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Retaking the Accounting exam


Published: 21 Oct 2021 Update History

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In this guide we will cover how to prepare to retake the Accounting exam including reviewing what went wrong and how to prepare to retake your exam.

Reviewing what went wrong

Don’t be disheartened if you have not been successful: this exam tests higher level skills and you will be able to use this experience to learn from. 

Look in your online training file to see your exam score and a breakdown of your marks feedback, by topic area. First, work out how many more questions you needed to answer correctly to pass – this can help to put a little perspective on the situation. Remember that each of the 24 multiple-choice, multi-part multiple-choice or multiple-response questions is worth 2.5% of the exam. Therefore, if you achieved 45%, you would need another 10%, ie, four correct questions, to pass. This is not possible to calculate with regards to the scenario-based question (worth 40% of the exam), but it can give you a little guidance.

Next, review the marks feedback to understand whether there was a particular topic area which you struggled with. If you can identify this, go back to your notes and work through this topic again. Practise all the questions in the question bank, and once you feel more comfortable, ensure you are practising these to time. For any question you do not get correct, cross reference back to your study material, and compile a list of what you would change next time. 

How to prepare to retake your exam

If, when reviewing the marks feedback, you are struggling to identify a particular topic area, ask yourself whether overall you felt prepared for the exam. If not, then it is worthwhile giving yourself some time to review the whole syllabus (don’t delay your resit, as you’ll need to retain your knowledge but do ensure that you leave enough time to revise and prepare).

If you felt prepared for the exam, then it may be that exam technique is what you need to work on. You should practise all questions strictly to time. A few key areas to watch out for:

  • all negative numbers within the scenario-based question (expenses, cash outflows) must be shown with a – or ();
  • numbers should be entered to the nearest £1, with no decimals; and
  • on the multiple-choice, multi-part multiple-choice or multiple-response questions, ensure you are answering exactly what the question asks – which does/does not, which two of the following, for example. 

Once you have tried to identify what you need to improve on, it might be a good idea to create a study plan so you can structure your time between now and your resit, to ensure you get full coverage of what you are trying to achieve. The ACA / ICAEW CFAB planner is an ideal tool to help you plan. 

On the night before the exam, try to find something to do which is relaxing such as watching a film or doing some exercise. This will help you to get a good night’s sleep and to go into the exam feeling fresh. Good luck!