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Retaking the Tax Compliance exam

Helpsheets and support

Published: 22 Sep 2021 Update History

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In this guide we will cover how to prepare to retake the Tax Compliance exams including reviewing what went wrong and how to prepare to retake your exam.

If you do find yourself unfortunately needing to retake the Tax Compliance exam, here are a few tips for success next time:

Review what went wrong

With hindsight, could you have done anything differently?

  • Did you dedicate enough time to studying Tax Compliance?
  • Did you focus on the wrong topics?
  • 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?
  • 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.

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. 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.

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. If you are independent student you can always ask a student or someone you know who has sat the exam for guidance also.

If you are taking an exam later in the year you will also be able to use the real exams from earlier that year as these will be prepared using the same Finance Act rates and allowances.

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. 

Good luck!