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A Comprehensive Guide to ACCA Applied Skills Exams

A Comprehensive Guide to ACCA Applied Skills Exams

Obtaining the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) degree is undoubtedly the best course of action for many accounting professionals.


In this article, we will have a detailed look into the ACCA applied skills exams, with a specific focus on these questions:

  •   What subjects are there in Applied Skills?
  •   How to pass the applied skills module
  •   What are some tips to pass the ACCA exams?
  •   Which subjects are the hardest in ACCA applied skills?
  •   What is the importance of the applied skills exams?


We will also be looking into expert advice on how to nail your performance in the ACCA Applied Skills exams, and investigating how the subjects covered in this module will be helpful for you.

But first, let’s explore whether an ACCA degree is the best choice for you.


Why you should enrol on an ACCA course

ACCA is not just well-reputed but is also industry-oriented, with the syllabus being updated according to industry demands each year. Almost 180 countries accept the qualification.

Additionally, the charter of accountants in this accounting body has distinguished members who can open many doors for you in the industry.

With all that said, you may be aware that the ACCA exams are known for being challenging to crack. However, with a little bit of help from the right mentorship and a few ACCA practice tests, you can be among those who complete their exams successfully.


The official ACCA modules are listed below:

1) Applied Knowledge

2) Applied Skills

3) Ethics and Professional Skills

4) Strategic Professional Skills


Each module consists of about two to four subjects/exams which you will need to pass in order to move on to the next module. To get a clear insight into the ACCA exams and curriculum, click here.


What is the ACCA Applied Skills module equivalent to?

The official ACCA website declares that the Applied Skills module is equivalent to a master’s degree certificate if you have entered the exams through the Professional Level. The same module is equal to a degree certificate if you have entered through the Fundamentals Level.

Are ACCA degrees worth it in 2023?

Even in 2023, ACCA stands out among the many accounting certifications. Firstly, due to its high repute among industry players, and secondly, because it is most suited for professionals and beginners alike.

ACCA-certified professionals are in high demand in the global market for top job roles like internal auditors, management accountants, financial analysts, and finance managers. The ACCA certification also allows you to receive handsome salary packages as well.


Prerequisites for Applied Skills:

  •   To attempt the Applied Skills exams, you will need to clear the Applied Knowledge module first.
  •   Applied Knowledge-papers form the foundation for the subjects covered in Applied Skills
  •   You will need a minimum pass percentage of 50% in all the subjects in the Applied Knowledge level to qualify for the Applied Skills module

Before embarking on the Applied Skills module, certain prerequisites must be met. These could include completing specific fundamental qualifications or prerequisites outlined by ACCA. Clear guidance on these requirements is available on ACCA syllabus page.


How long does the ACCA Applied Skills exams take?

ACCA exams take around three to six years to complete however, you can finish this course in less than 12 to 48 months with the right mentorship and support.  The Applied Skills module takes around 12-18 months to reach completion depending on when you plan to attempt the Ethics and Professional Skills module (EPSM). If you attempt the Applied Skills module after EPSM, the timeframe could be much longer.


Navigating the challenges with expert advice

The Applied Skills module comprises several papers, each addressing different aspects of accounting and finance. Here is a brief overview of what these papers entail:

  • ACCA Applied Skills exam order: An essential aspect of preparing for the exams is understanding their order. A table highlighting the exam titles and pass rates provides a clear roadmap for candidates.
  • Exam sessions: Knowing when the exams take place is fundamental to planning. Information on exam sessions, particularly in 2024, ensures that candidates are well-prepared for their assessments. The official website has all the information about the exact timetables for each of the ACCA exams. (Source: Acca)


What are the subjects in the Applied Skills module?

The ACCA exams are unique in their approach as the student can choose which ones to attempt first. However, ACCA experts encourage the below as the best ACCA exam order:


Subject 1: Corporate and Business Law: Start with this as it is a two-hour exam similar to the structure of the Applied Knowledge exams and can be a good transitionary course to take after applied knowledge exams.


Subject 2: Taxation: A new subject requiring no experience or learning, can be a great option after corporate and business law. It can help you get used to the new format of the session-based Applied Skills exams.


Subject 3: Financial Reporting: This subject is a continuation of financial accounting from the Applied Knowledge module. This course underpins or lays the foundation for future courses like the Strategic Professional modules and is related to strategic business reporting and strategic business leadership.


Subject 4: Performance Management: This subject is based on management accounting in the Applied Knowledge module.


Subject 5: Financial Management: Underpins the Strategic Business Leader subject.


Subject 6: Audit and Assurance: This is based on management accounting. Studying financial reporting before audit and assurance is a wise choice as it can help you pass this exam better. Develops good written analytics skills which will be useful in the Strategic Professional exams.


How to prepare for ACCA Applied Skills exams: A roadmap to success

Preparing for the Applied Skills exams requires a strategic approach. Resources such as textbooks, ACCA past papers, and specialised courses from reputable providers, such as LSBF (London School of Business and Finance, UK), can significantly enhance your exam readiness.

Furthermore, you can also check out student feedback and take insights from ACCA graduates of the previous years to get a broader idea.


Hardest and easiest exams in Applied Skills

While candidate experience may vary from person to person, gaining insights into which exams are commonly perceived as challenging or manageable can aid in focused preparation.

As per pass rates in 2019, the Audit and Assurance exams were voted the hardest as they had the lowest pass percentage (30%). (Source: Proschool)

In conclusion, the ACCA Applied Skills module forms the basis of your readiness as a professional by equipping you with the necessary skills to handle finance in the global market.

While the ACCA Applied Skills module may take you 12 to 18 months to complete on average, this time frame can be shortened significantly with mentorship and help from experts.

Remember, the journey to ACCA success is not just about passing exams; it's about gaining the skills and knowledge that will set you apart in your career.

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