The global body for professional accountants

How many CBE are available within the ACCA and CAT Qualification and the FIA Suite of Awards?

All three knowledge module papers within the ACCA qualification are available by CBE, as well as by paper-based exam:

  • F1 Accountant in Business
  • F2 Management Accounting
  • F3 Financial Accounting

The following skills exams within the ACCA Qualification are available by CBE, as well as by paper-based exam.

  • F4 (ENG) Corporate and Business Law
  • F4 (GLO) Corporate and Business Law

These papers each share a syllabus and exam format with the following papers in Foundations in  Accountancy:

  • ACCA F1 and FAB
  • ACCA F2 and FMA
  • ACCA F3 and FFA

The first seven papers in the FIA suite of awards and the CAT qualification are also available in CBE format.

For more information on the Foundation Level qualifications, please see the 'Related Links' section of this page.

What are the main differences between computer-based exams and paper-based exams?

Questions in both formats of the exam are written to correspond with the syllabus and students should expect to see questions covering all aspects of the syllabus in both paper-based and computer-based exams.

In all cases, the computer-based version is automatically generated so that each candidate gets a different set of questions, whereas the written exam is made up of a pre-selected set of questions.

New question types were introduced into F1-F3 and the equivalent Foundations level exams, FAB, FMA and FFA in February 2014. 

The table below compares current format computer-based exams with their paper-based equivalents:

PaperPaper-based formatCurrent CBE format
Introductory certificate  
FA150 MCQs50 MCQs
MA150 MCQs50 MCQs
Intermediate certificate  
FA250 MCQsMCQ & other short objective-style questions
MA250 MCQsMCQ & other short objective-style questions
Option Papers  
FAUMCQ + 4 longer questionsN/A
FTXMCQ + 4 longer questionsN/A
FFMMCQ + 4 longer questionsN/A


CBEs from 26 February 2014 and paper exams from June 2014 will have two sections as follows:

ExamSection A
Objective Test
Questions (OTs)
Section B
Multi Task Questions (MTQs)
F1/FAB16 x 1 mark questions
30 x 2 mark questions
6 x 4 mark questions


35 x 2 mark questions

3 x 10 mark questions

F3/FFA35 x 2 mark questions

2 x 15 mark questions

F4 (ENG)
and (GLO)
25 x 2 mark questions
20 x 1 mark questions
5 x 6 mark questions



  • Objective Test Questions are traditional short questions, each relating to a single scenario.
  •  Multi-task questions (MTQs) contain a series of tasks which relate to one or more scenarios. These tasks can be made up of different question types – multiple choice, multiple response, multiple response matching, number entry, hotspots and gapfill questions. 


  • All questions in section A are MCQs
  • Multi task questions in paper exams will require computational and written answers.


How can I learn more about the changes being made to the exam formats?

All of the exam formats and question types are outlined on the CBE Specimen and Related Resources page (link on the left hand side of the screen). Please ensure that you access these resources before you attempt a live exam.

What are the benefits of computer-based exams versus paper-based exams?

Computer-based exams have the advantage of being available at any time of the year and give instant results at the end of the exam. However, students who have not previously used or who lack confidence in using computers may prefer completing the exam on paper.

How is it best to prepare for the ACCA Qualification Knowledge module exams?

Students should ensure that as part of their revision, they are familiar with the multiple choice style of questions as well as the wider range of objective question types, and multi task questions if taking a computer-based exam.

It is recommended that students sit the relevant CBE Specimen exam.

Are section weightings for computer-based exams the same as for paper-based exams?

Both computer-based and paper-based exams have the same weightings for different syllabus areas. Weightings for each area have been given to reflect their relative size and importance.

Last updated: 28 Jul 2015