TPE exam guidance
Follow our step-by-step guide to get ready for your TPE exams.
All TPE-level exams (including mocks, case study, EPA1, EPA2 and PTE) are conducted through the Cirrus online platform using remote invigilation.
To make sure you’re fully prepared, and help remove some of the stress, we’ve explained how it works and what you must do to get ready for exam day.
Please read through all the guidance below to understand what happens when, and what you need to do when.
(If you’ve been here before and are looking for something specific, click a link to jump to a section).
- How to book an exam
- What to do (at least) one week before your exam
- What to do 72 hours before your exam
- What happens on exam day
- What happens after the exam
- Useful links
How to book an exam
Upcoming exams are available to book on Timetabler when the booking window opens. You’ll find more information and details of the latest exam dates here.
What to do (at least) one week before your exam
1. Watch our video guide
Proctorio and Cirrus user guide
2. Prepare what you’ll need to sit your exam
- A quiet, private and enclosed room/location with a desk and comfortable chair.
- A working PC or laptop with an embedded web cam and microphone. (You can only use one screen, either the laptop or an extension monitor. If you choose to use an external monitor, you'll also need an external webcam, keyboard and mouse.)
- A power connection for your laptop.
- A stable internet connection (ideally for your sole use during the exam).
- 2GB of free RAM for the proctoring software to run properly. (Close any applications that you don’t need.)
- Chrome set as the default web browser on the PC/laptop you’ll be using.
- This Chrome plug-in downloaded to the PC/laptop you’ll be using.
- The MS Teams app (or browser version) on the PC/laptop you’ll be using. (If using the app, download and install it before the day of your first exam.)
- If using a work laptop, your IT department may need to whitelist the following URL: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/proctorio/fpmapakogndmenjcfoajifaaonnkpkei.
- Photo ID, such as a driving license, passport or biometric national ID card. (The ID must be current and contain a photo and signature. Photocopies or digital copies won’t be accepted.)
3. Take the onboarding test
Log in to Cirrus and take the Essential Onboarding Test. It will show you how the platform works and what to expect on exam day. You will also be able to check the remote invigilation software, Proctorio, and ensure it's compatible with your device. You can take the test as many times as you like, and should do so at least once before every exam diet.
You’ll find it in your Cirrus dashboard approximately one week before your first exam.
4. Access your exam Teams
For each exam diet we’ll add you to a dedicated MS Teams, with two channels:
- Announcements: this is where we’ll confirm the start time, send you important updates, reminders and links to key guidance ahead of your exam(s).
- General: this is where you can ask us pre-exam questions and contact us with issues. (Before posting a question, please thoroughly read all the guidance on this page and in the Announcements channel.)
When logging in to Teams, use your @student.icas.com email and its password, and remember to turn on all notifications.
We’ll add you to the Teams approximately one week before your first exam. Please note that it’s your responsibility to ensure you’ve been added and get in touch with us if not.
5. Read our exam T&Cs
Please make sure you’ve read our exam Terms & Conditions and the associated policies before sitting your first exam.
6. Review your reasonable adjustments
If you’ve been awarded exam adjustments, the details of your application and the exam timings will be emailed to you no later than 2 working days before your exam. If you don’t receive these and believe that adjustments should be applied to your exam profile, please contact email@example.com as a matter of urgency.
For short-notice requests within the 15 days before your exam, please contact us as soon as possible on 0131 347 0100 and we'll do our best to help.
What to do 72 hours before your exam
1. Re-watch our video guide
If you haven’t already, watch our video guides, or watch them again to refresh your memory. You can’t be too prepared.
2. Check your exam Teams
Make sure you’ve been added to your exam Teams and get in touch with us if not. That’s where we’ll confirm the start time, share key updates and where you can ask pre-exam questions.
3. Check your Cirrus dashboard
Log in to Cirrus, check your dashboard contains all the exams you’ve booked and get in touch with us if not. You'll gain access to your exams on Cirrus at least 72 hours before your first exam. Will keep you updated on the exam Teams' Announcements channel.
4. Read the invigilation guide
From looking at your wrists to vaping, learn the behaviours that online invigilators look out for and you should avoid during the exam.
5. Get help with pre-exam stress
It’s only natural to feel stressed in the run up to an exam. It’s just your brain and body’s way of reminding you to prepare for the day. Watch our video to learn more about ways to cope with exam stress. And if you’re really struggling, our Student Assistance Programme has a free 24-7 helpline with BACP-accredited counsellors.
What happens on exam day
Watch our video guide, and read through the information below, to discover everything that happens on exam day, from what you're allowed to bring, to how to conduct the room scan.
Get your ID ready
Remember, you’ll need to show valid photo ID, such as a driving license, passport or biometric national ID card. If your webcam struggles to focus on your ID during the Cirrus checks, ensure the room is sufficiently lit. If that doesn't fix the problem, take the best picture possible. If necessary, we'll contact you after the exam for further verification.
Know what you can bring
Your permitted materials, a clock or stopwatch, ear plugs or ear defenders. You can bring food and drink if the food is in a clear container or bag and it must be shown to the camera at the start of the exam.
Your permitted materials
The exam is open book, so you can use any materials you think may be helpful. Materials can be paper copies or downloaded digital copies. You are not allowed to access the internet (including myCABLE) to view materials or information. Please download and save any material to your computer before the exam.
Know what you can’t bring
Headphones, earbuds/pods and smart watches/devices are not allowed. Articles of clothing that cover your head are also not allowed. Religious head coverings are permitted.
Switch off your phone
Switch off your phone and put it out of reach.
Log off your VPN
You will be unable to access Proctorio and Cirrus if your device is connected to your VPN.
Log in to Cirrus 15 minutes before the start time
Your exam times will be posted in your exam Teams in the week before your first exam.
You should log into Cirrus and click the link to access the exam up to 15 minutes before the start time. This extra time is to allow you to print the exam paper (should you choose to do so) and to conduct the room scan. However, you won’t be able to start the exam until the stated start time.
You can email the paper to yourself on another device for printing in another room. You should take no longer than 5 minutes to print the paper. Once the exam paper has been released and you have downloaded or printed it – you must sit at your desk in exam conditions and wait for the exam to start. You must not read any notes.
Starting the exam
At the stated exam start time, click 'start assessment' to begin.
Don’t be late. Failure to log in at the start time may result in you being unable to sit the exam.
If you’ve been awarded a time-based reasonable adjustment, we’ll email you in advance with your individual start time.
Save a Word doc for your exam responses
Create and save an MS Word document for your exam responses. Name your exam response file with your candidate number, the subject name and, for the TPE Case Study only, whether the exam is in the a.m. or p.m. (e.g. 12345_TPE_AM). Each page should be numbered.
Turn on auto-save on the Word doc. You are responsible for taking the necessary steps to prevent data loss during the exam.
Taking bathroom breaks
If you need to take a bathroom break, raise your hand to the camera and say, “bathroom break”. Your break should take no longer than 5 minutes.
Make periodic system checks
Periodically check that auto-save is still turned on and is saving to the location selected. You should also periodically check that Cirrus and Proctorio are working correctly. If you notice any issues, please resolve these immediately.
Keep check of time
You are required to keep your own timings. Cirrus has a timer with your total exam time, however, you must ensure you’re using this time for the correct purpose – 15 minutes for paper printing at the beginning has been added to this time and can’t be used for any other purposes.
There will be no upload window at the end of your exam. Everything that you wish to be submitted and marked as part of your exam must be uploaded by the end of the time.
AM and PM papers (TPE Case Study only)
The TPE Case Study has separate AM (Question 1) and PM (Question 2) papers.
- Ending the AM paper
At the end of the AM paper, when you break for lunch, stop the Proctorio recording by closing the tab but do not click on the ‘complete assessment’ button.
- Your lunch break (between AM and PM papers)
During the lunch break between the AM and PM papers you must close both Proctorio and Cirrus by closing the window in your browser. During the break you must not perform any exam-related activity, including working on your morning paper, adding to your notes or preparing any notes for your afternoon paper.
- Starting the PM paper
Enter the PM paper via your Cirrus dashboard and by clicking 'continue assessment'. As with the AM paper, you can access the exam 15 minutes early to print the paper and perform the room scan.
Completing the exam
At the end of the exam time (or at the end of the PM paper for TPE Case Study) you will have to upload your exam response file(s) following these steps:
- Ensure that you're still being recorded and sharing your screen on Proctorio.
- Download a copy of your response file(s) to your desktop and switch off auto-save.
- Make sure no company logos are within the response as these are not permitted and might result in the exam attempt being declared void.
- Make sure that you've named your file(s) with your candidate number, the subject name and, for the TPE Case Study only, whether the file relates to the AM (Question 1) or PM (Question 2) paper (e.g. 12345_TPE_AM).
- Upload your exam response file(s) to the exam in Cirrus.
- Double check that the file(s) you've uploaded is/are the correct version(s). If not, remove and upload correctly.
- When you've correctly uploaded your file(s) click 'complete assessment' to submit and finish the exam. (For TPE Case Study, do not click on the ‘complete assessment’ button until you have uploaded the files for both your AM paper and your PM paper.)
- You can now close the Cirrus browser window.
How to deal with issues during your exam
Please follow these steps if you experience an issue during your exam:
- Raise the issue by writing a new post in the General channel of your exam Teams.
- Stay calm. We’ll aim to investigate and resolve the issue as quickly as possible to get you up and running with no loss of exam time.
- Check the Announcements channel in your exam Teams for further information and follow any instructions carefully.
- If the issue is individual to you, complete a Special Considerations Form (see below).
- If the issue has affected everyone sitting the exam, we’ll report the issue to the Special Considerations and Extenuating Circumstances Panel, and they’ll consider it when reviewing marks.
What happens after the exam
Applying for a Special Consideration
A Special Consideration can be applied after an exam and relates to an unforeseen and temporary experience that’s impacted your performance during the exam. A link to the Special Consideration form will be posted in the General channel of your exam Teams at the end of the exam, and you can apply from then until 12:00am 3 days later.
Getting your results
Results dates can be found in our yearly planner and your results will be emailed to you by 10a.m. on the relevant date. (Please note that we don’t give out exam results over the phone.)
Appealing your results
Our Appeals Policy has full information on the rules governing appeals and how to apply.