How CIPFA online exams work

Whether you are sitting your CIPFA exams online for the first time or need to refresh your memory, here is a step-by-step guide to taking CIPFA exams.

You will take your exam online via computer connected to the internet, at a place of your choice, for example at work or home. The exam will be invigilated remotely (a webcam and microphone is required). At the time of the exam you will login to the CIPFA online exam system and the invigilator will be on hand to take you through the process, check your identification and get you started. They will also be on hand to answer any technology queries that you may have during your exam.

What format will the exam be in?

CIPFA exams formats vary from module to module:

  • 2 hours (FA, MA, PQ AA, CGL); 2.5 hours (all others)
  • Passmark 60% for FA and MA; 50% for all others
Exam formats for all PQ and IPFM exam

are available from Study updates

Practice tests and mock exams

Practice tests and mock exams are available on the LIVE exam system so students can familiarise themselves with the style of questions and the system prior to the actual exam. For more information, please visit our Practice test information.

Choosing where to sit your exam

You can choose your own location. Be sure to choose the location of your exam carefully. Please ensure a well‐lit, quiet and private room is used. If you are sitting your exam at work please make sure you have an appropriate room booked at least one month in advance and that you have the relevant IT equipment and internet access available.

Prior to the exam

Please ensure these instructions are followed and you are able to practice your exam well in advance of your live exam. Make sure your computer meets the following minimum specifications for CIPFA’s online exam system (Calibrand):

  • Windows XP or Windows 8;
  • Use of Internet Explorer 10 or 11;
  • PC with 1.5ghz or higher processor clock speed recommended; Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended;
  • Screen resolution between 1024x768 and 1680x1050;
  • At least 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM;
  • 100kb/s or higher bandwidth per machine.

  1. Take a practice test to familiarise yourself with the exam system and the style of questions in the actual exam. You will have access to practice tests through CIPFA’s online exam system (Calibrand).
  2. We strongly suggest that you take your practice tests on the same computer that you will take your actual exam on. Please give yourself plenty of time to ensure your computer is compatible.
  3. The remote invigilation for your real exam will be hosted by ProctorU. Check your system meets the minimum requirements here Please be aware you will need a webcam and microphone for this.
  4. Detailed instructions regarding sitting your exam will be emailed to you 10 days prior to your exam.

On the exam day

Be sure you are in a well‐lit, quiet and private room. The lighting of your room should have daylight quality, and overhead lighting is preferred. If overhead lighting is not possible, please make sure that your light source is not directly behind you because it will make it difficult for your invigilator to see you.

Follow the instructions in the email that will be sent 10 days prior to your exam and noting the following:
  • Have your photo ID (Passport, driving licence or Student ID)
  • Bring a reflective surface such as a CD, DVD or mirror so you can show the edges of your monitor to your invigilator.
  • Close all programs, applications and websites that do not relate to the exam.
  • Ensure that your exam is held in a private location and that no one is allowed in the room.
  • Remove any hats, sun glasses and headphones.
  • Remove from the workspace all notes that do not pertain to the exam and ensure you only have your scrap paper on your desk.
  • Remove from the room any mobile phones, tablets, smart watches or laptops that are not connected with the live exam.
  • Scientific calculators that are not programmable and do not have internet access will be permitted.

Your exam results will be sent to you by email and will also be available via your MyCIPFA account. Results dates are available from Key dates.

Hints and tips on using the CIPFA online exam system

Remote invigilation

Instead of a face-to-face invigilator, your exam will be remotely invigilated by a person on the other side of a webcam. They will check your identification, help you get logged in and get your exam started. They will be present throughout the duration of your exam to assist you every step of the way.