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CII exams hit by more IT problems

Almost 100 advisers were unable to sit their Chartered Insurance Institute exam last month due to problems with the exam software, with up to 744 advisers hit by system delays.

The CII uses City & Guilds IT system to run its exams.

On November 28 advisers experienced problems with the IT system running slowly. Out of the 271 advisers entered for an exam that day, 96 were told they would be unable to take the exam. The remaining 175 candidates sat the exam but experienced the slow running system.

Advisers taking exams in Glasgow, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Peterborough, Guildford, Birmingham, Ipswich and Norwich were affected.

On December 2 the same problems began to emerge. Although all 569 candidates sat their exam, some advisers experienced a delay of up to 45 seconds between each question. Typically an hour long exam can involve 50 questions.

The CII has given a free resit to those advisers who could not take their exam. It says the systems problems would have been taken into account during the marking process, but those advisers who received a borderline fail they will be offered a free resit.

Advisers with a clear fail mark will not be offered the free resit.

A CII spokeswoman says: “We have asked City & Guilds to look into this and make sure there are no further issues or repeats of this happening again. We are pushing them as hard as we can to do that.

“For those candidates that are taking exams it is important we get this right. We do work as hard as we can and we do mostly get it right. But if it goes wrong we will try and fix it and set it right as quickly as we can.”

The system problems meant that some advisers who had passed could not print their pass certificates. The CII says advisers should have received a copy by post, but if advisers have not received their certificate or have a query they should contact the CII’s customer service department.

In April a system failure at CII exam centres left up to 107 advisers unable to take their exams.

In May the professional body found 35 missing exam papers after telling advisers the papers had been lost and advisers would need to retake their exams.


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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I was affected by the Norwich ones on 2nd Dec. Earliest resit was 9th Jan but at a different location. I was gutted as it was my last one to do and I hoped to be able to say gap filled and qualified by the end of 2011. Not only that, it was an over 80 mile round trip wasted.

  2. David Trenner - Intelligent Pensions 23rd December 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Natalie, I think you should be calling for heads to roll!

    Thousands of people are sitting exams – probably 10 times more than usually do – and the CII should be able to find extra staff from amongst those leaving the industry to ensure that they can meet this extra demand!

    And as to outsourcing IT to specialists who then let them down, the answer is simple: they should expand their own IT department and do it all in house!

  3. Bumbling incompetence. Do get your claims in. This amaterish organisation seems to be in breach of contract. If they have a force majeure clause in the paperwork trying to give wriggle room, it’s not enough to let them off the hook. Force majeure is unexpected deep snow rendering invigilators unable to attend, terrorist alert. etc.

    Rubbish IT is not forcemajeure. That ranks alongside weak excuses such as a blocked toilet, slight leak in the venue’s roof. You get the picture.

    Please don’t let them fob you off with a free resit. That us just taking the ssip.

    I gave up on the CII RO exams after being victim to their unfairness with significantr numbers of questions outside the manual ; and the manuals are very thick.

    This is still going on. A friend was in an RO exam and suffered the same off manual questions.

    We’ve gone elswehere so I suggest others do the same. Voting with your feet is the only thing these lumbering organisations understand.


    Can I suggest you ensure this article is run again in the new year, as a lot of people will have packed up for the break and switched off their works computers.

    It’s too important to be swept underr the carpet due to timing issues.


  5. Just to cap it off, this organisation is meant to be issuing certificates of ‘professional standing’ in the brave new RDR world. Ironic really…..

  6. This is people’s livelihoods at stake here, not a mere inconvenience in a computer system.
    It’s not a new problem either, i remember the same on-line exam problems since the late 1990’s and it covers all UK exam terminal training centres.
    IF people are not suitably qualifiied by Dec 2012 they will be sacked from their jobs.

  7. If you have proof of study via revisionmate and can print off your last 3 x 100 mock question papers and like me could prove that in those mock exams you achieved over 80% then you have a right to challenge a failed result. I did and after much tooing and froing they granted me a pass.

    I knew on the 28th Novermber last that when the system said I had failed, there was no way I had.
    I encountered not only delays, but when I clicked on answers on at least 8 occasions,the wrong answer appeared on screen and I had to re click to the right answer.

    Go for these idiots who could not organise a party in a distillery or the equivalent offensive phrase if you choose.

    Also all candidates affected should now demand, as we all should that the cliff edge cut off date for QCF Level 4 is extended by 12 months IAW with TSC requests.

  8. The CII are nothing more than a money racket. The IFS should be the prefered route for all advisers.

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