Online examinations: Frequently asked questions

FAQs

1. Why are examinations being moved from physical centres to online?

We already had plans to move part of the assessment process online this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to fast-track this work. We cannot be confident that we will be able to host examinations in physical centres, so we need to plan for exams differently.

2. Will examinations continue to be online after the November 2020 session?

Yes, we are making these arrangements as a permanent change, and we do not anticipate that we will set hand-written examinations in physical centres again.

3. Can I still take a paper-based examination if I prefer it that way?

No, unfortunately, we are unable to offer this option as we will no longer be booking physical centres and invigilation teams.

4. What equipment will I need to have?

You will need a computer which you can type on, with an internet connection, webcam speakers and a microphone. If you have a laptop, then webcam, speakers and microphone are probably already built-in. If you are using a PC, you may need to attach these. You will not be able to use a tablet or phone to complete your examination because you need to have a keyboard to type, but you will need to have a phone with a camera and WiFi connection with you during the exam session.

5. Can I do the examination online if I don’t have any of the right equipment?

No, you do need to make sure you have everything you need to sit the examination in this way. We do not require you to own all the equipment but you do need to arrange to have use of it at the time of the exam.

6. What happens if there are internet connection problems or power cuts?

The partners we are working with to provide the online examining platform have experience of delivering exams all over the world and are familiar with these issues. As we share more information with you throughout July and August, we will provide guidance on these points, and you will have the opportunity to ask further questions.

7. How do I know if my computer is compatible?

We will be publishing full specifications and guidance as we start to release more specific information over the summer. For now, be assured that if you have any laptop or PC with an internet connection, then it is probably compatible.

8. Will there be any concessions for students in November, who are using this system for the first time?

Yes, for the November 2020 session only, we will allow an extra 15 minutes of examination writing time to allow for the new format and for any minor technical problems which may take time to resolve.

9. Have you thought about how to manage the different time zones?

Yes, we are incorporating this in our planning and will release more information throughout July and August. Examination start times will be adjusted for different parts of the world so no one has to take an examination during the night. It may be that examination start times are different in some places to the timings you are used to. Please lookout for more information throughout July and August.

10. What is going to happen to students who don’t have fast typing skills?

We have made this announcement as early as we could so that students can consider how the online system will work and make arrangements. We do recommend that students use this time to make sure that their typing speed matches up to completing answers in the time-frame and to improve it if not. We cannot offer extra time or the opportunity to sit paper-based exams.

For some students, we realise this will mean an investment of time and practice in improving their typing skills. However, it should not be necessary to pay for or attend courses for this as there are free online courses available, such as at www.typing.com.

11. What happens if I need you to make adjustments to my exam conditions for an approved reason?

The process by which you submit a request for adjustments based on medical or long-term conditions will stay the same, and you can contact the Examinations team at enquiries@icsa.org.uk to start this.

12. How can you stop people cheating?

We will be using an online platform specially designed for computer-based assessment, combined with live remote invigilation services. This means that the system accesses your computer and webcam and a live invigilator is checking on you to ensure that this remains a closed book exam with no collusion or cheating. We will provide more information about how all this works in due course.

13. Will I be able to make notes on a piece of paper?

We have decided to use live invigilation, which means someone will be observing you via your webcam while you take the exam. This means we can create our own rules for the invigilators to follow. We will be drawing up rules and guidelines for note-taking and will release more information throughout July and August.

14. Will I be able to take a toilet break?

We have decided to use live invigilation, which means someone will be observing you via your webcam while you take the exam. This means we can create our own rules for the invigilators to follow. We will be drawing up rules and guidelines for breaks and will release more information throughout July and August.

15. How will we be able to answer calculation questions in the finance examinations?

The platform we will use for the online examinations is adaptable and has features which are designed especially for answering the calculation elements of questions. We are starting to work through what the format should be now. We will also need to decide on the rules and system for using calculators, making notes and showing workings. Although it is too early for us to guide you now, all of this is the information we are looking to share with students as we release more information throughout July and August.

16. Will I be able to practise using the system before I take the examination?

Yes, we will allow you to practise, and we will require you to log in and test it before November as part of the procedure.

17. Will you still pre-release case studies six weeks ahead of the examinations?

Yes, we will continue to do this for the examinations at Part Two of the Qualifying Programme, as we did for the physical examinations.

18. When will I get more information?

We anticipate that we can start providing more information about the system and how it will work in July and August and that you will be able to log in and try the system from September.

Join our webinar on the 20th August Join our webinar on the 27th July

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