Guide to session CBE specimen exams

If you are planning to take session CBEs, the CBE specimen exams will help you to familiarise yourself with the exam style and functionality.

What are CBE specimen exams and how do I use them?

CBE specimen exams are a study resource to help you familiarise yourself with how Applied Skills session CBEs will be assessed, structured, and the likely style and range of questions that could be asked.  Session CBEs are available for the Performance Management (PM), Taxation (TX) UK variant only, Financial Reporting (FR), Audit and Assurance (AA) and the Financial Management (FM) exams.

There are three types of CBE specimen resource for each exam:

Full specimen exam

The full specimen exam is reflective of the live exam experience in terms of its structure, range of questions and functionality.

If you want to sit the specimen in exam style conditions you should answer the questions presented within a 3-hour time period without reviewing the solution material. Due to the specimen exam being delivered in an online browser, please be aware that as soon as you end the exam, your answers will not be saved. If you want to retain your answers to the constructed response questions, you should take screenshots before exiting the exam.

The full specimen should be the main resource that you use to become familiar with the different styles of questions and all of the functionality you will see in the exam. You will probably want to use it at various stages in your studies. You should read the instructions section carefully as this explains all of the aspects of the exam very thoroughly, and you can then spend time trying them out. You will feel far more confident in the live exam if you are familiar with how to navigate through the exam and how to use the various help screens and references. The instructions also identify some small differences between the specimen and live exams, for example the specimen exam is not timed.

Extra constructed response questions

This resource contains an extra set of constructed response questions (long questions), giving you more practice in answering these questions using the word processing and spreadsheet tools that you will find in the exam.

This is designed to be used when you have studied the whole syllabus, as part of your revision and final preparation for the exam. Answering exam standard questions that are set and answered in the same way as in the live exam should be a core part of your preparation. Remember, if you want to retain your answers to these questions, you should take screenshots before exiting the exam.

Constructed response workspace

This resource has been prepared to allow you to answer as many exam style questions as you want using wordprocessing and spreadsheet answer spaces just like those in the live exam.

This means that you can select questions from your study materials (ACCA recommends that you use the question and answer banks published by ACCA's Approved Content Providers) and answer these in the workspace. In the live exam, each requirement will have an answer space attached to it. In the workspace, you will have to select which is the most appropriate. This is generally very obvious – answers that are mainly narrative should be produced in the word processing answer spaces, and those that are mainly numerical should be answered in the spreadsheet spaces. Remember to review your answers against those in your study materials before you exit the workspace.

You may also find it useful to use the workspace to 'play' with the functionality and try out different ways you might want to present your narrative or numerical answers.

Further information

The supporting you with CBEs video provides more information on how the exams are structured and marked, and the different types of question.

You can also read our Guide to ACCA session CBEs (PDF, 9MB) or Gude to ACCA session CBEs for LW and TX variants (PDF, 6MB). These in-depth guides describe what the CBEs are like, explaining the different question types in detail and what you'll have to do to answer them. Additionally, they provide information on the full exam functionality and all the useful tools within the exam to support you.

How do I access session CBE specimen exams

CBE specimen exams can be accessed via the student exam support resource finder.

What are the system requirements for session CBE specimen exams?

Internet browsers

Supported browsers are as follows:

Browser Version
Chrome 31.0
Firefox 33.0
Internet Explorer 11.0
Safari 8.0

Windows users

Please ensure you have applied the Microsoft update to support the new currency symbol for the Russian rouble (Windows 7 and above).

Browser/screen settings

To ensure the exams display and function as intended, please check that:

  • pop-up blockers on your browser are disabled before commencing your exam 
  • your screen resolution is set to 1280 x 1024 (if your device supports this resolution)
  • your screen is in full screen mode.

Exam support resources

Return to the exam resource finder to locate other materials to help with your studies