Updated: Jun 22
Choosing what ACCA subjects to do together is a personal choice. There’s no right or wrong order or combination, but there are some considerations to keep in mind when making your choice.
Consider how much time you have available and make sure that if planning on doing two exams you can still give both sufficient preparations to make sure you pass.
Let’s explore your ACCA exams and how to make the best choice for you to ensure you pass two at once.
Finish your on-demand ACCA exams first
Having completed the Applied Knowledge subjects (AB, FA, MA) We would recommend taking Corporate and Business Law (LW) as your first Applied Skills subject.
This is another on-demand subject and follows the pattern of exams you will be used to through a 2-hour computer-based Objective Test (OT) exam.
Getting this finished will allow you to move into the ACCA exam cycle of quarterly sittings making it easy to plan, prepare and progress through your exams.
So, consider doing these subjects together first or LW alongside your first Applied Skills subject to finish them as soon as possible.
ACCA Exam Exemptions
Often your exemption will determine what level you start at and what exams you are allowed to sit next.
This can result in your decision being made for you, in terms of what exams are left available for you, at applied skills level for example.
How Do You Pick Your ACCA Subjects?
ACCA exams can be a step up from previous college exams, so pick subject matter you feel comfortable with based on your previous studies.
So, if you have a strong foundation of knowledge to begin your study from in a certain area such as taxation choose that, particularly if you are looking to combine two subjects.
The following points will help you make that decision:
While knowledge from any ACCA subjects can be relevant in other papers, there are some more defined links that can help across different levels - as outlined below:
MA - PM - APM
FA - FR - SBR
FM - AFM
AA - AAA
TX - ATX
All Applied Skills - SBL
Consider subjects that you enjoy and feel you are strongest with. If you are doing two subjects it will make life easier if you are at least comfortable with and enjoy one of them
Calculations vs. Discursive
While all ACCA exams require you to apply technical knowledge to scenarios, some exams are more discussion-based, while others require more calculations and associated analysis and interpretation.
You should read through the syllabus and look at past questions to get a feel for the weighting within each subject you’re looking at.
Then there are two approaches you can look at taking when combining subjects.
Option 1 - Combine similar exams, so for example, if you like performing calculations and following a step by step approached you might do two of these subjects together (e.g. FM and TX).
Option 2 - If you would prefer to keep some variety in your study so choose dissimilar papers mixing a subject with a lot of calculations and numbers (e.g. TX) with a more discursive paper (e.g. AA)
The Link Between Audit & Financial Reporting
There’s a direct link between audit and financial reporting as an audit is an independent examination of an entity's financial information, so a good grasp of financial reporting is essential.
As such you could consider doing FR and AA together, as the two will complement each other.
Similarly, you might consider doing SBR alongside AAA, however, ACCA gives clear guidance that you should never sit AAA without doing SBR (before or alongside) as the accounting standards examinable in SBR are also examinable under AAA.
Ethics & Professional Skills Module
This is subject that many students ignore or forget about until they have finished all exams.
However, the knowledge gained from this module is key to success in your strategic professional exams - so you should consider doing it before or alongside your first strategic professional exam.
The module comprises of 10 units and lasts approximately 15 hours.
Strategic Business Leader
At the strategic professional level, the Strategic Business Leader exam should be completed early alongside any of the other exams.
This is because the skills you learn from completing a case study-based subject will improve your performance in the other exams, by improving your professionalism and application to the scenario.
What do you work as?
When deciding what option papers to do at a strategic professional level, particularly if you are combining papers, consider the area you work in as an indicator of what might be the best subjects to choose.
If you don’t work in audit or tax, I would be wary of AAA and ATX as both exams focus on real-world skills that may be difficult to learn if you don’t work in those areas.
As such, you may consider doing the other options and finding combinations between SBL, SBR, APM and AFM.
What are you interested in and can give yourself the best chance of passing? Remember don’t sacrifice preparation in one subject by taking on too much.
Only select two exams if you are confident you can put the preparation in for both that will lead to a pass when you get your results.