APS Remote Invigilation - need to know

We are introducing remote invigilation for the Application and Professional Skills (APS) exams, to ensure that you are able to continue working towards completing your CTA qualification. While this may seem like a big change, it's actually not that different to sitting in an exam hall. We have prepared this guidance to explain how to prepare for the exam day.

We are putting together more information for what you will have to do on the day of your exam and also further details on what happens if something does not go to plan, such as your internet access failing temporarily during your exam. This information will be shared as soon as possible.

View our guidance videos on remote invigilation and access the practice demo exam.


Remote invigilation exams are attempted on-screen using your own laptop or PC, and monitored live by online invigilators.

There are some simple steps you must complete before the day of your exam:

Step 1
Check your equipment

Step 2
Confirm your entry

Step 3
Know what to expect
Step 4
Decide where to sit
Step 5
Exam readiness checks
Step 6
Useful information

It is vital that you take these steps as soon as possible, and don't leave it until the last minute.

 


Step 1: Check that your equipment meets the minimum IT requirements

To do this, run the System Readiness Check on the device you plan on using.

You will only be able to complete your exam on a laptop or PC, and you cannot:

☒ Use a second screen
☒ Connect your laptop to a docking station

It may seem obvious, but you should disconnect your second screen or docking station to replicate your exam day setup, before you run the check. The check only takes a couple of minutes and will make sure your device is fully compatible with the ProProctor application.

Minimum IT requirements:

  • Screen Resolution 
    1024 x 768 minimum
  • Operating System 
    Windows 7 or higher
    ​MacOS 10.13 or higher  
  • Web Browser 
    Latest version of Google Chrome.
    No other web browsers are supported, so you will need to install Google Chrome to sit the exam.
  • Internet Connection Speed 
    0.5 mbps or greater
  • Webcam resolution 
    640 x 480p  
  • Microphone enabled 

Step 2: Confirm your APS exam entry

You must complete a form to confirm your exam entry, and agree to our remote invigilation processes.

Confirm your entry

Deadline to confirm: Tuesday 26 May.

If you do not complete the form by 11:59pm on Tuesday 26 May, you cannot sit this APS exam. No late confirmations are possible.


Step 3: Know what to expect on the day

Reading the FAQs should help to answer a lot of the questions you may have. While this is a new method of sitting your exams, the software is easy to use and we are doing everything we can to ensure you receive regular information and updates to help you to prepare.

We are also working hard to develop more guidance so that you know what to expect on the day. This will follow shortly.


Step 4: Decide where you will sit your exam

A key benefit of remote invigilation is that you can choose which room you will sit your exam in, giving you more control over your environment.

Choosing a room:

  • The room should be well-lit and as clear as possible*
  • You must be alone for the entire exam
  • We strongly recommend you sit your exam at home if possible, but see the FAQ below “Where should I sit my APS exam?” for further information on this 

Planning your workspace:

  • Your PC or laptop must be on a flat surface, ideally a table or desk.
  • Laptops cannot be balanced on your knees.
  • You must sit in an upright position. For example, you cannot be sat on a bed or sofa.

* You will undergo an exam readiness check with a readiness agent before the exam, who will need to be certain that you do not have any non-permitted items in your exam environment. While of course we do not expect the room to be empty, or for you to move furniture for the exam, items such as non-permitted books or papers and other personal items, should be cleared away before the exam readiness check begins.

Check what you are allowed to have on your workstation in the FAQs below.


Step 5: Prepare for the exam readiness checks

Before you are able to start your exam, a readiness agent will go through a series of readiness checks with you. This will involve:

  • Identification check
    Your photo ID will be checked, as it would in an exam hall. A valid passport or driving licence (with photo) is acceptable. We will also accept an expired passport providing the photo is still clearly recognisable.
    The agent will need to capture a photo image of your ID, using your webcam.
  • Environmental check
    The agent will check items on your workspace to ensure you don't have any non-permitted items with you, or in your exam environment.
  • Blank paper
    On the day you can have four sheets of blank paper on your workstation. You can use these to write notes, or make a plan. You will be required to show both sides of these to the agent, who will check there is nothing written on them.

Once the checks have been completed, the agent will pass you on to the remote invigilator. The invigilator starts the exam time, so don't worry if your pre-exam checks take a bit longer than for other candidates.


Step 6: Other useful information to help your exam preparation

  • You are of course allowed to have a toilet break, but please make sure you understand what you have to do before leaving your workstation by reading the FAQs below.
  • You are allowed to have water in your exam, but no other drinks. If you are using a water bottle, you must ensure that any labels are removed. If you do not have a clear water bottle, please use a glass of water instead.
  • If you do not have appropriate ID or you have a question about what type of photo ID is acceptable, you should contact the education [at] ciot.org.uk (Education Team) to discuss suitable alternative identification as soon as possible.

Finally, it is in your best interest to familiarise yourself with the exam guidance as early as possible. If you leave it to the last minute, it may be too late to resolve an issue that you could have easily sorted out a few weeks before the exam date. For example, buying an external webcam if you don't have one, or found out too late that yours wasn't working.

Good luck with your revision, and in the exam!


FAQs

We are working hard to provide you with as much information as we can, so please check back regularly for updates and new FAQs. We will be sharing information and updates with all of the tuition providers too.

While this may seem like a very different way of sitting your exam, it is really not that different to sitting in an exam hall. You are simply being invigilated online rather than in person. Remember to focus on the content of the exam, which is exactly the same as it would have been.

The most significant change is that you must check whether you have the IT capability to sit the exam using remote invigilation as early as possible.

What are the IT requirements for sitting the exam?

The minimum IT requirements you must have are:

  • Screen Resolution 
    1024 x 768 minimum
  • Operating System 
    Windows 7 or higher
    ​MacOS 10.13 or higher  
  • Web Browser 
    Latest version of Google Chrome.
    No other web browsers are supported, so you will need to install Google Chrome to sit the exam.
  • Internet Connection Speed 
    0.5 mbps or greater
  • Webcam resolution 
    640 x 480p  
  • Microphone enabled 

There is no room for flexibility on this, so if your laptop or PC does not meet these requirements, you cannot sit the exam via remote invigilation.

When will the pre-seen material be released for each APS paper?

This will be available as follows:

Pre-seen on CIOT website by 5pm Exam name
Monday 15 June APS VAT and other Indirect Taxes
Tuesday 16 June APS Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups
Wednesday 17 June APS Owner-Managed Businesses
Thursday 18 June APS Inheritances Tax, Trusts and Estates
Monday 22 June APS Taxation of Individuals
Tuesday 23 June APS Human Capital Taxes

On which date will my APS exam be held?

Each exam will be held on the following dates:

Pre-seen on CIOT website by 5pm Exam name
Monday 29 June APS VAT and other Indirect Taxes
Tuesday 30 June APS Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups
Wednesday 1 July APS Owner-Managed Businesses
Thursday 2 July APS Inheritances Tax, Trusts and Estates
Monday 6 July APS Taxation of Individuals
Tuesday 7 July APS Human Capital Taxes

When will I find out what time my exam starts?

You will be sent a confirmation email around two weeks before the date of your exam.

What will I need on the day of my exam?

You must have your photo ID with you, as you will be required to show that. 

If you do not have your photo ID you will not be allowed to sit your exam.

What photo ID is acceptable on the day of my exam?

A passport or driving licence (with photo) are acceptable forms of ID.  We will also accept an expired passport providing the photo is still clearly recognisable.

What if I do not have acceptable photo ID?

If you do not have appropriate ID or you have a question about what type of photo ID is acceptable, you should contact the education [at] ciot.org.uk (Education Team) to discuss suitable alternative identification as soon as possible.

What am I allowed to have on my workstation?

You are allowed to have:

  • pens, highlighters
  • your legislation books
  • a calculator
  • four sheets of blank A4 paper (see question “Can I make handwritten notes if I want to?”)
  • water – but make sure the label on any bottles has been removed

We hope you will be allowed small snacks on your workstation and will confirm this in due course.

You should treat your workstation as if it were your desk at an exam hall.

Am I allowed to have my mobile phone with me?

No. 

You will not be able to have any other devices with you that are capable of connecting to the internet and on the day of the exam the readiness agent will go through various checks to ensure you do not have these devices.

What do I do if I do not have Google Chrome as a browser on my Desktop PC/Laptop?

Take a look at this useful guide if you do not currently have Google Chrome and you need to download it.

 No other browsers are supported, so you must have the latest version of Google Chrome on your Desktop PC/Laptop to sit your exam via remote invigilation.

Can I use a second screen?

No. You can only use one screen.

If you are using a Laptop, it must not be plugged into a docking station, nor connected to a second screen.

Am I allowed to have a separate keyboard/mouse for my laptop?

Yes.  You can plug in a wired (or wireless) keyboard and mouse to use during your exam.

How will I access the Tax Tables?

There will be a link when you login to the system for you to access a copy of the Tax Tables.

If required, you will also have access to the OCED Model Convention.

Can I use Microsoft Excel?

No.  

We will provide more guidance on how you might want to present your calculations within the software in due course.

Am I going to get more than three hours 15 minutes to complete my APS exam?

Yes, on this occasion we will allow you an extra 15 minutes to complete your exam, giving you a total time of three hours 30 minutes to type your answer.

Will there by separate reading time?

No, once your exam begins the clock will start counting down from three hours 30 minutes.

However, we do recommend that you spend the first 15 minutes reading the question and planning your answer.

Can I make handwritten notes if I want to?

Yes, you will be allowed four sheets of blank A4 paper on your workstation. 

Before starting your exam, a readiness agent will ask you to show them via the webcam that both sides of these pages are blank before passing you through to your remote invigilator who will start your exam.

The paper is for your own use during the exam to plan your answer and make any notes.  These cannot be submitted as part of your answer, neither on the day nor after the exam has finished.

Can I print the question out on the day of the exam?

No.

You can only access the question onscreen.  The question will be available from the website shortly after the exam has taken place. 

Can I highlight parts of the question?

Yes, you can do this onscreen.

The best way to get used to this functionality is to practice using the demo exam here.

Can I use copy and paste to rearrange my answer?

Yes, you can do this.

The best way to get used to how this functionality works is to practice using the demo exam here.

Please note there is also an “Undo” button should you accidentally delete something you did not mean to.

Can I copy and paste from the question/exhibits?

You can also copy and paste from the question and the exhibits. 

You should watch the instructional video here, as when you practice using the demo exam, it is not possible to practice this as the demo is slightly different to how the real exam will be on the day.

Please note for the exhibits it will not always copy exactly the same as how it appears onscreen, you may need to slightly format it.  

Am I allowed to use a calculator?

 

Yes, you are permitted to have a calculator which may be programmable but which may not have a printing or graphic display facility.

The remote invigilator will ask you to show this to the camera before you start your exam.

Whilst an onscreen calculator will be available to you during your exam, we recommend candidates have their own calculator with them, as feedback from the Computer Based Exams (CBEs) tells us that most candidates prefer to use their own, physical calculator.

If I do not have a physical calculator. am I allowed to use the calculator on my mobile phone?

No.

Please note you are not allowed access to any other device that is capable of connecting to the internet throughout the duration of your exam.  This would include things such as mobile phones and smart watches.

Am I allowed to have earphones in?

No, you must not use a separate headset or earphones.

This will be part of the check completed by the readiness agent before you are transferred to your remote invigilator.  They will ask you things like showing your ears and turning out your pockets, to show you do not have any earpieces or mobile devices.

Will I be able to practice using the software before the day of my exam?

Yes, please see here for the demo and instructional videos.

You will note that the demo is slightly different to the software on the day of the exam, but the demo is the best way to get used to how the textbox works.  You should access the demo to practice typing and get used to the functionality within the textbox.

What if I am having problems on the day of my exam – who can I speak to?

You will be able to speak to your remote invigilator and also there will be a chat box for you to ask them questions.

The remote invigilators are fully trained and the majority of queries are generally addressing common IT set up issues or dealing with candidates’ lack of familiarity with sitting an exam via remote invigilation.

Can I call the CIOT on the day of my exam if I am having issues?

No. 

The CIOT are contracting with a third party provider and any queries on the day must be addressed to them, the Institute will not be able to assist you on the day of your exam.  Once the exam is over, you are welcome to contact the CIOT on education [at] ciot.org.uk with any queries you may have.

How will the remote invigilator monitor me during the exam?

They will watch you via your webcam – think of it as being the same as having an invigilator in an exam hall.

Is there an option to handwrite my exam under remote invigilation?

No. 

You will have to type your answers.

Where should I sit my APS exam?

We strongly recommend you sit your exam at home, but we have listened to the concerns of a few students who have contacted us to say the internet connection is much better at their office.  As such, whilst we strongly recommend you sit your exam at home, we recognise that for some it may be preferable to sit the exam at their place of work.  However, please be aware that if you choose to sit your exam at your place of work, you do this at your own risk and we urge you to speak to your IT department before making this decision.

The main issue is that sitting the exam at your place of work may cause connectivity issues, such as firewalls preventing you being able to access the exam or stopping you being recorded. 

In addition, no one else can be in the room whilst you are doing your exam and so sitting in your office you may well have less control over people accessing the room you are doing your exam in.

Is there a limit on which make of Desktop PC / Laptop I can use?

No. 

You can use any appropriate Desktop PC/Laptop that meets the minimum IT requirement, which you must test by running the System Readiness Check.

Can I use a tablet to complete my exam?

No. 

You must use a Desktop PC or a Laptop.

Does the size of my Laptop/screen matter?

It is not crucial, but please make sure you have a screen that you would be comfortable using to type up your answers.

Please also note you need a screen resolution of 1024 X 768.  You can find your screen resolution within “Display” in your Settings.

Can I still use the hard copy of my legislation?

Yes.  The same rules will apply as for the written exams.

If you do not have the current year legislation books, you are allowed to use previous years books if you so wish providing that you only have one version of each book.

Can I use Tolley Lexis Nexis/CCH online resources during my exam?

No.

You can only use the hard copies of the legislation.

Can I use my work laptop to sit my exam?

Yes.  However, please ensure that, wherever possible, you contact your IT department regarding Step 1 above to ensure you have the appropriate IT set-up to sit your exam using your work laptop.

Will I be able to use the internet to search for answers?

No.

Once your exam has started, ProProctor will lock down your computer so that you cannot access any other content on the internet.

Will I be able to leave my workstation and move about at all during my exam?

Only to go to the toilet.  Other than that, you must to remain at your workstation throughout the duration of your exam.

If you need to go to the toilet, you must type in the chat box before leaving your workstation to tell the remote invigilator where you are going.

Please make sure you go to the toilet before you start your exam, as you should be aware that the exam clock will keep running, much as it would if you were taking your exam at physical exam centre.

How do I know how much time I have left?

There is a clock in the right hand corner of the screen that will count down from three hours 30 minutes.

What happens at the end of my exam?

If you use the full time available, the software will automatically stop your exam and a screen will automatically pop up at the end of the time confirming that is the end of your exam.

If I have finished my exam early, do I have to wait for the full time of the exam to expire?

No.  If you wish to finish early, you can click “Finish” in the top right hand corner.  You will be asked to confirm twice more than you want to “Finish” your exam early, so you cannot accidentally end your exam.

However, we recommend you only end your exam early  if you have checked through all your answers, as you will not be allowed back into the exam once you have clicked “Finish” and gone through the double confirmation screens.

Can I sit my exam if I am not in the UK?

Yes.  But please see the question above “What are the IT requirements I need to sit via remote invigilation” as these are exactly the same whether you are in the UK or another country. 

If you are not in the UK, the exam start time you will be given will be BST not your local time, so you will need to make sure you are aware what time your exam will start locally for you.

If I do not have the necessary set-up, can I borrow computer equipment from the ATT/CIOT for my exam?

No.  You must provide everything you need and be able to meet the minimum IT requirements. 

Can I access a copy of the exam paper once my exam has finished?

Not at first.  The exam papers will in due course be added here, same as other past papers are added to the website.

Should I treat the exam as if I was sitting it on the original date in May?

Yes.  At the time the decision was made to cancel most papers and to run the APS exam, the exam questions and answers had been through an extensive review process.  Making changes to the APS questions so that the scenarios are based in July 2020, rather than May 2020, risks introducing errors because there is insufficient time for that extensive review to be repeated to ensure that there are no knock-on changes from changing the dates.

Therefore, the APS exam questions for June/July will still be titled ‘May 2020’ and the dates on Exhibits etc. will still be in April/May. You should therefore draft your answer as if you are writing in early May 2020, rather than the date in June or July when you will actually be sitting the paper.

What if I have special arrangements for my exam?

If you have applied for additional time and/or special arrangements this will be communicated to you before your exam with the exact start and end time of your exam.   Prometric will be made aware of these arrangements, for example in the event you need to stand and stretch from time to time.

Special circumstances

The CIOT recognises that some candidates sit their exam(s) in difficult circumstances and has a process in place which allows you to request special consideration if you feel that your performance in your exam/s was affected by serious personal circumstances (such as illness or close bereavement over or immediately preceding the exam period or if you experienced a particular problem on the day of your exam).

If you are sending in medical and/or other information please only send via email (do NOT post anything).

Please refer to the policy on the website for more information.