Planning your studies is really important. It helps you focus on your end goal - becoming a qualified accountant. I’d recommend you have a plan that covers the next twelve months as a minimum. What sittings are you going to use? Do you have any major events coming up - moving house, getting married? Factor these in and then plan around them.
The important thing is to aim to sit four exams per year. That way you’ll qualify in three to four years have opportunities for new roles and those all important pay rises!
Many of my students ask what subjects they should sit together and in what order they should sit the papers. The answer I always give is that there is no one right answer that will work for everyone. The course combinations that are right for you will depend on your role, often your employer’s wishes, the availability of courses offered by your tuition provider and any exemptions you may have.
Planning your next step
Assuming you have already completed the Applied Knowledge level and Law, you need to plan the order you will attempt the Applied Skills level subjects. If you are working in a financial accounting or audit role it is advisable to do FR (F7) and AA (F8) first. You could choose to sit them together or consecutively depending on how many subjects you chose to study at one time.
Often employers in practice request their students sit these papers first as it gives them the essential skills and knowledge they need to operate effectively in the workplace. If working in tax, start with TX (F6), alongside PM (F5) or AA (F8) if you are sitting two subjects per sitting and if in management accounting start with PM (F5).
ACCA pass rates
Our pass rates are proven - 46 of our classes achieved 100% pass rates in the June 2017 exam sitting*.
*Based on ACCA F5-F9, P1-P3, P6 and P7 papers for part time classroom students across 14 Kaplan centres at the June 2017 sitting.
You also need to factor in when to attempt various subjects. With the exception of Tax subjects, the syllabi change for the September exams so some students choose to avoid sitting FR (F7) in June as if you are unsuccessful in your examination you will need to resit the exam under potentially updated accounting standards.
It is also helpful to sit FR (F7) and SBR under the same syllabus version, so you may look to sit FR (F7) in September as one of your final skills level papers and then SBR no later than the following June.
This would be the same for tax subjects and sitting under the same Finance Act although be aware the syllabus change dates are different for the tax subjects (TX and ATX).
Textbooks and other material are valid for exams June to March so look to sit TX in June, September or December and ATX (if you opt to do it) before the following March. Remember you can now sit the exams at the professional level in any order.
PM (F5), AA (F8) and FM (F9) are generally less affected by syllabus changes, unless there is a major one (2017 isn’t a major update), so it isn’t so important to worry about the point in the year you attempt it, but depending on your choice of options you may choose to sit the underpinning subject a sitting or so before the option i.e. FM close to AFM or AA immediately before AAA.
Many of the Options papers have a low pass rate and students are rightly concerned about making the best selection for them. The general advice is, if working in management accounting do AFM and APM, if in practice or tax, TX and AAA. The AAA examiner has stated AAA is significantly harder for those students not in an audit or accounting role with little practical experience and it is advisable that those students choose another option. However, be sensible; think about your long term career ambitions and your performance at the preceding examination, for example if you struggled at FM attempting AFM may not be the wisest decision.