How Do ACCA Exams Work? A Complete Guide to ACCA Exams

March 9, 2020
The role of CFO in VUCA world
The Role of the CFO in a VUCA World
February 7, 2020
Bcom with ACCA
B.Com With ACCA: Why it is the Right Decision
May 22, 2020


ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. At present, it has over 2,00,000 members and 486,000 students across more than 180 countries. With an ACCA qualification, an individual can work as an accountant, financial consultant, management consultant, financial planner etc. ACCA opportunities in India have widely grown, especially with the growing network of Big 4 companies and MNCs in the country. The ACCA qualification is equivalent to CA (ICAI) in India and the salaries are also equivalent to that of a Chartered Accountant.

Headquartered in London, ACCA has a network of over 100 offices and centres with more than 7,300 approved employers worldwide who provide employee development. Students can pursue this course alongside their graduation since ACCA’s flexible examination schedule makes this qualification more attractive.


ACCA Syllabus can be broken down into the following 4 levels. Each level consists several ACCA exam papers. However, currently, there are 13 exams in total for the ACCA course.

  1. Applied Knowledge level - Three examinations consisting of:
  2. a) AB - Accountant in Business
    b) MA - Management Accounting
    c) FA - Financial Accounting
  1. The Applied Skills level - Six examinations consisting of:
  2. a) LW - Corporate and Business Law
    b) PM - Performance Management
    c) TX - Taxation
    d) FR - Financial Reporting
    e) AA - Audit and Assurance
    f) FM - Financial Management
  1. The Strategic Professional level - Six examinations consisting of:
  2. Two compulsory papers:
    a) SBL - Strategic Business Leader
    b) SBR - Strategic Business Reporting
  1. Four optional papers, of which two must be selected:
  2. a) AFM - Advanced Financial Management
    b) APM - Advanced Performance Management
    c) ATX - Advanced Taxation
    d) AAA - Advanced Audit and Assurance


ACCA offers certain exemptions for the ACCA Exams based on an individual’s prior learning and qualification. ACCA Exemptions aim to help you get ACCA coaching at the level that’s right for you. Below are the exemptions for ACCA course based on your prior qualification:

Since nothing good comes for free, you have to pay an exemption charge for each ACCA exam that you exempt.


The ACCA Exam Pattern has two parts: Computer-based and Paper-based, which include Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and Scenario-based questions.

The ACCA Exam Pattern and Structure is as below:

Exam Pattern for Computer-based Papers:

ACCA Papers from F1-F9 are all computer-based exams.

Papers F1, F2, F3 and F4 involve these questions
100% MCQs — (2 × 50 questions)
You can give those by booking your exams at any of the centers

Papers from F5 to F9 contains:
60% MCQs­­­ - It is divided into two sections:
Section A: 2× 15 questions
Section B: Each of the 3 scenario questions has 15 numbers. Each scenario has 5 MCQs under it.
40 Long Answer Questions: A scenario will be given and 3 to 4 questions will be asked on this basis.

P1 - P6 are paper based exams.
The ACCA SBL paper consists of a single question of 100 marks which gets sub divided into various questions of varied marks.
100% scenario-based questions.
Section A: A case study of 50 marks will be given and 4-5 questions will be asked on it.
Section B: Each will be given 3 cases of 25 marks. Have to try 2 out of 3.

The exams are conducted every March, June, September and December. In a six-month cycle, a person can give four exams or eight exams a year and need to give a total of 13 exams to qualify.


On-demand CBEs allow for flexibility in your studies as you can sit for them at any time of the year. Your results are displayed immediately at the end of the exam and uploaded to your account within 72 hours. To book an on-demand CBE, you can contact an exam center directly to arrange a time and date that suits you. ACCA conducts “on-demand exams” for papers up to F4.

Regular CBEs take place once in three months and are booked using our online exam booking system.  Depending on the exam, you may be required to use word processing, spreadsheet, and slide presentation tools - enhancing your employability skills. For F5 - P7, ACCA conducts exams four times a year (March, June, September, and December). F5-F9 can be given in any order and once you are done with your fundamental papers you can also opt to give the professional papers in any order.



Studying for one paper every three months allows you to focus on one subject at a time which you may find beneficial as you progress to higher-level papers. This is because some subjects at the higher level are harder or have a larger syllabus to cover. However, this might mean that you have to start studying for your next paper before you have the results of your most recent exam if you want to have the optimum amount of time to prepare. If you want to wait until you receive your exam results before starting your studies for your next paper, this would mean studying for an intense period of seven weeks.

It is helpful to create a study plan:

  1. Study little and often focus on the time available as well as ACCA syllabus topics
  1. The best study sessions last about an hour and will run as follow:
    • Recap of questions from previous sessions.
    • New syllabus area with simple illustrations
    • Past paper questions
  1. Don’t be too inflexible or unrealistic with your expectations as this can be demotivating.


Professional level exams of ACCA consist of six papers in total, out of which two strategic level papers (SBL, SBR) are compulsory. Out of four papers (AFM, APM, ATX, AAA), and any two papers can be taken up by the students as per their choice. Professional level papers are paper-based presently.


  • Find a centre offering on-demand CBEs
  • Make arrangements to give your exam(s) directly at the CBE centre
  • Pay the CBE centre directly for the exam(s)
  • On exam day, your identity will be checked by the invigilator. Further validity and eligibility checks are carried out, and then the invigilator instructions will be read out.
  • On completion of the exam, your provisional result is displayed on screen. Your result will be transferred to your my ACCA records within 72 hours.
  • Each exam session has a deadline by which you must apply if you want to sit an exam in that session. Applying early means you can take advantage of lower fees.
  • Once you have booked an exam, you can view the booking details and cancel or amend the booking.  Any changes or cancellations to an exam booking must be made before the standard entry deadline and your exam fee will be credited to your account.
  • Changes or cancellations made after the standard deadline date are not permitted and your exam fee will not be credited to your account


To register for ACCA Exams, you must first become an active ACCA student which requires you to pay one-time registration fee (79 pounds = 7,712 rupees) and an annual subscription fee (105 pounds = 10,249 rupees).

The ACCA Exam fees has been calculated below for each ACCA exam level:

Assuming that the pounds exchange rate is £1 =93 INR.
Knowledge exams - £83= 7,719 per paper 7,719×3 = 23,157 (since there are 3 papers)
Skills exams - £111 = 10,323 per paper 10,323×6 = 61,938 (since there are 6 papers)
Professional exam SBL- £186 = 17,298 per paper 17,298×1 = 17,298
Professional exams - £136 = 12,648 per paper 12,648×5 = 63,240 (since there are 5 papers)
Total cost = 23,157+61,938+ 17,298+63,240 = *Rs. 1,65,633

*Fees vary according to the fluctuating pound rate.


Accredited Learning Partners (ALPs) help students identify if they are ready to write and excel in their exams. ALPs also guide students on exam booking dates and can also book the exams on behalf of the students if required.


Cities in which the exams are conducted are as follows:

New Delhi, Chennai, Pune, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Ernakulam, Kannur, Secundarabad, Mumbai, Thane, Panchkula, Kochi, Calicut, Kottayam, Thrissur, Tirur Malappuram, Trivandrum, Andheri, Udaipur, Dehradun, Baroda, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad.


A major role that student have is to know the exam dates and the due dates to book the exams. Students should double check their exam centre and its address as to avoid booking the wrong centre.


The student should be confident enough about the paper before answering the exam. It is necessary for the student to go through the study text, revision kit, past question papers and answer a few mock tests to be more confident about the paper. Answering mock tests helps students correct their mistakes and get an idea about the questions in the exam.

Request More information

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *