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Exam - skills development grids

From 01 January 2018, a revised exam skills grid for each ACA exam will be introduced.

The table below shows the updated professional skills that students will develop during their studies and exams and the progression of these skills through the ACA Professional and Advanced Level exams.

We currently assess professional skills alongside technical knowledge for the Professional and Advanced Level exams and we recommend that students review the professional skills along with the syllabus, learning outcomes and technical knowledge grid for each exam.

The way that we assess skills within exams, is not changing. However, we have updated the current skills to highlight the following five key themes:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Insight
  3. Collaboration
  4. Perspective
  5. Learning and reflection

Each study manual will show the professional skills developed in that module, so that students and training providers can see the progression in skills development as they study.

Professional skills assessed in examinations

The tables below outlines the updated exam skills grids effective from 01 January 2018. Alternatively, you can download a pdf version of the updated exam skills grid.

Assimilating and using information

Understand the situation and the requirements Theme reference
Demonstrate understanding of the business context Perspective
Recognise new and complex ideas within a scenario Perspective
Identify the needs of customers and clients Perspective
Explain different stakeholder perspectives and interests Perspective
Identify risks within a scenario Perspective
Identify elements of uncertainty within a scenario Adaptability
Identify ethical issues including public interest and sustainability issues in a given scenario Perspective
Identify and use relevant information Theme reference
Interpret information provided in various formats Insight
Evaluate the relevance of information provided Insight
Use multiple information sources Insight
Filter information provided to identify critical facts Insight
Identify and prioritise key issues and stay on task Theme reference
Identify business and financial issues from a scenario Insight
Prioritise key issues Adaptability
Work effectively within time constraints Adaptability
Operate to a brief in a given scenario Collaboration

Structuring problems and solutions

Structure data Theme reference
Structure information from various sources into suitable formats for analysis Insight
Identify any information gaps Insight
Frame questions to clarify information Insight
Use a range of data types and sources to inform analysis and decision making Insight
Structure and analyse financial and non-financial data to enhance understanding of business issues and their underlying causes Insight
Present analysis in accordance with instructions Insight
Develop solutions Theme reference
Structure information from various sources into suitable formats for analysis Insight
Identify and apply relevant technical knowledge and skills to analyse a specific problem Insight
Use structured information to identify evidence-based solutions Insight
Identify creative and pragmatic solutions in a business environment Insight
Identify opportunities to add value Insight
Identify and anticipate problems that may result from a decision Perspective
Identify a range of possible solutions based on analysis Perspective
Identify ethical dimensions of possible solutions Perspective
Select appropriate courses of action using an ethical framework Perspective
Identify the solution which is the best fit with acceptance criteria Insight
Define acceptance criteria for solutions Insight

Applying judgement

Apply professional scepticism and critical thinking Theme reference
Recognise bias and varying quality in data and evidence Insight
Identify assumptions or faults in arguments Insight
Identify gaps in evidence Insight
Identify inconsistencies and contradictory information Insight
Assess interaction of information from different sources Insight
Exercise ethical judgement Perspective
Relate issues to the environment Theme reference
Appreciate when more expert help is required Perspective
Identify related issues in scenarios Perspective
Assess different stakeholder perspectives when evaluating options Perspective
Retain an overview of the business issue or scenario Perspective
Appraise corporate responsibility and sustainability issues Perspective
Appraise the effects of alternative future scenarios Perspective
Appraise ethical, public interest and regulatory issues Perspective

Concluding, recommending and communicating

Conclusions Theme reference
Apply technical knowledge to support reasoning and conclusions Insight
Apply technical knowledge, professional experience and evidence to support reasoning Insight
Use valid and different technical skills to formulate opinions, advice, plans, solutions, options and reservations Insight
Recommendations Theme reference
Present recommendations in accordance with instructions Collaboration
Make recommendations in situations where risks and uncertainty exist Perspective
Formulate opinions, advice, recommendations, plans, solution, options and reservations based on valid evidence Insight
Make evidence-based recommendations which can be justified by reference to supporting data and other information Insight
Develop recommendations which combine different technical skills in a practical situation Insight
Communication Theme reference
Present a basic or routine memorandum or briefing note in writing in a clear and concise style Collaboration
Present analysis and recommendations in accordance with instructions Collaboration
Communicate clearly to a specialist or non-specialist audience in a manner suitable for the recipient Collaboration
Prepare the advice, report, or notes required in a clear and concise style Collaboration