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ACCA Exam Structure and Pattern

March 2, 2017

ACCA doesn’t have a single definite pattern for all of its exams. Broadly the entire ACCA Exam Structure and Pattern are divided into different levels and modules and the ACCA Course pattern varies with them and within them. Let’s try to understand it from the beginning.

ACCA Modules and Levels:

ACCA Exams are primarily divided into two levels, Fundamentals and Professional.

The Fundamentals level has a total of 9 papers/subjects and they are divided into two modules: Knowledge and Skills

The Knowledge module has 3 papers and deals with the main areas of financial and management accounting. You will study the accountancy areas in greater detail in greater detail after you have studied this. There are six subjects in the Skills module which cover the main technical areas that accountants are expected to know.

Knowledge Module:

F1 – Accountant in Business

F2 – Management Accounting

F3 – Financial Accounting

Skills Module:

F4 – Corporate and Business Law

F5 – Performance Management

F6 – Taxation

F7 – Financial Reporting

F8 – Audit and Assurance

F9 – Financial Management

The Professional level is also made up of two modules; Essentials and Options. Both of the modules are at Professional level and have been set at the same ability level as a Masters degree.

This level builds on the technical knowledge you will already have gained through the Fundamentals level. It will also explore more advanced professional skills, techniques and values. These are required at a senior level by accountants working in an advisory or consultancy role.

All students have to pass the three papers in the Essentials module. The Options module contains four papers, but you only need to complete two.Essentials

P1 – Governance, Risk and Ethics

P2 – Corporate Reporting

P3 – Business Analysis

Options (two to be completed)

P4 – Advanced Financial Management

P5 – Advanced Performance Management

P6 – Advanced Taxation

P7 – Advanced Audit and Assurance

Besides these two levels, there’s a professional ethics module which has to be cleared to become ACCA certified. This module is open once you have cleared Fundamentals level and entered the professional level.

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ACCA Exam Pattern:

As said earlier, the exam pattern varies for each level and module and within modules. Here’s a table giving out the details for each of the exams:

ExamSyllabus coveredDuration/exam typeExam pattern
F1Governance, Risk and Ethics2hrs/PBE(or)CBEThe exam contains 2 sections:Section A will contain 30 two mark objective questions and 16 one mark objective questions. Section B will contain 6 four mark multitask questions each of which will examine one of the six main sections of the F1 syllabus.
F2Management Accounting2hrs/PBE(or)CBEThe examination will consist of two sections. Section A will contain 35 two mark objective questions. Section B will contain 3 ten mark multi-task questions each of which will examine Budgeting, Standard costing and Performance measurement sections of the syllabus.
F3Financial Accounting2hrs/PBE(or)CBEThe examination will consist of two sections. Section A will contain 35 two mark objective questions. Section B will contain 2 fifteen mark multi-task questions. These will test consolidations and accounts preparation. The consolidation question could include a small amount of interpretation and the accounts preparation question could be set in the context of a sole trader or a limited company.
F4Corporate and Business Law
F5Performance Management3hrs/PBESection A of the exam comprises 20 multiple choice questions of 2 marks each. Section B of the exam comprises three 10 mark questions and two 15 mark questions. The two 15 mark questions will come from decision making techniques, budgeting and control and or performance measurement and control areas of the syllabus. The section A questions and the other questions in section B can cover any areas of the syllabus. Candidates are provided with a formulae sheet.
F6Taxation3hrs/PBEThe paper will be predominantly computational and will have five questions, all of which will be compulsory.Question one will focus on income tax and question two will focus on corporation tax. The two questions will be for a total of 55 marks, with one of the questions being for 30 marks and the other being for 25 marks.

Question three will focus on chargeable gains (either personal or corporate) and will be for 15 marks.

Questions four and five will be on any area of the syllabus, can cover more than one topic, and will be for 15 marks.

F7Financial Reporting3hrs/PBESection A of the exam comprises 20 multiple choice questions of 2 marks each.
Section B of the exam comprises two 15 mark questions and one 30 mark question.
The 30 mark question will examine the preparation of financial statements for either a single entity or a group.
The section A question and the other questions in section B can cover any areas of the syllabus. An individual question may often involve elements that relate to different subject areas of the syllabus
F8Audit and Assurance3hrs/PBEThe exam will be structured in two sections.
Section A will contain 8 two mark and four one mark objective test questions assessing the breadth of the syllabus.
Section B will contain four 10 mark questions and two 20 mark questions.
F9Financial Management3hrs/PBEExam has two sections:
Section A of the exam comprises 20 multiple choice questions of 2 marks each.
Section B of the exam comprises three 10 mark questions and two 15 mark questions. The two 15 mark questions will come from workingcapital management, investment appraisal andbusiness finance areas of the syllabus.
The section A questions and the other questions in section B can cover any areas of the syllabus.
P1Governance, Risk and Ethics3hrs/PBEThe examination paper will be structured in two sections.Section A will be based on a case study style question comprising a compulsory 50 mark question, with requirements based on several parts with all parts relating to the same case information. The case study will usually assess a range of subject areas across the syllabus and will require the candidate to demonstrate high level capabilities to evaluate, relate and apply the information in the case study to several of the requirements.

Section B comprises three questions of 25 marks each, of which candidates must answer two. These questions will be more likely to assess a range of discrete subject areas from the main syllabus section headings, but may require application, evaluation and the synthesis of information contained within short scenarios in which some requirements may need to be contextualised.

P2Corporate Reporting3hrs/PBEThe examination paper will be structured in two sections.
Section A will consist of one scenario based question worth 50 marks. It will deal with the preparation of consolidated financial statements including group statements of cash flows and with issues in financial reporting. Students will be required to answer two out of three questions.
In Section B, has 3 questions out of which 2 have to be answered, they will be scenario or case-study based and one essay question which may have some computational element. Section B could deal with any aspects of the syllabus.
P3Business Analysis3hrs/PBEThe examination paper will be structured in two sections.
Section A contains one multi-part question based on a case study scenario. This question is worth 50 marks.
Section B will consist of three discrete questions each worth 25 marks. Candidates must answer two questions from this section.
P4Advanced Financial Management3hrs/PBEThe examination paper will be structured in two sections.
Section A will contain a compulsory question, comprising of 50 marks. Section A will normally cover significant issues relevant to the senior financial manager or advisor and will be set in the form of a case study or scenario. Within this question candidates will be expected to provide answers in a specified form such as a short report or board memorandum commensurate with the professional level of the paper in part or whole of the question.
In section B candidates will be asked to answer twofrom three questions, comprising of 25 marks each.Section B questions are designed to provide a morefocused test of the syllabus. Questions will normallycontain a mix of computational and discursiveelements, but may also be wholly discursive orevaluative where computations are alreadyprovided.
P5Advanced Performance Management3hrs/PBEThe examination paper will be structured in two sections.
Section A will contain one compulsory question comprising of 50 marks
In section B candidates will be asked to answer two from three questions comprising of 25 marks each
P6Advanced Taxation3hrs/PBE + 15 mins of planning and reading.Section A consists of two compulsory questions. Question 1 has 35 marks, including 4 professional marks, and question 2 has 25 marks
Section B consists of three 20-mark questions, two of which must be answered. Questions will be scenario based and will normally involve consideration of more than one tax, together with some elements of planning and the interaction of taxes. Computations will normally only be required in support of explanations or advice and not in isolation.
P7Advanced Audit and Assurance3hrs/PBESection A questions will be based on ‘case study’ type questions, there will be 2 compulsory questions.
Different types of question will be encountered in Section B and will tend to be more focussed on specific topics, for example ‘auditor’s reports’, ‘quality control’ and topics of ISAs which are not examinable in Paper F8, Audit and Assurance. (This does not preclude these topics from appearing in Section A). Current issues will be examined across a number of questions.

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