Want to join the Informals?

Dear trainees

I know everyone is busy revising for the upcoming PEB exams however I’d like to ask for your help.

The Informals Committee 2020-2021 has a number of vacant positions and we need your to help fill them to ensure that the Committee can continue to support trainees as much as possible.

The vacant positions are as follows:

  • Yellow Sheet Editor
  • Blog, Website & Social Media Editor
  • Foundation Lecture Organiser
  • Tutorial Coordinator
  • Mentoring Coordinator
  • Sports Coordinator
  • Aberdeen Reg. Sec.
  • Central Scotland Reg. Sec.
  • Oxford Reg. Sec.
  • Buddy Scheme Coordinator

If you are interested in any of the positions listed above, please get in touch with myself or Joel, your new Honorary Secretary.

Being on the Informals Committee has many benefits; it facilitates mixing of trainees from a wide variety of firms both big and small and the sharing of experiences, it allows you to feed ideas directly to CIPA Council via the Honorary Secretary and thus shape the future of the profession, it raises your awareness of other committees and groups that you might be interested in joining, it provides speaking opportunities and lastly each of the positions allows you to develop skills that perhaps you focus less on in your day-to-day work e.g. social skills or leadership skills.

I started on the committee as South Coast Reg. Sec, acted as treasurer the year after and Honorary Secretary for 2019-2020. Whilst it’s not always been easy juggling work and my extra duties (especially with the hurdles COVID-19 has engineered), I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and would absolutely recommend getting involved. You never know, you might be the one writing a post like this one in the future.

I look forward to hearing from anyone who is keen to join the 2020-2021 committee.


(CIPA Informals Honorary Secretary 2019-2020)

Update on 2020 PEB Candidate trial of the PEBX system

Hot off the press…! Following on from the recent update to the ‘Essential Information for Candidates’ released on Monday (here), we have finally received an update on the trail of the new PEBX online examination system.

The trail(s) are scheduled for 21st September – 25th September, and are arrange to mimic the live scheduling of the 2020 PEB online examinations (for example, the FD1 trial is scheduled for 21 September at 10am, FC2 is scheduled for 21 September at 3pm, etc.) and will use the 2019 exams for content.

We will all be receiving an email today to activate our PEBX accounts; however, CIPA have said if, for any reason, a candidate has not received an email by 12 noon, tomorrow, Friday, 18 September 2020, email peb@cipa.org.uk. Check your junk mail first!

As discussed in the ‘Essential Information for Candidates’ released on Monday, the PEB are happy to take any feedback regarding the trail. However, they stated that there will not be time for changes to be made to the current system between the trial and the start of the examination week – so bare that in mind!

PEB Provides Model Answers to FD4

The PEB has published a model answer to the 2013 FD4 paper and two model answers to the 2018 FD4 paper as a training aid to candidates on the PEB website, here.

There is also provided guidance on using the FD4 model answers from the PEB. The guidance states that the model answers should be used as a training aid and are not perfect answers. The purpose was to provide candidates with an example of what a good FD4 answer should look like. That is to say that the level of detail and reasoning required in these model answers is representative of what a candidate should provide, not exactly what should be provided. Hence, two different answers have been prepared for the 2018 paper to demonstrate that any reasonable, well-argued and self-consistent answer could be awareded ful marks.

For the 2013 paper, the format has been arranged with a colour coding system to highlight the reasoning portion and the conclusion portion of the answer; to emphasize the need for candidates to provide both.

If you have any feedback on these model answers, good or bad, drop us an email at informalsyellowsheet@gmail.com, and we can provide that feedback to the PEB.

Updated Information for candidates for PEB Exams (updated 25 August 2020)

The document entitled “Information for Candidates” that is being circulated in conjunction with the FAQs, which we posted about on Monday (here), has also now been updated.

In the update, the PEB have advised for candidates to consider if their requests regarding the online examinations would be appropriate or allowed if they were taking their examinations at a physical PEB venue before sending their questions to the PEB.

The update also stresses (see P.3) that the requirement for candidates to sit their examinations in separate rooms has been removed (for candidates sitting their exam at their office, not at home if two or more candidates live together). Full instructions will be provided to the Designated Contacts in mid-September.

Other updates include:

  • Clarity has been provided that candidates will be responsible for ensuring that they have a webcam, microphone and speaker (see Page 4, section 4);
  • Candidates should have their Candidate Letter and photo-ID on their desk during the examination & those at home should be prepared for this to be checked by the remote invigilator during the exam (see P.4, s.6);
  • Candidates taking the examinations at their firm’s premises will be invigilated by the Designated Contact and/or another suitable member of staff under the supervision of the Designated Contact. Designated Contacts will be required to take part in training (by Zoom) in late September (see P.5, s.7a);
  • For candidates taking the exams at home, PEB advises to download the Zoom application, the web-based version of Zoom may not be suitable. (see P.5, s.7b);
  • The link to the Zoom examination room will be provided via email. Candidates will be expected to log onto Zoom approx. one hour before the exam (see P.5, s.7b)
  • A link to Question and Answer paper will be provided by email at the examination start time (see P.5, 8)
  • It is essential that you upload your Answer Sheet document (and any annotated sheets) to the PEB-X system by the Exam Finish time, otherwise your answers will not be marked. (see P.6, s.8)
  • Only the last version of the answer sheet uploaded will be marked (see P.6, s.8);
  • Updates to candidate declaration and data protection (P.6, s.9 and s.10)

PEB FAQs v3 21st August 2020

In the FAQs v3 dated 21st August 2020, the PEB has provided more information regarding the below points. In this update there is a substantial amount of information with substantive conseuqences, these should be read carefully and discussed with your relative firm / supervisor / managing partner:

  • if working in noisy environments, can use ear defenders but must be declared to invigilator before exam (Q2f;2g);
  • those taking exams in the office will be invigilated in person not via Zoom (Q2h);
  • more information on the designated contact not having a conflict of interest (Q3b);
  • using Excel to prepare a claims table in FD4 – tl;dr, no – PEB preparing answer sheet for us to use (in microsoft word with appropriate tables) (Q15c);
  • is a scanner necessary for FD2, FD3 and FD4 – yes (Q18b);
  • using multiple words docs to submit answers – must submit one answer script (Q19b);
  • sufficient additional time for downloading and printing question papers will be provided (Q20b);
  • emailing of scanned documents, not permitted to access emailsthis is actually a big one for those sitting exams in the office if, like me, your scanner emails you the scanned documents – you cannot access your emails during the exam period, more details to follow in September (Q21b);
  • Information on alternative word processors other than microsoft 2020 (such as free software or apple pages etc…) – tl;dr, must use microsoft word 2020. (Q22b)
  • does PC include Apple computers and the like running the right version of word that runs on MacOS – as far as PEB knows, yes. (Q22c)
  • multiple monitors are not permitted; those in office will be invigilated by a colleague, those at home via Zoom (Q24b)
  • PEB recommends firms provide candidate with “clean” laptops if sitting exam in office, those at home can be asked at any time to share screen by the invigilator. (Q30)
  • candidates will be allowed to sit in a large meeting room so long as they are suitable spaced out to meet examination requirements and social distancing, the room is suitable for an examination, at all times there is an invigilator. (Q33)
  • If sitting the examination in an office, scanning arrangements should not involve use of a mobile phone (Q36a)
  • Printers in shared spaces in offices may potentially undermine the integrity and security of examinations, only acceptable is printing is closely monitored by the Designated contact or other member of staff (Q36d).

A big takeway from this FAQ update is that for candidates taking examinations at a private address: the webcam, whether integrated or placed on top of a monitor, must be placed to that the Invigilator needs to be able to watch candidates directly as they work facing towards the screen, so PEB cannot agree to the use of additional large TV screens as suggested. Also, confirms that invigilation will be done via Zoom.

Candidates taking examinations in firms: PEB has now decided that, for technical reasons, these candidates will be invigilated by the Designated Contact and/or a suitable member of staff working supervised by the Designated Contact. PEB requires that candidates taking the examinations in firms use only one office-standard monitor.

I would strongly recommend giving the updates, which are in red and available here, a read. Any further questions you have, that aren’t covered in the FAQs, please either send them to us at informalsyellowsheet@gmail.com or to the PEB at peb@cipa.org.uk.

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