, the clock will be paused and your answers saved. If the connection drops momentarily and then reconnects you will be allowed to continue with your exam where you left off. If the connection drops several times or for a longer period of time your exam session will be ended and you will need to re-schedule.

If your exam session is ended, depending on how far you are into your exam, your exam session may be cancelled or you will be able to apply for special consideration by emailing specialconsideration@icaew.com See further details .

Q: Are we automatically going to be given extra time? It takes longer to use the on screen version of the calculator and whiteboard.

A: We cannot add additional time for all students sitting remote invigilated exams. It is recommended that you prepare for the exam by becoming familiar with the online calculator and scratch pad using the demo link. You can also get a better understanding of the functionalities of the whiteboard tool or use the online practice whiteboard here.

Also, please remember that remote invigilation is being provided as an alternative option to sit your exams while exam centres are closed. If you would prefer, you can wait until exam centres are open again.

Q: I need to purchase a voucher code to make my exam booking with extra time, what should I put in the “VAT ID#” field on the Pearson voucher store order form?

A: Please enter “N/A”.

Q: I have extra time, how do I book my exams?

A: Please see the following exam booking instructions based on difference circumstances. Note that this may be different for each exam module:

  • If your extra time has been granted, it is your first exam attempt and you have not had any exam bookings for this module before which have been cancelled, you can book in the usual way via the web here.
  • Before your extra time was granted if you attempted the exam module, or had an exam booking which was cancelled, click here for instructions on how to book.
  • If you have an existing exam booking without extra time in place, you will need to contact Pearson VUE and ask them to cancel your existing booking and to make another exam booking which will pick up your extra time. If you have an OnVUE remote invigilated exam booking, please provide the PAC code ICAEW_OP to the customer service representative. Click here for contact details.

Please note: for security reasons, you are unable to move out of the webcam view during a remote invigilated exam. If you have been awarded extra time or stop the clock for a condition that requires you to move around, you will need to sit at an exam centre.

Q: What times are available for the exam? Is there any flexibility for different time zones?

A: The time zone for your exam is automatically selected based on the time zone settings on your computer. Double check your time zone when booking your exam as you have the option to manually change it if it is incorrect.

For example, if you are a student from China but sitting your exam whilst in the UK, please make sure your exam is set to BST as your computer may be set to a different time zone.

Also, there are both AM and PM slots available for the exam. Make sure you have selected the correct time of day. You can double check this via your booking confirmation email as this will state the time for your exam.

Q: Is remote invigilation the only option for sitting this exam?

 A: Many exam centres are now open for you to sit your ACA Certificate Level or ICAEW CFAB exams, although availability is limited due to social distancing which varies by location. You can book your exams here.  The status of exam centres is changing rapidly due to the spread of Covid-19, please see the latest updates here.

Q: Can I re-schedule my exam from a test centre to OnVUE?

A: You need to cancel your test centre exam booking and make a separate booking for OnVUE. If you cancel at least 24 hours before your exam date/time, you will receive full refund to the payment method provided.

Q: Will I receive my results in the same way?

A: Results will be provided to students and employers (if applicable) in exactly the same way. If you have a tuition provider, please let them know your result as they are currently unable to receive your remote invigilated exam results. Please note, results from exams sat very late in the evening and finish early in the morning will not show on the ICAEW website until the morning of the next day

Q: What should I do if I experience an issue during my exam?

Should you experience an issue during your exam, you must report this to Pearson VUE via the greeter or invigilator on the day of your exam. If there are connection issues and you are unable to contact the greeter or invigilator, please contact Pearson VUE when the connection allows to report this and ensure it has been logged. If you feel the issue you experienced has impacted your exam result, you can apply for special consideration within 10 days of your exam.

Q: Can I use my work laptop during the exam?

Work computers may have processes running in the background, system updates, antivirus scans for example, and if they are running at the point of exam delivery, students will not have administration rights to end these, only the IT department has these rights.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that students use a personal laptop if they have one. Firewalls or security settings from work computers may restrict the software from operating properly.

If a student wants to use their work computer, but own a personal computer which meets the technical requirements, we recommend that the student keeps their personal computer close by in case they need to use this computer in their exam. The personal computer cannot be held in the exam area, but possibly in a cupboard or somewhere nearby which is accessible.

We advise students to run the system test before their exam day, but it is also advisable that they run the system check again a couple of hours before their exam. If there are any issues caused by using a work computer, the student will have time to contact their IT department.

Q: Can I use an external monitor during my exams?
A: You can use an external monitor if you are using a laptop and would like to use a larger screen, providing that your laptop is closed. As you need to be in the web cam view at all times, if you only have a web cam built into your laptop, you would need to obtain and use one which works externally.

Professional and Advanced Level Remote Invigilation - before sitting or booking an exam

Q: Will there be the option to choose remote invigilation or exam centre when booking an exam?

A: Yes. The booking window for Professional and Advanced Level exam centre and remote invigilation exams will take place at the same time. View all ACA exam dates and deadlines here. During the booking process, a student will select the exam they want to book, they will then be asked to select the exam delivery method, which is where they will select exam centre or remote invigilation. More guidance on how to book an exam is available here.  

Professional Level exams taking place in March 2021 in the UK will be delivered as remote only.  

 

Q: Is the booking window for the remote invigilation exams the same as the exam centre exams?

A: Yes, the booking windows are open for both remote invigilation and exam centres at the same time. March Professional Level exams in the UK are available via remote invigilation only.

Students will be able to book their remote invigilation or exam centre exams via my.icaew.com/examsonline. When booking an exam students will see the option to book a 'centre based' exam or a 'remote invigilation' exam. Students are able to book a centre based and a remote invigilation exam for the same session. After booking an exam, should students wish to book another, or amend or withdraw a booking, they need to select the modify option. For information on how to do this visit our How to modify or withdraw from an exam booking guide.

Q: When will the booking window open for the March Professional Level exams?

A: The booking window for the March Professional Level exams will open at 10:00 (UK time) on Monday 25 January and will close on Monday 01 February at 17:00 (UK time). View all ACA dates and deadlines here. 

Q: Where can I find details of 2021 exam dates and deadlines?

A: All ACA exam dates and deadlines can be found here.

Q: How long do I have to book my remote invigilation exam?

A: There is a one week window to book either the exam centre or remote invigilation exams.

View the details of each exam booking window here.

Q: Is remote invigilation the only option to sit the Professional and Advanced Level exams?

A: For the March Professional Level exams in the UK, remote invigilation will be the only option available.

Where possible, international students can continue to book and sit their exams at a test centre, however, this is subject to local government guidance. Remote invigilation is also an option. 

We advise all students in a training agreement, to check with their employer before booking any exams, in case they have particular policies and approaches already in place, and to agree the timing of the exam.

Q: Will I pay for the examinations in the same way as before?

A: Yes, nothing has changed in terms of how you will pay for your examination.

Q: Can I re-schedule my exam from an exam centre to remote invigilation, and vice versa?

A: Please decide carefully how you would like to sit an exam before booking, and then book your exam either at an exam centre or via remote invigilation. Modifications can only be made during the booking window. Find out more about how to modify an exam here. 

Q: What do I need to be able to sit a remote invigilation exam?

A: To use this exam delivery method, there are four key requirements:

  1. A reliable computer or laptop with a strong internet connection, a webcam and microphone which meets minimum technical and system requirements
  2. A quiet room with a closed door (no one else is permitted in the room while you are sitting your exam)
  3. A clear workspace, with only any permitted texts or equipment allowed.
  4. A mobile phone with WIFI connection and camera to assist in the check-in process and monitoring your exam.

 

View the full guidance, technical requirements and system requirements for the remote invigilation exams. You must check that your computer is compatible with these before booking your exam to provide time to resolve any issues and to see if remote invigilation is an option for you. You may need to speak to your employer if you are using a computer provided by them.

Q: Is there a demo of the exam or a chance to use a test/practise system for the exam?

A: Whether sat in an exam centre or via remote invigilation, the exams are run on the same existing exam software, as per other ACA Professional and Advanced Level exams. View practise exam questions or use the practise software.

Q: What times are available for the exam? Is there any flexibility for different time zones?

A: When booking a remote invigilation exam you will be asked to select your country. This will automatically provide you with an exam time based on your relevant time zone. Most time zones have been accounted for as they are based on the exam centre exams.

Q: Which exams are available to book via remote invigilation?

A: In the UK, the March Professional Level exams are available as remote invigilation only. International bookings will have the option to book via remote invigilation or at an exam centre where possible. 

Q: How do I book or schedule an exam?

A: You will be able to book your remote invigilation or exam centre exams via your online training file or at my.icaew.com/examsonline.

When booking a remote invigilation exam you will be asked to select your country rather than a centre name.

Once you have booked an exam, should you wish to book another, or amend or withdraw your booking, you need to select the modify option. For more information on modifying your booking visit our How to modify or withdraw from an exam guide. 

Q: What happens if I have booked to sit my exam at an exam centre, but then my government closes the centre due to the coronavirus pandemic?

A: In the UK, we have made the decision to move all March Professional Level exams to remote invigilation only. For international bookings, we will monitor all exam centres in case this situation arises, and we will contact you if you are impacted in this way.

Q: Who makes the decision of whether to sit the exams as remote invigilation or in an exam centre?

A: If you are in a training agreement, you may wish to check with your employer before booking any exams, in case they have particular policies and approaches already in place.

We would recommend you only book your exam to be undertaken using the remote invigilation option if you cannot access an exam centre or you do not wish to travel to an exam centre. In the UK, we have made the decision to move all March Professional Level exams to remote invigilation only.

Q: Do I need to speak to my employer before booking either an exam centre or remote invigilation exam?

A: If you are in a training agreement, you may wish to check with your employer before booking any exams, in case they have particular policies and approaches already in place.

We would recommend you only book your exam to be undertaken via the remote invigilation option if you cannot access an exam centre or you do not wish to travel to an exam centre.

In the UK, we have made the decision to move all March Professional Level exams to remote invigilation only.

Q: Are the exams any different to the ones sat in the exam centre?

A: The exams are the same and are run on the same exam software whether sat in an exam centre or via remote invigilation.

Professional and Advanced Level Remote Invigilation - during the exam

Q: What if something goes wrong?
A: If you were able to complete the exam but you felt the circumstances had an adverse impact on your performance, then you must apply for special consideration within 10 days (see below), or ICAEW will not take the circumstances into account during the marking process. However, if you were unable to complete the exam, then you must contact ICAEW within 24 hours.
Q: I’ve sat a remote invigilation exam for the Certificate Level/ICAEW CFAB, will the Professional and Advanced Level exams have the same system checks and specifications? If not, what are the system checks and specifications for these exams?

A: The Professional and Advanced Level exams are run on separate exam software from the Certificate Level and ICAEW CFAB exams. View the technical and system requirements for the Professional and Advanced Level exams.

Q: When should I do a system check for my exam?

A: Please check that your computer passes the technical and system requirements before booking any remote invigilation exams to ensure that it is compatible to run the exam.

Then, once you have booked your exam you will receive a system check email two weeks before your exam. This will contain instructions on how to perform a system check to ensure your equipment is set up and ready to go. You must carry out the system check in advance of your exam to make sure it works correctly and so you have time to fix any issues.

Please note: we recommend using a personal computer and checking your computer meets the technical and system requirements before booking the exam. If you only have an employer provided laptop or device please make sure you speak to your employer to ensure it meets the technical and system requirements, and passes the system check.

If you encounter any technical difficulties during your system check you will be able to access the online chat support for help.

View this video to see a demonstration of the system check and onboarding process.


Q: Can I use a touch screen during the exams?

A: No. The exam software does not support touch screens.

Q. Can I use the laptop supplied by my employer?

A: Yes - students can use a laptop or device that has been provided by their employer. Occasionally there may be restricted access and admin rights installed, please check this with the employer prior to the exam. View the technical and system requirements.

Q: What internet connection is required? Can I use a mobile hotspot or tethering?

A: The bandwidth required is minimum 2.5Mbit/s upload speed. Hotspot or tethering is not supported.

Q: Can I sit my exam on any web browser?

A: To be able to sit the exam you will need the latest version of Google Chrome on your computer. This is the only browser that supports the required plug-in for the remote invigilation.

Q. How will I log in to the exam?

A: Once you have booked your exam you will receive a system check email two weeks before your exam. This will contain instructions on how to perform a system check to ensure your equipment is set up and ready to go. You must carry out the system check in advance of your exam to make sure it works correctly and so you have time to fix any issues.

On the day of the exam, you will go through an ‘on-boarding’ process. This is the same process that students at an exam centre will go through. This process is videoed and involves setting up your equipment and any security checks. Once you have been through the ‘on-boarding’ process, you will be able to start the exam.

Q. What time do I need to start the exam? What happens if I log in after the exam start time?

A: Please get ready to sit your exam according to the start time stated on your exam booking confirmation. Your exam will start at the point when you enter your keycode into the exam software. It is your responsibility to start the exam on time.

Q: Will the remote invigilation exams still be open book?

A: Yes. None of the rules regarding permitted text or open books have changed.

Q: How are the remote exams invigilated?

A: During the exam, your activity is recorded via three separate angles;

  • the computer webcam records your view from the front;
  • a mobile phone situated to your side, records additional coverage of the test environment, using the ProctorExam app; and
  • a recording of the screen shows what you are doing on-screen.

The exam itself will run in the same way as in an exam centre.

Q: What will happen if my internet connection drops during the exam?

A: If the internet connection drops during the exam, students will see a message saying ‘no internet connection – please click retry’ as well as the time remaining when the internet dropped. Students will need to keep the screen open and fix the internet issue. Once this is done, click retry and it will return to the exam. 

If your internet doesn’t reconnect during the exam or you feel your exam attempt has been unduly affected, you should raise a special consideration request. Before raising this request, please bear in mind that ICAEW has no control over your internet connection and it is up to you to ensure the internet connection is stable.

Q: What will happen if I experience problems during the exam – how can I contact the invigilator?

A: During your system check and on exam day, if you encounter any technical difficulties, you will be able to access the online chat support: “TAWK”. This chat can be found in the Proctor Exam tab within the exam and system check. You are permitted to swap tabs if you require technical help.

Please note: the special consideration rules and guidance apply for these exams. If you feel your exam attempt has been unduly affected, you should raise a special consideration request.

Q: How will existing access arrangements work with the remote invigilation exams?

A: The remote invigilation exams should support any access arrangements that have been agreed for your exam.

Q: Are we automatically going to be given extra time to complete the remote invigilation exam?

A: As the exams are the same whether sat in an exam centre or via remote invigilation, there is no need for the remote invigilation exam to allow extra time for it to be completed.

We are unable to allocate extra time to complete the exam if any problems do occur, however if you feel your exam attempt has been unduly affected you should raise a special consideration request

 

Q: Can I eat, drink or take a break during the exam?

A: The remote invigilation exams should be approached in the same way as if sitting the exam in a centre. Any water should be in a clear bottle or glass, snacks should only be health-type bars, and any toilet breaks must be no more than five minutes long. Your exam time will not be paused.

The only exception is if you have been given stop the clock functionality via your access arrangements.

For further information on what is and isn't allowed in the remote exam, and what is considered acceptable behaviour, please read the instructions to candidates.

Q: Can I have a comfort break during the exam?

A: Toilet breaks are permitted, but each break must be no more than five minutes long. Your exam time will not be paused.

Q: Can I use an additional monitor?

A: If you wish to use an additional monitor that does not have a webcam or microphone, you may connect this to a computer that has a webcam and microphone. You must ensure that the screen is mirrored, or one is off/blacked out. Only one screen should be in use during your exam. The webcam must be able to record you from the front but may be positioned to the side of your primary monitor if necessary.

Professional and Advanced Level Remote Invigilation - after the exam

Q: Will I receive my results in the same way?

A: Results will be provided to you and your employer (if applicable) in the same way as if you sat the exam in an exam centre. Read more about getting your results.

Q: How to results compare for exams taken in a centre vs. remote invigilation?

A: The results for exam centres and remote invigilation are carefully considered by ICAEW's Assessment Committee, which oversees our assessment processes; detailed data is available to the Committee, and that data is monitored over time at Certificate Level and at every session for Professional and Advanced Levels. The results for these two modes of delivery are comparable, and we will continue to monitor and assess to ensure both methods of delivery are fair and consistent for our students.