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Official ICMAI session on online exams headed by CMA Balwinder Singh

ICMAI has conducted an official webinar to answer all your questions by CMA Balwinder Singh regarding the online CMA exams December 2020.

This was a 2 hour long webinar so we’ve summarized the important points below.

Q1. Why online exam?

ICMAI had already planned to take the CMA exams online by 2021 or 2022. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they have expedited the process and rolled out online testing capability this year (2020) itself.

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The institute has identified the following advantages of online exams:

  1. Convenience of students – particularly in Covid time
  2. Standardization of marking and removal of human error – The risk of wrong marking by human evaluators and difference in marks alloted by different evaluators will be minimized because majority of the exam is objective type.
  3. Timely result – Due to quick declaration of result, a student can save 6 months time while going from Foundation to Inter and Inter to Final.
  4. The exams are more secured due to double proctoring – human and remote
  5. Exam paper remains secret and there’s no chance of paper leaking.
  6. The paper will be different for all students.
  7. Students can take the exam from their home and save the travel time and additional time spent at the centres.
  8. Any one can take the exam from anywhere even if there are no centres available in their hometown or nearby towns.

Q2. What will the paper pattern be like and will there be step marking?

The paper pattern will be same as the offline exams, only adapted to the online mode. And yes, there will be step marking.

To understand the following points about the paper pattern, we recommend you to refer to the Paper 8 – Cost Accounting, December 2019 examination because that is the paper that was shared by the officials as an example.

  1. Objective type questions as they appear in offline exams like MCQs, match the columns, fill in the blanks and true or false are retained without any change in the online exams. In the Costing paper shared by the officials as an example, the entire Section A worth 25 marks, comprising of the objective type questions, was retained.
  2. For practical questions, the steps that you had to solve in the offline exams are made as separate questions with 4 options each in the online mode. To understand this, refer to question 2 (a) under Section B of the above paper. Then, read the explanation below:
    1. In the Dec 2019 exam, question 2(a) asked you to solve 4 smaller questions regarding the stock of materials A, B and C
    2. Total of 9 marks were allotted to this question. You didn’t know how the marks were split up and how many marks you would get for solving each individual question.
    3. This question, when adapted for the online mode, remains exactly same except that it becomes a collection of 4 multiple choice questions of 2 marks each.
    4. In the offline mode also, marks were awarded for finding the stock of each material. The same is applicable for online exam.
    5. So, the only differences are that in the online mode you get to choose the answer from 4 options and the marks for each smaller question are clearly divided (2 marks each).

Q3. Can someone cheat in the CMA online exams?

No, cheating is not possible in the exam as the ICMAI has taken many steps to ensure this. There will be two levels of proctoring – human and remote.

  1. There will be a human proctor (invigilator) monitoring at most 20 students at a time while in an offline exam, there are 40-50 students in a classroom at a time. So, cheating is not possible.
  2. In addition to a human invigilator, you’ll also be monitored remotely and through your computer system.
  3. Monitoring through your computer includes things like visual monitoring through your computer’s camera, audio monitoring through your microphone, etc.
  4. Remote monitoring will log all your activities like when you login, when you go to any page, your connection status, etc. This will give a second-be-second account of your activity on the exam portal.
  5. Any activity that can be deemed as unfair means will be immediately reported and your exam can be immediately cancelled. Such reports can include:
    1. Simultaneous login from multiple places
    2. Multiple faces detected by your camera
    3. No face detected by your camera
    4. High volume sound detected
    5. Audio (microphone) muted detected
    6. Frequent window switching
    7. Your image (face photograph) will be captured every few seconds

Q4. Will there be internal choice in the actual exam?

Yes. Although the mock tests do not have any internal choice, it will be there in the actual exam.

Q5. Is it mandatory to solve all questions?

No, unlike the mock tests, the actual exam can be submitted without solving all the questions.

Q6. Will there be negative marking in the CMA online exams?

No, there is no negative marking.

Q7. If I mark an answer, can I change it before submitting the exam?

Yes, you can change any answer whether you’ve marked it for review or not. You can change any answer only as long as you do not submit the test so be careful of that. Do attempt as many mock tests as you can to familiarize yourself with the interface.

Q8. Will the weightage of marks from different chapters remain the same as offline exams?

Yes, the weightage of each chapter will be the same as offline exams.

Q9. What about typing speed? How can I type answers in theory papers like Law?

The need to type lengthy answers has been minimized by the ICMAI. The current paper pattern of Law includes MCQs, short notes and case study based questions. The same will be adapted to online exams.

But, in addition to the 25 marks worth of MCQs (as discussed above in Q2), the case study based questions will also be converted to MCQs which will be worth at least 30 marks. Instead of explaining your reasoning in the case study based questions, you will straight away have to select the correct answer based on your reasoning.

There will be very few questions in which you have to write answers. Lengthy questions are non existent.

Q10. Will there be any extra time given because switching from one question to another takes time?

No. No extra time will be given. The time starts when you start your paper and can’t be paused and does not account for switching between questions. However, the institute is increasing the server capacity to make the platform faster than what you’ve experienced on mock tests.

Q11. What about Hindi medium students?

The institute is looking for a way to allow you to write your exams in Hindi. Official communication will be realized. Continue preparing according to the regular offline paper pattern.

Q12. What if I lose my internet connection or there is power outage at my place?

In such a scenario, remember that your answers will be saved. You will NOT lose your work so far. As far as re-login is concerned, it can be allowed at your proctor’s discretion. You will have to call them and explain the situation to them and if they feel that no unfair means have been used, they can allow you to continue your exam. Time duration of the interruption will be a key factor in determining your eligibility to re-login.

Q13. Will a re-take be allowed in case of any technical issues?

Yes, in case of genuine technical issues, you can take a re-attempt. Note that this is not a formal announcement but an official notification regarding this will be released later. However, the institute is planning to allow only those students who take the test from their home to take a re-attempt in case of technical problem. This is because, technical problems are not expected at the centres.

Q14. Can I use rough sheets?

Yes, for home based students, you need to keep your own rough sheets ready and show them to the invigilator through the camera. For centre-based exams, rough sheets will be provided so don’t carry your own. However, you need to carry your own pens, pencils, calculator, etc.

Q15. Is water bottle and food & beverage allowed during exam?

You can use a water bottle but you have to ensure that it is within your reach. You can’t leave your chair to go and get the bottle. Also make sure that while drinking water, you do not block the camera with it. Sit back in your chair away from the camera while handling the water bottle.

Food and beverage is not allowed during exam.

Q16. Can I take a restroom break during the exam?

Try to avoid it as much as possible. If it is absolutely necessary, you can request your proctor and they will decide whether you can be allowed to go or not.

Q17. Can I appear from a cyber cafe?

Cyber cafes are not banned from the institute but remember that your exam will be stopped as soon as any background noise is heard or anyone other than you is seen in the camera. So, cyber cafe as an option to take the exam is not practically possible.

Q18. Can I take the exam from mobile phone?

No, mobile phones are not allowed.

Q19. Can I use my own laptop at the centre?

No. If you’ve opted for a centre then you must only use the computers provided there.

Q20. When and how to choose between home based and centre based exam?

Within a few days, ICMAI will announce a notification that will allow you to choose from 3 options – home based exam, centre based exam and opt out of exam.

Q21. I’ve applied for two groups. Can I opt-out of one group?

Yes, you can opt out of one group.

Q22. What to do if I opt for a centre and it later becomes a containment zone?

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In such a case, the institute will allow you to change to a home-based exam.

Q23. Can the number of attempts on practice tests be increased?

Number of attempts on each test will be increased to 10 in first week of November.

Q24. Will there be a mock exam just like the real exam?

Yes, there will be mock examination. This will be held after 20th November and you will be allowed to take one practical and one theory mock test. This will be exact replica of actual exam so make sure you allot one day to this activity. The exams will be held from 10AM to 1PM and from 2PM to 5PM.

Q25. Will the difficulty level of the paper be different for home-based and centre-based students?

No, the paper will be exactly same for everyone except that the sequence of questions and order of options will be randomized.

Q26. How can I edit my mobile number and email ID?

Upon selecting home-based / centre-based / opt out, you will be redirected to a page where you can edit your information including mobile number and email ID.

Q27. When will the mock test for CMA Final be issued?

Expected around November 2.

Q28. Can the exams be further delayed?

The exams will not be delayed anymore except in case of a government order. Prepare according to the given schedule only.

Q29. Will the reputation of CMA go down and nob prospects be impacted?

No, worldwide many institutes conduct online exams. These exams are more secure than offline. Organizations understand this and respect online exams more than offline.

Q30. Will online exam be conducted by ICMAI every year?

Yes, CMA exams will be conducted online every year.

Q31. Will June attempt be counted?

No. June attempt is null and void for everyone and for all purposes.

Watch the full session here:

 

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