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How to deal with ACCA exam failure

How to deal with ACCA exam failure

If you don’t pass your ACCA exams first time round, it is tempting to stick your head in the sand or distract yourself with your job or social life. This does not help you overcome the original exam failure. As a result, you are likely to endure a further disappointment when you re-sit the exam thinking that working a little harder will get you through.

When you don’t get the results you want, the first thing to do is assess why you were unsuccessfully – and what you could change to do better the next time.

Common problems

There are many reasons that could cause you to fail your ACCA exams, but in general, these are the main culprits:

  • commitment
  • time
  • understanding
  • exam technique

These are all key points to address when you are revisiting your study process to increase your chances of success.

Commitment and time

Commitment is especially important, as it affects your priorities – so make sure to put your studies as close to the top as possible, balancing it with other parts of your life in order to pay more attention to your studies. Immerse yourself in your studies and make sure other people in your life understand how important it is to you.

In a similar vein, ensure that you make time for your studies. Keep a diary with a revision plan and stick to it – and if you can’t stick to it, adjust it accordingly.

Improve your understanding

Another issue could be that you didn’t fully understand the theory that you had studied, making it hard to write an exam answer. For many ACCA topics, you need to know the “why” as well as the “what”. Without that underlying knowledge, you will find it difficult to answer exam questions, so practise as much as you can and debrief the answer to gain a better understanding. The more you practise, the more you will improve.

Having a good exam technique means being able to effectively convert your understanding into solid marks.


Practising at least one mock exam – preferably more – will help you develop an exam strategy where you know what to do in each part. Time yourself and accept that you don’t need to achieve perfection: all you need is a reasonable answer that covers all the relevant points.


The best use for failure is as a chance to change for the better; often, mistakes can be blessings in disguise, giving you an opportunity to improve. Once you begin to do well, you will become more optimistic and more motivated, leading to another success and a constantly reinforcing circle of beneficial outcomes. Get started and turn your ACCA failure into a positive result.

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