Frequently Asked Questions

Examinations

The examination is modular but can I sit all the papers together?

Yes. The examination structure is modular, although this does not preclude you from taking the requisite papers at one sitting should you wish to do so.

What are the papers?

There are two written Advanced Technical papers, one written Awareness paper and one written Application and Professional Skills paper. In addition to this there are three one-hour Computer Based Examinations (CBEs) on Principles of Accounting, Professional Responsibilities & Ethics and Law. These three CBEs can be sat separately. Full details can be found here.

What is the pass mark?

For the CBEs you will be allocated up to 50 questions. To pass the CBEs at least 60% of the responses to the questions must be correct. The pass mark for the Awareness and Advanced Technical written taxation papers is 50% of the total marks (there is also a requirement for a minimum mark to be achieved in each module of Awareness). To pass the Application and Professional Skills paper you are required to demonstrate competence in each of three skills.

How do I choose what options to sit for each paper?

You must choose two Advanced Technical papers from a choice of seven. The Awareness paper is comprised of three modules and you cannot take them on the same subject as the corresponding Advanced Technical papers. You choose one one Application and Professional Skills question from a choice of five. 

Is there a date by which the three CBEs must be passed?

The Law and Professional Responsibilities & Ethics CBEs must be passed before the examination closing date for your final written tax paper(s). For the May session this is the last day of February and for the November session this is the last day of August. This would not include the late entry period for either session.

For the May 2019 and November 2019 examinations only, we will allow students to submit an examination entry for their final written paper without having first completed the Principles of Accounting CBE. Assuming all required written papers are passed in the May or November 2019 exam session, students will then have until 31 March 2020 to complete their Principles of Accounting CBE. If they are not successful by that date, then the normal seven sitting rule will apply, i.e. the passes in the written papers will remain valid for seven examinations following the examination session at which they were achieved. The Law and Professional Responsibilities & Ethics CBEs will still need to have been completed before an entry for a final written paper can be submitted.

How long is a pass valid for?

A credit will be obtained when you pass a CTA examination. Credits are subject to the seven sitting rule if they are for written papers or the nine sitting rule if they are for the CBEs.

How long does it take to complete the CTA?

Most typical CTA students complete the exams in two years. One important point to note is regardless of how quickly students may complete the examinations, the CTA qualification is not awarded until they have three years of relevant professional experience, and have applied to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation.

Computer Based Examinations (CBEs)

What is the pass mark for a CBE?

To pass a CBE, you will need to score 60% of the available marks.

When can I sit a CBE?

To book a CBE you must be a registered CTA student who has been issued with a student identification number by the Institute. If your registration as a student has expired you must re-register before you will be able to make a booking. Once your re-registration has been approved you will be able to book your examinations. If you are registering as a student for the first time, then you will need to allow for a 21 day period before you can book your exams.

Subject to availability and opening hours you will be able to take the CBEs at a time of your choosing. Smaller test centres may have reduced opening hours. Some weekend and early evening appointments will be available at certain centres. You can book your CBEs here.

 

What will I have available to me when I sit down to take my test at the Prometric centre?

You will be provided with a note pad and a pencil. You will not be allowed to take in things such as pens and pencils.  For the Accounting CBE only, you are able to take in a basic calculator (Non-Accounting, Non-Scientific), but please note there is a calculator onscreen available for use with every single question.

You are permitted to take water and drinks into your exams as long as the following points are followed.

  • The container must have all labelling removed. If the label cannot be removed then it can be allowed into the room
  • No containers will be allowed if it has a large non- transparent lid attached.
  • Only containers listed above are allowed and no others such as cups, cones or cans are allowed in the test room at all.
  • The container must be kept viewable at all times via the DVR system and on the desk.
  • If any candidate refuses to remove labelling then they must be advised the container will not be allowed into the test room.
  • The candidates must also be advised that they are NOT allowed to remove lids from containers or sports bottles and only permitted if it is removed to take a drink. (This should only impact personal containers or sports top bottles).
  • The containers will be inspected as part of the enhanced security procedure.

Are the three CBEs exactly the same?

No. The main difference is that the Accounting CBE is 40 questions in one hour, whereas for Law and Ethics it is 50 questions in one hour,

For the Accounting CBE only, you are able to take in a basic calculator (Non-Accounting, Non-Scientific), but please note there is a calculator onscreen available for use with every single question..  

There is no onscreen calculator on any of the Law or Ethics questions, nor are you allowed to take any sort of physical calculator into the test room.

Can I sit a mock of the CBEs?

Yes, click here for the mock exams in Accounting, Law and Professional Responsibilities & Ethics. 

The mock CBEs last for 60 minutes each and you will need to correctly answer 60% of the questions set in order to pass.

These questions have been withdrawn from the live bank of questions and chosen to give you the same spread of topics as you will face in the real exam. These will give you the best indication of whether or not you are ready to sit the examination. Try to attempt the examination without your learning materials and see if you can score 60% in the permitted time.

These mock CBEs are made available to you solely for the purpose of assessing your proficiency level and the mark you achieve will not be recorded. You are expressly prohibited from publishing, reproducing or transmitting this examination, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of the CIOT.

Can I claim an exemption for a CBE?

Yes, dependent on the qualification that you hold you may be eligible for an exemption. Please refer to this page on our website for further information. You must apply and make payment for your credit online, through this page.

What fee do I need to pay to take a CBE?

Each attempt at a CBE costs £90. This fee is non-refundable. Please click here for details on fees and how to book.

What is the format of the CBEs? What kind of questions will be set?

Each of the CBEs will be of one-hour duration and made up of a mixture from four different question types:

1. Multiple choice questions – where you will be required to identify one correct response from a choice of four.

2. Multiple response questions – where you will be required to identify several correct responses from a choice of four.

3. Drop and drag questions – where you will be required to drag the relevant answer to the correct location (called a “drop zone”) onscreen.

4. Select from a list questions – where you will be required to identify the correct response from the options presented in the drop down box.

Each question type is worth one mark. You will be allocated the relevant number of questions to answer within the hour permitted for each CBE. At least 60% of the responses to the questions must be correct to pass each CBE. A short section will be provided before the start of each CBE in order to allow you to familiarise yourself with the format, but the best way to familiarise yourself of both the style and type of questions and how you will be tested on the day is to to watch the tutorial video that is available here.

What do I need to study to pass the CBEs?

All questions are drawn from the latest editions of our CBE Study manuals which can be purchased from our online store here.

A free supplement is available if you intend to sit the Law CBE according to Scots Law.

Where do I go to sit the CBEs?

The CIOT will deliver the CBEs in conjunction with Prometric, a leading worldwide provider of computer based testing services. Prometric have numerous test centres located throughout the UK; you may view details of these via the CIOT portal on Prometric's website

Prometric: CIOT portal

All CBEs must be sat at Prometric centres in order to ensure consistent test conditions for all candidates.

How do I book a CBE?

You must book via the CIOT website, here. You will need your student registration number, a valid email address and a debit or credit card (American Express is not accepted) in order to make a booking. Should you experience any problems using the online booking facility please contact the CIOT Education Team by email at education [at] ciot.org.uk, by telephone on 0844 5796700 or +44(0)20 7340 0550 or by letter to our normal postal address and we will resolve them for you.

Important - if you need to sit the Law CBE according to Scots Law, you must contact us to ensure that this option is made available to you.

Take care to select the correct option when booking as this cannot be amended later.

Why am I receiving an error message when I attempt to log-in to the Prometric site?

Please ensure that you have entered your student number and first four letters of your surname into the boxes provided, with no spaces before or after them. Also ensure that you have not entered all the letters of your surname in capitals. Please ensure that you have cleared your browsing history and cookies before you attempt to log-in to the site. If you are still experiencing technical issues, please contact the Education Team via email: education [at] ciot.org.uk

Can all CBEs be sat at the same time?

It will be possible to book an appointment to take all tests on the same day, subject to availability at the test centre. This can be done by selecting the three appointments you want via the online booking facility (both CBEs are still marked and graded separately). It is not possible to change the running order of the CBEs once booked, so make sure you book the time slots in the order you want to do them.

Can I reschedule my appointment?

Yes, you may do so via the reschedule option on the online CBE booking system, although this will incur a charge as follows:

• If request made more than 29 days before original appointment date - no charge.

• If request made between 5 and 29 days of original appointment date - £15 charge per CBE rescheduled.

• If request made less than 5 days before original appointment date - £30 charge per CBE rescheduled

CBEs cannot be rescheduled on the day they are due to take place. 

How do I obtain a receipt for the payment I made to Prometric for the CBEs?

You may print a receipt or have one emailed to you, through the Prometric website. To obtain a receipt, select the "Confirm my test" icon provided on the right-hand side of the Prometric CIOT welcome page. You will then be prompted to enter your 16-digit CBE booking confirmation number which begins with 8800 (do not enter the hash symbol) and the first four digits of your surname. You can then choose to select the option of printing your receipt from the webpage or requesting for the receipt to be emailed to you.

The CIOT cannot issue receipts for this transaction, as the payment is processed through the Prometric billing system and website.

I have lost my confirmation email and do not know my confirmation number, can it be resent?

Please contact the Education Team education [at] ciot.org.uk

What provision is made if my personal circumstances mean that I need longer than one hour to complete a CBE?

You should inform the CIOT Education Team before booking the CBEs and will be required to complete an application form, which you can download here.

The form will need to be completed and returned to the CIOT with evidence of your condition supplied by a medical practitioner or other appropriate documentation (e.g. if you are dyslexic an Educational Psychologist's report).

The CIOT will then contact to you inform you of the extra time and any other special arrangements that you will be allowed. You may then book your CBEs online through the Prometric website and will be asked to confirm the extra time that you have been awarded is as confirmed. Please note: Extra time of 25% will equate to 15 minutes extra in the CBE, however it will be reflected on the Prometric portal and your confirmation email as 30 minutes.

You can contact the Education team by email: education [at] ciot.org.uk or telephone 0844 579 6700 or by letter to our normal postal address.

All Prometric test centres have step-free access for wheelchair users.

I have a medical condition, are there any special facilities available at the centres?

If you have condition that may require alternative arrangements, please contact the Education Team, who will liaise with the test centre to ensure measures are put in place. Advanced notice is required. 

Please contact us before you book your examination.

If you require additional time for the examinations, please refer to the above information.

What am I required to bring to the test centre?

You must bring one piece of a current official photographic ID containing your signature e.g. passport, photocard driving licence. Failure to provide this will result in entry to the test centre being refused and forfeiture of your test fee. This rule will be strictly enforced.

If you do not have permissible ID documents you should contact the CIOT Education Team before booking a CBE appointment.

What happens if I am late for my appointment?

You should still present yourself at the test centre as it is possible that you may still be able to sit your CBE should a vacant test slot be available. However, if you are late for your appointment and the centre has no available slots then you will be unable to sit the CBE and will forfeit your fee.

You should aim to arrive at the centre at least 15 minutes prior to the appointment time in order to allow time for the compulsory identity checks before the CBE is due to start.

Are there contact details for the test centres?

No - please direct all enquiries to the CIOT Education Team by email at education [at] ciot.org.uk.

How do I find my way to the CBE centre I have chosen?

You will be provided with the address of and directions to the test centre when you book your appointment.

Is there parking available at the centres?

Parking is not generally available at the test centres - it is suggested that you park in a nearby public car park or travel to the centre by public transport.

What happens during the test appointment?

You should aim to arrive at the test centre at least 15 minutes before the start time of the CBE in order to complete the check-in and identification process. Lockers are provided for you to secure your belongings as only the required ID documents may be taken into the testing suite (plus a basic calculator for the Principles of Accounting CBE). The CBEs are closed-book exams; you are not permitted to use any textbooks, legislation or notes. You will be shown to your allocated workstation by the invigilator.

You must not bring any personal/unauthorised itmes into the testing room. Such items include but are not limited to: outerwear, hats, food, drinks, purses, briefcases, notebooks, pagers, watches, cellular telephones, recording devices, and photographic equipment.

If you need access to an item stored in the test centre during a break such as food or medicine, you must inform the Test Centre Administrator (TCA) before you retrieve the item. You are not permitted to bring your own tissues into the test room, if you require these please ask your TCA who will happily provide you with these.

If you are taking more than one of the CBEs at a single session an, optional 10 minute break between them will be provided.

You are allowed to bring soft ear plugs (with no wires/cords attached) or centre-supplied tissues in the test room.

Any clothing or jewellery items alllowed to be worn in the test room must remain on your person at all times. Removed clothing or jewellery items must be stored in your locker.

You are advised not to take valuable belongings with you to the test centre, as neither Prometric nor the CIOT will be liable for any loss of or damage to your possessions.

Please ensure that you read through the full Testing Centre Regulations on the Prometric website prior to attending your exam.

Will I be disturbed by other candidates entering and leaving the test area?

Each workstation in the test area is partitioned and the room itself supervised by an invigilator. As far as practical, incidental noise levels are kept to a minimum and ear defenders are available.

What happens if I need to leave the workstation during the CBE?

If you need to use the lavatory or take any medication during the CBE you should raise your hand to alert the invigilator. You may leave the test area temporarily but the allowed time for the test will continue to elapse while you are away. 

What measures are in place to prevent cheating during the CBE?

Prometric test centres are monitored by experienced invigilators supplemented with video recordings of the test area. The test area is constantly monitored while candidates are working. If you believe you have witnessed any malpractice on the part of another candidate then you are encouraged to report this, in confidence, to an invigilator who will investigate and report to the CIOT.

What clothing do you advise I wear?

Whatever you feel comfortable working in. Please be aware that the centres are air conditioned and therefore you may wish to bring an extra layer of clothing to put on should you find it too cool for your comfort.

Will I be asked to remove any items of clothing or jewellery?

You will be asked to remove your watch and leave it in the secure locker allocated to you. There is a countdown clock on the screen during the test to enable you to monitor your progress. You may also be asked to remove items that could cause a distraction to other candidates, such as bangles.

What security checks are carried out prior to entry to the test area?

As well as checking your ID documents you will be screened in a similar manner to airport security. This may involve the use of a metal detector, emptying pockets and asking you to roll up your sleeves and trouser legs. Whilst these measures may seem intrusive they are an essential part of the process to ensure secure delivery of tests to all candidates. Please note, candidates with implanted medical devices are excused from the metal detector, however pregnant women and minors will be required to undertake this security measure.

When and how will I be notified of my result?

At the end of the exam, a screen will be displayed confirming if you have Passed or Failed your exam.  In addition, a formal score report will be emailed to the email address that you used to book your exam.  This email can also be accessed via the score report portal, which is available to a candidate to check their own result.  Details of how to access the score report portal will be in the email you receive. 

Please note the CIOT is unable to provide a breakdown of your results.

If I am unsuccessful in a CBE, how quickly can I rebook an appointment?

Please allow at least 72 hours before attempting to book a re-sit in order for your result to be processed fully. Attempting to book earlier than this may result in your application being declined by the online booking system or an alternative examination option being available on the Prometric site, rather than the exam you have just sat.

Is there any limit to the number of attempts permitted to pass the CBEs?

No. However, your passes in the CBEs will be valid for nine sittings and you must be a registered active student in order to sit these exams. If your student registration has expired, then you will need to re-register prior to booking.

What can I do if I am not satisfied with my experience of the CBEs?

In the first instance you should contact CIOT Education Team by email at education [at] ciot.org.uk or by letter to our normal postal address. You must do so within 21 working days of sitting the CBE concerned.

Staff at the test centre will not be able to provide any feedback on the content of the CBEs or your results.

ACA CTA Joint Programme

Where do ICAEW and CIOT work together?

ICAEW and CIOT work together to review the syllabus and consult with stakeholders to ensure that this paper continues to meet the need of major corporate practices.

How is the Joint Programme different from studying the CTA, once qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant?

Under the sequential route to qualification of both ICAEW and CIOT, you undertake the ACA by successfully completing professional development, ethics and professional scepticism, 3-5 years practical work experience and 15 accountancy, finance and business modules. Once you become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant you then register as a CIOT student, complete the CTA qualification and apply for membership of the CIOT. The Joint Programme enables you to study the ACA and CTA qualifications simultaneously and to sit two less examinations.

Why would anyone train as an ACA first and then do the CTA now the Joint Programme is available?

The traditional, individual route to both qualifications will be more appropriate for students who do not work with Major Corporates or Indirect Tax, or did not make the decision to specialise in tax at the beginning of their training.

How long does it take to complete the Joint Programme?

It is anticipated that it will take three to four years to complete the Programme. This does depend on workload, scheduling of courses, study and exam results.

What fees are involved?

You must pay the appropriate ICAEW and CIOT fees for student registration and exams. in 2019, registration as a CIOT Joint Programme student costs £215. Each CTA Advanced Technical written paper will cost £160, the Application and Professional Skills paper (if chosen) will cost £205 and (if chosen) the ADIT paper will cost £190. The Computer Based Examination in Professional Responsibilities & Ethics will cost £85. 

CTA Summary of fees 
ACA Summary of fees

How do I sign up to the Joint Programme?

Students must be registered as an ACA student before they can apply for the Joint Programme. A copy of their ACA student registration communication confirming their ACA student number must be submitted to the CIOT to register onto the Joint Programme. Please click here to register and for further information.

Can current ACA or CTA students join the Joint Programme?

ACA students can join the Joint Programme if they have not yet completed the Business Planning: Taxation module. CTA students can join the Joint Programme provided they have not yet passed two CTA Advisory Papers or the CTA Taxation of Major Corporates Advisory Paper. Full information can be found here.

Can an employer offer both the Joint Programme and the more traditional, individual route to the ACA and CTA qualifications?

Yes, there is complete flexibility to all employers.

Do students have to work in a tax role?

The Joint Programme and the TOMC Paper assumes that candidates will be in a tax role, gaining practical experience of the taxation of major corporates. The Indirect Taxation route assumes that candidates will be in an indirect taxation role.

Is there a time limit for students on the Joint Programme?

To gain membership of the CIOT via the Joint Programme, you must complete the exam requirements of both the CIOT and the ICAEW. You can attempt ACA exams until you reach the maximum of four attempts. You have no limit on the number of attempts on the CTA examinations. A CTA examination credit for passing remains valid for the next seven sittings following the sitting at which the credit was obtained. Professional Responsibilities & Ethics passes will remain valid for the next nine sittings.

If I choose an ADIT Paper as my second CTA paper will I gain the ADIT qualification?

No. To gain the ADIT qualification students are required to register as an ADIT student and complete the requirements of this qualification. If a Joint Programme student chooses and passes an ADIT paper, it will count towards the ADIT qualification and will be valid for five years from the date of passing. If the ADIT qualification is not completed within this five year period, the student will have to sit the same paper again or another ADIT paper.

Principles of Accounting Computer Based Examination (CBE)

I will not have passed ATT Paper 2: Business Taxation & Accounting Principles by 2019, am I required to sit the new Principles of Accounting CBE?

If you have not completed ATT Paper 2: Business Taxation & Accounting Principles by the conclusion of the November 2018 exam session (the final sitting of the paper in its current form) then you will not be eligible to claim an exemption from the new Principles of Accounting CBE when it launches in March 2019 unless you are exempt by virtue of another qualification.

I passed ATT Paper 2: Business Taxation & Accounting Principles before 2019 and will claim my exemption from the Principles of Accounting CBE in January 2019. Can I carry this exemption across to my CTA studies?

If you have claimed the exemption from the Principles of Accounting CBE by virtue of passing ATT Paper 2: Business Taxation & Accounting Principles, you will not be able to carry this exemption across to your CIOT student record

Will my Principles of Accounting CBE pass or exemption be carried across to my CIOT record in the same way as my other Computer Based Examination passes?

If you pass the Principles of Accounting CBE, then the pass will be transferred to your CIOT student record with a validity period of nine sittings from the pass date (this is the same validity as the two CBEs in Law and Professional Responsibilities & Ethics)

How will the Principles of Accounting CBE affect me as a Tax Pathway student?

As a Tax Pathway student you will be required to complete or become exempt from the Principles of Accounting CBE to become either ATT or CTA exam qualified. If an exemption from the Principles of Accounting CBE is claimed by virtue of ATT Paper 2: Business Taxation & Accounting Principles, then you would be required to sit the CBE to become CTA exam qualified.