ACA assessment regulations
The regulations for ICAEW Certificate Level, Professional Level and Advanced Level ACA assessments.
Effective from 7 October 2021
1. An applicant must be registered as a student with ICAEW to sit the Certificate Level, Professional Level and Advanced Level assessments.
2. Registered students may attempt the Certificate Level, Professional Level, and Advanced Level Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management assessments in any order.
3. Students may not attempt the Case Study until they have attempted (or received credit for) all Certificate Level assessments, Professional Level assessments and the Advanced Level Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management assessments. A student can sit all three Advanced Level assessments at the same session (irrespective of the sitting order of these assessments in that session) and still comply with this regulation.
4. A student may not attempt the Case Study until they have completed all but their last year of approved training by the end of the month in which the assessment is held unless authorised to attempt the assessment earlier by the Managing Director, Education & Training.
5. Students who have not attempted an assessment for a period of three years or more will be removed from the student register. Individuals who have been removed from the register will be required to re-register in order to undertake any further assessment.
6. Under the pre-2007 structure students must have completed all of the assessments within eight years from the date they registered as a student or from the first day of the training agreement (whichever was first).
Number of attempts
7. Students are permitted four attempts at each Certificate Level and Professional Level assessment with the exception of the Business Planning and Financial Accounting and Reporting assessments (see regulations 15-20).
8. There is no restriction on the number of attempts at the Advanced Level assessments or the online based Ethics Learning Programme test.
9. Students may not attempt an ACA assessment that they have already passed (or for which they have received credit for prior learning).
10. An assessment attempt is recorded when a student enters for and attends an individual assessment and has sight of the content of that assessment.
11. When the following occurs it is not an attempt:
(a) the student enters for an assessment and is absent;
(b) the student enters for an assessment and withdraws prior to the assessment;
(c) an assessment cannot be completed and the result determined due to system failure or an exceptional event.
(d) an assessment is deemed void by the Committee.
12. Students will not be permitted, under any circumstances, to transfer assessment attempts from one assessment to another.
13. Any student who does not pass a Certificate Level or Professional Level assessment within the permitted four attempts may be entitled to apply for a concession under regulation 23.
14. From 1 June 2007 to 1 March 2011, an attempt bar operated for students who had failed four attempts at any ACA assessment. Students who were attempt barred on any Advanced Level assessment between 1 June 2007 and 1 March 2011 may re-register for Advanced Level assessments.
Syllabus module options
15. Students are permitted a combined maximum of four attempts across all three of the Business Planning assessments. An attempt at any Business Planning assessment will therefore count towards the maximum four attempts permitted at any Business Planning assessment.
16. Students are permitted a combined maximum of four attempts across both of the Financial Accounting and Reporting assessments. An attempt at any Financial Accounting and Reporting assessment will therefore count towards the maximum four attempts permitted at any Financial Accounting and Reporting assessment.
17. Students who fail a Business Planning assessment are permitted to retake any of the Business Planning assessments providing they have eligible attempts remaining at the Business Planning assessments.
18. Students who fail a Financial Accounting and Reporting assessment are permitted to retake any of the Financial Accounting and Reporting assessments providing they have eligible attempts remaining at the Financial Accounting and Reporting assessments.
19. Students may not attempt an alternative Business Planning assessment once they have passed (or received credit against) one of the Business Planning assessments.
20. Students may not attempt an alternative Financial Accounting and Reporting assessment once they have passed (or received credit against) one of the Financial Accounting and Reporting assessments.
21. ICAEW may, in exceptional circumstances, vary or waive the conditions of eligibility for the assessments.
22. A student can apply for a concession under the grounds that circumstances beyond their control hindered them during the assessment.
23. A student who is attempt-barred can make an application to the Committee for an additional assessment attempt on the grounds that they have experienced exceptional circumstances. All such applications must be made in writing to ICAEW and must be supported by medical or other appropriate evidence.
Credit for prior learning
24. The Committee shall at its discretion and in response to an acceptable application award credits to students and other individuals for modules within the Certificate Level and Professional Level of the ACA. Such credits shall normally be obtained through one or other or a combination of:
(a) an ICAEW accredited learning programme provided by tutors, Authorised Training Employers or other suppliers;
(b) prior academic or vocational study as the Committee may approve;
(c) membership of an approved accountancy body.
25. Applications for credit for prior learning shall:
(a) be made in the format prescribed by the Committee;
(b) be awarded in accordance with regulation 24;
(c) be accompanied by such fee(s) as determined by the Committee;
(d) not be allowed if the applicant has previously failed the module where credit for prior learning is sought unless the applicant is eligible for credit of that module from an additional qualification they have gained since failing the module in question.
26. A student will cease to be eligible to obtain credit for prior learning at the point at which they cease to be eligible to sit ICAEW assessments, as defined under regulation 1.
27. Credit for prior learning will normally only be awarded within five years of the award of the academic or professional qualification against which credit is sought.
28. The Committee may vary or waive the requirements prescribed under regulation 27 where the qualification cited as the basis for credit is membership of the Association of Accounting Technicians or membership of a professional body that is a full member of the International Federation of Accountants with a CPD policy that is compliant with its International Education Standard 7.
29. With the exception of reciprocal membership applicants, students may not be awarded credit for prior learning for more than the 12 modules that comprise the Certificate Level and the Professional Level.
30. It is the responsibility of the student to enter for the assessment and adhere to any published closing dates for entry.
31. Students may only enter assessments for which they are eligible.
32. Students must show valid identification which meets the requirements of Instructions to Candidates.
33. Students sitting Certificate Level assessments at an assessment venue must arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the assessment.
34. Students sitting Professional Level and Advanced Level assessments at an assessment venue must arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the assessment.
35. Students arriving late to a Professional Level or Advanced Level assessment will not be given additional time and their lateness will be reported to ICAEW.
36. Students arriving 30 minutes after a Professional Level or Advanced Level assessment has started will not be allowed in the assessment room to sit that assessment.
37. Students may not leave the assessment venue during an assessment and return unless accompanied by an invigilator.
38. Students taking assessments outside the United Kingdom may not leave an assessment venue once the assessment has started.
39. Students may not remove materials provided at the assessment venue unless instructed otherwise.
40. If a student is ill or suffers from any other circumstance that may affect performance during the assessment they must report this to the invigilator or ICAEW.
Remote invigilated assessments
41. Students sitting a Certificate Level assessment under remote invigilation must access the assessment 30 minutes prior to the start time of the assessment.
42. Students sitting Professional Level or Advanced Level assessments under remote invigilation must start the onboarding process at their scheduled start time.
43. If a student is ill or suffers from any other circumstance that may affect performance during a Certificate Level assessment they must report this to the invigilator.
44. If a student is ill or suffers from any other circumstance that may affect performance during a Professional Level or Advanced Level assessment they must report this to ICAEW.
Permitted and non-permitted personal items
45. Students sitting a Certificate Level assessment at an assessment venue may only bring personal items into the assessment room which are permitted by PearsonVue’s Candidate Rules Agreement or Comfort Aid list.
46. Students sitting a remote invigilated Certificate Level assessment must ensure there are no personal items in the testing space which are prohibited by PearsonVue’s policies and procedures for remote invigilation.
47. Students sitting a Professional Level or Advanced Level assessment may only bring personal items into the assessment room, or testing area under remote invigilation, which are permitted in the Instructions to Candidates.
48. ICAEW reserves the right to change, amend, remove or vary at any point the items and materials permitted in an assessment.
49. Students may only bring permitted texts into the assessment room, or testing area under remote invigilation, as listed at icaew.com/permittedtexts.
50. Where a hardcopy text is permitted, the following regulations apply:
(a) Texts may be annotated ONLY to the extent of underlining, sidelining and highlighting.
(b) Page tabs may be used but must not be written on.
(c) For each assessment students may take only one copy of any permitted text listed.
(d) Students may take an edition of the permitted text of a year other than the one listed.
(e) Assessments are set on the edition year listed and any student taking a different edition does so at their own risk.
51. Students may not submit any pre-prepared material or, for example, annotated exhibits from advance information with their answers and this material will not be marked by the examiners.
Access arrangements for assessments
52. Students must notify ICAEW on registration of any needs under the Equality Act 2010 for assessment provision and ICAEW will consider these needs.
53. Students are able to request access arrangements due to short-term or long-term indispositions.
54. Applications for assessment arrangements must meet the relevant deadlines as laid out in the Access Arrangements for Examinations policy.
55. Students who have been granted access arrangements must inform ICAEW immediately if the circumstances related to their access arrangements change prior to the sitting of the assessment in question.
56. Students who are no longer eligible for access arrangements due to a change in their circumstances will be deemed to have committed misconduct should they continue to sit an assessment under those access arrangements.
57. Engaging in any activity which is in breach of these regulations, or deemed to breach the intent of these regulations, will be considered as misconduct. Examples of this may include (but are not limited to):
(a) cheating ie, failing to comply with the rules governing assessments or any instructions given by the invigilator;
(b) colluding ie, assisting another candidate to gain an advantage by any means, facilitating or receiving such assistance;
(c) fabricating ie, misleading or attempting to mislead the examiners by presenting work for assessment in a way which intentionally or recklessly suggests that factual information has been collected which has not in fact been collected, or which falsifies factual information;
(d) personating ie, acting, appearing, or producing work on behalf of another candidate in order to deceive the examiners, or soliciting another individual to act, appear or produce work on your own behalf;
(e) plagiarising ie, incorporating within your work, work (published or unpublished in whatever format or medium) created by another person without appropriate acknowledgement;
(f) using any materials prohibited under these regulations during an assessment;
(g) continuing to write after an assessment is declared closed;
(h) disruptive conduct in the assessment venue, including failure to act in a professional manner;
(i) failing to comply with instructions from the invigilator, ICAEW, or the Instructions to Candidates.
58. Invigilators at assessment centres may stop a student’s assessment if the student is conducting themselves improperly or suspected of committing misconduct.
59. ICAEW reserves the right to contact a student’s training office in relation to cases of misconduct.
60. ICAEW will investigate any student suspected of involvement in any irregularity or misconduct. Where a case for misconduct is to be considered, the student will be notified and given opportunity to explain in writing the circumstances of the case.
61. Where ICAEW believes a case of misconduct may exist this will be referred to ICAEW's Assessment Committee for investigation and potential disciplinary action. Disciplinary action may include setting the mark of an assessment to zero, voiding the attempt or any other measure deemed appropriate by the Committee. Cases of misconduct may be referred to the Professional Conduct department and include additional disciplinary action.
62. ICAEW reserves the right to withhold publication of the results of an assessment, and prevent further assessment attempts, of students found guilty of misconduct or suspected of having been involved in any irregularity or misconduct in connection with an assessment pending the completion of investigations into the alleged irregularity or misconduct.
63. Students may appeal a finding of misconduct under the Rights of appeal against decisions of LPD Board Regulations.
64. Students who fail a Professional Level or Advanced Level assessment may apply for a marks review.
65. Answers and assessment materials submitted by students remain the property of ICAEW and will not be returned to students. ICAEW retains the right to use scripts and submitted materials for training and feedback purposes.
Powers of variation
66. Subject to compliance with the Companies Act 2006 and appropriate consultation with the Financial Reporting Council, the Committee shall have the power to vary or waive the above regulations.