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Retaking the Audit and Assurance exam

Helpsheets and support

Published: 21 Sep 2021 Update History

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In this guide we will cover how to prepare to retake the Audit and Assurance exams including reviewing what went wrong and how to focus your revision.

Review what went wrong

With hindsight, could you have done anything differently?

  • Did you dedicate enough time to studying for the Audit and Assurance exam? 
  • Did you spend too long reviewing/making notes and not enough time on question practise?
  • Did you have other things going on in your personal/work life?
  • Did you run out of time and not finish the exam?
  • Did you just have a bad day?

Whatever it is, what are you now going to do differently? Do not make the same mistakes twice.

Use the ICAEW marks feedback to assess your weakest areas. These are the areas you now need to concentrate on (without completely neglecting the rest of the syllabus, of course).

Draw up an action plan to schedule what you are going to do through this revision period leading to the next available sitting.

This exam requires application and justification to pass. What does this mean?

Well for ethics questions you should be identifying the issue from the scenario, classifying it as a self-interest threat to objectivity for instance, justifying why it is a self-interest threat, explain why it is significant using the FRCs Ethical Standards and then identifying how it can be managed (if it can be).

For Audit Report questions you should be justifying the grid references of the audit report modification grid. (Material or Pervasive / Inability to gain evidence or misstatement). For example, if inventory was overstated this would be Material – due to its size being above 1-2% of total assets (prove it with calculations), state it is not pervasive because the issue is isolated to inventory only. State that it is a misstatement as inventory is overstated impacting current assets and profits. The conclude – a material/misstatement give rise to a qualified opinion ‘except for….’

As you can see on the examples above – depth and application are really important.

How to prepare to retake your exam

The key is going to be question practise. You may or may not have done every question in the question bank but there is nothing wrong with repeating questions. Plan which questions you are going to practise and build in a good rotation of topics to keep everything as fresh as possible in your mind. Remember the “topic finder” in the question bank is a great way to pinpoint the best questions to practise a certain area. Make a note of the questions where you have struggled and go back to those areas.

If you have a mental block on certain topics, ask your tutor to spend a bit of time going through those topics with you. If you do not have a tutor, perhaps someone you know who has taken this exam can help you?

Can you get hold of a new set of mock exams to practise? Ask your tutor and see whether they will mark the mock exams for you and provide feedback.

On exam day go in with a plan of which order you are going to tackle the questions, stick to that plan and do not over run on time. You can only do your best but do not let yourself down by doing something silly.

Advice from CABA

Good luck with your retake.