Learning providers general FAQs

Can CAT Qualification students go on to do the ACCA Qualification?

Yes. On completion of the CAT Qualification, students may progress onto the ACCA Qualification if they wish to do so, from the Corporate and Business Law (LW) exam onwards.

They can also count the four essential competences and one year's work experience gained to achieve the CAT Qualification towards the three years' work experience and 13 performance objectives required for the ACCA Qualification.

How often does the ACCA Qualification syllabus change?

We continually review our qualifications to ensure they are relevant and meet the needs of employers.

You can find out about any revisions made to the syllabus through the syllabus and study guides and through the magazines Student Accountant and Teach Accounting.

We also produce a list of examinable documents for financial accounting/reporting, audit, law and tax on an annual basis, which helps to keep the examinations up to date.

Why are there no exemptions available from any of the Strategic Professional exams?

This preserves the integrity and rigor of the ACCA Qualification and ensures that all ACCA members, wherever they qualify in the world and whatever their educational background, share a common set of competences.

What are the exam progression rules?

Students must pass or be exempted from all nine Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills exams pass both Essentials and two Options Strategic Professional exams.

There is no requirement for students to sit and/or pass any of the exams together.

Students can attempt up to a maximum of four papers per examination cycle. There are two examination cycles per year: 1 February to 31 July and 1 August to 31 January.

Papers must be taken in line with the following module order. However, students can attempt the papers within each module in any order:

  • Applied Knowledge exams – available by computer-based exam (CBE)
  • Applied Skills exams - available by computer based exam (CBE) or paper based format depending on location
  • Essentials exams – available by paper-based format 
  • Options exams – available by paper-based format 

For example, students can take Financial Accounting (FA) before Accountant in Business (AB) and Management Accounting (MA), but they must complete all three exams before taking Corporate and Business Law (LW).

If a student’s status allows them to enter for exams across modules, please remember that they must complete the exams in order and enter for outstanding exams in their current module if they wish to enter to sit papers in the next module.

For example, they may have already passed Accountant in Business (AB) and Management Accounting (MA). They can enter for Financial Accounting (FA) and Corporate and Business Law (LW) at the same time, but they would not be allowed to only enter for Corporate and Business Law (LW).

How are ethics integrated into the ACCA Qualification?

Professional ethics is at the heart of the ACCA Qualification.

The Ethics and Professional Skills module underpins both your studies and your practical experience in the qualification. The aim of the module is to introduce you to a range of ethical ideas.

You get access to the module when you have completed the first three exams of the ACCA Qualification - Accountant in Business (AB), Management Accounting (MA), and Financial Accounting (FA), although we recommend that you take the Ethics and Professional Skills module at the same time as, or before, attempting Strategic Business Leader (SBL). You must finish it before you can become a member and before you finish your BSc degree.

Are tax and law variant exams offered within the ACCA qualification?

Variant exams will continue to be offered where they are required for recognition in a particular jurisdiction or where there is a market requirement. The table below summarises the variant exams available in the ACCA Qualification.



Paper designation

Corporate and Business Law (LW)

Taxation (TX)

Advanced Taxation (ATX)
ChinaCHN * 
Czech RepublicCZE * 
EnglandENG*see UKsee UK
HungaryHUN * 
MalawiMWI * 
PakistanPKN *
PolandPOL * 
RomaniaROM * 
ScotlandSCT*see UKsee UK
South AfricaZAF***
UKUKsee ENG or SCT**

If a student has only just failed an exam paper, by getting 49 per cent for example, should they get their exam script reviewed?

All scripts are marked carefully. Anyone with a mark in the high forties has their script looked at very carefully by the marker and examiner to see if there are any other marks that could be awarded and, if there are, adjustments are made.

Therefore, someone who has received a mark of say 48 or 49 per cent can be sure that their mark is correct and that no more marks were available. Such a candidate can be at least confident that with a little more work, a clearer understanding and by using a better exam technique, they will pass a re-sit exam.

However, we do offer an administrative review of examination scripts. When undertaking a review we will check that marks have been added correctly, that all pages have been marked and that no other administrative errors have taken place.

The review does not involve a reassessment of the rationale for the marks awarded and the original marks arrived at cannot be changed.  In addition, students will be told whether they passed or failed each individual question.

What is the difference between effective date and issued date for the examinable documents?

The term ‘issued’ or ‘passed’ relates to when the regulation or legislation was formally approved. The term ‘effective’ relates to when the regulation or legislation must be applied to an entity’s transactions and business practices.

Regulation issued or legislation passed before ACCA’s cut-off date (31st August for most exams other than tax) is potentially examinable, even if the effective date is in the future. Details of all standards that are examinable can be found on our website under the ‘examinable documents’ section for each paper.


What are the Certificates in International Financial Reporting and International Auditing?

The Certificate in International Financial Reporting (Cert IFR) offers a broad introduction to the field of International Financial Reporting and International Financial Reporting Standards. It traces the history of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) from its early roots through to recent changes and future developments.

The Certificate in International Auditing (Cert IA) covers the principles of International Standards on Auditing through online tuition and objective assessment.

The qualification is structured in an accessible and user-friendly way that underlines key information and provides useful summaries. It examines and breaks down specific standards topic-by-topic.

There are case studies which are based on real-life examples, many exercises, multiple-choice questions and sample answers for students to test their knowledge with as they progress through the course.

When is the cut-off date for examinable documents?

There is an annual cut-off date of 31 August for most exam papers. Knowledge of new regulations legislation issued by 31 August will be examinable in examination sessions being held in the following exam year.  

Exceptions are the tax papers.  For UK tax exams, examinations falling within the year 1 April to 31 March will examine the Finance Act which was passed in the previous July. For the Malaysian tax papers, examinations falling within the year 1 October to 30 September have a cut-off date of 31 March.  For the Czech Republic tax papers, December and June examinations have a cut-off date of 31 May.  For the Vietnam tax papers, exams in a year have a cut-off date of 31 December.   For the remaining tax papers, exams in a year have a cut-off date of 30 September.

Another exception is for Corporate and Business Law (LW-MYS) and Corporate and Business Law (LW-SGP) which have a cut-off date of 31 May.  All of the other Corporate and Business Law exams have a cut-off date of 31 August. 

Details can be found in the syllabus and study guides for these papers.

For specific details of examinable documents, please refer to the examinable documents section of this website for the paper you are interested in.


How do we find the right study materials?

ACCA has developed an Approved Learning Partner programme through which we give recognition to content providers who have been quality assured by ACCA.

Providers need to meet a number of challenging quality assurance measures to become an Approved Learning Partner. 

How are the markers trained?

The examiner marks three practice scripts produced for any markers to practise on. The marker gets them blank to mark and then can turn on the marks and the comments made by the examiner to explain the marks awarded.

They can practise these as often as they wish till they are comfortable they have learned the marking scheme. A detailed marking scheme will be sent to each of the markers by the examiner to assist in understanding where to allocate marks.

After that, there are three standardisation scripts to mark. Again, the examiner will have marked these in advance. But unlike the practice scripts, the marker will never see the examiners’ marks.

The examiner has to approve the marking of these scripts before real marking commences and be assured that the markers are marking to the expected standard.