At Home CPI Exam 20 November 2020: Guidance From The IPA

Posted on Aug 27, 2020. by NTI


The IPA have released initial details of how the CPI Exam will be sat using both soft and hardware on 20th November 2020.

We set out the key questions and answers below:

1  Why are CPI Examinations being moved from physical centres to online?
We already had plans to move part of the CPI Exam assessment process online this year, but the Covid-19 pandemic has led us to fast-track this work. We cannot be confident that we will be able to host CPI Examinations in physical centres, so we need to plan for CPI Exams in a different way.

2  Will CPI Examinations continue to be online after the November 2020 session?
Yes, we are making these arrangements as a permanent change and we do not anticipate that we will set hand-written CPI Examinations in physical centres again.

3  Can I still take a paper-based CPI Examination if I prefer it that way?
No, unfortunately, we are unable to offer this option as we will no longer be booking physical centres and invigilation teams.

4  What equipment will I need to have?
You will need a computer which you can type on, with internet connection, webcam and a microphone. If you have a laptop, then webcam and microphone are probably already built in. If you are using a PC you may need to attach these. You will not be able to use a tablet or phone to complete your CPI Examination because you need to have a keyboard to type.

To aid CPI Exam security, we also ask that you have another camera in the room, usually positioned to the side of your desk. For this, you will need to have a smart-phone with camera and WiFi connection.

5  How do I know if my computer is compatible?
We will publish full specifications in September 2020. The main points are that your computer will need to have the latest software updates and a stable internet connection with a speed of at least 6mbps. The portal used for the CPI Examination runs on the Chrome browser, so you will need to have this installed.

6  Can I do the CPI Examination online if I don’t have any of the right equipment?
No, you do need to make sure you have everything you need in order to sit the CPI Examination in this way. We do not require you to own all the equipment but you do need to arrange to have use of it at the time of the CPI Exam.

7  What happens if there are internet connection problems or power cuts?
The partners we are working with to provide the online examining platform have experience of delivering exams all over the world, and are familiar with these issues. The examination portal is designed to re-connect automatically if the connection is lost, and in any event your session is saved so that you can pick up where you left off. In most cases, candidates should be able to re-connect and continue with the CPI Exam.

 8  Will there be any concessions for students in November 2020, who are using this system for the first time?
Yes, for the November 2020 session only, we will allow an extra 15 minutes of examination writing time to allow for the new format and for any minor technical problems which may take time to resolve.

9  Have you thought about how to manage the different time zones?
Yes, we are incorporating this in our planning and will release more detail soon. You can see on the examination timetable within MyCG that the exams are no longer split between morning and afternoon. Your CPI Exam is scheduled for a particular day only, and depending on your time zone you could be starting in the morning or later in the day. For now, please keep in mind that you need to keep the whole of the exam day clear..

10  What is going to happen to students who don’t have fast typing skills?
We have made this announcement as early as we could so that students can consider how the online system will work and make arrangements. We do recommend that students use this time to make sure that their typing speed is up to completing answers in the time-frame and to improve it if not. We cannot offer extra time or the opportunity to sit paper-based CPI Exams.

For some students, we realise this will mean an investment of time and practice in improving their typing skills. However, it should not be necessary to pay for or attend courses for this as there are free online courses available, such as at

11  What happens if I need you to make adjustments to my CPI Exam conditions for an approved reason?
The process by which you submit a request for adjustments based on medical or long-term conditions will stay the same, and you can contact the CPI Examinations team at to start this.

12  How can you stop people cheating?
We will be using an online platform specially designed for computer-based assessment, combined with live remote invigilation services. This means that your computer and webcam are accessed by the system and a live invigilator is checking on you to ensure that this remains a closed book CPI Exam with no collusion or cheating. We will be publishing more detailed guidance about how the platform works.

13  Will I be able to make notes on a piece of paper?
You will be allowed to use paper and make notes, for your own use, off screen. You will not be able to submit these notes to us, they will be for your own reference during the CPI Examination only. You must write your answers to the questions on-screen.

You will be asked to show the note paper you intend to use to the invigilator before the CPI Examination starts and after. Your note-paper must be completely free of any writing, diagrams or other content when you show it to the invigilator before the CPI Exam starts.

14  Will I be able to take a toilet break?
For many organisations setting online examinations, students are not permitted to take breaks for any reason. We would encourage you to take the CPI Examination without a break, but it will be allowed if you really need it.

If you do find that you need a break during the CPI Examination for any reason, you can let the invigilator know through the chat facility and should be aware of the following rules:

You should wait for permission from the invigilator before you leave.
Your CPI Examination time will not be paused while you take a break.
You will have a maximum limit of 5 minutes to return to your screen
Breaks will be logged and you will only be allowed one.
If you know in advance that there is, for example, a medical reason for you to require a break during the CPI Examination, let us know as soon as possible before the CPI Exam date.

 15  How will we be able to answer calculation questions in the finance examinations?
The platform we will use for the online examinations is adaptable and has features which are designed especially for answering the calculation elements of questions. If you are taking a finance examination, you will be able to access a past paper and experiment with writing your answers when you do your trial session (see below).

16  Will I be allowed to use a calculator in the finance examinations?
Yes, you will be allowed to use your own calculator but will not be able to use another device, such as a smart-watch or mobile phone as a calculator. You will also be asked to show the invigilator your calculator before you start the CPI Exam.

17  Will I be able to practise using the system before I take the CPI Examination?
Yes, we will give you the opportunity to log in and experiment with the platform, which we will populate with past CPI Examination papers. We aim to give you this access in the last two weeks of September 2020, and will send more details shortly.

18  Will you still pre-release case studies six weeks ahead of the CPI Examinations?
Yes, we will continue to do this for the CPI Examinations at Part Two of the Qualifying Programme, as we did for the physical CPI Examinations.

19  When will I get more information?
We will email students in September 2020 to provide more technical specifications and provide more guidance on the platform and how it works. We aim to let you test the system in the last two weeks of September 2020 and we will tell you about that in our next update.

In addition to the FAQs provided above, the IPA have confirmed that the CPI Exam will have an in-built timer, and the question paper will be on the ‘portal’ – no physical copies of the CPI Exam paper will be available.

For the CPI Exam, you will need access to a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and microphone. We would suggest that if you do not already have access to one, it would be a good idea to buy or borrow one, as you will need to practice any mock or practice questions on the software, rather than by hand writing

For more information, or just for reassurance, please email, or call 01962 772181.

« Back to articles