Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know where to go?

Approximately three weeks before the exam you will be sent, an email, with your unique candidate number and details of the time and venue for your exam/s. It will include a link to a map and detailed candidate instructions which explain the identification you are required to bring along with you, together with other important information. Please read the instructions carefully. You will need to print the candidate attendance letter for each exam you are sitting, which is attached to the email as a PDF and bring it with you to the examination.

Why does the exam venue information come so close to the exam?

Organising our examinations is a large task and venues sometimes change close to the date of the exam for reasons beyond our control. We therefore prefer not to notify you of the exact address too far in advance.

Can I still sit the exam if I have forgotten my candidate attendance letter on the day of the exam?

Yes, you will be asked some additional identification questions (normally to confirm your address) and then given a replacement letter to complete.

Can I still sit the exam if I have forgotten my identification?

It is very important that you bring appropriate identification (e.g. passport, drivers licence) to the exam venue but if you forget you can still sit the examination. We will ask you to provide a certified copy of your identification within 48 hours of the exam. The Presiding Officer at the venue will give you a sheet of paper with instructions on what to do in this event.

What if I am ill and cannot attend?

If you cannot attend due to illness please contact the Education Team on 020 7340 0550 or via email at education [at] ciot.org.uk. We will need medical evidence to consider a deferral of your entry.

What if I am ill on the day?

If you are ill during the exam please alert the Presiding Officer.

How soon before the exam should I get to the exam hall?

You need to allow yourself plenty of time to get to the venue, especially if you have not been there before. You might consider a trial run to the venue in advance of the actual exam day. You will be allowed into the exam hall itself approximately 15 minutes before the start of the exam (or 20 minutes before at one of the larger exam centres).

What should I do if I am late?

Firstly, don’t panic! You will be allowed entry to the hall if you arrive within the first 30 minutes of the exam. Please be considerate to the other candidates and be as quiet as possible. Unfortunately you will be unable to enter the exam hall if you arrive past the first 30 minutes.

What type of calculator can I use?

You are permitted to have a noiseless, cordless pocket calculator, which may be programmable but which may not have a printout or graphic/word display facility in any language.

What books can I bring in?

You are allowed to bring in bound copies of the legislation. A list of the permitted texts can be found here and will also be detailed in your candidate instructions.

Can I bring food and drink into the exam?

Most exam venues have access to drinking water. You may also bring in your own odourless food and drink within reason. Please bear in mind the size of the desk and consider your fellow candidates.

If I forget my legislation is there a copy for me to borrow?

Unfortunately we do not provide any copies of the legislation.

Can I write in the permitted texts?

Other than writing your name at the front, you are not allowed to annotate the text, use “post–its” or index flags, tagging or fold over pages. The text can, however, be underlined, side-lined and highlighted. Please be aware that invigilators may check your books and will confiscate any texts that do not adhere to these guidelines and make a report to the Institute.

What size are the desks?

In most venues the desks are standard size exam desks, approximately 600mm x 600mm. You will need to arrange your legislation on and around your desk bearing in mind that the aisles need to be kept as clear as possible for access.

Can I leave the hall during the exam?

If you wish to take a bathroom break, an invigilator will escort you. If you wish to leave the hall for any other reason, you will not be allowed back into the hall. You may not leave the hall for any reason during the last 10 minutes of the exam (this is to avoid disruption in the last few minutes of the exam). For the avoidance of doubt cigarette breaks are not permitted.

What happens at the end of the exam?

You must stop writing when told to do so and your answer script must be ready for collection immediately once the exam is over.

Can I take my question paper away with me?

Yes you are permitted to take the question paper with you (with the exception of the Awareness paper). However, you are not permitted to take away any lined answer paper or the tax tables.

How and when will I get my result?

Pass lists are posted on the CIOT website at 8.30 am on the morning of the results day. Result emails are then sent with a breakdown of the marks you achieved. If you have been successful in completing the examination requirements for membership you will receive a hard copy of your results letter in the post together with a letter from our Membership Team. Results are usually published eleven weeks after the exam.

Why does it take so long to get my result?

The initial marking of the papers is completed by the actual examiners who set the questions. This is then followed by a stringent and independent quality check which includes a moderation process as well as rigorous statistical analysis. We believe this process gives candidates the assurance that the mark they achieve is complete and accurate.

Can I appeal against my result?

We do have a recheck policy whereby you can apply to have your mark rechecked. We do emphasise that this is not a remark but a check of all the procedures involved in getting you your result.

There is a £25 fee per paper for this service which is refunded if there is a material change to your mark, i.e. a fail to a pass. You must apply for this recheck within 21 working days of the date on your results email.

How do I apply for extra time in the examinations?

If your personal circumstances are such that it takes you longer to read and write than is normally allowed for in an examination and you require additional time or alternative arrangements, you will need to complete a form in order for your requirements to be individually assessed. You can apply and find further details regarding extra time and/or alternative arrangements, here.

Your application needs to be received before the closing date for exam entry i.e. end of February for the May examinations and end of August for the November session.

I had some personal difficulties when sitting the examinations. Can this be taken into consideration?

The CIOT recognises that some candidates sit their examination/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 examination/s was affected by serious personal circumstances (such as illness or close bereavement over or immediately preceding the examination period or if you experienced a particular problem on the day of your examination).

You will need to make your request for Special Consideration in writing (with supporting evidence if required) via email (education [at] ciot.org.uk) or post, within two weeks of the examinations. If you are ill on the day, please ensure that you notify the Presiding Officer.

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 Advisory papers, one written Awareness paper and one written Application and Interaction paper, each lasting three hours. In addition to this there are two one-hour Computer Based Examinations (CBEs) on Professional Responsibilities & Ethics and Law. These two CBEs can be sat separately.

What is the pass mark?

The pass mark for each written taxation paper is 50% of the total marks. It is not necessary to obtain an aggregate mark over all the written papers.

However, for the Awareness paper, for each of the three modules, there is a minimum mark of 21 marks out of the 60 marks available per module i.e. 35%. Even if you achieve a pass mark in excess of 50 when combining and scaling the marks of all three modules, if the minimum mark has not been achieved in each of the three modules then the entire paper would need to be re-sat.

For the CBEs you will be allocated up to 50 questions in a mixture of multiple choice and multiple response formats. To pass a CBE you must achieve 30 marks.

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

You must choose two Advisory papers from a choice of six and three from five modules for the Awareness paper. The modules chosen for the Awareness paper must not be the same as the Advisory papers chosen. You choose one Application and Interaction case study from a choice of five.

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

The 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.

Are exemptions still available under the current examination structure?

Exemptions are known as credits. Credits will be awarded to those who have passed the examinations of certain other professional bodies. These are detailed here. There are no credits for the Awareness paper so you will be obliged to sit this paper. Please note that under the Revised CTA Examination, the credits available will change from 2019. Please see here for furrther details.

How long will the credits be valid for?

Examination credits are valid for seven sittings from the pass of the first written tax paper*. If you have passed the Assoication of Taxation Technicans paper in Practice Administration & Ethics, your credit, on application, from the CBE on Professional Responsibilies & Ethics will be valid for nine sittings from the date the ATT Paper was passed unless you are a member of the ATT, in which case there is no time limit.

If you have passed the examination requirements to become a Solicitor or Barrister you will be awarded a credit, on application, for the CBE in Law. There is no time limit on this credit.

*If you have had an extended break in studying and are unable to sit an examination due to, for example, maternity leave, a serious illness or exceptional circumstances, then requests for an extension in your exam credits will be considered. Please contact us with your request and an explanation. Such requests will, usually, only be considered towards the end of the time period, as it is not normally possible to decide how long to extend credit/s for until you have achieved everything that you can within the usual timeframe.

How long is a pass valid for?

A pass in any of the Advisory, Awareness or Application and Interaction papers will be valid for the next seven sittings. A pass in either or both of the CBEs will be valid for the next nine sittings.

If I have passed the old ACCA 3.2 Advanced Taxation paper, am I eligible for the credit in the Application and Interaction paper?

No. You must have sat the current ACCA syllabus and passed paper UK variant P6 Advanced Taxation to gain this credit.

How long does it take to complete the CTA?

Most typical CTA students complete the modular six 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.

When can I sit a CBE?

To book a CBE you must be a currently 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 must complete both CBEs before entering for your final written tax paper. The entry deadline prior to the May exams is last day of the preceding February, and the entry deadline prior to the November exams is last day of the preceding August.

Can I claim a credit for a CBE?

Yes, dependent on the qualification that you hold, please refer to this page of 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 £80. This fee is non-refundable.

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

Each CBE lasts for one hour and is made up of 50 multiple choice questions, where you are asked to identify the correct response from a choice of four, and multiple response questions, where you are asked to identify the correct responses from the choices provided. All questions have the same value towards your overall mark.

Each CBE is preceded by a short non-timed, non-scored tutorial in order for you to familiarise yourself with the computer testing environment.

To pass a CBE you will need to correctly answer 30 out of the 50 questions set.

What do I need to study to pass the CBEs?

For Professional Responsibilities & Ethics and Law CBEs:

All questions in the Professional Responsibilities & Ethics and Law CBEs and are drawn from the latest editions of the manuals and both can be purchased, here.

A free supplement is available if you intend to sit the 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. A link to the online booking facility is available at the top of this page. 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 letter of your surname in capitals. Where possible, please use Internet Explorer to view the Prometric website and 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 or telephone: +44(0)20 7340 0550 or 0844 579 6700

Can both CBEs be sat at the same time?

It will be possible to book an appointment to take both tests on the same day, subject to availability at the test centre. This can be done by selecting the two 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 two CBEs once booked, so make sure you book the time slots in the order you want to do them, ie book Law for the first of the two time slots if you want to do Professional Responsibilities and Ethics second.

Can I reschedule my appointment?

Yes, you may do so (up to 24 hours before your exam) via the reschedule option on the online 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.

You cannot reschedule one part of a back to back examination, as they are booked as one, they can only be rescheduled as one examination, not two.

Please note that CBE fees are non-refundable if you choose to cancel your appointment.

Should you fail to present yourself at the test centre for your appointment without rescheduling then the fee paid is forfeit. A new booking must be made and the test fee paid in full again should you subsequently want to attempt the CBE concerned.

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?

You can obtain your booking confirmation number through contacting Prometric on this number: 0800 592 873.

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?

The Prometric test centres ensure that a disabled candidate will find a friendly and comfortable environment in which to take their exam. Below is a list of the available testing accommodations:

  • Extra time
  • Reader/Recorder
  • Separate rooms
  • Sign language interpreter

Please contact us before you book your examination, should you require any of the above accommodations.

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, or by telephone on 0844 5796700 or +44(0)207 340 0550.

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. 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 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 both 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. Please note you cannot bring anything for consumption - food, drink or medication - into the testing area. Any medication should be taken before the test starts or by leaving the test area during the CBE.

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?

You will be issued with your result at the centre directly after the conclusion of the CBE in the form of a printed document. The CIOT is unable to provide a copy of the results sheet or 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?

n the first instance you should contact CIOT Education Team by email at education [at] ciot.org.uk, by telephone on 0844 5796700 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.

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 traditional, individual route to qualification of both ICAEW and CIOT, students 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 students become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant they then register as a CTA student, complete the CTA qualification and apply for membership of the CIOT.

The Joint Programme enables students to study the ACA and CTA qualifications simultaneously.

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 students can take as little as three to four years to complete the Programme. This does depend on workload, scheduling of courses, study and exam results.

What fees are involved?

ll Joint Programme students must pay the appropriate ICAEW and CIOT fees for student registration and exams.

CTA Summary of fees 
ACA Summary of fees

How 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.

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 Advanced Corporation Tax Advisory Paper.

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 both the ACA and CTA qualifications leading to membership of ICAEW and CIOT, students must complete the requirements of each institute.

Students can attempt ACA exams until they reach the maximum of four attempts. Students have no limit on the number of attempts on the CTA examinations. A CTA exam 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.