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To demonstrate you are qualified by experience and eligible for ICAEW membership via Pathways, you must complete the Examination of Experience.

What is required?

The Examination of Experience (EoE) is an assessment which requires a candidate to demonstrate the same professional skills examined in the ACA Case Study – the final exam taken by ACA students before being invited into ICAEW membership. The exam consists of a series of questions which you complete in your own time, and submit using the required Examination of Experience form by the specified submission deadline. You are required to reflect on your experience and skills gained over the last five years. The exam will assess your:

  • Past experience and achievements,
  • Planning and analytical skills,
  • Ethical awareness and professional judgement,
  • Quality of thought,
  • Awareness of current and technical issues,
  • Summary of employment over the last five years.

All examples will be treated as private and confidential. If you prefer (or are limited by a non-disclosure agreement or similar) to naming a particular company or client in your work example, then you can simply refer to them as Client AAA or Company BBB. However, if you intend to do this, you should add some context to assist the examiner. As an example, you could say: ‘Client AAA, a market-leader in the international automotive trade’ or Company BBB, a local family-run business in the retail sector’.

How to approach the EoE

You will need to use your professional judgement to answer the questions to accurately convey your skills, experience and knowledge. Examiners have put together some guidance notes to help candidates answer the questions and the 'Summary of Employment'. We strongly recommend you read these guidelines and stay as close to them as possible.

Examples and templates

Read through the questions, example answers and download the Examination of Experience form to prepare your answers. Under no circumstances should the submitted text in your answers be taken from any previous submission, existing submission, example submission or any other individual or existing source. Submitting answers which originate from another source, which is not your own work, will be considered to be plagiarism and is taken very seriously by ICAEW.

Plagiarism, Tuition and Mentoring


Plagiarism, i.e. incorporating within your work any work (published or unpublished in whatever format or medium) created by another person, and submitting it as if it were your own work, is considered to be dishonest conduct. Where ICAEW finds evidence which suggests content has been plagiarised, the case will be referred to ICAEW Assessment Committee. ICAEW Assessment Committee is able to take action against applicants, such as setting the mark of the examination to zero, restriction of further examination attempts for an extended period of time, referral to the applicant’s current professional body, and any further sanctions deemed appropriate by the Committee and within its powers. Other parties implicated in such activity, such as mentors or sponsors who are ICAEW members, will be referred for investigation by our Professional Conduct Department.

For this reason ICAEW carries out detailed checks on each submission at every session. These checks include comparisons against all Pathways’ submissions, both past and present using sophisticated antiplagiarism software. It may help to think of Pathways as being like a competency-based interview. We want to see how you personally demonstrate each of the skills and behaviours covered by Pathways. Therefore, make sure that your answers explicitly refer to ‘I’ rather than ‘we’. Your submission MUST describe your own experiences and be written by yourself, in your own words.

Tuition and Mentoring

ICAEW does not endorse, accredit or support any individuals or organisations that provide tuition or mentoring services to candidates applying via the Pathways to Membership scheme and it is not something we condone.

Engaging the paid or unpaid services of an individual or organisation offering tuition for the Examination of Experience is likely to lead to someone else’s words being used in your answers which is not permitted under the scheme. There is also a risk that your answers are shared among other candidates which could result in your application being rejected.

ICAEW provides extensive support for candidates, including guidance on how to approach the Examination of Experience and prepare suitable answers as well as guidance on the Pathways submission process. Therefore, there is no need for candidates to use additional tuition or mentoring services. Although your sponsor must read your Examination of Experience to confirm it is a true reflection of your work and experience, they must not help you plan or write your answers.

Examination of Experience Guide

PDF (377kb)

Access a copy of our Examination of Experience guide to print or save.

Contact us

For all Pathways enquiries, please contact the Pathways team.