How to pass ACCA F5 Exams? Overview | Tips | Resources

by Sianna Shah

Succeeding in the ACCA F5 exams is no easy task. To pass them, you'll need to be diligent and well-prepared. This blog post will outline some tips that can help you achieve success. Stay motivated, focus on your goals, and use the resources available - and you'll be on your way to a successful exam result!  

What is the ACCA F5 or ACCA Performance management exam about?

 Performance management picks up the Management Accounting paper at the Applied Knowledge level. One part of performance management is monitoring and evaluating, and evaluating employees. That's the HR function, but there's a bigger picture to that as well. 

All the processes, policies, and tools help a company make sure that they reach its objectives. You can't do any of that until you measure performance, and that's where the performance management exam comes in. 

It picks up on the tools you learn and management accounting (MA). Then we apply those tools to making business decisions like setting a budget, understanding profitability, recommending a production plan, resolving a divisional transfer pricing conflict etc. It's nice to use the MA topics to solve real business problems. 

What are critical topics from the Management Accounting exam to Performance management?

The first thing we learned in MA is the language of accounting and finance. You need that terminology and understanding of cost behaviour of cost classification related to anything in performance management. 

  • The traditional costing tools that evolved into advanced and modern ones in PM. 
  • An introduction to budgeting in MA now deals with advanced budgeting in PM
  • Time variance analysis introduced in MA now becomes advanced variance analysis in PM.
  •  Quantitative tools such as the high-low time series regression analysis method are brought forward to performance management.


If you have had an exemption from management accounting, how do you deal with a step up to performance management?

Start early: there's no way you're going to pass, that you put things off till the last weeks before the exams, so don't even try that. Take a course from BPP, you do get covered with prior topics.

Self-assessment quizzes: checkout the performance management self-check quiz on the ACCA website. It's an excellent tool, and you're going to know what you know and don't know, so it's going to help you set a more detailed study plan 

Use ACCA-approved textbooks: You'll need to go deeper into the topics and can't do it just with the abbreviated course notes. That textbook would be an excellent tool for that. 

What is the performance management exam structure?

 It's a computer-based exam, and you get 3 hours for this exam. There are three parts to this exam, 2 of the parts are what is called objective test questions, fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice drag and drop

 The final piece is a long-form question or constructed response, where you give your answers on a spreadsheet or a word processor.

  • Section A which is just 15 questions covering the entire syllabus 
  • Section B, where you get mini-scenarios. You will get three scenarios with questions linked to that scenario, and 
  • Section C is the long-form part of the exam. 

In what order should we complete the sections within an exam for performance management?

Start with section A. Here you will get a range of questions covering the whole syllabus. You're going to get warmed up. In section A, you must first attempt the more straightforward questions. Flag the more difficult ones if you are unsure of the answer. We recommend you spend about 45 or 50 minutes. You'll never get it all done in the first pass, but you want to do much of it.

Next, move over to section C and not section B. Give yourself approximately 34 minutes per question. Read the verbs and requirements of the questions first and give your answers in short sentences or perform calculations.

Finally, go to section B; we think that's the most challenging part of the exam. They can have quite dense little scenarios with lots of numbers and words, and you'll get five questions linked to each of those mini-scenarios. You want to give yourself 17 minutes for each set of questions. Prioritize the easy questions first. So maybe the first question is a complex calculation, like calculating the throughput accounting ratio for two products; right, that will take a while. You can take it up last. Take the easy ones first, so you don't waste time on the more difficult ones. If you follow that approach now, you have some buffer time. 

Now go back to Section A to see if there are any questions you have left unanswered. If you don't know the answer, take an educated guess. Remember, there is no negative marking.

How do you practice time management skills? 

Many students come across one reason for failure: lack of time. Here are some tips which, if you adopt them early on in your study plan, can help.

  • Set a study plan and look at the whole syllabus. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Practice your question bank questions directly on the CBE practice platform. Start doing this from day one, don't wait till the last couple of weeks before the exams.
  • Take a mock exam from any of the approved learning partners
  • Understand how the ACCA scratchpad works; it's quite a different experience using a pen versus writing it out when a more limited medium of just line by line or word by word.

Top three tips to pass the ACCA F5 exams

  1. Make a solid study plan. Stick to it. Pick up the concepts from the MA paper
  2. Practice, practice a lot of past question papers
  3. Cover the entire syllabus, don't spot trends from previous question papers. Anything can come in the exams.


 If you're looking for reliable and qualitative resources as a way to pass your ACCA F5 exams, look no further than BPP online courses. BPP's experienced tutors will help you focus on the areas you need to improve so that you can succeed on the first attempt. Don't let the daunting prospect of passing these exams keep you from reaching your professional goals - sign up for a BPP course today! Prices start from INR 4800 (50 GBP).