Test of Relevant Expertise (TRE) Reflective Essay Questions
The pathways route allows members of an approved accounting body the opportunity to become a member of ICAS and use the exclusive ‘CA’ designation. The Test of Relevant Expertise (TRE) route provides highly skilled professional accountants with seven years post-qualification experience with a competency-based route to becoming a CA.
Members of an approved body who have at least seven years of continuous membership post-qualification of their original institute and meet the eligibility criteria can become a CA through completion of a competency-based self-assessment consisting of five questions that use a holistic, attribute-based model set as outcomes.
TRE may also be required for Students who have not proceeded to membership within three years of passing the Test of Professional Expertise as per Section 9.2 of the student handbook.
Test of Relevant Expertise:
For each of the five requirements, eligible candidates are required to submit a short, reflective essay based on their professional experience since admission to membership of the approved body. Each essay has a minimum word limit of 700 words and a maximum word limit of 1,000 words.
For candidates required to complete TRE as part of their admission requirements this should be based on their professional expertise since the date they would have been expected to become eligible for membership. This being the later of the completion of their approved period of practical experience or passing their final assessment.
Each reflective essay must be based on a candidate’s own professional experience and as far as possible, direct involvement in the scenarios described. Candidates are asked to ensure that, at a minimum, their reflective essays are structured to include:
- Background and context to the scenario(s) identified in the essay;
- A description of your role and responsibilities in the specific scenario(s);
- An evaluation of the particular professional skills used and developed in the context of the scenario(s) including where relevant judgement and decision making; and
- A critical examination of the lessons learned by you and the organisation from the experience.
Please note that normally a different scenario should be used to address each requirement. If a candidate chooses to refer to the same scenario in two different sections, then care should be taken to avoid repetition and to ensure that the scenario is relevant to the essay question. To enable applicants to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their experience in relation to the assessment requirements, responses will by necessity require confidential information to be provided. ICAS will respect the confidentiality of the application. Applicants are advised that they should not name their employer or any clients in their five Reflective Essays. Applicants should make reference to generic bodies or companies, for example, a “Health Trust”. This is to ensure the application process is anonymised and that there is no unintentional bias in the marking process. To ensure the necessary depth of evaluation and critical reflection within each essay, candidates are advised to consider whether it is appropriate to reflect on multiple scenarios.
With reference to your relevant professional experience, evaluate scenarios where you:
- 1b - Consider the long-term consequences of unethical decisions.
- 1d - Apply professional ethics codes to business situations.
- 2c - Recommend alternative strategies for future actions to clients in particular circumstances, based on up-to-date technical knowledge.
- 3c - Apply consultative skills to minimise or resolve conflict, solve problems, and maximise opportunities.
- 4a - Advise, using appropriate methods, a range of audiences with differing levels of knowledge and expertise on business solutions.
Once you have completed your five reflective essays, make sure you have passed these to your sponsors for verification.
All candidates are also required to submit a detailed CV (no more than four sides of A4) in support of their reflective essay submissions. Prior to the marking process, all applications will be anonymised.
The five Reflective Essay questions must be submitted to the online assessment platform. All submissions will go through an academic plagiarism checker and will only allow submission of ONE Word document for the TRE application process.
Therefore, the five Reflective Essay questions should follow the following format for submission to Turnitin:
- The five essays are submitted in one Word document
- The document must only contain your candidate number and no other personal identification (such as your name)
- Each essay must be clearly headed and numbered in accordance with the essay question above and a word count must be included at the bottom of each essay
- All pages of the word document to be numbered
- Each essay has a minimum word limit of 700 words and a maximum word limit of 1,000 words.
For guidance on what is expected in terms of the content and format of the reflective essay questions please read the Commentary on Performance from a recent TRE exam.
Grading of assessments
ICAS has established a method for grading the assessments based on the approach used at its Test of Professional Expertise multi-disciplinary case study. Each reflective essay will be graded across the following categories:
- Highly competent;
- Clearly competent;
- Approaching competence;
- Not competent.
ICAS will derive descriptors for what an assessor might expect to observe within a reflective essay under each of these 5 categories. These descriptors will be used to evaluate the submitted responses. The competency level identified will then be converted into a mark and this will determine the pass/fail decision. All reflective essays will be assessed independently on at least 2 occasions.
Submitting your application
Full details on submitting your application will be made available nearer the time. In broad terms though, when the Submission Window opens, your application for the TRE pathway has three steps:
- Submitting to ICAS your completed application pack (Remember you will need to have sent your answers to the five essay questions to your sponsors in order for them to complete their part of the application)
- Making payment
- Receive your candidate number which will be provided to you to upload the five Reflective Essays for the examination component (this will be made available on receipt of the above)
- Receive login details for the assessment platform to submit the five reflective essay questions in one Word document.
Please note it can take up to five working days for your candidate number to be released to you and you will have a minimum of seven days to submit your essay questions on the assessment platform.