A Comprehensive Guide to the ACCA Applied Knowledge Exams

Here we unpack the structure and challenges of the ACCA Applied Knowledge exams, and offer useful tips and advice on how best to pass your Applied Knowledge exams.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a renowned qualification that brings with it immense respect, challenging exams, and the promise of a rewarding career. If you’re a beginner looking to understand ACCA, it’s likely you’ve come across the term ‘Applied Knowledge exams.’ What are they? How can you prepare? Let’s delve into it.

1. What are the ACCA Applied Knowledge Exams?

The ACCA qualification structure is divided into three levels: 

- Applied Knowledge

- Applied Skills

- Strategic Professional

The Applied Knowledge level is the foundation of the ACCA qualification. It introduces students to the main areas of financial and management accounting, ensuring they understand and can convey their comprehension of the basic theories, principles, and techniques.

The exams under this level include:

- BT (Business and Technology)

- MA (Management Accounting)

- FA (Financial Accounting)

2. What to Expect as a Beginner?

Understanding the Format: The Applied Knowledge exams are computer-based and can be taken at any time of the year. They're assessed with multiple-choice questions and are two hours long.

The Content: The material in these exams will establish the groundwork for the subsequent levels. Expect to get familiarised with the business world, basic management accounting techniques, and the fundamentals of financial accounting.

The Difficulty: While these exams are considered foundational, they are by no means a cakewalk. You’ll be required to not just memorise but understand and apply concepts.

3. Common Mistakes Students Make and How to Avoid Them

- Overconfidence: Because these are foundational exams, some students might assume they’re overly simple. Don’t fall into this trap. Dedicate ample time to study.

- Ignoring the Syllabus: ACCA provides a detailed syllabus for each exam. Always refer to it, as it clearly outlines what you should know.

- Relying Solely on Memory: ACCA is not about rote learning. It’s about understanding and applying knowledge. Practice problem-solving regularly.

4. Tips and Guidance Specific to the Applied Knowledge Exams

- Consistent Revision: Begin with the end in mind. Allocate the last couple of weeks before the exam solely for revision.

- Practical Application: Whenever possible, try to relate the concepts to real-world situations. This can help in retaining information and understanding its applicability.

- Make Use of ACCA’s Resources: ACCA provides a wealth of resources for each exam, including specimen exams, study support guides, and technical articles. Use them. Expore them here.

- Seek Feedback: Past ACCA examiners and tutors often advise students to get feedback on their performance. Whether through mock tests or study groups, know where you stand.

5. Quotes and Advice from ACCA Examiners, Tutors, and Students

- “Do not underestimate the Applied Knowledge exams. They lay the foundation for what’s to come.” – *ACCA Tutor*

- “Read the questions carefully. Sometimes, the answer is hidden within the question itself.” – *ACCA Examiner*

- “I wish I’d made better use of the technical articles provided by ACCA. They really simplify complex topics.” – *ACCA Student*

6. Embarking on the ACCA Journey: Getting Started

- Eligibility Check: Before enrolling, ensure you meet the ACCA’s eligibility criteria, which typically requires a minimum set of qualifications.

- Enrolment: Once eligible, you can register with ACCA and get access to a plethora of study resources.

- Plan Your Study: Structure a study plan. Allocate specific hours daily, decide on the number of topics you’ll cover in a week, and stick to the schedule.

- Join a Tuition Provider: Consider joining a tuition provider or an ACCA approved learning partner. Their structured approach can be beneficial. And you knew this was coming, BUT: VIVA, as an award-winning accountancy tuition provider and ACCA Silver Learning Partner, offers expert guidance on ACCA - at genuinely groundbreaking prices. Explore VIVA’s courses and popular “All Access” membership here.

- Be Part of the ACCA Community: Join ACCA forums, student communities, and engage in discussions. They can be an excellent resource for study tips and moral support.


The ACCA Applied Knowledge exams serve as a critical stepping stone in your ACCA journey. While they are foundational, they require dedication, consistent effort, and a strategic approach. The knowledge and skills acquired at this stage will be instrumental as you progress to the higher levels of the ACCA qualification.

Remember, every ACCA affiliate has been through this stage, and with the right mindset and resources, you can effectively navigate this phase and set yourself up for success in the subsequent levels. Best of luck!

Get the Ultimate ACCA Subject-by-Subject Pass Guide

Join our mailing list below and get this 64-page eBook FREE!

Congrats! You can now access your 64-page ACCA guide
Download Your ACCA Guide
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.