How to pass the ACCA FA F3 exams

by Sianna Shah

The ACCA Financial accounting exam is one of the more challenging parts of the ACCA applied Knowledge level exams, with average pass rates between 65-73% in recent years. In this article, we look at some tips and tricks to help you pass this module. 

This exam aims to test your knowledge of financial accounting principles and concepts and your proficiency in double-entry accounting techniques, such as preparing basic financial statements.

If you're looking to score high in your FFA/FA exams, read on for our FA study tips to help you pass it on your next attempt:

What is the ACCA FA exam pattern?

A two-hour computer-based examination assesses the syllabus.

The questions will cover all topics on the syllabus, assess knowledge, and test comprehension or application.

The examination will consist of two sections. Section A will contain 35 two-mark objective test questions. Section B will contain two 15-mark multi-task questions, testing consolidations and accounts preparation.

The consolidation question may require a small amount of interpretation, while the accounts preparation question may relate to a sole trader or a limited company.

What skills are tested in the FA exams?

The FA exam tests your skills in the following areas

  • The context and purpose of Financial Reporting
  • The qualitative characteristics of financial information
  • Recording transactions and events
  • Demonstrate the use of double-entry and accounting systems
  • Prepare a trial balance.

How Do I tackle the FA exams? 

  •  Time management is critical, as the exam is split into two sections, so section A is your thirty-five objective test questions, and section B is to multi-task questions. 
  • It would help if you aimed to spend around eighty-four minutes on Section A. So that's when you work through the short objective test questions. And then 36 minutes on section B, the multi-task questions. It will help if you plan your time accordingly.
  • It's very, very important that you complete those multi-task questions in section B. So if you spend too much time in section A, then you'll lose vital marks in section B
  • You're happy with the calculations you need and how to approach those more extended questions. So question practice is critical. And as you're coming up with your study plan, please make sure you factor in the time to review the course notes and then practice questions. 

What conceptual skills do I need to clear the FA exams?

If we think about Section A, the objective test questions, how will you be successful in that part of the exam? 

  • Well, double entry is crucial. So you need to know the debits and credits. You need to know that, for example, if the business makes a sale for cash, you must debit cash and credit that sales income account. So lots and lots of practice around the double entry.
  • And, of course, that also leads to the calculations. So as well as knowing whether something is a debit or credit entry, you'll need to be able to calculate a whole range of accounting adjustments. So this includes accruals, prepayments, non & current assets, and debts.
  • Now, when you move on to the multi-task questions, you've got some longer tasks to work through. And to be successful in these more extended questions, you need to have a methodical approach. So, for example, if you're required to do your consolidation question, read the requirement very, very carefully, work out precisely what it is you're being asked to do and also the amount of time you should spend on each part of the requirements by multiplying by one point two minutes. But the number of marks.
  • A good approach is to draw up the group structure so that, you know, the percentage owned by the parents and the pet percentage owned by the non-controlling interests. As you read the task information, you can determine which consolidation adjustments are required. Take your time with these questions. It would help if you worked through them steadily to ensure you bring in all the adjustments and complete the performance. 

What are the Things I need to avoid

  • So your syllabus does include some narrative elements. For example, you've got the regulatory conceptual framework. So it would help if you studied those. Be sure to complete them because they don't involve numbers. 
  • As we said earlier, time management is essential, so spend only a little on Sections A or B. Make sure you allocate your time based on the number of marks when you get to the end of the exam. 
  • Do make sure that you haven't left any questions on set.

What are the study resources available for the FA Exams?

Students can use the following resources.

  1. ACCA FA Technical articles
  2. ACCA-approved BPP or KAPLAN books
  3. BPP ACCA online course on FA

Summing up

Passing the FA exams can be challenging, but with the right approach and using the ACCA-approved books and BPP online course, you can pass the exams on the first attempt.


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Knowledge level. Questions? Answers.

In fact, it gets easier when you are doing a job. The exams are called Applied Knowledge exams. You need to apply your knowledge to the exams. Suppose you are working in an accounting role. In that case, many work roles will translate into theory and your ability to understand concepts will be far more manageable.

The exams for the knowledge level change every September and are valid for one year. If you are taking your exams after September, we strongly recommend studying with the updated study materials

If you can meet the pre-booking requirements of ACCA . Remote exams offer increased convenience, flexibility and comfort. Find out what exam options are available in your location on ACCA site.

Both BPP and KAPLAN are ACCA-approved books.

As a thumb rule, if you need easy language start with KAPLAN, if you need more conceptual knowledge, go for BPP.

It is also a great idea to pair the KAPLAN study text with BPP practice & revision kits. This will give you clarity on concepts and plenty of tricky practice questions.

If you have a strong base in accounting and have a passion for tallying your balance sheet, you can use the BPP books and KAPLAN exam kit.

On the other hand, if you lack conceptual clarity on bookkeeping, we recommend using the free ACCAX lectures first to gain conceptual clarity. Subsequently, take a BPP online course on F3 to help you go through the syllabus in detail.

The price of the ACCA study materials for knowledge level differs on the format and the publisher. The price estimates are

Ebooks set of 2 books

BPP - approx 1850 INR to 1950 INR

KAPLAN - approx 2900 INR to 3100 INR

Paperback set of 2 books including shipping

BPP - approx 2900 INR

KAPLAN - approx 3800 INR

Yes you can become a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and Newzealand once you fulfil the following criteria.

1) You are residing in Australia or Newzealand

2) Submit a Letter of Good Standing from ACCA. The letter must be dated within 3 months of the date of your application

3) Have at least 5 years of work experience in finance and accounting post admittance to ACCA. This must be backed by your employer's attestation.

4) Two CA references from CA ANZ Members

CPA Canada signed the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) in 2011.

In 2020, CPA Canada activated the withdrawal from the existing MRA because it intended to agree to a fresh MRA with ACCA. The withdrawal of the MRA is applicable from April 30, 2021.

No new timelines have been given for when the new MRA will come in.

We would advise Indian CA's to apply using the MRA with CPA Canada directly rather than the ACCA route