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5 Tips To Help Pass Your ACCA Exams on the First Attempt

Relatively few people pass ACCA first time, but you can be one of them! Follow these five simple tips & you’ll be more likely to pass ACCA.

Few people pass their ACCA exams the first time, but you can be one of them! Follow these 5 simple tips to give yourself a better chance of passing on your first attempt.

There seem to be twice as many people who don’t pass the ACCA the first time as the handful who do – a bit like a driving test.

A first-time pass can set you apart from employers in a challenging job market. As Director of Robert Half Financial Services, Andy Dallas says:

“Many employers do find it important for individuals to have passed their exams the first time, particularly for ACCA candidates [….] This shows they are organised, disciplined and take their careers seriously – a benchmark, so to speak”.

So why do relatively few people pass the ACCA the first time? It’s not about luck, nor about academic excellence or intelligence. Your knowledge is only one part of the ACCA equation, as with any exam.

A lot of ACCA success depends on how well you prepare, practice and perform – rather than how much you know.

With that in mind, we’ve put together these 5 tips to help you maximise your chances and (hopefully) pass the ACCA the first time.

1. Plan ACCA Revision Early

The majority of the marks in your ACCA exam come from your ability to apply the concepts you’ve learned in a new scenario rather than regurgitating your knowledge.

In other words, you can’t just learn by rote and hope to pass ACCA – you need time to learn, absorb and process what you’re learning.

You’ll do better in your ACCA exams if you give yourself time for what you’ve learned to go into your long-term memory rather than relying on your short-term.

This means you’ll be much more likely to pass ACCA on your first attempt if you leave plenty of time for revision. Make a sensible, flexible study calendar well in advance to ensure you cover everything you need to cover and have time to truly understand what you’ve learned.

Get your free interactive study plan today to pass your exams. This plan tells you what to study each week and gives you a question to practice on each topic.

2. Think Like An ACCA Examiner

Examiners primarily write the ACCA exams based on the syllabus you’ve covered. Hence, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with this so you know your revision is covering all the right areas.

It’s also a good idea to read the Examiner Approach interviews published on the ACCA website, as these give insight into each ACCA paper from an examiner’s perspective.

These interviews can help guide what examiners tend to look for and where students have fallen short in the past.  You can access them here.

3. Take Time For Yourself


When you’re revising, it can seem like nothing else exists. Don’t let yourself get blinded by the ACCA looming on the horizon. Sure, knowledge is a big part of passing the ACCA – but you won’t be able to perform well on the day if you’re burnt out and drowning in stress.

Throughout your revision period, make time to do things just because. Naturally, there’s a balance to be struck and going out every Friday and Saturday night probably isn’t it, but you don’t have to stop having a life completely. That really would be counter-productive.

4. Practice Your ACCA Answering Technique

There’s a tendency amongst ACCA students to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information there is to learn, focusing heavily on the content of the exams.

Obviously, the actual content is essential, but it’s equally vital that you know how to answer the different questions you’ll encounter on each paper. You can download past papers from the ACCA website if you’re going it alone, or if you’re using a revision platform, be sure to choose one that helps you learn how best to structure answers for each type of question.

There’s no point knowing all the course content if you let yourself down with how you answer!

5. Stay Healthy

As with any exam, the more pressure you put yourself under on the day, the less likely you will perform to your best. Sweaty palms, heart racing – these things are normal, but they’re not productive. You need to be able to think clinically if you’re hoping to pass the ACCA the first time and not let the stress of the situation get to you.

Easier said than done, I know, but one thing that really helps is ensuring you’re staying healthy in the run-up to your ACCA exams.

It might sound trite, but it is important to eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, drink enough water, and generally not put yourself under unnecessary pressure if you want to pass the ACCA the first time!

It might sound trite, but it is important to eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, drink enough water, and generally not put yourself under unnecessary pressure.

All the steps outlined above will help you break your ACCA revision into clear, manageable parts that you have plenty of time to prepare for. Try and stick to your schedule and try and rise above the stress as much as you can.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, remember that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t pass ACCA the first time.

We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to exams – the more pressure you put on the outcome, the more difficult it will be to perform on the day.

If you don’t pass, view it as a learning opportunity. You know the adage: there’s no such thing as failure – only deferred success.

Give yourself the best chance to succeed in your upcoming ACCA exams with a free interactive study plan that will help guide and support you right up to exam day.

Conor Motyer
4 min read


  1. So far there have been some really useful tips, and advice, sometimes it seems like stating the obvious however you need to be reminded of the simple truths, especially is a fast paced workplace and culture/environment.

  2. Your advice is so encouraging. I really want to continue pursuing my ACCA studies and is willing to make the necessary sacrifices. Thank you

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