Current position of accountancy qualifications

Physical exam venues have been closed in the UK during the lockdown but as of 29th June 2020 we are now seeing some of these venues reopen.

Not all centres will be opening on that date and capacities will be reduced due to social distancing measures.

Read our guide below to see what each accountancy qualification currently has in place when it comes to sitting exams.

 

 

Accountancy Students

Current position of accountancy qualifications

Physical exam venues have been closed in the UK during the lockdown but as of 29th June 2020 we are now seeing some of these venues reopen.

Not all centres will be opening on that date and capacities will be reduced due to social distancing measures.

Read our guide below to see what each accountancy qualification currently has in place when it comes to sitting exams.

 

 

ACCA, CIMA and ICAEW have all been introducing ‘remote proctored’ invigilated exams which use a combination of biometrics, AI and live invigilation to allow students to sit their assessments remotely from their home or office.

AAT

AAT have a CORONAVIRUS hub for students here.

The AAT suspended all assessments in March but plans are now in place to allow students to restart sitting their assessments using physical assessment venues.

Physical assessment venues

Students are now able to sit their exams in an physical assessment venues (from June 29th 2020) although not all centres will be opening on that date and capacities will be reduced due to social distancing measures. Students may need to be willing to sit at a different centre to their usual one.

They can find exam centres here.

The AAT have made some additional synoptic windows available over the Summer, shown in green bold below alongside existing windows.

 

Students will not be able to sit the level 2 Foundation Synoptic until 17th August.

Remote invigilated assessments

The AAT were hoping to introduce remote ‘proctored’/invigilated assessments from August. After extensive testing and further investigation that the AAT have conducted, it has become clear to them that it will not be possible for them to introduce RI in the way that they had planned. As a result, they have changed their plan and are now working towards implementing a managed pilot through selected training providers utilising two of their Level 1 qualifications. This will provide them with valuable information and learning which will allow them to better understand and mitigate against the risk of the issues associated with RI.

Level 2 Foundation Synoptic – calculated result

Any students who have sat and passed Bookkeeping transactions, Bookkeeping Controls and Elements of Costing by 31st March (at least one of which must be been sat in the 12 months up to that date) will be given a calculated result for the level 2 Foundation Synoptic.  This result will be based on their results for the three exams they have passed.  The calculated results will be released on 13th August.  There will be a £49 fee for this.

Recognition for Prior Learning/Exemptions for other qualification exams

It may be possible to achieve credit for up to 50% of AAT papers at a particular level through ‘RPL’/exemption, which may be an alternative for students who are unable to complete AAT units by sitting assessments in physical assessment venues or by remote proctoring. Examples might be:

  • Completing a Xero Certification can help achieve RPL against Level 2 UACS
  • Passing ICAEW Principles of Tax (available remotely from May) and gaining exemption from level 4 Personal Tax and Business Tax
  • Passing ACCA Management Accounting (available remotely from late June) and gaining exemption from level 4 MA: Budgeting and MA: Decision & Control
  • Passing CIMA BA3 Financial Accounting (available remotely from May) and gaining exemption against level 4 Financial Statements of Limited Companies

See here for a full overview of exemptions available through passing exams of other qualifications.

Qual21

The new AAT syllabus which was due to be introduced in September 2021 has been delayed to February 2022 and will be called ‘Qual22’. The last date for registering on the current syllabus AQ2016 will be 31 January 2022 and students will have until 28 February 2023 to complete papers under AQ2016.

ICAEW

The ICAEW have a CORONAVIRUS exam hub here.

Certificate Level exams

Certificate/CFAB level exams have been available for students to sit remotely from home since early May. They are available ‘on demand’ and can be booked directly by students at any time although it’s a good idea for them to confirm their plans with their employer and training provider before they do so.

So far over 2,000 remote exams have been delivered successfully and pass rates are holding firm in line with physical exam centres at 86% overall.

Technical requirements for students exams at home, including a system check can be found here.

Professional level exams

The June Professional level exams have been cancelled meaning that the next sitting is in September.

The ICAEW have obtained FRC approval to offer remote invigilation of exams allowing them to be sat by students at home or in the office. The ICAEW are in a position to offer this as an option for the September Professional exams for those students who cannot or who do not want to sit exams in a physical centre. Students will be able to ‘mix and match’ exam types for separate papers at the same sitting, but will not be able to change their mind once they have made a decision.

September Professional Level exam booking windows will be:

  • 13 – 17 July for physical venue exams
  • 20 – 24 July for remote exams

It is strongly advised that students considering sitting a remote exam perform a system check as soon as possible so that if there are any issues they still have time to book at a physical venue. A link for the system check can be found here.

Advanced Level exams

The July Advanced level exams have been postponed to week commencing 24th August. The ICAEW are confident they will have the capacity to accommodate all student in physical exam venues.

The ICAEW are able to offer a remote invigilation option for these exams. Students will be able to ‘mix and match’ exam types for separate papers at the same sitting, but will not be able to change their mind once they have made a decision.

August Advanced Level exam booking windows will be:

  • 29 June – 3 July for physical venue exams
  • 6 – 10 July for remote exams
  • In addition, the ICAEW are keeping the second booking window open to students who may need to book an assessment centre, should they find that they are not able to access the remote invigilation option due to technical/system restrictions.

It is strongly advised that students considering sitting a remote exam perform a system check as soon as possible. A link for the system check can be found here.

 

ACCA

ACCA have a student CORONAVIRUS hub here.

On-demand exams

The ACCA are now offering remotely invigilated exams that students can sit at home for ‘on-demand’ exams, including:

  • Accountant in Business (AB)
  • Management Accounting (MA)
  • Financial Accounting (FA)
  • Corporate and Business Law (LW)

The Foundation Level exams are also be available (FA1, MA1, FA2, MA2, FAB, FMA, FFA). These remote exams will be available 24 hours a day and will be booked and administered directly with the ACCA.

Physical exam venues are currently able to offer the on-demand exams if they are open and operating as normal. It is best to check individual exam centres for their current plans and operating capacities. FI centres are working hard to be able to offer on-demand exams in centre in the next couple of months.

Session-based exams

  • Physical exam venues

The June exam sitting has been cancelled in the UK. The ACCA are expecting the September exam sitting to run as normal in physical exam venues and students are advised to book their places in the normal way. The ACCA are confident that they can offer adequate capacity for all students to sit their exams in physical exam venues even though demand is likely to be high.

There will be a syllabus update for the September exams although the ACCA have reassured students that the changes are relatively minor. The ACCA has produced a really useful document identifying the impact of the syllabus changes linked to some useful resources.

  • Remote invigilated exams

ACCA students can be confident that Session exams are going ahead in September 2020. ACCA’s first priority is for students to be able to sit exams in centre and therefore have opened up the booking system for physical centres. In the event that centre based exams cannot go ahead, ACCA have a contingency in place to ensure exams could go ahead remotely, if necessary.

 

CIMA

CIMA have a CORONAVIRUS hub for students here.

Remote invigilated exams

CIMA started running remotely invigilated exams for the Objective Test exams from the 4th May, and ran the May Case Study exams in a similar way. They plan to continue offering remote exams as an option even after physical exam venues reopen.

On the whole students are happy with the ‘in-exam’ experience. Although no pass rate statistics are available yet, results are said to be very good and in line with classroom exams.

Students schedule their remote exams online through MyCIMA via the Person VUE platform.

A comprehensive set of FAQ’s can be found here including detailed system requirements and useful hints and tips videos.

Physical exam centres

Some Pearson VUE exam centers have started to reopen. The Pearson VUE website which is updated regularly about the status of exam centres in each country and be found here.

Free resit offer

CIMA are offering a free resit exam to students who book and sit any Operational, Management or Strategic level OT assessments between 1st June and 31st July. If they fail their exam they are eligible for a free resit within three months of the original exam date. Terms and conditions can be found here.

 

ATT/CIOT

The May sitting of the CTA and ATT papers were cancelled, but an emergency session is taking place at the end June/early July for a few of the papers, being CTA Application and Professional Skills (APS) and ATT Paper 4.  These will be running as online remote invigilated (proctored) exams.

All students who had originally booked to sit in the May window were contacted, that they were automatically deferred to the November 2020 exam session.  For those sitting CTA APS and ATT Paper 4, they were advised they could sit them online June/July if they wished. Students would have needed to contact CIOT/ATT directly to secure their place otherwise they have been deferred for entry for the November sitting, which will also be online and will be for all the usual exam papers, not the limited number in June/July.

The results for the June/July exams will be released on the 19th August, the ATT has advised if students fail they will offer a free resit for the November sitting, however, the CTA is not offering free resits for anyone who fails APS.

The November booking window will be open from 15th July to 18 September, however, there will be a short window for students to register late (until the end of September), where the normal late registration fees will apply.

They have also relaxed the rule of having to sit all CBE’s before registering for their final CTA paper(s), so anyone will be able to enter and sit their final CTA paper(s) in November.  If students go to book their CTA exam(s) without completing the CBE’s and find they cannot book should contact CIOT directly, as the booking system will still flag up the lack of CBE’s.

There is no restriction on new entrants for the November 2020 exams.

If there any changes regarding the exam windows communications will be sent on via email to students.

There have now been a number of helpful videos / webinars released by the ATT / CIOT to assist students in preparing to take their exams online via remote invigilation. Tolley have also provided their own guide to assist students.

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