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The ACA exams are designed to complement your student’s practical experience as they progress through the qualification and gain an in-depth knowledge of accountancy, finance and business.

There are 15 exams spread over three levels: the Certificate Level, the Professional Level and the Advanced Level. The exams can be taken in any order, except for the Case Study exam which must be attempted last and in the final year of a training agreement.  

All ACA exams are computer-based and can be sat in an exam centre or remotely, either at home or in the office. Credit for prior learning (otherwise known as exam exemptions) is available for some exams.

  • Certificate Level

    Introducing students to the fundamentals of accountancy, finance and business, the Certificate Level exams take 1.5 hours to complete, have a 55% pass mark and can be sat at any time throughout the year. There are six exams within the Certificate Level:

    1. Accounting
    2. Management Information
    3. Business, Technology and Finance
    4. Assurance
    5. Principles of Taxation
    6. Law


  • Professional Level

    The Professional Level builds on the fundamentals, testing your students’ understanding and their ability to use technical knowledge in real-life scenarios. There are six exams within the Professional Level: 

    1. Financial Accounting and Reporting* 
    2. Business Planning** 
    3. Business, Strategy and Technology 
    4. Audit and Assurance 
    5. Tax Compliance 
    6. Financial Management 


    * There are two Financial Accounting and Reporting exam options: UK GAAP or IFRS Standards. You can choose which exam will be most beneficial for your students to sit.

    **There are three Business Planning exam options: Banking, Insurance and Taxation. You can choose which exam will be most beneficial for your student to sit.

    Each exam has a 55% pass mark, and is 2.5 hours long, except for the Financial Accounting and Reporting exam which is 3 hours long. Each exam can be taken in March, June, September, and December except for the Business Planning alternative exams for Banking and Insurance which are only available at the June, September, and December sessions.

  • Advanced Level

    Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management

    The Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management exams test your students’ understanding and strategic decision-making at a senior level. Each exam has a pass mark of 50% and is 3.5 hours long. 

    Case Study 

    The Case Study exam tests all the knowledge, skills and experience gained. It presents a complex business issue which challenges students’ ability to problem solve, identify the ethical implications, and provide an effective solution. The Case Study exam has a pass mark of 50% is 4 hours long, and should be attempted last. 

    The Advanced Level exams can be sat in July and November, and are all fully open book, replicating real-life scenarios where all resources will be available at your student’s fingertips.  

Credit for prior learning / exam exemptions

Students with accounting or business-related degrees or professional accountancy qualifications may be able to claim credit (otherwise known as exemptions) for up to 12 of the ACA exams. Students cannot claim exemptions for the Advanced Level exams. It is up to you whether you allow your student to apply for any exemptions they may be eligible for. 


You can pick a tuition provider from our list of approved Partners in Learning. You may wish to let your students choose a tuition provider that suits their individual learning styles. 

Exam support for your students

A wide range of exam resources, including past exams, insights articles and webinars, are available for students on our website. We recommend that your students use these when preparing for their exams.

Applying for exams

It is your student’s responsibility to apply for exams within the specified booking windows via my.icaew.com/examsonline. Once your student has completed an application, they will receive an application summary via email. They will be able to make any changes to their booking application up until the booking window closing date.

Exam dates and deadlines

There are four Professional Level exam sessions throughout the year in March, June, September and December, and two Advanced Level exam sessions in July and November. Certificate Level exams can be attempted at any time of the year.

Please ensure you and your students are aware of all exam dates and deadlines, particularly surrounding booking windows. Late applications are unlikely to be accepted, and any requests that can be accommodated will incur additional fees. We also encourage students to apply for their exams early, particularly if they will be sitting their exam in an exam centre, as availability is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you are offering the ACA on an apprenticeship programme, please ensure you are also aware of the dates and deadlines relating to the apprenticeship assessments:

Access arrangements

If your student feels their exam performance may be hindered due to a health condition, disability, or specific learning difficulty (SpLD), we may be able to put access arrangements in place to support them during their exams.

Students should apply for access arrangements via my.icaew.com/examsonline by the following deadlines:

  • ICAEW CFAB and ACA Certificate Level exams - 21 working days before the exam date.
  • ACA Professional and Advanced Level exams – no later than the closing date of the respective exam session.
  • Level 4 Accounting Technician Apprenticeship Role Simulation exam - no later than the closing date of the respective exam session. 

Exam disruption appeal

Where a student feels that their performance in an exam has been adversely affected by illness or other circumstances, they can apply for an exam disruption appeal. Applications should be made via my.icaew.com/examsonline with any supporting evidence within seven days of the exam.

Exam results

  • Results for Certificate Level exams
    Your students will be able to access Certificate Level exam results 24 hours after the exam has been sat via their online training file or by downloading the MyICAEW App. You will be able to view your student's exam results in their online training file.

    Please note, if your student is due to receive their results on the same day as the Professional or Advanced Level exam results are released, they will be available at a slightly later time. 
  • Results for Professional and Advanced Level exams

    Your students can access their results from 12:00 (UK-time) via the online training file or by downloading the MyICAEW App. You will be able to view your student’s exam results from 12:00 (UK-time) on results day via the online training file. You can view a summary of the latest exam results and statistics here.

Exam re-sits

Exam attempts

ICAEW Student Regulations allow a maximum of four attempts at each Certificate Level and Professional Level exam, except for the Business Planning and Financial Accounting and Reporting assessments. Students are permitted a combined maximum attempt of four attempts across all three of the Business Planning exams. Similarly, students are permitted a combined maximum of four attempts across both Financial Accounting and Reporting exams. 

There are an unlimited number of attempts at the Advanced Level exams.

Please note, these are the maximum number of attempts allowed according to our regulations however you, as the employer, are allowed to advise your student on how many attempts you are prepared to support. 

Failing an exam

If your student fails an exam, marks feedback will be available for them to access in their online training file. Marks feedback provides a breakdown of the mark achieved per question allowing you and your student to identify any areas where your student has scored lower marks. 

We take the marking of exams very seriously and therefore errors in the calculation of exam results are very rare. However, if your student has failed an exam and believe that this result is not correct, they may request a marks review. The marks review is not a re-mark, but it is a complete check of all the processes involved in arriving at their result. 

Have a question?

If you need any support or have a question on ACA training, please contact us.

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