Knowledge = success

February 2024

Be prepared – get to know your exam format and theavailable study resources.

Last year we looked at ‘3 Simple Steps to success in your first accountancy exam’ (PQ, October ’23). Those steps are:

Last year we looked at ‘3 Simple Steps to success in your first accountancy exam’ (PQ, October ’23). Those steps are:

  • Book your exam as soon as possible.
  • Be prepared – get to know your exam format and available study resources.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

We’ve already looked in depth at the benefits of getting your exam booked as soon as possible, so in this article we’ll think about how to get prepared for exam success. As with our previous articles we’ll use ACCA exams as our example, but the themes should resonate with all accounting students.

Understanding the exam format is a critical first step when studying for a new subject. The ACCA qualification has different levels and each level has a different exam format. For example, Applied Knowledge exams are made up entirely of Objective Test questions, whereas Applied Skills exams are a mix of Objective Test and longer questions that require a typed answers or calculations in a spreadsheet. At Strategic Professional level all questions require typed answers and calculations.

The exam format can also differ slightly across exams within levels, for example in the number of Objective Test questions and whether these are linked to a case study or simply standalone questions. With all this in mind, it’s crucial you understand the format of the exam you’re preparing for, and the specimen exam is the perfect resource to help you.

Knowing which study resources to use and when to use them is your next step in being well prepared for your studies. If you’re with a learning provider, they will likely provide you with some resources and guide you on other ones to use from your institute. You could also speak to fellow students or someone you know who has recently passed the exam you’re preparing for, to see which resources have helped them. Either way, it’s important to review available resources early in your studies so that you can identify which ones work best for you and your learning style.

At ACCA, we have a wealth of resources to help you achieve success in your exams. For the learning and revision phases we have the ACCA Study Hub, which is available free of charge to all ACCA students. It contains online study content covering the full syllabus, quizzes to test your understanding, practice and revision questions as well as flashcards.

For question practice that reflects the real exam experience, ACCA strongly recommends using the Practice Platform, which contains past exams and practice exams for Applied Skills and Strategic Professional, as well as new mocks issued each exam session. For Foundation and Applied Knowledge exams we have Practice Tests available.

Once you’re familiar with the resources at your disposal you can then use the ‘Compass’ planning tool to create a study plan. Knowing how to approach your studies and understanding the resources available to you can be daunting, but taking steps to prepare yourself means that you will be ready to study effectively and efficiently.

  • Thanks to ACCA for this article