COVID-19 updates

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The health and wellbeing of our students, members and staff is of paramount concern in these unprecedented and challenging times. We are working hard to continue to educate, enable and empower our members and students and are making changes to how we deliver lectures, workshops, assessments, examinations and events where needed to ensure continuity of service.  See the answers to frequently asked questions we have received and some useful links below. Keep safe and well.

For more information on relevant supports available to students, please see our student supports area.

To view the recent COVID 19 update letter from our Chief Executive, Mary O'Dea, please click here.

Read the message to students from our Dean, Dr Margaret Fitzsimons, below;


Dear Student,

I hope you are keeping well in these difficult and challenging times. The health and well-being of our employees, students and members is our top priority during these times of great uncertainty. IOB has successfully implemented our remote working business continuity plan. Although our physical offices are closed, we are fully operational, and we are delighted we can continue to provide our services to you.

All our staff are available to support you. Programmes Directors and Programme Managers are available by email and by phone and can attend meetings (via Microsoft Teams and Skype). Queries are also being answered through the chat function on our website. All our employees are working normal hours and are enabled to work remotely with access to our systems and this can be sustained for a prolonged period. See more details below.

Our primary objective is to continue to deliver our core education and continuing professional development (CPD) services with limited disruption. Insofar as possible, all scheduled classes are being delivered either as live lectures or recorded webinars.

We continue to keep in contact with UCD and the University’s approach to certain education matters is informing our contingency actions. A key matter we are working on is the end of term examinations, my colleague Elena Day, Registrar in IOB will inform students as soon as possible on the specific details for your programme. We will keep you updated on everything by email, on the MyInstitute portal and our website.

We continue to keep in contact with our corporate members to advise employers of what we are doing. We know that your working arrangements have also changed and that trying to manage your study at this time is difficult. We want to support you to achieve your goals and if there is anything else that might assist you please let us know. Looking after yourself, keeping a routine and planning in study times will help you achieve this. Also please see our website at https://iob.ie/info for helpful information.

We are closely reviewing events as they unfold, adapting our decisions as required. We will continue to communicate with you as appropriate and to consider ways that we can further support you.

In the meantime, I hope that you and your families are safe and well over the coming weeks.

Dr Margaret Fitzsimons Dean

How to contact us: 

In accordance with the guidance from Government and the Health Services Executive on the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, our offices are closed at this time and we are working remotely. 

  • We can be contacted by email which will be monitored and responded to as normal. Our general email address is [email protected]

  • For specific queries you can email [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected]

  • Telephone lines are being monitored as normal and our telephone customer service is being maintained as normal from 9am to 5.30pm on weekdays. Our general office telephone number is: +353 1 6116500

  • Our website live Chat is being monitored as normal between the hours of 9am and 5.30pm on weekdays.

  • As our employees are working remotely, we regret that we are unable to deal with post to our office. We therefore suggest that members scan and email documents to us that may ordinarily have been posted. Most smartphones have a scanning capability in the event you do not have a scanner at home. 

Keep safe and well.

I had an exam scheduled for January, what are the revised arrangements for my exam due to COVID-19?

All modules that had been scheduled for exams have the following arrangements:

a) Modules leading to MCC (QFA, PDC, Consumer Credit and Stockbroking) will have an online exam with online invigilation – the exam time is different and detail on that is included in the next FAQ

b) Some modules are scheduled at the original date and time and students will receive the exam and submit it within a specified time period - details to follow

c) Some modules have been converted to continuous assessments

Students should check MyInstitute for information on whether the module is being assessed as per (b) or (c)

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When is my exam?

It is necessary for us to change the timetable for exams leading to MCC as they will now take place with online invigilation. Please see the revised timetable for online MCC exams.


How do I find out more about how the online exam will work?

We will be sending outdetailed information shortly. However, in the meantime, the software provider is TestReach and there is someinformation on their website TestReach.com


How do I request a deferral of my January exam?

You will need to complete an extenuating circumstances form, available from the Information section of the website at https://iob.ie/info/student-info#exams-and-regulations


How do I find out if there are any changes to my module's exam?

You should look at your module News under MyInstitute which will tell you if you exam will be invigilated and online, a timed open book or replaced by a continuous assessment.


I don't have access to a Webcam/why do I need a webcam for my online exam?

The online invigilation involves the online supervision of each candidate and so requires either a laptop with inbuilt webcam or a desktop with webcam. Students without webcams can purchase one (Argos, Amazon) or request a deferral to May to [email protected]


Does use of a webcam breach GDPR?

No, arrangements for full compliance with GDPR are in place regarding the use of webcams in this context.


Has the format of the written paper changed for the online exams?

No, the format of written papers will be the same.


Are just APAs becoming online exams?

No, all modules leading to a designation required by MCC are being examined online (Stockbroking, Consumer Credit, Prof Dip and Cert in Financial Advice and the PDC (all four modules).


How will the invigilator verify my identity?

You will be requested to show photo identification, just as in a physical exam.


How will the invigilator know I'm not cheating in my online exam?

By observing you through a webcam and through the use of specialised software that locks down your desktop and browser.


Will I be able to take a bathroom break during the online exam?

The arrangements for the exam will be communicated which will include information on what is/is not permitted during an exam.


I need a reader - how will this work?

Please contact the Exam's Officer and we will discuss this with you.


Why may my work computer be a problem for my online exam?

Most corporate devices are protected through firewalls. The exam/invigilation operates through an app that is downloaded to your desktop and firewalls may cause you to have access issues to the app.


Can I use a tablet or phone for my online exam?

The software is not available on tablet/phone as it is not considered a good method of taking an exam.


Will this exam be open book?

This depends on the module, please refer to MyInstitute.


Will I get exam results on the day?

No, your results will still be processed in the normal way and will be ratified at the IOB Exam Board so the timelines are the same.


Can I access the online exam using a MacBook?

Yes, once it operates on a full operating system. Details regarding specifications are available from the FAQs on TestReach (https://www.testreach.com/candidate-support-frequently-asked-questions.html)


Will I be able to practice sample exam papers?

There will be a tutorial in advance to practice using the software. Due to time constrictions, we will not be able to publish a full sample paper


Is there a cut off date to withdraw from the January exams?

The cut off date to withdraw from the January exams (without academic or financial penalty) is Friday 20th November.


Will I be able to use excel for calculation questions?

There is some spreadsheet functionality available with the software which students will be able to look at in advance on the tutorial.


What happens if I skip questions and forget to click "E". Will that be corrected as a zero?

You will be prompted to answer all questions


Can HP Chromebook be used for my online exam

No, as it operates similar to a tablet which brings security issues.


Can we not be scheduled for two exams in one day, as booked so they would be different

We are trying to make the timetable as student friendly as possible and will be able to confirm it shortly.


If I experience technical issues on the day can I resit the exam at no cost?

For online exams, there is a system check required in advance (instructions to follow) which will eliminate these and should there be an issue on the day we wil look into it on a case by case basis.


For my online exam, do we need a working microphone?

Yes, personal laptops normally have them. Detail system check information will be forwarded shortly. Please refer to https://www.testreach.com/candidate-support-frequently-asked-questions.html


For my online exam, will other students be able to see through our webcams and listen through our microphones?

You will not be connected to other students, just to the invigilator.


How will appendices normally at end of exam paper with essential tables be shown on exam?

These appear as resources, which open beside each question – if there are multiple resources for each question, candidates can scroll through them.


Will I be able to write rough work as normally need to work out calculations on MCQ on exam paper?

There is an on-screen notepad that can be used for rough work


Can I write out notes for Financial Planning answers before I submit answer?

There is a text box for the answer, or alternatively notes may be made in the onscreen notepad.


I am worried that I can't type as fast as I can write - will allowances be made?

We are aligning with UCD's practice and are allowing for 30 minutes additional time for this for written papers only.


What if I don't have a laptop/desktop PC that can be used for this exam?

You should contact us at [email protected] to discuss deferring your exam to the May sitting.


Can we please be considered for extra time for QFA Financial Planning as there will be time wasted scrolling between tax tables, appendices etc that are normally readily available beside you?

We are aligning with UCD's practice and are allowing for 30 minutes additional time for this for written papers only.


How can I complete a calculation question for QFA Financial Planning on this software?

There is some spreadsheet functionality available wth the software which students will be able to look at in advance on the tutorial.


For my online exam will each person's exam and camera feed be recorded and saved, or will it be just a live feed?

It will be stored temporarily for integrity reasons with full GDPR compliance.


For my online exam, will there be a save function as I complete the exam, in case I make a mistake and delete written text in error.

Everything is saved every 2 minutes or whenever a candidate moves from one question to another, whichever happens first. Candidates should however use copy and paste rather than cut and paste for editing questions to ensure answers aren't deleted.


Will this exam be open book (MCC exams)?

No, it will be closed book, in the same exam format as usual and remotely invigilated.


How will I be able to move quickly between questions I've previously left blank as was unsure and now want to go back and answer? (MCQ)

This will be possible in the online assessment in an intuitive way and further details will be provided


Can I change the option I had previously picked? (MCQ)

Yes candidates can revisit questions as often as they wish and change answers, they can also flag questions, to mark them as something to come back to.


Will the exam be laid out in the same format as normal (in chapter order?) (MCQ)

MCQs will be shuffled - it is not possible for them to be in chapter order.


How many questions will show on the screen (MCQ)

Questions are shown one at a time.


Will my new exam be scheduled earlier than my original exam?

No exam is earlier than originally scheduled.


How will I access my paper and how do I submit my exam script?

Detailed instructions will be sent to you shortly


How will the integrity of exams be maintained if there is going to be different time slots? ie if a colleague does an exam on date/time before me, whats stopping them telling other colleagues what came up in the exam?

Only papers relating to QFA modules will be held in more than one time slot and multiple papers have been prepared to protect the integrity of the exam.


I have never done an open book exam- can you give me more detail on what's expected?

Detailed instructions will be send to you on how the exam will operate. However, for questions relating to the paper, you should speak to the Programme Manager of your module.


What date is the exam on?

We are working on a revised timetable currently and will publish it as soon as possible.


When will I get my results?

As the timeline of running exams has been extended to accommodate as many students as possible, and the last of these exams will be completed on Saturday, 30th January, we will need some time to process and prepare results for approval and release. The release of provisional results for modules assessed by MCQ will be on Friday 19th February.


I don’t want to take an online exam, what are my options?

You may withdraw from a module according to our module withdrawal policy (https://iob.ie/files/module-withdrawal-policy), ie within the first six weeks of term with no penalty and after that without academic penalty but with no module refund. Note, online exams will be continuing for the academic year 2020/21, as the external environment restrictions are unstable and likely to change. Students are strongly recommended to take the online assessment and make arrangements accordingly, wherever possible.