How tough is it to pass the ACCA exam?

Are the ACCA subjects difficult? This is a commonly asked question among commerce students who are concerned and a little confused about the ACCA course. Most professional accountancy courses have complicated criteria, along with a vast syllabus, to secure a passing grade. This has led many commerce students to believe that the ACCA is similar. 

Here’s the good news: no, the ACCA exam is not very difficult. In fact, it is easier to clear the ACCA when compared to other professional finance and accountancy courses like the CA and CFA. It is, of course, tougher than the school and undergraduate tests with which most students are familiar. Rest assured, the ACCA course subjects are not impossible to clear at all.  

The ACCA course has a clear, well-organised syllabus that allows you to plan ahead before taking the tests. They have structured the exams in a systematic yet flexible manner, so you have the time and space you need between sittings to adequately prepare. 

So, grab a cup of your favourite hot beverage, sit back and discover why clearing the ACCA course is not as much of an uphill task as you may have thought. 

What’s the fuss about the ACCA qualification?

The ACCA is one of the largest accountancy bodies with a presence in over 180 countries. The ACCA board has exclusive access to several job opportunities and is highly regarded by many top companies when it comes to filling finance and accountancy job openings. The ACCA certificate will enhance your resume and open up doors in the job market far quicker. However, before you get to reap the benefits, you have to clear the exams. 

What you need to know about the ACCA course exams

  • The ACCA course is divided into three modules with 13 papers overall
  • The ACCA exams have a more student-friendly exam schedule compared to other courses like CFA or CA
  • The exams are held every quarter, but a few papers can be taken on demand
  • You can take a maximum of 4 ACCA subjects in one sitting, and up to 8 papers a year
  • The ACCA course duration is 2 to 3 years
  • You have enough time to prepare for papers between exam sittings
  • All exams are CBEs (computer-based) 
  • You can take the exams from anywhere, once you register yourself online
  • If you study with a coaching institute, they will help you with your ACCA registration and preparation for the exams
  • Clear one of the ACCA subjects, and the passing grade is acknowledged irrespective of how you perform on your other papers. (There is no group system like the other professional exams)
  • They also allow certain exemptions based on existing qualifications
  • You need a minimum of 50 per cent to pass each paper. If you pass one subject, you don’t have to give it again, in case you fail another paper in the same module. 

What is the ACCA eligibility?

You need to be 18 years of age, and have passed the 10+2 exams with an average score of 65 per cent in maths and English. Along with a minimum mark of 50 per cent in other subjects.

A closer look at the ACCA course structure

There are three levels of certification. The first one is the easiest to clear, but the degree of difficulty goes up with the next module. Here’s an in-depth look at the ACCA subjects within each module.

  1. Knowledge level

This level is relatively easier as it is a foundation course. There are exemptions for students who have certain academic qualifications. The subjects are:

  • Business and technology
  • Management accounting
  • Financial accounting

2. Skills level

Here, you’ll be taught technical as well as professional skills. There are a total of six papers in the following ACCA subjects:

  • Financial reporting
  • Taxation 
  • Corporate and business law
  • Performance management
  • Audit and assurance 
  • Financial management

3. Professional level 

As this is the final level, it is more intense than the other two modules. There are four ACCA subjects, two are mandatory and two, optional. There are no exemptions allowed at this level.

Mandatory subjects:

  • Strategic business reporting
  • Strategic business leadership

Optional subjects (Students has to pick any 2):

  • Advanced financial management 
  • Advanced performance management
  • Advanced taxation 
  • Advanced audit and assurance 

5 tips to pass the ACCA course with flying colours 

Now that we have covered the details of the ACCA course modules, let’s get on to how you can crack the exam.

#1 Create an efficient study plan 

Start by booking your exam in a way that gives your enough time to prepare. Get a calendar and start a study time table. Block a specific time slot during the day, for instance, two hours a day between 2 and 4 pm. Try and do 8 hours a week. Cover a topic every day, keeping holidays and personal occasions in mind. When studying, cover one subject in its entirety. Once you master the material and take a few tests, you can move on to the next one.

#2 Enrol in a reputed coaching institute  

A good institute will offer detailed ACCA coaching that can help you study for the exams in an effective manner. They have the resources, experience and a detailed comprehensive study that can get you your ACCA certificate. Also, your queries are resolved on the spot so that all the concepts are clear in your mind.

#3 Find ways to motivate yourself

It’s easy to lose focus and slack off. To push yourself, you need a little motivation. Think of the firms you hope to apply to after your course is complete. List these dream companies down where you can see them daily so it inspires you. Speak to ex-students who have been through the grind. Gain some perspective on how they were able to focus on the ACCA course details. 

Another way to stay motivated is to promise yourself small rewards every time you finish a subject along with the mock tests. If you are unable to motivate yourself, join a study group with other students.

Read: Simple Ways to Stick to your Goals

#4 Follow smart study strategies 

There are a number of strategies to help you learn better. Here are a few to get you started.

The fixed place strategy — Find a constant study place, whether it’s your favourite coffee shop, home desk or a library. Wherever you are most likely to concentrate without distractions. Stick to this spot for the entire study schedule. Your brain will kick into learning mode whenever you are here.

Stick to one textbook per subject — Too many study resources can be detrimental as they can often leave you feeling overwhelmed. Focus on one source of material, and immerse yourself in it completely.  

Makes notes on every topic — these summaries will help you remember the details quicker, especially when it is time to revise.

Take frequent, but short breaks — This will help your mind retain the information without feeling weighed down.

#5 Take the mock tests 

The ACCA practice tests are an excellent method of studying, and they help you mentally prepare yourself. Look up the tests from the past five years on the ACCA website. Write out each answer, don’t just go through the points in your head. This will help you understand the process better and retain the information in your mind. After you finish one test, do another, and then one more. Then you’ll be ready for whatever the real exam throws your way. 

In conclusion

The ACCA course is not exactly a walk in the park. It isn’t an impenetrable fortress, either. When you get to the next level, the exams will get tougher. If you’ve done the proper preparation, you will be able to successfully answer the questions. The ACCA course has a reputation of creating high-quality accountancy professionals, so you need to rise up to the challenge. 

Once you clear the exams and receive your ACCA certificate, the road ahead will be paved with many career opportunities. So good luck!

Get started now. To enrol for ACCA coaching, click here