Is ACCA Hard, or Just a Tough Nut to Account

by Sianna Shah

When the topic of ACCA qualification – comes up, the recurring question is: "Is ACCA hard?" The answer isn't a straightforward 'yes' or 'no.' Delving into real-life experiences and insights of Eduyush ACCA students enrolled with us for our online courses, we uncover what makes this professional journey unique, challenging, and, ultimately, rewarding.

The journey through ACCA or any similar demanding qualification requires a strategic approach to studying, balancing work-life commitments and personal well-being. The experiences shared here highlight the diversity in study methods and the personal nature of learning and success. Here's a summary and additional thoughts based on the narratives:

Is ACCA hard

Key Aspect Summary
Pass Rates

- Vary across papers, with foundational levels seeing higher success and advanced levels being notably tougher.

- 'AAA' is particularly challenging, often having lower pass rates.

Study Routines

- Requires a personalized, efficient approach, not necessarily measured by longer hours.

 - Techniques vary from rote learning to in-depth analytical approaches.

- Discipline and adaptability are crucial.

Work-Life-Study Balance

- Demands sacrifices and strategic balancing, especially with full-time work. 

- Employer support can ease the journey. <br> - Avoiding burnout by balancing studies, work, and personal life is essential.

Application of Experience

- Previous foundational knowledge and real-world application through work significantly aid understanding.

- Practical experience is particularly beneficial for complex subjects.

Psychological Factors

- Success is influenced by intrinsic motivation and personal goals. 

- The journey should align with long-term aspirations, lifestyle, and career preferences.

Flexibility and Planning

- Planning must accommodate various commitments and allow for adjustments due to unforeseen circumstances.

- Qualifications offer versatility for potential shifts in career paths.


- "BPP Learning Media" and "Kaplan Publishing" for comprehensive study materials.

 - "Eduyush" for tailored online courses and preparation.

 - "ACCA-X" for self-paced learning.

- All these resources require thorough research before selection, ensuring they match the learner's style and the latest ACCA updates.

- Eduyush offers significant discounts on essential materials.


ACCA pass rates

For instance, the recent sitting showcased a mixture of outcomes. While foundational papers generally recorded higher pass rates, suggesting a solid understanding of fundamental principles, the advanced-level exams, known for their rigorous analytical demands and application of concepts, often see lower pass rates. This trend underscores the escalating challenge levels as students progress through the qualification.

Deciphering the Numbers:

The pass rates reflect not just the inherent difficulty of the exams but also the candidates' preparedness. Higher pass rates in initial papers like 'Accountant in Business (AB),' around 80%-85%, affirm foundational concepts' accessibility. Conversely, papers like 'Strategic Business Leader (SBL)' and 'Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)' have seen pass rates often hovering around 50% or slightly lower, indicating the complex integration of knowledge and skills required at these stages.

The Uphill Sections:

Particular stumbling blocks, like the 'Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)' paper, with pass rates often in the lower 30%, highlight the steep learning curve and the depth of understanding required. Such rates are a nod to the qualitative jump in difficulty at these levels, where students must demonstrate high-level analysis, judgment, and professional scepticism.

6 tips on how to pass ACCA exams with Extraordinary Results 

How to study for ACCA

Understand your exemptions with the ACCA Exemptions Calculator

is ACCA tough

    • Study Routines and Learning Approaches:
      • Personalized study methods are crucial. Active reading, interactive learning (quizzes, exercises), and intense revision stages reflect a tiered approach to understanding, retaining, and mastering material.
      • Efficiency in study doesn't necessarily mean spending long hours daily. It emphasizes productive, focused study sessions, utilizing techniques like rote learning for specific areas and more profound, analytical approaches for others.
      • A consistent theme is the need for discipline and adaptation, understanding that one-size-fits-all doesn't apply in education, especially at professional levels.
    • Work-Life-Study Balance:
      • Balancing studies with full-time work demands sacrifices, particularly in social aspects. However, employer support, such as sponsorship and study leaves, significantly impacts motivation and financial relief.
      • Reward systems (like salary increments per passed exam) are motivational factors that make the progress and benefits of the qualification journey tangible.
      • Avoiding burnout is essential. Intensive study periods or 'no-life' revision stages are productive for some. Still, these must be balanced with rest periods, social interaction, and other activities for holistic well-being.
    • Application and Relevance of Prior Experience and Learning:
      • Foundational knowledge from certifications like CMA/CIMA/ CA provides a stepping stone, ensuring smoother transitions into more advanced material. These fundamentals are sometimes underestimated but prove beneficial in complex subjects like taxation.
      • Real-world application through work experience enhances understanding and relevance, emphasizing the importance of placements or roles that align with study topics.
    • Psychological Aspects and Personal Insight:
      • Motivation is intrinsic. Success seems more likely when the individual has a personal interest or goal rather than external pressures (like familial expectations). This drive influences persistence, resilience, and the overall journey.
      • The qualification path, career prospects, and personal satisfaction are interconnected. Candidates should reflect on long-term aspirations, ensuring alignment with their interests, lifestyle preferences, and career goals.
    • Flexibility and Future Planning:
      • Planning study around exam schedules, work commitments, and personal life requires flexibility. Recognizing when to adjust (e.g., after burnout or life changes) is crucial for sustained progress.
      • Forward-thinking involves acknowledging potential changes in career paths. Accounting qualifications are robust and versatile, allowing movement within various sectors in finance, not strictly accounting.

    Plan your exam calendar with our ACCA exam dates schedule

            Study Resources to use for ACCA exams

            References for ACCA Study Materials:

            1. "BPP Learning Media" - BPP offers a range of materials like study texts, practice & revision kits, and pass cards designed explicitly for ACCA preparation. These resources are comprehensive and tailored to the ACCA syllabus (
            2. "Kaplan Publishing" is another well-regarded ACCA textbook and exam revision kit provider. Their materials are known for high-quality content that covers the entire ACCA syllabus (

            These books can be purchased via at a 50% discount.

            Discover the Best ACCA Books: Which is Better - KAPLAN or BPP?

            References for ACCA Courses:

            1. "Eduyush" - This platform provides online ACCA courses. They have various courses tailored to the needs of ACCA students, from full-fledged preparatory courses to specific papers within the ACCA qualification. Eduyush combines video lectures, mock exams, and other interactive resources to help candidates prepare effectively (
            2. "ACCA-X" - ACCA itself offers interactive online courses known as ACCA-X. These digital learning opportunities are designed for those who prefer to learn at their own pace and are looking for a more flexible approach to ACCA qualification (

            Before deciding on any materials or courses, thoroughly research, consider how you learn best, and consult with peers or mentors. It's also worth looking into any updates to the ACCA syllabus or exam format, as these may influence the most suitable materials or courses.

            Summing up

            In conclusion, the journey through qualifications like ACCA is as much about personal growth and understanding oneself as the academic and professional milestones. Each individual's path highlights unique strategies, challenges, and triumphs, reflecting the diverse ways people achieve success. The underlying theme, however, remains constant: understanding one's motivations, capabilities, and goals and being prepared to adapt, commit, and persevere.

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            There are several ways to prepare for the ACCA exams, including studying the exam syllabus and practicing past exam questions. You can also attend review courses or hire a tutor to help you prepare. It's also a good idea to create a study schedule and stick to it, and to take breaks and pace yourself during your studies.

            If you fail an ACCA exam, you will need to re-register and pay the exam fees again. You may also want to consider reviewing the exam syllabus and studying more before attempting the exam again. It's also a good idea to talk to your tutor or mentor for guidance and to get feedback on where you may have gone wrong.

            There is no limit to the number of times you can attempt the ACCA exams, but you will need to pay the exam fees each time you register. It's a good idea to carefully review the exam syllabus and consider seeking additional help if you are struggling to pass the exams after multiple attempts.

            ACCA Exams are held four times a year for skill level and strategic level exams. These are held every quarter

            March, June, September and December

            The CA (Chartered Accountant) qualification is offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). The ACCA qualification is offered by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

            The CA qualification has been in existence for over 150 years, and is a globally recognised qualification. The ACCA qualification has been in existence for over 100 years, and is also a globally recognised qualification.

            The CA qualification is available in India only, while the ACCA qualification is available in over 180 countries.

            The ACCA subjects are assessed on a 100-point scale. The pass mark is 50 points. A score of 60 or more is required to achieve the grades of distinction, credit, and merit.

            Yes. Passing all exams with a high percentage is an excellent accomplishment and demonstrates that you have a high level of understanding of the material. Employers will see this as evidence of your competence and be likely to consider you for a position if you are looking for work in the accounting field.

            The hardest ACCA paper is the F5 performance management paper. This is because it requires a detailed knowledge of financial accounting and management accounting in order to pass.

            Other papers that are difficult include the F7 financial reporting paper and the P2 advanced auditing and assurance paper. However, all of the ACCA papers are challenging, so it is important to thoroughly prepare for each one before sitting the exam.