Calling all ACA students. Keep your training on track and make the most of the student experience with our handy checklist.


1. Complete the ethics learning program

You must complete the ethics learning program within the first 12 months of your studies. Accessible via your online training file, it consists of six learning modules, with practice questions and progress tests at the end of each. Once you have completed all six modules, you will need to pass the final assessment with a score of at least 70% – this is a mandatory part of your training.

2. Book your biannual review

It is your responsibility to book your semi-annual review meetings with your Qualified Person Responsible for Training (QPRT), consultant or principal, and set the agenda. Each review should cover the four sections of your training dossier: work experience, professional development skills (for those following the ICAEW professional development scales), ethics and exams, as well as audit qualification days, where relevant. Make sure you have prepared the skill examples and scenario notes of Ethics in Practice in advance. At the end of the meeting, you should be clear about what your areas of interest will be for the next six months and have the next review in your journal.

3. Climb the skill ladders

During your training, you are required to demonstrate proficiency in seven areas of professional skills, or scales (if you are following the ICAEW path). Each ladder has six to eight steps, for a total of 52 skills, and you will need to provide specific examples from your daily work experience to show how you met them. Get in the habit of spending 30 minutes a month rethinking the skills you’ve demonstrated over the past four weeks and adding them to your online training file. It’s much easier to keep track of examples as they happen, so if you’ve just finished a new project or a new client, make a note of it while it’s fresh in your mind.

4. Update your online training file

At a minimum, you should update your training file every six months. It is more efficient to do this during the semiannual review meetings; this way, you can summarize the feedback from your QPRT, consultant or principal “live” and get them to approve it. If you don’t have the ability to update everything during the meeting, do so as soon as possible afterwards. Again, remember that it is your responsibility to update your online training file – your employer does not have write access. Check out our helpful video series.

5. Record the days of practical work experience

During your semiannual reviews, your QPRT, consultant, or principal will also verbally approve the number of practical work experience days so that you can add them to your online training file. You must complete at least 450 days of relevant work experience in the minimum 36 months of your training. Get in the habit of recording it from day one, noting your days on a spreadsheet, journal, or your employer’s timesheet system. Each day equates to seven hours of relevant financial, commercial or corporate work at your main approved training employer (ATE) or seconded to a secondary ATE or unauthorized employer.

6. Check the 2023 exam dates

Certified level exams can be booked and taken at any time. Professional and Advanced level exams must be booked during the booking windows – make sure you know these dates. Seats in exam centers can be limited, so it’s essential to plan ahead if you prefer to sit in a center. Remember that you can choose to sit through remote surveillance as well. The booking window usually opens approximately six weeks before the exam session for Professional and Advanced levels. You will find all UK ACA dates and deadlines here as well as on the ACA planner. It’s also a good idea to bookmark the Exam System Status page to keep up to date with any last minute changes that may interest you.

7. Register as a level 7 student

If you are studying as a Level 7 Apprentice, make sure you have registered correctly. In your ICAEW online training file, you must select your level 7 student classification and enter your unique student number (ULN) and employer reference number (ERN) if you have not already done so: your training provider and employer will be able to provide you with these. If you do not register correctly, you will not be able to apply for your endpoint assessment, which involves passing the ACA Advanced Level Case Study Exam and submitting the project report.

8. Join a student society

When you start your ACA training, you are automatically assigned to your local student society. It’s a great way to meet others in your area who are having the same experience, particularly for those in smaller companies who may not have many fellow interns. Each company runs its own regular program of events and offers many opportunities for networking, professional development, support, and of course, socializing. Get involved with your local student society.

9. Discover your benefits

As an ACA student, you have access to a whole range of resources, services and discounts. Improve your skills with free webinars and online courses, or take advantage of free advice and professional development support from caba.

10. Follow us

Stay up to date with the latest news, articles and social media support – follow us on Instagram and Facebook. And don’t forget that our student support team is always on hand to help you with any questions you may have.


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