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Professional and Advanced Level exam FAQs

All Professional and Advanced Level exams are computer-based, so getting to know the exam software in advance of your exam is crucial to success.


How to book an exam

How can I apply for an exam?

You can book your Professional and Advanced Level exams via your online training file. You can choose between a centre-based exam or a remotely invigilated exam.

It’s important that you book your exam before the exam booking deadline, no late bookings will be accepted after this date. View all key dates and deadlines by downloading the ACA planner

Can I apply for access arrangements?

Yes, visit the access arrangements guidance here for more information.

Late bookings

No exam bookings will be accepted once the exam booking deadline closes. Students, employers and tutors must ensure they are aware of and make a note of all exam dates and deadlines. 


What happens if there are no seats available at my chosen location?

When you apply for your exams, the venues that are shown during the exam booking process will be the closest venues to the location you have entered with available seats. Once a venue is filled to capacity, it will not be displayed on screen. Booking will work on a first come first serve basis.

On the day

Can I bring my own watch or clock into the exam?

Watches and desk clocks are not permitted in any Professional or Advanced Level exam. The timing of the exam will be managed by a timer within the exam software. The timer can be switched to either count up or count down. Therefore, you are advised to practise the exams with a timer, and the practice exam software, so you are confident in managing your time throughout your exam this way.

Can I have a paper copy of the exam?

No. The exam software has been designed to deliver the exams in a manner that reflects the work environment.

Can I take a calculator into the exam room?

Yes. For Professional and Advanced Level exams, you are allowed to take a calculator into the exam. You must provide your own calculator to use in the exam. You can use any standard basic or scientific calculator. You may be asked, by the invigilator, to show that the memory within the calculator is empty; if you are unable to do so, you will not be allowed to use the calculator during your exam.

Can I use earplugs if I am concerned about the noise in the exam room?

Yes, to avoid noise disturbance you are allowed to use earplugs or wear headphones during your exam. They must not be plugged in to or be capable of wirelessly connecting to any device. We do not provide earplugs or headphones, so you must bring your own.

During my exam

How do I increase the number of rows visible in the spreadsheet area

To increase the number of rows visible, you can:

  • Decrease the zoom on the spreadsheet (the bottom right of the spreadsheet)
  • Decrease the whole window using the browser zoom functions (ctrl + -); or
  • Hide the menu ribbon
  • Move the horizontal divider up the page to increase the amount of space for the spreadsheet
Where do I put my answer
You must put your answer in the word processing area of the exam software. Any content in the spreadsheet area will not be visible to examiners and won't be marked.
What if my keyboard does not have the required currency symbols?

Some keyboards may not have £, $ or € keys available. Please use abbreviations such as P / GBP for £, D / USD for $, and E / EUR for € to indicate a currency if this is required.

What should I do if I experience technical difficulties?
In the unlikely event that you encounter any technical difficulties, the invigilator will be able to provide support. You must make the invigilator aware as soon as possible, you will then be required to complete an invigilator report. If you are sitting via remote invigilation and encounter any technical difficulties on your exam day you will be able to access the online chat support for help. The “TAWK” online chat support can be found in the Proctor Exam tab within the exam. You are permitted to swap tabs if you require technical help.
If you feel that your performance in an exam has been adversely affected by illness or other circumstances you can apply for special consideration. Find out more
What will I see on my screen during my exam?

You will be able to view  the exam question, word processing and spreadsheet area at the same time. If your exam includes exhibits or permitted texts these will be included in the resources area*. If you are sitting an exam with data analytics software included, a link to the software will also be available. For open book exams there will also be a link to your ICAEW Bookshelf.

*The IFRS ® Standards (Blue Book) must continue to be purchased as a hard copy directly from the IFRS Foundation.

Will I be able to make notes during the exam?
Yes. You will be given note paper by the venue but you should take your own pens/pencils. You are permitted to use blank note paper in a remotely invigilated exam. However, any notes you make will not be handed in or marked, so make sure you display all of your workings within the answer area. There is also a rich text notepad within the exam where you can type notes. This notepad is not marked.
Your answers must be in the word processing area of the exam software. Content in the spreadsheet area will not be marked.
Will I be allowed to take permitted texts into the exam?

Permitted texts are now available in a digital format, accessible via the ICAEW Bookshelf. 

The following exams will not allow any hard copy materials, and the relevant permitted text will be accessible as a clean PDF within the exam software:

  • Audit and Assurance
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting: UK GAAP
  • Tax Compliance

Financial Accounting and Reporting: IFRS exams will allow the hard copy of IFRS Blue Book to be used. This text will not be supplied in the exam software. Please also note:

  • you may not share recommended text(s) with another candidate; and
  • only original hardcopies are permitted.

For open book exams (Business Planning and Advanced Level), you will also have access to your personal ICAEW Bookshelf to access your digital learning materials within the exam. You can also bring any hard copy materials you wish, subject to space restrictions. Full details of the texts and the specific editions we recommend is available at icaew.com/permittedtexts

Will the computer equipment be different across exam centres?

All our exam centres must adhere to a set of guidelines (including minimum specifications for IT equipment).

Will the question window and response area be visible at the same time?

Yes, you can resize all areas within the exam software.

Support and guidance

How can I access the practice software?

You can access the practice software via icaew.com/examsoftware. It is vital that you familiarise yourself with the software before you sit your exam.

What is the difference between the live and practice software?
  • The practice software is delivered in a browser and the live exam in a lockdown environment. This means that some windows specific functionality may differ such as shortcut keys. 
  • The practice software also allows you to export your answer into a PDF to be marked. During the live exam, the software will automatically save your answers to be marked.
  • There are no timers in the practice software, so please ensure you time yourself correctly when practising.
Will the Case Study advance information be posted to me?

The Case Study advance information is only available online. You can print this off and take it to your exam as it will not be provided. You will also be able to add it to your ICAEW Bookshelf six weeks before the exam. You can find out when the advance information will be released for each exam session here. It will be available to download from the Case Study exam resources page.


Will the Corporate Reporting advance information be posted to me?
The Corporate Reporting advance information is only available online. You must print this off and take it to your exam as it will not be provided. You can find out when the advance information will be released for each exam session here. It will be available to download from the Corporate Reporting exam resources page.
Will the speed I type affect my performance in the exam?

We do expect a certain degree of IT literacy from students. We encourage you to use the practice software to ascertain whether any improvement in your typing skills is required.

Where can I find more guidance on remotely invigilated exams?
For further guidance on remotely invigilated exams click here or visit the remote invigilation FAQs