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Access arrangements guidance for exams

If you feel your exam performance may be hindered due to a health condition, disability, or specific learning difficulty (SpLD), we may be able to put access arrangements in place to support you during your exam(s).

Additional clarification: Access arrangements for a specific learning difficulty clarified on 5 June 2024.

If you would like arrangements to be in place for a specific exam, your access arrangements application needs to be submitted by the following deadlines:

  • ICAEW CFAB and ACA Certificate Level exams - 21 working days before the exam date. Please do not book your exam until your arrangements have been confirmed to you.
  • ACA Professional and Advanced Level exams – no later than the closing date of the respective exam session.
  • Level 4 Accounting Technician Apprenticeship Role Simulation exam - no later than the closing date of the respective exam session.

Please note that all access arrangements applications and enquiries must now be submitted online at my.icaew.com/examsonline. Email and postal applications will no longer be accepted.

Before you submit your access arrangements application, please read the below guidance. There are two guidance documents to read. The first one is only for SpLDs such as dyslexia. The second relates to arrangements for medical conditions, pregnancy, breastfeeding and prayer time during exams.

Although the process is the same regardless of the reason you are applying, the evidence required to support an application for access arrangements for a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) differs from other applications. Please note that you may need to refer to both guides if you are applying for more than one reason.

ICAEW now accepts a JCQ report provided at any age regarding a specific learning difficulty (SpLD).

  • Students will receive 25% extra time as the maximum support whilst they continue their ACA or CFAB studies.
  • If the student requires more time or additional arrangements, they must obtain a SASC diagnostic report.

If you are applying for access arrangements due to a medical condition, we recommend that you use the below medical statement.

If the condition you are suffering from is considered a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010, we will do everything we reasonably can to support you, as long as you can provide suitable evidence. This may involve adjustments such as awarding you extra time, rest breaks, a reader or a scribe, or changes to the exam format such as coloured overlays. If you have been awarded a scribe or reader, please review the below guidance.

Please note that we are currently unable to provide a scribe or reader for ICAEW CFAB and ACA Certificate Level remotely invigilated exams, we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

If you are suffering from a short-term condition and therefore not covered by the Equality Act, we will provide support in accordance with the ACA assessment regulations. This support is subject to the receipt of sufficient notice and suitable medical evidence; please read the access arrangements guidance note for clarification. We cannot always guarantee that a request for an access arrangement for a short-term condition will be granted but we will consider the details of your situation fully before confirming a decision.

Once we have received your application for access arrangements we will review it and notify you of our decision. Standard response times are 21 working days from receipt of appropriate evidence, but this may take longer during our peak times.

Access arrangements - stop the clock rest breaks awarded

If you have been awarded stop the clock rest breaks following an access arrangements application for an exam, please read the following guidance document and view the webinar before your exam. The guidance explains how to locate the stop the clock function, how the time is displayed and how to resume your exam.

Remote invigilation – extra time access arrangements

If you want to book an OnVUE remote invigilation exam and have an extra time access arrangement already in place with us, please follow the instructions listed on the page below.

Access arrangements - not awarded

If access arrangements cannot be awarded you should consider carefully whether to defer your exam until the following exam session. You should not rely on receiving an exam disruption appeal for your condition when your exam result is being determined. See the cancelling an exam application page.

There are also provisions available for Certificate Level exam centres.

If you have any access arrangements questions that are not addressed in the guidance, please submit your enquiry at my.icaew.com/examsonline.

Digital Learning Materials

Our digital Learning Materials provide the following functionality to support you:

  • Zoom
  • Colour contrast and the ability to change the background colour
  • Text to speech
  • Speed reader
  • Annotate with highlights and notes
  • Search the materials and filter your notes

If the functionality above does not meet your specific learning needs you can apply for a paper copy of the Learning Materials. To help us consider your request fully please submit medical evidence that addresses the requirements set out in the guidance notes. Please also ensure that your medical professional explains why online learning materials are not appropriate for your learning needs. Your application is assessed on an individual basis and will take into consideration the medical information provided alongside your current working practices. Please review the further guidance below for more information on applying for access arrangements.

If you are applying for access arrangements due to a medical condition, we recommend that you use the below medical statement. 

  • Medical statement for access arrangements

Digital learning materials: Supporting your accessibility needs webinar

In this webinar we will show you around the various functionality that sits within the ICAEW’s digital bookshelf. Our aim with the bookshelf is to enhance accessibility for students with specific learning difficulties and other medical conditions or disabilities. So, if you have already been awarded access arrangements or are thinking about making an application – we hope the following presentation will show how flexible and intuitive the bookshelf is – and how it might help you in your studies and during your open book exams.

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