ICM Learner Guide to Remote Assignments

HomeRemote Assignments

How to prepare for your RA

RAs are designed to test your knowledge and skills that you have gained from the entire unit, so if you can, engage with your Centre for teaching and learning support, whether face-to-face or remotely.  Try to plan ahead and allow plenty of time to read the RA Question Paper and make sure that you understand the questions. This will give you the opportunity to contact your teachers and ask questions if you need to. These are exceptional times with many teachers not available as much as they were so, if you need to contact them to ask specific questions, do not leave this to the last minute.

Don't be daunted by the prospect of your RA. There is no single correct way of planning how to write your RA. However there are some common principles and if you work your way through the things described in this guide, you will be on the right track.

It is really important for you to prepare for your RA as you would prepare for an examination; study the Teaching Content and Learning Outcomes of your subject using any teaching materials provided by your Centre and the ICM Unit Descriptors. Unit Descriptors for each ICM unit are found here. Make sure you check for any gaps in your understanding of the unit by reviewing your own knowledge. You could do this by self-testing, talking with another member of your course and asking your ICM Approved Teaching Centre for any advice and guidance you need. By completing these checks, you can determine any areas you might need to review before attempting your RA.

Make sure you organise and plan your time in advance to read and study as this will prepare you for the RA. It is not recommended to start your reading and studying within the 10 business day’s period you have to complete your RA. Have a plan, a written check list or, even better, a timetable of what you need to do and by when to complete the study of all the teaching material. These tactics could help you achieve goals and relieve stress when you are completing your RA. You could start before the RA release date by looking at the Sample Remote Assignment Question Papers or the Past Remote Assignment Question Papers.

How to approach your RA

The first 10 minutes of your working day can play a big part in setting the tone for the day ahead. Before you start your RA ask yourself what you want to achieve from the particular time you have set for yourself. How much do you want to achieve? How are you going to achieve it? Try to ensure your workspace is comfortable and, as far as possible, a distraction-free environment!

Prioritise your studying

Once you have considered all the questions, you need to decide how you will complete these. You may decide that prioritising the hardest questions is what you aim to do first. Often completing what you judge to be the most difficult questions sooner rather than later relieves stress as the deadline gets closer. It will also enable you to get guidance from your teachers if you need to. Try to plan all of your answers and keep to the word limit, as your work over the word limit will not be marked.

How to read effectively when studying

In order to achieve the best results in your RA you will need to become familiar with the Learning Outcomes for your unit, as these tell you what you should be able to do after studying a topic. Unit descriptors are found here. When you are reading, make sure you use yourtime effectively by reading actively. Reading actively is to extract and retain key information:


  • Think about the meaning of what you are reading
  • Look up words or concepts you don’t understand
  • Note down key points in readable logical notes
  • Look at tables, figures and diagrams and check you are clear on what they mean and that you can describe the information in your own words


  • Read the material without engaging with it
  • Skip over things because you aren’t sure of the meaning
  • Highlight or copy and paste information
  • Skim over data without fully understanding what it means

How to write good notes when studying

When you are reading to prepare for your RA, you could be making some notes to help you when you come to the planning stage. When note taking:

  • Try not to write down every word, be selective
  • Try to handwrite your notes, not type, (as this could help you understand and remember things)
  • Try to write your notes in your own words (this is important as you are less likely to plagiarise someone else’s work and you are more likely to learn your notes faster)
  • Look for key points (does it relate to a Learning Outcome? This might be an indicator of a key point to include in your RA)
  • Try drawing pictures/diagrams as this could help your understanding and memory
  • Use your notes actively e.g. re-read or cut them up and re-organise them in a logical order
  • Write a summary in your own words of what you have learnt from that section of your notes

Getting the best marks: How to avoid common mistakes

Mistake: Not following the instructions on the paper about how many questions should be answered
How to avoid: Read the instructions carefully, and check them again as you complete your questions

Mistake: Not answering the question set
How to avoid: Read the question several times to make sure you know what is being asked

Mistake: Writing without reference to the unit and study material
How to avoid: Plan your answer to include unit themes, topics and examples. The Unit Descriptors can be found and downloaded here.  Acknowledge all material and sources used in the preparation of your responses (answers) e.g. books, articles, reports, lecture notes, and any other kind of document, electronic or personal communication in a list at the end of each response.

Read the questions carefully

Always read the question you are answering carefully so you can fully understand what is required to answer the question fully. To help you know that you understand the question before answering it, try the following:

  • Highlight or underline what the question is asking you to do (the Command Word) e.g. analyse, describe, discuss, evaluate, explain and suggest.
  • Rewrite the question so that you fully understand what information you need to answer it effectively.
  • Refer to the question after writing each main point or paragraph – is what you have written relevant to the question, or are you ‘filling in’ with concepts or ideas you do know but that are not relevant?

Understand the Command Words

The following list of Command Words is provided for Candidates doing ICM RAs. The attention you give to the command word in your RA is essential in gaining high marks. Understanding the Command Word in a RA Question Paper is important, as Command Words indicate how the question needs to be answered so it helps you understand the demands of the question.

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Writing your answers in your own words

Refer to your resources as you write but close the book, article, material before you start writing your RA. Only write what the question is asking of you; do not copy and paste any irrelevant material as this is likely to cause you to plagiarise. To gain marks for Communication and Originality you should:

  • Compose your RA your own words and not with too many quotes from other authors
  • Present your own ideas clearly and logically
  • Include a list of the resources/references you have read and/or in text citations

Writing a plan for your answer to all four questions

Organising your ideas into a plan enables you to work out a logical structure before you start writing. Therefore, you do not need to do any complex thinking whilst trying to find the right words to write your response. This will help you to keep to the information required by the question, as well as enabling you to consider how you express your answer. By writing a plan (an outline of the structure of your answer) you can start to organise what is most relevant and keep your answer logically ordered. You are not required to submit any plan or rough work in your RA response.

Reviewing your work

The examiner will mark all of your work very carefully so you must ensure that everything you submit is checked for:

  • English spelling
  • Grammar and punctuation
  • Clear answer structure
  • Acknowledgement of all materials and sources used

Producing your RA as a typewritten response

Responses that are typed (example found here) must be submitted to ICM in Microsoft Word .doc format, applying the following styles:

  • Arial font
  • Font size 12
  • Single-spaced with normal margins
  • Page numbers are included on each page of your work, i.e. Page 2 of 4
  • The question number for all responses is clearly indicated, i.e. Question 1
  • Write the total word count is recorded after each response
  • For levels 4, 5 and 6 you include your resource/reference list at the end of each answer but you do not need a formal referencing method like Harvard.
  • Include a Candidate Declaration at the end of your work and your ICM Approved Centre is sent your RA submission

Producing your RA as a handwritten response

Responses that are handwritten (example found here ) must:

  • Be written in legible handwriting using black or blue ink
  • Be written on lined A4 paper
  • Have page numbers on each page of your work, i.e. Page 2 of 4
  • Have question number clearly indicated for all responses, i.e. Question 1
  • Have the total word count is recorded after each response
  • For levels 4, 5 and 6 you include your resource/reference list at the end of each answer but you do not need a formal referencing method like Harvard.
  • Include a Candidate Declaration, written at the end of your work and share your work with your ICM Approved Centre

Word limit

The word limit for non-numerical papers is 3,000 words in total and is indicated on the RA question paper under each question. Each question has a word limit of 750 words per question, Candidates can gain marks for Communication and Originality for submitting responses which are within the allocated word count. The word limit is aimed at supporting you in producing high-quality, focused responses. Your responses must not be 10% above or 10% below the question word limit (excluding references and citations). In the interest of fairness to all Candidates, Examiners will not assess that part of the response which exceeds the maximum word limit. Therefore, we recommended that you pay particular attention to both the minimum and maximum word limit for each question, to ensure you provide a response that is sufficiently detailed and allows the examiner to fully assess your knowledge and skills. Resource/Reference lists or citations are not included in the word count for each question.

For numerical papers all responses must be handwritten and all workings out must be included as these are markworthy. As with calculations, all graphs and diagrams must be drawn by hand. Numerical RAs may or may not include word limits, depending on the demand of the question.  

Candidates declaration

Typewritten and handwritten responses must include the following Candidate Declaration at the end of your work:

“I declare that this work is entirely my own with the sources of information I have used clearly identified and acknowledged.”

An example of how to record the Candidate Declaration in the RA is shown in the Candidate Remote Assignment Answer Templates (found here). This Declaration confirms that the work you are submitting is entirely your own.

Submitting your RA responses

You are required to submit your responses directly to your ICM Approved Centre up to 10 Business days after the RA release date, unless a you have made a reasonable adjustment arrangement. However, if extenuating circumstances arise that make this not possible, for example where your ICM Approved Centre is closed, you are permitted to submit your responses directly to ICM via the ICM Submission Portal. You must ensure that your ICM Approved Centre is aware of your submission.

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Making sure your scanned RA meets with ICM requirements

ICM will accept scanned copies of RA responses if you have handwritten or printed your RA.  Candidates and Centres must check that each scanned RA response adheres to the checklist and avoids actions that make the responses unreadable. The following are examples but this list is not exhaustive.

A correct version of a Candidates scanned handwritten response:

A correct version of a Candidates typed response (please note ICM’s preferred method is to send these as a word .doc file):

Unreadable responses (image has a glare, is blurred, not visible or too small):



Not Visible

Too Small

Image Checklist
Make sure:

  • The answers are clear, in focus and readable
  • The scan contains no other objects or people
  • The candidate’s full name is recorded
  • The candidates ICM id number is recorded
  • Page 1 and any subsequent pages are scanned together making one file
  • The file is a .pdf
  • Sheets are organised and scanned in number order, i.e. Page 1, page 2, page 3 etc.
  • No corners are cut off
  • The scan is A4 in size
  • The unit title is indicated
  • Each page is numbered
  • The resource/reference list is provided at the end of each answer
  • Name file as follows: student name_student id_unittitle
  • The candidate declaration is included and the end of the answers
  • ICM receives the file by the specified deadline

How to submit postal RA responses

Post one copy to ICM at the address below, if possible, also post an additional copy to your ICM Approved Teaching Centre for validation.

Institute of Commercial Management
ICM House
Yeoman Road
BH24 3FA


Malpractice is when a Candidate aims to mislead or deceive Examiners in any academic work. Malpractice is any activity or practice, which deliberately contravenes regulations and compromises the integrity of the assessment process. It covers any deliberate actions, neglect, default or other practice that has compromised or could compromise the assessment process; integrity of an ICM qualification; the validity of a result; reputation or credibility of ICM.

Examples of malpractice:

  • Theft or misrepresentation of identity (including asking others to undertake a RA on your behalf)
  • Presenting the work of another as your RA work
  • Working together with others to submit work which is not entirely your own
  • Fabricating data or inventing or deliberately altering material (for example, citing sources that do not exist)
  • Making a fraudulent statement concerning the work submitted for your RA, including the false signing of your Candidate Declaration
  • Knowingly helping another Candidate to copy your own work or the work of others

How to avoid Malpractice in your RA

Candidates who knowingly or negligently allow their work to be used by other candidates, or who otherwise help others in academic malpractice are violating the academic integrity of their Centres. Such Candidates are as guilty of intellectual malpractice as the Candidate who receives the material, even though they may not themselves benefit academically from that malpractice. Plagiarism can, in some cases, be a subtle issue as a result of a lack of confidence in academic writing; the following drop down can help you avoid plagiarism in your RA.


Plagiarism is the representation of the words or ideas of another person or source as one's own in any academic exercise. The following are examples of how Candidates may plagiarise in their RAs, intentionally or accidentally.

Examples of Plagiarism

  • Borrowing material from another person or source
  • Copying exactly word-for-word directly from a text or other source
  • Copying from a Candidate or tutor in an RA
  • Paraphrasing or translating the words from a text or other source too closely
  • Paying for assignments from other sources and submitting it as your own
  • Using text downloaded from the internet

How to avoid Plagiarism in your RA

To avoid plagiarism, write in your own words but also acknowledge the source of your ideas. Acknowledge all material and sources used in the preparation of your responses (books, articles, reports,lecture notes, and any other kind of document, electronic or personal communication) in a list at the end of each response.  

How to list your resources in your RA

Whichever resources Candidates use for their RA must be reliable, peer reviewed material. Candidates should acknowledge all material and sources used in the preparation of their responses (books, articles, reports, lecture notes, and any other kind of document, electronic or personal communication). Candidates will not lose marks for not including a formal referencing system in their RA, but they will need to cite/list the resources they have used. If Candidates choose to use a formal referencing system, ICM prefers that they use Harvard style referencing.  

Acknowledging someone else’s academic work is called ‘citing a reference’, or just ‘referencing’. There are two parts to Harvard style referencing:

  • short in-text citation (e.g. Smith, 2016) placed in the appropriate place in your text
  • the full reference list (or bibliography) at the end of the Remote Assignment (e.g. Harvard style). 

Including another author’s exact words in quotation marks with a reference to the source. When Candidates quote a person’s precise words from their source, they must put their words in speech marks and list the author’s name, date of the source and page number where they found the information in the source. Candidates should then add this source to the list of references at the end of their RA response (point b above).

Re-writing another author’s argument in one’s own words. Candidates must make this clear by stating the author’s name and the date (in brackets) of the source they are paraphrasing. Candidates should then add this source to the list of references at the end of their Remote Assignment (point b above). 

A formal referencing system such as Harvard is advised for units at levels 4, 5 and 6 but is not an essential requirement to gain all the marks available under communication and originality. A reference list is not included in the word count and is not an essential requirement to gain all available communication and originality marks. 
Below are examples of how to reference different source material:

Jobber, D. and Lancaster, G., 2006. Selling and sales management. Pearson Education.

Journal Article
Ferrell, O.C., Johnston, M.W. and Ferrell, L., 2007. A framework for personal selling and sales management ethical decision making. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 27(4), pp.291-299.

Prachi M., Sales Management, viewed 20 June 2019.  https://theinvestorsbook.com/salesmanagement.

RA Grade Boundaries

The grade boundaries used by ICM for RA are as follows:

Please note all grades are subject to ICM qualitative and quantitative analysis as part of ICM Grade Review. Ungraded
(U grade) will be awarded to Candidates where malpractice and/or maladministration is evident.

Reasonable Adjustments

ICM and Approved Centres have a duty to ensure the rights of individual Candidates to have access to RAs, in a way which is most appropriate for their individual needs. ICM will facilitate access to RAs for Candidates who are eligible for adjustments. Candidates diagnosed with a learning difficulty or disability  may be granted Reasonable Adjustments in their RAs in accordance with ICM’s Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure.  If Candidates feel they will be negatively impacted by the method of assessment, ICM would encourage Candidates or Approved Centre Staff to apply for Reasonable Adjustments on behalf of the Candidate, so that the Candidate can adequately demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding.  The ICM Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure can be downloaded here.

Special Consideration

In the event that an ICM Candidate has experienced an event out of their control that has affected their ability to complete an RA, ICM will consider their application for Special Consideration. Please note that Special Consideration is not appropriate for all illnesses (Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure). Special Consideration is a post-assessment arrangement that could influence the grading of a Candidate who has been disadvantaged at the time of their RA. ICM can give Special Consideration to Candidates whose ability to take an RA or demonstrate their attainment has been negatively impacted through a temporary injury, illness or other indisposition. Candidates must apply for Special Consideration through their Approved Centre (Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure). The ICM Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure can be downloaded here.


If a Centre or Candidate disagrees with the final grade decision made by ICM in respect of this policy then there is a right of appeal. Appeals must be submitted in line with ICM’s Appeals Policy and Procedure. The Head of Risk and Implementation will seek to resolve the appeal within 20-30 business days. The ICM Appeals Policy and Procedure can be downloaded here.