CIPS Approach to Our Students’ Learning Journey

COVID-19 Impact on exams: – CIPS approach to our students’ learning journey and exams

The Coronavirus has greatly disrupted the global education sector. For schools, universities and other Awarding Bodies, such as CIPS, this has resulted in many courses and qualifications being halted and exams rescheduled or cancelled. 

CIPS students have encountered many disruptions to their learning journey and their scheduled exams due to this global pandemic COVID-19.


  1. March
  2. May
  3. July
  4. Communications
  5. Calculated Results
  6. Our Commitment on Fees
  7. Update on Remote Invigilation
  8. Exam Centres – Risk Assessments
  9. On the Exam Day Itself
  10. Your Quick Guide for Attending CIPS Exams
  11. Hygiene and Cleaning
  12. If You Cannot Attend on Exam Day
  13. Virus Tracing and Communications

As the situation worldwide has been constantly changing, sometimes daily.  CIPS has had to make some really difficult decisions in this evolving landscape concerning our scheduled exams with safety of our students always core to our decisions.

All decisions on exam delivery have been based on the following order of priority:

  • The safety and wellbeing of students
  • Ensuring as many of our students globally can continue their learning journey as possible

 March 2020

In March, as the global pandemic started to take a hold, we realised we had to act fast as exam centres started to shut around the world.  We communicated quickly with students and study centres and set up a dedicated webpage to keep students up to date with which centres were running and which were closed.

For those that couldn’t sit their scheduled March exam - we rescheduled them to July at no cost.

 May 2020

As the pandemic health crisis deepened, we took the difficult decision to also cancel our whole May exam series and students were rescheduled for July and September at no cost.

 July 2020

In order to support our students impacted by earlier cancellations, and following risk assessments, CIPS took the difficult decision to try and run the July series of exams. Exam delivery has been planned where national government guidance would allow and where exam centres can safely deliver.

To accommodate the extra exams now needing to be taken, we have added extra capacity at exam centres.

We have also required all CIPS exam centres to undertake risk assessments prior to opening exams; and to follow national guidelines for their safe delivery.

For the majority of our students we are on track to deliver their exams as scheduled.

We have unfortunately had to make some difficult decisions and cancel some July exams, and as of 9th July, we have 30 countries unable to run exams.
We continue to monitor daily as the impact of Covid-19 continues to evolve at different pace in countries/regions and locally. 

The exams cancellation decisions taken are led by safety first and foremost, and are either because;

  • Government guidance on travel, social distancing or venue opening at a local level restricts the ability to run exams in specific countries or localities and/or
  • The exam centres are unable to open or meet safety guidelines to safely deliver exams

Any students that have cancelled exams in July as a result will be offered to reschedule to a future series at no cost.


We have regularly updated the website and MyCIPS throughout this period. We have published a full list of closed exam centres and countries on our website; all students affected have been sent personalised direct emails to inform and with their next steps.   Our teams are advising all students to check their emails and the dedicated exams information web page regularly for latest updates. There is also a list of FAQs for all students.

Our Customer Service teams will continue to prioritise supporting students with exam changes during this period dealing with hundreds of emails and calls each day to answer queries and try to find a solution where possible.

 Calculated Results

Due to the Coronavirus being classed as an extraordinary event, our qualification’s regulator Ofqual, has produced an Extraordinary Regulatory Framework. This means that for a short period of time qualification Awarding Bodies, like CIPS can award what is called a Calculated Result for eligible students. We are pleased to introduce this new award methodology as it allows CIPS to award an exam outcome for some eligible students in countries that are closed for exams.

The criteria for eligibility is as follows:

  • Exams in countries where the full exam series in July 2020 has been totally cancelled due to the Coronavirus impact.
  • Objective Response (OR) exams at the same level of the qualification are eligible only. Constructed Response (CR) exams are not eligible.
  • For students to be eligible, they must have already completed a minimum of two OR exams previously, at the same level of qualification.
There are currently no future plans for issuing calculated results/

 Our Commitment on Fees

CIPS is committed to ensure that students are not disadvantaged where it comes to cost due to the impact of this pandemic for the July exams. Students that cannot take their exams or have had exams cancelled in July will not incur any additional cost for exam deferrals to a future exam series.

Furthermore, those students that may need to defer exams to a later date this year and that are scheduled to renew their membership will not incur renewal fees until after their deferred exam in November. In this way they will be able to reschedule and sit their cancelled exam at no extra cost.

 Update on Remote Invigilation

From August 2021, all students taking computer-based exams will have the option to enter for a remote invigilation  exam. 

 Exam Centres – Risk Assessments

We have kept in close contact with all our exam centres to make sure they have risk assessed their venue to safely allow our students to sit their exams.  This has included dropping capacity where needed to allow for social distancing, thorough cleaning and hygiene practices in place for all desks, chairs and equipment and the provision of hand sanitiser. 

 On the Exam Day Itself

All students have been communicated with to reassure them that their safety is our number one concern.  Therefore, we have spent considerable time running risk assessments with all our exam centres to make sure they are a safe environment for our students to sit their exams. 

Students have been issued with the following guidelines:

Our main priority is your health and safety, please play your part and read through the CIPS Exam Centre Guidance before you attend your exam to ensure that all arrangements are maintained, before, during and after each exam.

 Your Quick Guide for Attending CIPS Exams:

  • Please do not attempt to attend if you have been diagnosed with Coronavirus, or if you have a fever or a cough.
  • Arrive within 15 minutes from the start of your exam and not earlier, this restricts large gatherings of people outside of the exam room.
  • You may wear a face mask at the exam, ensure there is no writing on the facemask.
  • You will be asked to show your full face to verify your identity if this cannot be established by other means.
  • Face masks and gloves will need to be inspected by the invigilator as you are checking into and out of your exam. (Gloves may not be permitted in some countries) 
  • All exam candidates will be seated two metres apart.  

 Hygiene and Cleaning

Invigilators have been instructed to disinfect all high touch areas and equipment using antibacterial wipes, following each exam session.

You will be able to take hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes into the exam - all labels must be removed from the hand sanitiser. The bottle needs to be a clear one.

 If You Cannot Attend on Exam Day

  • If you are unwell before or during your exam, or if for any reason you cannot attend on exam day you are required to inform CIPS by emailing within 14 days. See the exam booking Terms and Conditions to confirm in full what you will be required to do.
  • CIPS exam centres retain the right to turn candidates away if they are unwell to protect all other students and centre staff.

Important Notice on your Data During the Covid-19 Pandemic

CIPS may share members’ or customers’ contact details with the relevant national government department if and when requested; where someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 has attended a CIPS physical event (such as an exam, conference, meeting) recently; or if the premises where the event was held has been identified by a national government agency as the location of a potential local outbreak of COVID-19. Sharing the personal data with government agencies is in line with current legislation and is in the ‘public interest’ lawful basis for processing. CIPS will not retain this information any longer than is necessary to support any governmental track and trace scheme. 

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