Student Exam FAQs

Last updated 13 July 2021

Online CIMA exams are continuing, and in many countries you can choose to schedule at test centre or online. More information on test centre exams in your country is available at Pearson Vue.

We can help you make your choice, see details in the section below. Exams are identical at either test centres or as online exams, the only difference is their delivery method. All Professional Qualification and Certificate in Business Accounting exams can be scheduled via your MyCIMA account.

Online or test centre exam - How to make your decision?

Consider an online exam if:

  • You have a constantly stable and high-speed internet connection
  • You have passed the system test using the equipment you plan to sit the exam with
  • You are able to sit for the duration of the exam without leaving the room
  • You have a quiet walled space to sit your exam with a closed door
  • You have access to a computer that does not have firewall or VPN restriction. 

Choose a test centre if: 

  • Your equipment fails the system test
  • You have had a previously unsuccessful attempt at taking an online exam
  • The quality of your internet connectivity is not always reliable
  • It is difficult to find a time and a quiet space
  • There are other people in your household using the internet at the time you need to sit your exam, or you have experienced drop out in online meetings etc
  • You have any special accommodation requirements, as you will be able to book over the phone and have all requirements met. 

Should I sit my case study exam online?

In May many students had a successful experience sitting their case study exams online. However, due to the less controlled environment of the online setting and the need for a continuous and regular internet connection, there were a small minority of students who had a disrupted exam experience.

Test centres offer a reliable, controlled environment in which to take a test. Where possible, if you feel comfortable travelling to a test centre and feel at ease with the safety and hygiene procedures that have been made available in test centres as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend that you take your case study in a test centre.

Pearson Vue have more information on the measures that have been put in place.

Online exams

CIMA online exams general

Do you have any hints and tips videos?

We have a series of videos covering the following topics: 

  1. Introduction to Online CIMA exams 
  2. Your top questions answered 
  3. CIMA study support resources 
  4. Online exam whiteboard guide 
  5. How to check in and begin your exam

Will the online exams still be available after test-centres re-open?

Yes, we plan to continue to offer online CIMA exams so in future you will have the option to take an exam either at a test-centre or online.

What will remote testing involve?

Using Pearson’s OnVUE system you will be able to take your exams from home. For more information watch this short video (note: a proctor is the same as an invigilator).

What does the exam look like?

The exam format will stay the same for all exams, but the presentation is very slightly different. Take a look at one of the practice tests (please note: you will need to sign in or create an account and then can select the free practice test).

Where can I test?

You can test at home. Wherever you test, you should be in a walled room, with a closed door and without distractions. No one else is permitted in the room with you while you are testing.

Are remote testing exams secure?

There are several ways remote testing exams are secured to maintain the integrity of the exam. Pearson VUE utilizes a secure browser that restricts your ability to open and use additional windows and programs during your exam session. Candidates are required to provide real-time photographs of the testing environment. In addition, Pearson VUE's exam proctors/invigilators are trained to watch for and detect any behaviour that may be in violation of exam terms and conditions. If a candidate appears to be in violation of any exam terms and conditions, the proctor/invigilator may shut down the candidate’s exam.

How are remote exams invigilated?

You are allocated a remote invigilator who will do your security and room checks and will be watching during the objective test to ensure security is maintained.

Are you in the Finance Leadership Programme, Russian Diploma or take exams in China?

We will notify you separately about measures for your exam.

Will the number of exams being taken at the same time be an issue?

No, we have worked with Pearson VUE to check the volumes and are confident this will not be an issue.

Scheduling an online exam

How do I know what time zone my exam is scheduled for?

When scheduling your exam, you have the option to choose your local time zone.  Your exam time including the time zone should then show up on your exam confirmation email.

Is there any guidance for scheduling?

Please use this step by step guide to scheduling your exam.

When should I do a system test?

You should check the system requirements and complete a system check before you schedule your exam*. You need to use the location and equipment that you intend taking the test on. Check your equipment reaches the minimum required.

*if your system test fails you should not schedule an exam until you can resolve the issue and pass the system test. If you have already scheduled you should cancel your exam ((within the usual 48hr cancellation period).

How do I schedule an exam?

You are able to schedule online through MyCIMA via the Pearson VUE platform.

Once you’ve scheduled your exam you will receive a confirmation email which will give you the next steps.

How long do I have to schedule my remote OnVUE exam?

You can schedule your objective test up to 24 hours before you want to sit the exam, and you can book into any available slot. You can cancel or reschedule your objective test within 48 hrs of your exam and get a refund.

For case study exams check the exam timetable for scheduling details. Case study exams can be cancelled or rescheduled while the exam scheduling windows are open.

Can I use my exam credit?

Exam credits can be used in the normal way when scheduling an exam.

I've logged on to schedule an exam but I can't see the online version available?

Please contact us to resolve this, we would recommend you use our Live Chat function at the bottom right of the page.

Will the normal confirmation reminder emails be sent 24 hours before my exam?

Yes, you should still receive a standard reminder email approximately 24hrs before each exam.

Can I reschedule or cancel an exam?

For objective test you can cancel or reschedule within 48 hrs of your exam. For case study exams you can reschedule or cancel when the exam scheduling window is open.

Can I use a calculator, whiteboard or note paper in the exam?

Calculators: We are pleased to confirm you will be able to use your own calculator from the CIMA approved list.

Whiteboards and scrap paper: The OnVUE functionality does not allow students to use an erasable whiteboard or scrap paper. However, there will be an onscreen whiteboard available for you to use. This will allow you to enter numbers and draw shapes and lines.

Whiteboard overviewWhiteboard practice example

Will special accommodation still be applied?

CIMA remains committed to providing equal access to our examinations, however, for online exams the following accommodation can be provided: 

  • Adjustable Font Size
  • Extra Time - 1/4 Exam Time
  • Extra Time - 1/2 Exam Time
  • Extra Time - double Exam Time
  • ZoomText (Screen Magnification Only) – this is dependent on the candidate computer 
  • 'Pause the clock' has recently been added for online case study exams. It is for candidates who, for medical reasons, need a short break away from the screen during their exam

If you have existing accommodations applied to your account then these will still be applied to your remote exam. You do not need to apply again however you will need to schedule via the following steps:

  1. Contact Pearson VUE 
  2. Pay for your test over the phone
  3. Pearson VUE will book your exam
  4. Your entry will be confirmed by email

If your special accommodation is outside of the list above we are unfortunately unable to provide it at this time, and would suggest you take your exam at a test centre. Check here for more information on how to submit an application for special accommodation.

CIMA online exam requirements and policies

Can I wear earplugs during the exam?

Earplugs are not permitted as the invigilator may consider you are communicating with someone through them.

Can I use a calculator, whiteboard or note paper in the exam?

  • Calculators: We are pleased to confirm you will be able to use your own calculator from the CIMA approved list.
  • Whiteboards and scrap paper: The OnVUE functionality does not allow students to use an erasable whiteboard or scrap paper. However, there will be an onscreen whiteboard available for you to use. This will allow you to enter numbers and draw shapes and lines . We are working to provide an example of the whiteboard soon, you can find an overview here. These are extraordinary circumstances and we are endeavoring to create an experience as close to the test centre experience as possible however for reasons of security it is necessary to adapt our usual rules. 

What are the system requirements?

Technical requirement Technical Specification
Operating System

Windows 10 
Windows 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit
Mac OS 10.13 and above (excluding beta versions)

Note: Windows Operating Systems must pass Genuine Windows Validation.

  • Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows 7 are strictly prohibited for exam delivery 
  • All Linux/Unix based Operating Systems are strictly prohibited.
Firewall Do not take your exam in a setting with a corporate firewall (including VPN), or, alert your Network Administrator to the network configuration requirements.
Display Minimum Resolution: 1024 x 768 in 16-bit color
Additional monitors are forbidden.
Internet Browser The newest versions of Microsoft EdgeSafariChrome, and Firefox for web registrations or downloading the secure browser or Internet Explorer 11.
Internet Connection

A consistent connection speed of 1 Mbps down/up is required.
We recommend testing on a wired network as opposed to a wireless network.
Tethering to a mobile hotspot is explicitly prohibited.

 Webcam Webcam must have a minimum resolution of 640x480 @ 10 fps. Webcam may be internal or may be external and connected to the computer. 
Mac users may need to allow OnVUE within their ‘System Preferences: Security & Privacy: Privacy’ settings for Microphone, Camera, Automation and Input Monitoring.
 Sound & Microphone Verify the audio and microphone are not set on mute in Windows. 
Mac users may need to allow OnVUE within their ‘System Preferences: Security & Privacy: Privacy’ settings for Microphone, Camera, Automation and Input Monitoring.
Browser Settings Internet Cookies must be enabled. 
Any Pop-Up blocking setting(s) must be disabled.
Work Computer We recommend testing on a personal computer as work computers may block the OnVUE software.
Power Ensure you are connected to a power source before starting your exam to avoid draining your battery during the exam

To check your equipment reaches the minimum required click here to complete a system test.

What happens if my equipment fails the system test?

We know that not everyone will have a successful system test and unfortunately, you can’t schedule a remote OnVUE exam if your system doesn’t pass the minimum requirements. If this is the case and you are unable to fix the issue, you may have to wait until test centres in your area are open again.

When should I do a system test?

You should check the system requirements and complete a system check before you schedule your exam*. You need to use the location and equipment that you intend taking the test on. Check your equipment reaches the minimum required.

*if your system test fails you should not schedule an exam until you can resolve the issue and pass the system test. If you have already scheduled you should cancel your exam ((within the usual 48hr cancellation period).

How do I know my computer will work with the remote testing software?

You must perform a system test before you schedule your exam. Click here to download the OnVUE online proctoring software in advance of scheduling your exam to ensure that your system will work with our software. Please check the list of minimum system requirements, and shut down all non-essential applications before launching the software. If the device on which you plan to sit your exam fails but you proceed to scheduling a test, you may forfeit your right to a refund if you encounter difficulties during your exam.

I use a work laptop and am concerned I can’t take my test.

Please see the minimum system requirements, and speak to your IT support to see what assistance might be possible.

Can I use a laptop or mouse for online exams?

Yes, you can use a PC or laptop including Mac. You may use a mouse and an additional keyboard. You are not permitted to connect to an additional monitor.

Can I eat, drink or take a break during the exam?

Breaks are not allowed during the exam for any reason. If you leave your computer during your exam the proctor/invigilator will end your session and you will be unable to continue testing.

Water in a clear glass is allowed during testing; however, eating, smoking, and chewing gum are prohibited.

What are the exam rules on personal belongings?

During the exam, you may not access the following types of personal items: mobile phones, headphones or headsets (wired or Bluetooth), handheld computers or other electronic devices, pagers, watches, wallets, purses, hats, bags, coats, books, notes, notebooks, study guides, pens/pencils, contact lens solution and lip balm, food or tobacco products, or any other materials not specifically approved.

You are not allowed to use exam-specific materials or scratch paper, erasable whiteboards, or any other physical writing object, such as a pen, marker, or pencil. 
Watches, including smartwatches, must be removed and placed out of sight/reach during the exam. 

You may have the option to use the whiteboard feature in the OnVUE software while taking the exam online. Read more about this feature

What type of identification will I be required to present? 

You will need similar ID to what you currently use at Pearson exam centres.  You will be required to present two forms of identification. A photo record of all ID will be retained by CIMA for validation purposes in accordance with our data protection policy.

A current valid passport is recommended as your primary form of identification. Alternatively, you may use one of the following documents as a primary form identification: a photocard driving licence or government issued identification card.

You are required to present a second form of identification with your full name and signature (e.g. a signed debit or credit card).

Exam terms and condition changes?

We have updated our exam terms and conditions for remote exams which must be agreed to when you schedule your exam.

The main changes are in section 2 and section 18, key features are around video and audio recording of your exam, and the plagiarism checks that may be carried out.

If I have a Mac is there any additional guidance on system requirements?

If I have a Mac is there any additional guidance on system requirements here?

CIMA online exams - on the exam day

What are the steps to checking in and beginning my exam?

Here is a step by step guide to check in and prepare for your exam day.

How do I start my online exam

We’ve now made it easier for you to start your exam. You can now start directly from the ‘Check in to start exam’ link in your confirmation or reminder email without having to access your MyCIMA account.  

You will receive the link in your confirmation email, any re-scheduling email and your reminder email. You can check in to all online CIMA exams from 30 minutes before your appointment time. 

It is still possible to start your exams through your MyCIMA account. To do this you should log in and follow the steps through the ‘schedule an exam/start your exam’ link.

Online Whiteboard Guidance

You can find an overview of the ONVUE whiteboard feature here. You also have access to this working demo to practice. 

To help you get familiar with it we have produced a short video demo.

Can I receive any exam assistance during the exam?

  • You may not receive any assistance from other individuals while taking the exam, and you may not allow other individuals to see the computer screen that presents the exam questions. 
  • If another person enters the room while you are testing, it may put your exam at risk. 
  • The proctor/invigilator cannot answer questions related to exam content.

What if I have a technical problem during the exam?

Most technical issues can be avoided by completing a system test in advance. Common technical issues are lack of a stable internet connection and running illegal applications during the exam, both of which the system test can indicate. Either way, staff are on hand to support the issue. More details will be provided when you schedule your exam.

If my exam is interrupted what should I do?

Find out tips and information on what to do if you have a problem or interruption during the exam.

CIMA special consideration process will apply. This process takes account of mitigating circumstances out of your control (e.g. internet/power failure, fire alarm or other evacuation, external noise etc.). In the event of a prolonged interruption it may be necessary to re-take the exam.

NEW: How do I know if my answers have been saved?

We have examined many thousands of students online and to date all answers have been received. The OnVUE system continuously saves as you write, so no matter where you get up to there is a saved record.  If your exam 'times out' (eg you run out of time) and ends with a blank screen all of your work has been saved.

Will I get a pass/fail for the OT exams on the day?

Yes. You will get provisional pass/fail at the end of the exam through your online dashboard. Your results will be confirmed 48hrs after the exam in MyCIMA.

To access your OT/CERTBA provisional result log in to MyCIMA

  • Click on Schedule an exam/Start your exam.
  • Click on Start, reschedule or cancel your exam.
  • Click through the payment screen.
  • Accept the CIMA exam terms & conditions, which transfers you to the Pearson VUE site.

On the dashboard select View Score Report for your provisional result

When will I get my case study results?

Please check the exam timetable for details of all case study results dates.

For my case study exam do my answers need to consider Covid-19?

Candidates should approach the examination questions on the basis of the information that was provided in the pre-seen. All materials were written before the pandemic and therefore will make no reference to it. 

As always, marks will be awarded for valid arguments that are relevant to the question that has been asked. Answers that make relevant references to the pandemic or social distancing will, of course, be marked on their merits. In most cases, however, candidates may find it unhelpful to assume that there are restrictions to the movement of people, goods or services in place.

Exam centres

If you already have a scheduled exam

Your exam appointment will proceed as scheduled unless you receive an email cancellation.

If you are looking to schedule an exam

In some countries test centres are starting to re-open again. When scheduling your exam you will only be able to book an exam at a test centre that is open.

If your exam is cancelled

You will receive an email cancellation if your test centre has to close. We’ll provide next steps for rescheduling your exam.

If you need to reschedule an exam

As always, you can reschedule online free of charge within 48hrs for any Certificate of Business Accounting exam, or Professional Qualification objective test. If you have to reschedule in the 48hrs prior to your objective test you must contact Pearson VUE. For case study exams you can reschedule while the exam registration window is open.

Will my exam still be on /or is it cancelled?

If your exam centre has closed, you will receive email notification of cancellation. If you don’t receive an email and you are able to see your upcoming exam appointment, please expect your exam to go ahead as planned, but with additional health and safety measures in place.

What if I need to self-isolate at short notice?

If possible, reschedule your exam. If this is not possible please contact Pearson VUE customer services. For further information: 

Pearson Vue

Guidance on test centre hygiene

Full details of the additional health & safety requirements relating to Covid-19 can be found below:

Pearson Vue

Do I need to wear a face mask?

You must bring and wear your own face mask while you're at the test center and throughout your exam. Any surgical or cloth face mask, including a homemade face mask, is acceptable as long as your nose and mouth are fully covered. Face masks with exhalation valves and face shields are not acceptable. Candidates without a face mask will be denied testing services. We are unable to provide face masks to candidates. 

When will exam centres reopen?

We are closely monitoring test centres on a country by country basis. Our first priority is the health and safety of our candidates and employees around the world. As soon as it is safe for exams to resume at your test centre, you will be able to schedule your exam online through MyCIMA. Test centres may need to close at short notice should local guidance change. All open test centres will have social distancing measures in place.  
Further information on the exam centre status in your country is available here: 

Pearson VUE

Will I get a refund if my exam is cancelled?

Yes. If your exam payment was processed through Pearson VUE, you will receive a full refund, regardless of cancellation window. Candidates who have scheduled using a credit through CIMA will be able to use that credit once exam centres are re-opened. 

Please note: To ensure Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance if your exam was scheduled more than 90 days prior you will need to contact Pearson VUE directly to receive your refund.

To make sure you have access to information on test centres globally, Pearson VUE are updating their Coronavirus Update Page daily. Please continue to check that webpage for any changes or additions to policies in specific regions.

Membership Application FAQs

Postal applications for membership

Our staff are working remotely but still handling queries and doing as much as possible to ensure there is minimal disruption to our services, providing alternative solutions to members where we can. However, our London office which processes our postal applications globally is currently closed until further notice, meaning we are unable to access postal applications we have received there. It will result in a delay in dealing with your postal application. However, if you have retained an electronic copy of your application, please attach this and email it to This will allow us to review your information and process your application.

If you are unable to provide a scanned copy of your application, please let us know your Contact ID and we will ensure your email is addressed as soon as we can once our London office has reopened. 

We are now accepting electronic signatures on Membership applications from both applicants and verifiers. Emails must come directly from the verifiers current company email address and the verifier must confirm the following information: Verifier Name, Company and Job Title. They should also articulate how they gained direct knowledge of the applicants work they are verifying. The verification start and end date must be confirmed. If all this information is already completed on the application form, then an electronic email from the verifying confirming this is sufficient

Hints and tips videos

We have provided some guidance on the delivery of the online exams, including: what to expect, feedback on the top questions asked by students, useful information on the study resources to help support you on your CIMA exam journey and guidance on how to get the most out of the online whiteboard, and how to check in and begin your exam, in a series of videos.

A live demo of the whiteboard is also available.

Watch the videos