Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL)
Q. Can I apply for exemptions for all of the units?
You cannot apply for exemptions from the level 2 Introductory Certificate, the International and International Advanced Certificates or the integrative units at Levels 3 and 6. Exemptions can also not be applied for from the core compulsory units of the Level 6 Graduate Diploma qualification.
Q. Can I apply for exemptions for a whole level and if so will I receive a certificate?
At levels 4 and 5, you can apply for exemptions for all units. If you are successful, you will be able to ‘bypass’ the level. You will not receive the award or certificate but your membership grade will be amended, if appropriate.
Q. I completed my qualification over 10 years ago, can I still apply for an exemption?
CIPS qualifications are regularly reviewed and updated; they reflect current business practice and thinking. Where a student has completed a programme more than 10 years ago, the content will no longer reflect current practice and thinking in key business areas; this means that the majority of CIPS learning outcomes cannot be met. An exemption cannot be awarded against a qualification that was achieved more than 10 years ago. Relevance of qualifications is recognised by universities and educational organisations as paramount and in order to achieve this, qualifications are regularly reviewed and updated. Over time, qualifications may be offered using the same title but the content will have been updated.
Q. I previously sat an assessment and failed, can I now apply for an exemption against this unit?
If an assessment was undertaken and you did not achieve a pass grade, you must wait 3 years before applying for an exemption.
Q. My application for an exemption has not been awarded; can I appeal against the outcome?
If you do not agree with the decision regarding your exemption application, you have the right to appeal. The appeals policy and procedure can be found on the CIPS website under about CIPS qualifications.
Q. How do I know which units I am exempt from?
Exemptions are assessed independently; we cannot advise which units you may receive exemptions for. Students need to apply and the requests will be sent to the assessment team. The CIPS website www.cips.org includes a database of qualifications against which exemptions have already been granted. Before submitting your application you should check the database as your qualification may already be listed. If your qualification is not included in the database, you can apply for an exemption by demonstrating how your qualification meets the learning objectives of the relevant CIPS unit. You can do this by mapping your qualification using the template documents provided on the website.
Q. I have only partly completed my qualification, can I still use it to apply for an exemption?
In order to apply for an exemption you will need to have successfully completed the qualification on which you are basing the application.
Q. If I have completed my qualification but have not yet received my official certificate can I still apply for exemptions?
Under exceptional circumstances, written confirmation of the result from the university or educational organisation can be provided as evidence; however the assessor may ask for additional verification.
Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)
Q. What is a significant professional event?
A ‘significant professional event’ is something that has happened in your work environment in the last five years, which provided you with an opportunity to think about what you did and why you did it, that is to critically evaluate what happened. Typically, this reflection will have resulted in changes and improvements in your professional behaviour. The event and the subsequent changes in your behaviour should be something significant to you. You should be able to relate it directly to the unit content against which you are claiming an exemption.
Q. Do you have an example of what you are looking for from my application?
A sample portfolio can be found under the relevant (APEL or APCL) tabs above.
Q. How many CIPS learning objectives should my portfolio focus on?
When you have decided which unit you are applying for an exemption against, you will need to identify ‘three specific learning objectives’ from within the unit content. You should focus on these three learning objectives as you develop section three of the application form – it is not necessary to make reference to all of the learning objectives within your chosen unit.
Q. Is there a word limit for my portfolio?
The word count for your APEL portfolio is 3000 words. The word count has been set as a guide to help you in the development of your exemptions portfolio and to give you an indication of the volume that you might include in each section. CIPS will accept a maximum of 10% over and above this; portfolios that exceed this will not be assessed.
Q. Where can I find more information on the exemptions process?
Further details on how to apply for exemptions can be found in the Guide to Exemptions brochure