Exemption from having a degree before starting the Common Professional Examination

Updated 24 March 2020

During the coronavirus outbreak, we encourage you to send your Equivalent Means application to us by email rather than in the post. This will allow us to consider your application during this time.

If you have supporting documentation to send us that is too big for email, we can provide you with a secure link for this to be uploaded.

Please email your form and any relevant documentation, or a request for a secure link, to SRAAdmissions@sra.org.uk.

To pay, please complete the relevant sections of the methods of payment form and send it with your completed application once you have instructed your bank to send payment direct.

If you have any questions, please contact us by emailing SRAAdmissions@sra.org.uk.


Mature applicants may be eligible to apply to study the Common Professional Examination (CPE) without having a degree.

We define mature applicants as those who wish to be accepted onto the CPE based on their certificated learning and work-based learning1.

To gain exemption, you'll need to demonstrate:

CPE providers expect you to have achieved an appropriate standard of written and spoken English or Welsh if you choose to study on the course.

Important information

If you are claiming exemption based on an award obtained outside the UK, the awarding body must be recognised by UK NARIC.

You will need to provide certified copies of your qualification or certificates. Your work based-learning must be corroborated by references from your supervisor(s).

Guidance for referees

You must ensure that your referee(s) have read this information.

References must:

  • be provided for each period of experience claimed
  • be written for the purposes of this application and be dated within the last 3 months
  • be submitted on letterheaded paper.

Referees must:

  • have supervised you directly as a general employment reference is not enough
  • read your application, reviewed all supporting evidence before corroborating your experience and confirm that they have done so in their reference
  • familiarised themselves with the requirements of this application and refer directly to these when providing their reference(s)
  • include examples from their direct observation of your work.

You must redact all samples of your work to remove sensitive or identifying information. We will not accept non-redacted documents and will destroy them.

Making your application

The application fee is £35.

We aim to provide you with a decision within 90 days of receiving your application.

You must keep a copy of your application and evidence.

  1. Certificated learning is learning which has led to a qualification or certificate. Whilst work-based learning is objectively assessed workplace experience.