Online exam review

The following is a review of the first set of CIPFA online examinations held in June 2016.

Online examination project review


In June last year, following the roll out of an update to the CIPFA PQ syllabus, CIPFA introduced online examinations for all CIPFA PQ & IPFM students.

At the heart of the initiative were two key goals: to provide an improved service to students and employers through the delivery of online exams in the UK and internationally, and to grow CIPFA student and member numbers sustainably.

Expected benefits of the new system included:

  • Equitable access to the benefits of online exams for all students regardless of location providing more flexibility in the way students take their exams.
  • Faster results and better access to data and performance analysis
  • More immediate identification of exam issues and the provision of targeted user support in relation
  • An ability to offer students the opportunity to take exams out of allocated sessions for the first time
  • Earlier receipt of scripts and, where multiple choice questions (MCQs) were used, faster receipt of marks

Review and feedback

The first online exams took place in June and November of 2016 and many of the expected benefits were realised during these first sittings.  However, CIPFA’s internal review alongside feedback provided to us by students, employers and from the CIPFA Student Network (CSN), illustrated a number of areas of concern, requiring improvement.

In response to feedback on the issues experienced, and as part of CIPFA’s internal review of the initial implementation, an improvement programme was initiated and launched in July 2016.

Improvement and development

A number of improvements and technical fixes have subsequently been delivered, and we continue to work with CSN, students and employers to understand areas for improvement, acting upon these and reporting on their status through this web page.

Summary reports follow a ‘You said, We did’ format in order to reflect students’ specific concerns, highlighting resolutions, and ongoing development where applicable.

Online exams: feedback and actions summary reports

CIPFA Online Exams Summary April 2017

 We are grateful to those individuals who have taken the time to share their experiences and feedback.  Further questions and feedback on online exams can be directed to: