Objective questions for session CBEs

What you need to know about the objective test questions for session CBEs for PM, TX, FR, AA and FM.

What you need to know about the objective test (OT) questions in Session CBE format exams for:

  • Performance Management (PM)
  • Taxation (TX) *
  • Financial Reporting (FR)
  • Audit and Assurance  (AA)
  • Financial Management (FM)

* UK version only

How many marks are available for objective questions?

All session CBEs, apart from AA, are made up of three sections:

  • Section A: Objective test (OT) questions
  • Section B: OT case questions
  • Section C: Constructed response (CR) questions


Session CBE  (all apart from AA)

Session CBE  (AA)


Section A – 30 marks

OT cases

Section B – 30 marks

Section A – 30 marks


Section C – 40 marks

Section B – 70 marks

Therefore, 60 marks are available for objective questions in session CBEs; except AA, where only 30 marks are available.

What is an objective question?

An objective question is a short question, which may be of various question types, that is auto-marked and worth two marks. These may be single, ‘stand-alone’ questions (except for AA) or groups of five questions based on a common scenario. 

What are the types of objective question?

There are seven types of OT:

  • Multiple choice
  • Multiple response
  • Fill in the blank
  • Drag and drop
  • Drop down list
  • Hot spot
  • Hot area

Although most of these types are similar to the those you may have seen in on-demand CBEs, ‘drag and drop’ questions are found only in session CBEs. For a detailed description of these types see ‘Your guide to ACCA CBEs’.    

Where do I record my answers to OTs?

The answers to OTs must be recorded on screen following the instruction given (eg to match using drag and drop). The answers to CR questions must be keyed in in the workspace provided. On screen instructions are detailed before the first question and are available throughout the exam in the reference materials under ‘Help’.

For the OTs, do we need to show our workings?

No, you are not required to show your workings for OTs. However, as you may need to perform some calculations to arrive at your answer, an on screen ‘scratch pad’ is provided. Note that although the scratch page will retain all your notes and working it will not be marked. Therefore, for CR questions, anything you want the marker to see must be recorded using the spreadsheet or word processing tools in the CR answer space.

Will we be given scrap paper for workings?

Centre exams – Yes, scrap paper will be provided at the exam centre for workings or notes. However, this will not be marked.

Remote exams – No, for exam security purposes, no scrap paper is allowed on your desk. These measures are necessary in order for us to maintain the same level of exam rigour as we have at our exam centres, where scrap paper can be used because it is distributed by face-to-face invigilation staff. To make notes during the exam, you can use the digital scratchpad within the exam platform, which you can practice using on the CBE practice platform.

Will we be given marks for workings for OTs or is it simply just right or wrong?

A correct answer will score the two marks available and an incorrect answer will score zero. Partial marks are not awarded for OTs. 

Do we lose marks for incorrect answers to OTs?

If your answer is incorrect (whether selected from options or keyed in to fill in the blank) then you won’t score the two marks for that question, but you will not be penalised further. This means there is nothing to be gained by leaving an OT unanswered. If you are stuck on a question, then – as a last resort – it is worth making a ‘best guess’ and moving on. Use the ‘Flag for Review’ button to help you navigate to these questions quickly, if you have time to revisit them.

Can an answer to an individual question in an OT case be dependent on another answer?

No. Although each group of five questions will be based on a common scenario, each question is carefully devised to ensure that there are no dependencies between individual questions. So an incorrect answer to any one individual question will not affect your ability to answer the other four correctly.

How will an OT case question be presented?

For each OT-case question, the common scenario will be shown on the left-hand side of the screen and each individual question will be presented on the right-hand side. The divider (‘splitter bar’) between the two sides of the screen can be dragged left or right to resize them. (This may be particularly useful where the scenario is relatively long and increasing the width of the left-hand pane means that you can avoid scrolling up and down.)

Can answers to OTs be changed?

Yes. How you change your original answer depends on the type of question. For example, for a multiple-choice question, simply clicking on an alternative will automatically change your selection. For a drag and drop question, you will be able to rearrange the ‘tokens’ until you are happy with your answer.

Should I start with OTs?

This is a matter of personal preference. You must ensure you practise your exam technique in advance so that you can devise an appropriate strategy for tackling the exam that plays to your strengths. For example, if you are confident about tackling objective questions you might want to work through all of these before starting on CR questions or if you are confident about tackling the CR questions you may prefer to start with these. Whatever your approach, you need to be flexible when sitting the exam and be able to navigate between questions and sections.

Can the OTs be on any area of the syllabus?

Yes. Each OT relates to a specific issue within the syllabus, and so each exam will include a broad coverage of the syllabus. This means that to maximise your chances of success you must have studied the whole syllabus.

Are there examples of OTs available to use for practice?

Yes. Examples of OTs are available on ACCA’s website. Specimen exams and past exams are available on the website. The current editions of the revision question banks published by ACCA’s Approved Content Providers all contain a large number of OTs.

It is essential that you use all of the questions carefully and follow up on all of your answers. Whether a question was answered correctly or incorrectly during exam preparation, it will provide an opportunity to enhance your understanding of the topic. By reflecting on why a specific option is correct, you can improve your understanding, and while reflecting on why the other options are wrong can help to overcome misunderstanding and eliminate confusion. When attempting questions as part of your preparation, it is useful to remember that the key purpose of the exercise is to enhance your understanding – not just to get the right answer.