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How many CBEs are available within the ACCA and CAT qualification and the Foundations In Accountancy suite of awards?

All three knowledge module exams 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

New syllabus and study guides have been introduced for all ACCA Knowledge exams papers F1, F2 and F3. 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 Foundations In Accountancy 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 in the top left of the 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 questions5 x 6 mark questions
 20 x 1 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 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.

I am completing the ACCA qualification and wish to take computer-based exams. How does that affect any attempts at paper-based exams?

Papers F1-F3, F4 (ENG) and F4 (GLO) are available by computer-based exams (CBE). You are eligible to sit a maximum of four papers in a three-month exam cycle, across a maximum of eight distinct exams over the course of a calendar year. These can be any combination of computer-based and paper-based exams.

If you wish to take computer-based exams, please indicate this on your exam entry for each session. You can then enter to sit the balance of your four exams at the paper-based session. For example, you can enter for F1, F2 and F3 by CBE and then elect to sit one paper from F4 to F9 at the paper-based session.

For more information visit our CBE progression rules page.

I am registered on Foundations in Accountancy and wish to take computer-based exams. How does this affect my paper-based attempts?

All Foundations in Accountancy exams are available as computer-based exams, except the Options papers FAU (Foundations in Audit), FTX (Foundations in Taxation) and FFM (Foundations in Financial Management).

There are no restrictions on the number of papers you can attempt at each session as a Foundations in Accountancy student. If you are considering taking any of these exams by paper, please take into account your timetable restrictions.

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. These are located on the CBE Specimen and Related Resources page.

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: 6 Jul 2015