Issues or problems faced during the ACCA exam

June 18, 2021
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Why new way of exam?

The vast majority of students who take remote exams enjoy a smooth exam day. However, some students face unexpected technical issues on exam day. The following guidance will support you prevent and overcome common technical issues and what to do next if these issues disrupt your exam experience..

What if I am unable to attend the June exam due to an exceptional reason?

This includes any students unable to attend due to a clash with their school / university exam timetable, or due to an unexpected change in their exam centre town/city.

If you are unable to attend due to Covid-19, please submit your request with supporting documentary evidence, which may include a medical letter, quarantine request from the government, relevant screenshot of a health tracing app, travel to/information of a high risk area impacting your exam attendance plans or other.

The June withdrawal deadline is 23 June.

What if I’m not permitted entry into the exam centre due to displaying Covid-19 symptoms?

Any students showing Covid-19 symptoms and not permitted entry to their exam, should contact ACCA to request a withdrawal as per the standard exam withdrawal process above.

When will June exam attendance dockets be released?

Exam dockets for the June session are now available to download from your my ACCA account.

However, there may be several students we’re still unable to confirm final venue details for at the time of the initial release, and students in this category will be contacted by email when their docket becomes available.

What if the exam booking details on my docket are different to those held on the exam planner, which one will be correct?

The exam attendance docket provides students with the final exam booking details each session and should be used by students as official confirmation of their exam time/date and address.

If your exam booking details change for any reason after dockets have been released, we will update you via email and provide your new booking details. You should then download a new copy of your docket and take it to your exam.

Is the use of scrap paper still permitted in centre-based exams?

Yes, you may use scrap paper during your centre-based exam for any notes and calculations.

Scrap paper will be available on request at your exam centre on the day.

Who can support with technical issues

Students must have the necessary equipment, connectivity and room requirements to take a remote exam. However even when meeting these requirements, sometimes unexpected issues such as connectivity disruption, may occur on exam day. The following resources will support you troubleshoot the most common issues reported by students and what you can do if you experience these issues.

If you experience a technical issue you should inform your invigilator. However, it is unlikely your invigilator will be able to assist you with any equipment or connectivity related issues. To instigate a chat with your invigilator you click on a speech bubble icon to alert the invigilator. They will then contact you when they are available, please note this may not be immediately.

Should you face repeated or prolonged technical issues, your invigilator may have to terminate the exam. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the following guidance, to minimise the risk of having a disrupted exam experience.

Internet connectivity issues

Technical disruptions in the exam are most commonly caused by internet connectivity issues. You need a strong and stable connection for the full duration of the exam. Unfortunately, if you experience prolonged or repeated connection problems your exam will need to be stopped by the invigilator.

In addition to meeting the minimum technical requirements and checking your connectivity speed passes the system test, we recommend using a wired internet connection where possible as they provide more stable and reliable connectivity than Wi-fi connectivity.

Webcam issues

Webcam issues may occur as a result of:

  1. connectivity being lost
  2. the webcam being used by other applications running in the background
  3. if your webcam settings have been disabled on your computer/laptop.

Ensure all applications other than the exam software (OnVue and Finder) are closed before you start the check-in process and enable your webcam setting

Problems logging into my ACCA

You will launch your exam by accessing Exam Planner within your my ACCA, with details of how to check-in provided on our 'On your exam day' webpage.

What to do after your exam - Withdraw options and mitigating circumstances

If you experience a technical disruption which impacts your ability to complete your exam you have a number of options depending on your circumstances.

Withdrawing your exam

There are two withdrawal options:

  1. Withdraw and re-book your exam for the same day the following week (available for PM, FR, FM, TX-UK & AA exams only) or,
  2. Withdraw and receive a credit for your exam fees (available for all exams).

Only students who experience technical issues are permitted to withdraw their exam. Students who do not attempt to check-in for their exam or who do not experience technical issues during the exam will not be permitted to withdraw.

If you withdraw your exam, this attempt will not be marked and you will not receive a result for this attempt

Mitigating circumstances

Alternatively, if you have experienced technical issues which you feel have negatively impacted your performance but you have been able to either:

you may wish to apply for mitigating circumstances. If you choose to do so, you will receive a result with the technical issues you experienced taken into consideration during the marking process.

To make a mitigating circumstance request you do so through your my ACCA account. All requests must be submitted by the relevant deadline

What computer/laptop equipment am I allowed to use and what can I have on my desk?

You will not be able to proceed with your exam if other items, such as additional computer hardware or scrap paper are included on your desk.

Additionally, Please also confirm that your computer/laptop satisfies the minimal technical requirements for running the exam properly. This includes details on which browsers may be used and what settings should be used. Furthermore, business computers often have more limitations that may prohibit proper delivery, therefore we do not suggest using them.

View the minimum technical requirements

If your computer/laptop does not meet these technical requirements unfortunately you will not be able to take the exam successfully and you should therefore not enter the online exam. Additionally, we recommend using a 17 inch or larger monitor for the exam.

I am unsure if my internet connectivity or computer/laptop will run the remote exam successfully, what can I do?

While we strive to ensure that all students have a positive test experience, owing to the nature of remote examinations, there is a chance that exams will be disrupted due to technical or communication difficulties. There are, however, many steps you can take to significantly lower this risk.

It is extremely important to check you your computer/laptop meets the minimum technical requirements and passes the system test. The system test must be conducted on the same equipment and location you'll use during the live exam. If you do not meet either the minimum requirements or pass the system test you will not have a successful exam experience and should not book a remote exam.

View the minimum technical requirements

Access the system test.

  • Pop up blockers should be disabled.
  • Internet cookies should be enabled.
  • Work computers generally have more restrictions, such as corporate firewalls, that may prevent successful delivery so we do not recommend their use.
  • Only genuine operating system software should be used.

Will I need to delete or block any software before taking the exam?

During the test, the remote invigilation software locks the computer, preventing you from accessing any files or other applications on the computer.

However, you should close down any applications which are running in the background, except for Finder and OnVUE, when prompted during the check-in process. Any other applications running in the background may interfere with the successful running of the exam. To close applications on Windows, you should open Task Manager by hitting CTRL + ALT + DELETE and selecting all applications, except for Finder and OnVUE, and ending these tasks.

Can I use a dongle or a mobile hotspot?

  • A dongle is allowed if its purpose is to increase your WiFi signal. but it should not have a user interface
  • Using mobile hotspots is not allowed for any reason.

Where can I take the exam?

You can sit your exam at home, or an alternative location such as your learning provider or in your office. However, there are some important regulations which must be followed

  • You must be sat at a desk in a closed quiet private room with no other people in the room for the full duration of the exam.
  • The room must have solid walls and door (ie not glass) so no other individual can be seen other then you.

View our room and desk setup requirements for remote session exams

Unfortunately, if your room does not meet all these requirements you will be unable to start or complete your exam. Additionally, to reduce the risk of you experiencing any technical issues during your online exam, you should run the system test in the exact same location that you plan to sit your live exam.

Can I have photographs and pictures on my walls?

Can I have photographs and pictures on my walls? Yes, as long as there is no writing, or notes, whiteboards with notes etc. If the invigilator is unsure of what is on the wall you may be asked to remove it.

Do I need an exam docket and photographic ID?

A docket is issued for remote exams, but it is for information only; you don't need to use it to check in to or launch your exam. However, you will be required to present photographic ID as proof of your identity during the check-in process. The following forms of ID are accepted:

  • Valid passport
  • Driving licence
  • National ID card
  • Biometric residence permit

Can I make a request on the gender or nationality of the invigilator?

No, invigilators are randomly allocated to students and may be from a different region from yourself. You should therefore expect any dialogue with your invigilator to be conducted in English.

However, there is no need to worry. Wherever you take your exam our exam regulations are the same and all invigilators have been fully trained in administering our exams.

I am under the age of 18, how should I complete the check-in process?

Ahead of the exam we will provide specific guidance to those under the age of 18 on how to perform the check-in process for the exam. This information details that

  • Your legal guardian must be with you during the check-in process, with a copy of their valid ID.
  • During check-in, when asked, choose ‘I am under eighteen years of age’.
  • You will then be asked to complete the check-in process.
  • Once these steps have been completed, but before your exam is launched, a Greeter will contact you using the chat function in the software and ask your guardian to hold their ID up to the webcam for validation
  • Once the Greeter has validated your guardian’s ID, your guardian will be asked to leave the room.
  • The exam will then continue as normal.

What if I start the check-in process 30 minutes before, or up to 15 minutes after my appointment time, but I experience a delay?

As long as you have started the check-in process 30 minutes before, or up to 15 minutes after your appointment time, even if you experience a delay in the exam being launched, you will still receive the full time for your exam. For example, if your exam is three hours and 10 minutes long, you will always be given the full exam time.

If there is a technical delay to the start of the exam, or during the exam, will I get that time added to the end of my exam time?

Unfortunately, we are not able to extend the time of the exam and the timer continues to run.

However, if you feel that you did not get your full time allocated, and if this impacted your performance, you should submit a mitigating circumstances claim to be considered as part of the results processing.

Can I take a bathroom break during the exam?


You can take one bathroom break of up to 5 minutes during the exam. If you require a comfort break you should:

  • Request a chat with your invigilator by clicking the speech bubble at the top of your screen.
  • Once the invigilator has opened the chat box, you should tell them that you are leaving your desk to use the bathroom. You do not need to wait for their response before leaving your desk.
  • Once you've returned use the chat function again to let the invigilator know you have returned. They may wish to verify your ID once you return. The exam is not paused during a comfort break and the exam timer will continue to run.

What should I do with my mobile phone during the exam?

After the check-in process has been completed, students should keep their phone in the room with them, but out of arm’s reach. The invigilator may use the chat function to indicate that they will call the student, or if connection has been lost with the invigilator, the student should expect a call on the number they entered during the check-in process. During the exam your phone should be kept on silent to avoid disruptions.

Can I wear religious apparel, such as a face scarf?

Items considered religious apparel are allowed following visual inspection by the invigilator. Visual inspection would be done without asking the candidate to remove or unwrap it, unless upon direct visual observation there is strong visual evidence that a prohibited item is concealed in it.

Can I wear a watch or have a clock on the wall?

View our room and desk setup requirement for remote session exams

Yes, you can wear a watch, if it is not a smart watch which are prohibited. You may also have a clock on the wall.

There is also an exam timer within the exam platform which will outline how much time you have remaining in your exam.

What type of calculator can I use during the exam?

A noiseless, cordless pocket calculator which may be programmable but which must not have a printout or word display facility in any language may be used.

When you capture photographs of your desk, as part of the exam check-in process, ensure your calculator is included in the photograph of your desk. This will enable the invigilator to visually inspect your calculator.

Can I speak aloud to myself, or read my questions aloud during the exam?

No, speaking aloud during your exam is against the exam rules and regulations unless you are in contact with the invigilator to resolve a query.

What happens if I lose internet connectivity during the exam?

A reliable internet connection is an essential minimum technical requirement for taking the exam. In the event of a connectivity interruption the exam software will save the exam and if immediate action is taken to restore the connection will allow you to restart your exam at the same point. We recommend using a wired connection as this will minimise the risk of connectivity issues disrupting your exam experience.

If you do experience a technical issue during the exam, you should immediately contact your invigilator if possible using the online chat functionality. If this is not possible, your invigilator may try to contact you by phone. If you are experiencing repeated disruptions or a disruption for longer than 5 minutes your exam maybe terminated. For further guidance including what to do next, please refer to our troubleshooting guide

What post-exam services are available to me?

Students can request mitigating circumstances or an administrative review following their exam/processing of results. View the deadlines for submitting these requests.

You will also receive an post-exam survey where you'll be invited to provide your feedback on your exam experience. We're always looking at ways we can help support and improve your exam experience, so we encourage all students to complete the survey if possible.

For remote session exams

For exam security purposes, no scrap paper is allowed on your desk. These measures are necessary in order for us to maintain the same level of exam rigour as we have at our exam centres, where scrap paper can be used because it is distributed by face to face invigilation staff.

Instead to make rough notes during the exam you can use the digital scratchpad within the exam platform, which you can practice using on the CBE practice platform. Our analysis of student pass rates has shown that students are not disadvantaged when using the scratchpad instead of scrap paper.

How can the exams be delivered securely when students aren't taking the exam at an exam centre?

Maintaining the security of our exams is always a priority of ours. Remote session CBEs will be remotely invigilated, viewed on screen by an invigilator at all times, and will be as secure and rigorous as our centre-based exams.

Why are Strategic Professional and variant exams not available in Week 2?

All of our exams are designed and constructed to ensure all students receive a fair and robust exam. Question banks are used to ensure students do not all receive the same exam. For exam content security reasons it is currently not possible to offer these exams in Week 2, in the same way we can do for Applied Skills.

Still have the issues unresolved? Or need guidelines to take exams, contact us for any queries related to ACCA.


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