Preparation is everything

March 2021

Judith Bennett offers some advice on preparing for ACCA’s RI exams.

As many PQ readers know, we introduced remote invigilation (RI) last year, and I provided an update about it in PQ’s August 2020 edition. For those of you preparing for the forthcoming March exams, we want to help you get ready for RI by sharing our top tips.

The RI journey

We introduced RI back in May 2020 for both our on-demand and session-based exams, as we recognised the disruption and frustration students faced as a result of exam cancellations.
We took the decision to bring in RI much earlier than we had planned to provide an immediate solution for students who were unable to sit centre-based exams and to help you keep your learning on track. We know how keen many of you are to progress.

RI offers the opportunity to continue with exams despite Covid-19 disruption. To introduce RI, we had to move quickly to get the systems in place and we acknowledge we’ve had some teething problems in these initial sessions. We’ve listened really closely to your feedback and have acted on it.

We started RI in June for our on-demand exams (Applied Knowledge and Foundation level exams) and September for our session-based Applied Skills exams. And again, in December, we were able to offer remote invigilation as widely as possible in circumstances and locations where our centre-based exams were cancelled due to Covid-19. With the continuation of restrictions in many markets, we’re also offering RI for March exams.

As you all know, with RI, exams are taken online and we’ve chosen the most robust and rigorous form of invigilation. This means you’re supervised remotely by a live invigilator as well as the AI running checks on your background at the same time. There is a thorough system of checks involving biometrics, artificial intelligence and recording – rigour, security and integrity are paramount. We also run several checks during our post exam processes, again ensuring the absolute integrity of the exam you take and the results you get. There’s no getting around the RI system!

Preparing for March exams

Sitting an exam under RI conditions is obviously a very different experience to an exam in a centre.

The very nature of RI delivery means the infrastructure needed to run a successful exam relies on your home or work IT connectivity and broadband connection stability.

Most students who have sat RI exams successfully completed theirs without any technical issues. We investigated the minority who experienced problems and our analysis shows the following top three reasons for technical issues:

1: Poor connectivity or interruptions to internet connection: to help reduce the chances of your connection dropping, we recommend using a wired connection if possible. Pop-up blockers should be disabled to prevent interruption and Internet cookies should be enabled.

2: Failure to meet the technical requirements: it’s extremely important to check your computer or laptop meets the minimum technical requirements and passes the system test. Failure to meet the technical requirements means you should not book a remote exam. Doing a systems check is vital, so we advise completing system checks which are fully detailed in the ‘before you book section’ of our website, and that you complete your question practice in the ACCA Practice Platform.

3: Corporate firewalls: work computers generally have more restrictions, such as corporate firewalls, that may prevent successful delivery.

If you need to use a work laptop, we advise you to check the network configuration on this Pearson Vue check list on their website at

Guidance on minimum requirements, system tests, preparation and more are available on our remote ready webpage, so do please read and complete the checks prior to your exam, and on exam day too. It’s essential to your exam success.

Also, read our troubleshooting guide in advance of the exam. This is so you know what to do next if you experience technical issues. If this happens during your RI exam, and if you feel you’ve completed enough to be marked, then we’ll consider mitigating circumstances, which can be made through MyACCA.

Also, tune in to our advice in a recent podcast with Graham Hambly, the editor of this magazine, and ACCA’s head of learner experience, Paul Kirkwood. It’s an excellent listen which offers advice from both about preparation. We also have a great podcast with a recent prize winner who sat his exam through RI so check that out, too – at

We are sure that if you follow these preparation steps you will have a positive experience of remote examination – and we wish you the best of luck in your forthcoming exams.

• Judith Bennett, director – professional qualifications, ACCA