How to Pass Your Professional Exams

AIA Professional Qualification Assessments

The AIA Professional Qualification (PQ) can now be completed entirely online with computer based exams and the AIA's digital Achieve Academy Course. 

The online exams are conducted in multiple formats, including text documents. For the first time we are offering objective test style questions in the form of multiple-choice questions covering each of the four components of the syllabus in the Foundation Unit.  

You can see a sample assessment by logging in to My AIA – take time to try out the ‘Business and Financial Management’ paper. Your responses ae not marked so you are free to access the sample paper as many times as you like. 

Practice, practice, practice 

Take time to try out practice questions using different methods: 

  • Self-review responses – type your response and review it against a model answer. You can attempt these questions as many times as you like, which allows for further studying should you need it 
  • Tutor marked questions – you type your response onscreen in the AIA platform, receiving feedback on your performance from the tutor 
  • Automated responses – you will receive immediate feedback for the practice questions in the Foundation unit. 
  • Practising questions onscreen allows you to become familiar with the functionality of the online exam, which uses both word and excel in a split screen format.
  • Tables, formulae, case studies, and other supplementary material is viewed in a pop-out exhibit tab – take time to view these and become familiar with how you can access this information. 

Take time to check your knowledge as you progress through the course. Every course offers two checkpoint tests – these tests are available at key stages in the study periods. Once you have completed a checkpoint test you will receive an automatic response within the learning platform. 

Active participation in the Achieve Academy Course is your key to success

AIA Achieve Academy brings together a range of learning tools to offer you the best chance of exam success. For each paper there are 20 hours of recorded lectures which you can access on demand and expert tutors are able to offer technical assistance and feedback. 

Study Tip!

Read the chapter in the ‘Learning & Practice Workbook’ before you listen to the lecture – this will help to build your understanding of the subject. You can then revisit the ‘in chapter’ practice questions – make notes and attempt these questions. The summary answer is also included in the chapter, so you can self-review your performance. 

Understanding the command words

You will see a list of the command words in the ‘Learning & Practice Workbooks’. Command words like ‘explain’ or ‘identify’ are often used in exam questions. These command words are instructions for how to answer a question, so it is important you know the meanings of these words. So, ‘discuss’ will require you to write about a topic in details, taking into account different ideas, and where appropriate different opinions.

The following definitions will help you understand what the words are asking you to do. These words are specific to the level in the syllabus. 

Cognitive levels of learning 

Command words 


Foundation Level 

Knowledge and Comprehension 90% 

Application and Analysis 10% 



Select the appropriate method 

and techniques and apply your knowledge and understanding to work out and show how  figures were arrived at 



To make clear giving reasons 



To give an account of in words or formula including key features 



Recognise and select 



Present a method or argument for doing or achieving a task 



To choose in preference to another 



Express fully the details/facts 



Arrange in a table 



Present a number of connected items 



Identify as already known 



To identify by title an object or concept 



To explain the similarities and differences between things in order to interpret them 



To examine in detail by argument 



See or point out the differences between 



To have reference or relation to 

Professional 1 

Application and Analysis 50% 

Knowledge and Comprehension 50% 


To inform or notify 



Examine in detail in order to interpret its meaning or essential features 




Select the appropriate method and techniques and apply your knowledge and understandings to work out and show how figures were arrived at 



To show or prove by reasoning or evidence 



Find out or establish 



Carry out into effect 



To make or get ready for use 



Document the information 



Make an approximate judgement/calculation 



Produce a double entry of events 

Professional 2 

Synthesis and Evaluation 20% 

Application and Analysis 70% 

Knowledge and Comprehension 10% 


Determine the value in light of arguments for and against 



Advise the appropriate action in terms the recipient will understand 



Determine the strength, weakness and significance 




Select the appropriate method and techniques and apply your knowledge and understandings to work out and show how figures were arrived at 


Critically Analyse 

Examine in detail using arguments for and against, and develop a view 



Demonstrate the correctness of an action, claim or conduct 



Assess the worth, value, or quality of 



Elaborate or expand in detail 

All AIA exams are now conducted as computer-based assessments. 


How will the assessment be conducted?
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What are the rules for the Proctors conducting the exams
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When and how should I ask for assistance during the tests?
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How will the tests be scored?
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What is the best practice in relation to completing the tests?
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How will I know how to navigate the screens in the AIA online exam?
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