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Exams FAQs

Frequently asked questions about ACA exams.

Where can I find past exams, examiner comments, exam syllabus and support?
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These can be found in exam resources.

What are the ACA exam dates?
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All exam dates and deadlines are on the exam applications page. See exam dates and deadlines.

What are the costs of exams?
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Costs can be found on the exam applications page. See exam entry fees.

How do I book an exam?
Where can I sit an ACA exam?

Exam centres are available around the world.You will be able to select the location of your exam during the application process. 

Can I sit the exams in any order?

Yes, with the exception of the Advanced Stage Level Case Study. You will not be able to attempt the Case Study until you have taken (or received credit for) all the other modules. You will also need to be in  the final year of your training agreement. 

Do I have to apply for credits before taking exams?

For all questions relating to credit for prior learning, see credit for prior learning FAQs. You can also view the how to apply for credit for prior learning guide.

Can I sit an ACA exam if I am an independent student?

For all questions relating to independent students, see independent student FAQs.

What identification do I need to take to the exams?

Please check the instructions to candidates on the exam application page for details on the current requirements for identification in each type of ICAEW Professional and Advanced Level exam (see Instructions to candidates).

For Certificate Level exams, you need to take two pieces of identity to the exam centre:

  • one must contain your photograph and your signature (for example, a current passport or photographic driving licence); and
  • the other form of identity must contain your signature (for example, credit card or any of the above).

In addition, when you arrive at the exam centre and at the start of the check in process, you will be asked to provide a digital signature. This helps us to identify you and also confirms that you agree with all the candidate rules. A high-quality digital photo will also be taken, using image-quality intelligence software to produce a standardised passport-style photo that meets rigorous quality standards.The invigilator will then compare your signature and photo with your ID and previous exam data. All student data will be securely stored and protected by Pearson VUE in line with GDPR.

What do I have to use to write my answers during exams?

You must use a black ball point pen.

How many exam attempts am I allowed?

ICAEW regulations allow four attempts at each Certificate Level and Professional Level exam (with the exception of the Business Planning and Financial Accounting and Reporting assessments), and an unlimited number of attempts at the Advanced Level exams. However, if you are in an ACA training agreement, your employer who may advise you on how many exam attempts they are prepared to support. So do check with your employer.

We recommend that you read the ACA assessment regulations or contact the student support team on +44 (0)1908 248 250, if you have any questions.

What happens if I fail an exam four times?

You must ensure that you are fully prepared for any exam you sit. While ICAEW regulations currently allow for a maximum of four exam attempts at each Certificate and  Professional Level module and an unlimited number of attempts at each of the Advanced Level exams, do check with your employer regarding the number of attempts that they will allow.

At Certificate and Professional Level, if you fail the same module four times, ICAEW regulations state that you may not take any further ACA exams.

We recommend that you read the ACA assessment regulations or contact the student support team on +44 (0)1908 248 250, if you have any questions.

What happens if I don’t turn up for an exam?
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If you do not attend an exam, you will be marked as absent. If you attend the exam hall and start the exam (ie, see any of the exam questions) then this will be counted as an attempt and you will receive a mark of zero against that attempt.

Information on how to cancel an exam, what to do if you are seeking special consideration (eg, if you could not attend the exam because of special circumstances such as you were ill in hospital) are on the exam applications page. See cancelling an exam application and special consideration.

What happens if I turn up to an exam, but do not finish the exam?

If you attend the exam hall, start the exam and view exam questions but don't answer any of the exam questions, this will be counted as an attempt and you will receive a mark of zero against that attempt.

If you walk out of the exam before the end of the exam session (eg, with 20 minutes exam time still remaining), then this will be counted as an attempt. You then have the option to have the attempt counted as a zero or to have the examiner mark the work you have done up to that point. In either case, it is still counted as an attempt.

We do not recommend that you leave the exam before the end of that exam session.

To see what is counted as an exam attempt, please see the ACA assessment regulations.

If I finish all the exam questions early, can I get up and leave?

Yes, but it is not advisable. You should always make the most of the time that is given to you – use the time to check any calculations you have made, re-read your answers – it may be the difference between a pass and a fail!

Will I get a refund if I cancel an exam after I apply for it?

You can withdraw from an exam at any time to ensure you are not recorded as absent. However, whether you get a refund will depend on when you request to withdraw.

  On or after 1 April 2019:
  • Before, and up to the exam session closing date for a Professional or Advanced Level exam session, you can withdraw online via the ‘Modify an existing application’ section.  A refund will be issued to you within 15-20 working days (during peak times this may vary) of the exam session closing date.
  • After the exam session closing date, you must submit your withdrawal request online using the ‘Withdrawal of exam(s) after the closing date’ option. A refund will only be considered if appropriate medical evidence is supplied.
  • If you are unable to attend the exam on the day, a refund can only be considered if appropriate medical evidence has been obtained and signed within 48 hours of the exam date. This evidence then needs to be submitted to us using the portal within 14 calendar days of the exam date. If the medical evidence supplied at this time is dated prior to the exam session closing date, you will not be eligible for a refund.
  • If a refund is confirmed, this will be returned to the original payment method 15-20 days following the exam session (during peak times this may vary). We do not issue credits toward future exam sessions.

Please note that if you withdraw from an exam (with or without refund), your application will not be transferred automatically to the next exam session and you must apply again as normal for any future sessions. 

If you need to change the exam or centre you have chosen for a Professional or Advanced Level exam session, you can amend your application online up to the deadline. No amendments can be made after the exam entry deadline. 

Make sure that you are aware of all exam key dates and deadlines, as listed above.

If I cancel an exam application, am I automatically entered for that exam in the next exam sitting?
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No. You are not automatically entered into the next exam sitting. You will need to apply for that exam at a future exam sitting.

I feel unwell before/during the exam, what should I do?

Before the exam: if you are really feeling very unwell before the exam, we suggest you do not sit that exam. A refund may be possible if you supply medical evidence. See cancelling an exam application.

During the Exam: If you sit the exam while you are feeling unwell, you can apply for ‘special consideration’. This needs to be in writing, with medical evidence, to the Assessment Manager within a maximum of 14 days after the exam. See special consideration.

How do I apply for access arrangements for my exams?

Please see this guidance for details on which circumstances are considered, how to apply, and important deadlines. If you have any questions about access arrangements please submit your enquiry at my.icaew.com/examsonline

Can I change my exam centre (after I have applied for the exam)?
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If you need to change the exam or centre you have applied for within a Professional or Advanced Level exam session, you can amend your application online up to the closing date. After this date no further amendments to centre or module can be made.

If you wish to withdraw between the closing date and cancellation date, you can do this by emailing logistics@icaew.com. For further information, please refer to the exam dates and deadlines page of our website.

Can I use a calculator in the exams?

From 1 January 2019, you will be required to bring your own calculator to Certificate Level exams from an approved list. No other makes or models will be permitted.

You can buy a calculator from www.mantonoffice.co.uk, or from a supplier of your choice. 

There is also an on-screen calculator. You can practise using the online calculator in advance of the exam by trying the sample exams. View the sample exams in your dedicated exam resources area of our website which you can access as an ICAEW CFAB student, Level 4 Accounting Technician apprenticeship student or ACA Certificate Level student.

You are allowed to take your own calculator into the exam room for Professional and Advanced Level exams. However, please note that your calculator must not be capable of being programmed to hold alphabetical or numerical data and/or formulae or capable of automatically computing net present value (NPV) or internal rate of return (IRR).

Can I use last years' learning materials for exams this year?
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The learning materials are extensively updated each year in line with syllabus changes and technical updates. Therefore, we recommend that you always use the latest edition. We cannot be held responsible for you answering an exam question incorrectly based on information you may have learnt from old learning materials.

How can I get my exam results?

Certificate Level exam results are only available online. You can access these on the exams results page.

By text or email

You can choose to receive your exam results by email and/or text message. Registration for this service can be completed as part of the online exam application process or using the results notification link of the online exam applications system. The deadline for applications for receiving results this way is 17.00 (UK time) on the Friday prior to the relevant results dispatch at each session.

Via the website

The pass and credits lists are published at icaew.com/examresults at 12:00 (UK time) on results release day.

By telephone

You can call the student support team on +44 (0) 1908 248 250 from 12:00-17:30 (UK time) on results release day.

If I fail an exam, can I get it re-marked?

We do not re-mark. However, you can apply for a ‘marks review’. This is not a re-mark, but it is a complete check across all the processes involved in reaching your result. See marks review for more details, including deadlines, costs and how to apply.

If I fail an exam, can I get feedback on why I failed?

Yes. Marks feedback is available for any failed written paper, and you may request marks feedback for up to 12 months from the date of the exam.

See marks feedback more details including deadlines, application form and costs.

Can I have my original exam submission back?
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Scripts and assessment materials submitted remain the property of ICAEW and will not be returned to candidates. ICAEW retains the right to use scripts and submitted materials for training and feedback purposes.