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Computer-based exams: guidance and support

All Professional Level exams are now computer-based. The Advanced Level exams will begin to move to computer in July 2018.

NOTE: The exam practice software will be unavailable on Saturday 17 March between 18:00 and 20:00 GMT due to essential maintenance on our server. You can download sample exams and question bank questions before 18:00 GMT to use offline during this time.

A summary of when the remaining exams will move to computer is provided below. You can also download the ACA planner to ensure you’re aware of all upcoming key exam dates and deadlines.

 March Professional Level exam sitting with the first computer-based exam for Business Planning: Taxation and Business Strategy and Technology.
 June Professional Level exam sitting with the first computer-based exam for Business Planning: Banking and Business Planning: Insurance.
 July Advanced Level exam sitting with the first computer-based exam for Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management. 
 July  Advanced Level exam sitting with the first computer-based exam for the Case Study.

Support and guidance to help you prepare for an Advanced Level computer-based exam is in development. Look out for new resources within each ICAEW student update, sent to you by email, and by frequently visiting this web page. Simply key in icaew.com/cbe each time or bookmark the page, you will also find support on the relevant exam resources page. 

Your five steps to computer-based exam success

To help you feel best prepared for your computer-based exams complete the checklist below, and you will have everything you need to walk into your exam centre fully prepared and ready to tackle your Professional Level exams. 

1) Read the exam guidance

Professional and Advanced Level exams are different to your Certificate Level exams. This exam guide will help you to understand what to expect on the day, how to navigate within the software, key functionality and exam provide exam top tips. 

2) Watch the exam webinars

A series of short webinars are available for you to watch on-demand. They provide an overview of the exam software functionality, exam top tips, an overview on how to move and resize the question and answer window and much more. 

Webinar More information 
Introducing computer-based exams This webinar explores the new computer-based exam format, what to expect on the day of the exam and the timeline of when exams will move to computer.
Overview of the computer-based exam software Discover the functions within the computer-based exam software including: the exam questions, the countdown clock, the question layout and much more.  
The exam experience from start to finish An overview of how to book your exams, key features of the new exam format and how to access the software.  
Overview of the guidance and support available  Discover key resources and guidance available to support you during your exam preparation, including: the computer-based exam guide, the exam software, frequently asked questions and much more.  
Computer-based exams top tips  Watch this webinar to discover top tips, including: timing, common mistakes, how to resize and move the question window and guidance on the new software.   
Computer-based exams question banks  This webinar guides you on how to export and save your answers and how to download the question banks so you can revise wherever you are. 
How to move and resize the question and answer window A quick overview on how to resize the question window during your exam so you can view the question and response area side by side. 
Decimal places  A short webinar to show you how to add and remove decimal places in your Financial Management exam. 

3) Use the practice exam software

Getting to know the software in advance of your exams is crucial for success, so practise using the functionality and formatting answers by using the practice software.

Questions from the ICAEW published question banks are available within the exam software two months before an exam sitting. This will enable you to practise exam-standard questions within the exam software before you take your exam. You can also save, export and print your answers, remember to export your answers before you save and print.

Access the question banks within the exam resources area of our website, just select the level and exam you are studying. 

4) Review the sample exam

Sample exams for are available with a blank version of the exam software, so you can practise answering questions as you would in the actual exam. You can also view the sample answers from our examiners and guidance on exam technique.

All sample answers are based on the marks plan produced by our examiners, and contain content that exceeds 100 marks. They should therefore be used to gain an understanding on how responses should be set out. A key learning point is that the answers should be clearly laid out, with all workings shown and referenced. Excessive formatting is not required.

All sample exams, and sample answers answers can be found within the exam resources section of the website. Simply select the exam you are studying.

5) Read the Instructions to Candidates

The Instructions to Candidates contain important information regarding the administration of your Professional Level exams and have been updated specifically for computer-based exams. Read them carefully and familiarise yourself with all the processes and procedures before you attempt an exam.

Further guidance

The October 2017 edition of Vital includes more hints and tips on preparing for Professional Level exams.

If you have a question on the transition from paper to computer-based exams visit our student community where you can post your questions and share your own exam and study tips with other ACA students around the world.

More support and guidance including is available to you on all important information you need to know about your exams, access arrangements and how to apply for them. 

Have a question?

If you have a question, please get in touch. Contact our Student Support team on +44 (0)1908 248 250, email us or speak to an adviser by clicking on the live web chat box on this page.