IFOA April 2020 FAQs

The following has been an update from IFOA April 2020 FAQs:

Why is the IFoA running some examinations online in April 2020 rather than cancelling them all?
We have heard that for many personal reasons some of you would prefer not to sit our April examinations. Others have told us that they do not wish to waste the many days of study they have already invested in preparation for the April examinations and want to continue so that the COVID19 pandemic does not interrupt their work towards qualification.
To try to balance these requests we will be moving some of our April examinations online. While it is too early to make definitive statements about our September 2020 examinations, we also hope that by running a number of online examinations in April it will help protect capacity later this year for those who cannot take examinations now or those who are working towards a September date.

I am registered for an examination/examinations and want to sit the new online version. Do I need to do anything?

No. Those of you already booked for the original examinations will have their
places guaranteed on the new online versions, should you wish to continue with your studies. You need take no action now. The IFoA will contact you with detailed arrangements on your new online assessment.


I have decided to sit an online examination. When will I receive joining instructions?
You will receive joining instructions at least two weeks before the examination date. This will give you sufficient time to carry out pre-examination checks to test whether your computer equipment will work on the day of the examination


I am registered for an examination. Do I have to sit the new online version?
No. We recognise that, for many different personal and practical reasons, you may not wish to take up the offer of an alternative online examination and you are under no obligation to do so. If you are unable to make any change of date or do not want to sit the online examination you will be refunded in full. To receive this refund you will need to cancel your assessment before the following deadlines by emailing [email protected]
by 16.00 GMT 15th April 2020 for the rearranged examinations in week beginning 27th April 2020
or
by 16.00 GMT 22nd April 2020 for the rearranged examinations in week beginning 4th May 2020
We would ask you to be patient and not chase your email. We will not accept cancellations by telephone.


Which examinations will be available online?
Following careful review of the April 2020 examination papers by our Chief Examiners, we have recognised we can only deliver a reduced number of examinations online.
The full list of the examinations we will be offering online is available on our web page for students booked onto April 2020 exams.

Will examinations be held at the same time as previously advertised?
To accommodate the changes we have had to reschedule all examinations except for CP2 and CP3. Details of start times will be included in your joining instructions and the revised dates can be found on our web page for students booked onto April 2020 exams.

Which examinations will not be available online?
Following careful review of the April 2020 examination papers by our Chief Examiners, we have recognised that some of our original examinations cannot be delivered online in the time we have available. We will therefore be cancelling these examinations.
The full list of the April examinations that we are cancelling is available on our web page for students booked onto April 2020 exams.


My CS1, CS2, CM1 or CM2 examination has been cancelled. What do I need to do?
You do not need to take any action. We will process the refund as quickly as possible and will contact you (or your employer) if there is any issue with processing the refund. See our refund policy for April 2020 examinations.
We would ask you to be patient and not chase your refund.


My examination has been cancelled. Can I transfer my registration to another examination which will be delivered online?
No. If your examination is cancelled you will receive a full refund. We regret that we are unable to book any candidates onto alternative online examinations. This is because, in order to deliver our online examinations in the time available, we can only implement a simple solution which is to transfer all candidates to our new online examinations or cancel the registration. We currently have no capacity to open a more complex booking system.


My examination has been cancelled. Can I obtain a refund for the ActEd material I purchased for this examination?

ActEd BPP is an independent company and you will need to direct this question to them. They have a dedicated COVID-19 webpage at https://acted.co.uk /news_update.html
What will happen if I do not contact you by the deadline for cancellations?
If we have not heard from you by
16.00 GMT 15th April 2020 for the rearranged examinations in week beginning 27th April 2020
or
16.00 GMT 22nd April 2020 for the rearranged examinations in week beginning 4th May 2020
we will assume that you wish to sit the examination online. After this deadline you will not be eligible for any refund, unless you develop health issues which mean you are unable to take the examination. Full details of the procedure you need to follow in this case can be found in our refund policy for April 2020 examinations

What happens if I develop COVID-19 symptoms after the deadline for cancellation and I cannot sit my online examination?


Provided you tell us this before the examination date we will refund your examination fee in full. Details of the procedure you need to follow can be found in our refund policy for April 2020 examinations.
What do I do if I am booked on an existing
CP2 or CP3 examination but due to the current circumstances now wish to cancel my registration?


If you are registered for CP2 or CP3 but no longer wish to sit the examination, you may cancel by emailing [email protected] 8 April at the very latest. You will receive a full refund if you paid the fee yourself, or the fee will be refunded to your employer if they paid for you. See our refund statement.
We would ask you to be patient and not chase your email. We will not accept cancellations by telephone.


How long will it take for me to receive my refund?
We will do our best to process any refunds as quickly as possible. Because of the potential scale of refunds this may take several weeks to complete.
We would ask you to be patient as we are potentially dealing with significant numbers of cancellations whilst working remotely. It would help us process all the repayments if you avoid chasing your original email.


Instead of cancelling my registration can I carry forward my booking to the September examinations?
No. With uncertainty over how the COVID-19 pandemic will develop we are currently not able to guarantee how our September examinations will run. In these circumstances we cannot therefore carry April bookings over to the September sitting, in order to be fair to all students.


Once you know how many students have cancelled their April bookings, will you be opening online examination to students who originally chose not to book for these examinations?
No. With our cancellation deadlines so close to the online examinations we do not have the capacity in the current circumstances to administer any new bookings.

How will the online examinations operate?
Our April online examinations will operate in the following way:
At the start time of any examination, candidates will access the written examination paper from the IFoA online platform. Answers will be typed and then uploaded at the end of the examination to the same platform. There is no provision for handwritten answers. Answers will be typed into either Word or Excel depending on the examination. Electronic ‘scripts’ will then be loaded onto our e-marking platform, and distributed as usual to examiners/markers. Marking will proceed using this platform which has been in use with examiners/markers since April 2019. Post-marking, the Board of Examiners will meet to consider the examination marks. The usual process for publication of results will be followed, although it must be recognised that in the current circumstances there may be some delay. We will aim to communicate this promptly if a delay looks likely.

Will this require changes to the Assessment Regulations?
We have updated our Assessment Regulations and introduced an Exam contingency statement. Our Regulations relating to online assessments now apply to all April 2020 examinations. It is important that you read and understand these as you will be asked to accept them when you log on to the platform before sitting your examinations.


Will my Access Arrangements still be the same?

For those of you who already have access arrangements, we will continue to provide those as far as we reasonably can. We will be able to provide additional time to those candidates where this has already been agreed. A further communication to reflect changed start times will be sent by 8 April.
We are unable to provide access arrangements for our online examinations unless they have already been agreed and communicated to you.
We regret that any other access arrangements requests such as enlarged papers, special chairs, scribes, etc. cannot now be accommodated for the April 2020 examinations.


Will I be able to apply for Mitigating Circumstances should there be any issues during my examination?
We have provided some additional guidance on mitigating circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are included in a new Appendix to our Mitigating Circumstances policy. These should be read in conjunction with our usual Mitigating Circumstances policy document.


I am concerned that I will not be able to type my answers as quickly as I could have handwritten them. Will I be allowed more time to complete my examination?


If you feel that typing your answers may impact your performance, then for this sitting we recommend that you withdraw from the examination(s). We are not in a position to allow additional time or accept a mitigating circumstances application for this scenario.


What packages will I need in order to sit an online examination?

Full details of the technical requirements for our examinations can be found in our Technical requirements online handbook 2020.


I do not have access to the necessary computer equipment or software to sit the online examinations?
If you do not have access to the necessary computer equipment or software to sit online examinations you may cancel your April 2020 sitting by emailing [email protected] by
16.00 GMT 15th April 2020 for the rearranged examinations in week beginning 27 April 2020
or
16.00 GMT 22nd April 2020 for the rearranged examinations in week beginning 4 May 2020
You will receive a full refund if you paid the fee yourself, or alternatively the fee will be refunded to your employer if they paid for you. See our refund statement.
I do not know if my broadband connection is good enough or reliable enough to sit the online examinations?
In this circumstance you will need to carry out pre-examination checks relating to your computer equipment. Should these show that your broadband connection is not good enough you may cancel your April 2020 sitting by emailing [email protected] by
16.00 GMT 15th April 2020 for the rearranged examinations in week beginning 27th April 2020
or
16.00 GMT 22nd April 2020 for the rearranged examinations in week beginning 4th May 2020
You will receive a full refund if you paid the fee yourself, or alternatively the fee will be refunded to your employer if they paid for you. See our refund statement.


What happens if my computer equipment fails during my examination?
If you experience systems issues during your examination, you must continue to complete the examination to the best of your ability. Such systems issues could relate to internet connectivity or failures of electricity supply.
If you wish for these issues to be considered under the IFoA mitigating
circumstances policy you should keep a log of such issues and the start and finish times for these incidents. You should also provide screenshots as evidence for any systems errors or issues which have occurred.
If you are unable to upload your script at the end of the examination then we regret that your script will not be marked.


What happens if the IFoA system fails during my examination?
Should there be a failure of our platforms a full refund will be made. We will contact you directly should this occur.


How can I obtain a copy of the current Formulae and Tables book for my examination?
We have made the current Formulae and Tables book available for the April 2020 examination as a free download. It can be accessed at https://www.actuaries.org.uk/studying/prepare-your-exams/formulae-and-tables


Will the marking take account of the change in examination format?

The Board of Examiners will decide whether any adjustments are required to take account of changes in examination format once papers have been through the marking process.


Will the marking take account of the disruption to my studies caused by this pandemic?
No. We have made this decision because we have offered all those deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic the opportunity to cancel their examinations with no penalty. By continuing to sit our examinations individuals are therefore recognising that they are suitably prepared to present themselves for assessment. We are taking this position to maintain the academic quality of our examinations.


Will there be a higher risk of examination misconduct by delivering these examinations online?
We recognise that larger than usual numbers of you will be taking these examinations online.
To maintain the integrity of our examinations, we are therefore taking enhanced security measures. Our examiners, supported by our ‘back-office’ systems, will be scrutinising examination ‘scripts’ for possible cases of collusion and, during the April examination period, we will be deploying specialist software to identify any cases of plagiarism. We are reserving the right to undertake such reviews pre or post publication of examination results.
You are all reminded that student members of the IFoA are bound by the Actuaries’ Code and that any finding of examination misconduct could put your career at risk.
We believe we are therefore taking appropriate and proportionate measures to manage the risk of any potential examination misconduct.


What resources will I be able to access and use during my online examination?
Section 7d of our Assessment Regulations (March 2020) details the resources and devices you are entitled to use during our online examinations.


When will the examination results be released?
The revised dates for publication of results are:
Core Principles subjects (CB1-2;): Tuesday 21 July 2020 Core Practices, Specialist Principles and Specialist Advanced subjects: Thursday 23 July 2020


Will the September examinations run as scheduled?

At present we do not know how the COVID-19 pandemic will develop. Whilst it is our intention to run examinations in September, we cannot currently guarantee either dates or format at this stage. We hope to reach a decision shortly. We will keep you informed through our website and newsletters.

Source: IFOA

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