Depending on your qualifications, you might be eligible for ACCA exemptions on any or all of papers F1 to F9. If you choose to claim them, you pay a fee and are automatically awarded a pass for that exam.

Read more: ACCA Exam Fees 2017 

Eligible qualifications include certain certificates and diplomas, relevant foundation, Bachelor or postgraduate degrees and other professional qualifications.

For example, say you hold a Bachelor’s in Business Finance from the University of Durham, UK. You’d be eligible for ACCA exemptions on F1, F2 and F3, with further exemptions possible depending on your Bachelor modules.

Check out the ACCA exemption calculator to find out which exemptions you’re eligible for.

Just because you can claim ACCA exemptions doesn’t mean you should, though. Here’s the upside and downside.

The upside of ACCA exemptions

ACCA exemptions mean you don’t have to study the same material twice. You can start at the right level for your existing understanding and skills. This saves time, and helps you qualify for the ACCA faster.

If you want to kick-start your accounting career, ACCA exemptions can help you realise your goals more quickly. But that’s not the whole story.

The downside of ACCA exemptions

Remember, lower-level ACCA papers connect to a higher-level paper where you’ll need a strong foundational knowledge of your topic to pass. An exemption from the earlier paper can impact your ability to succeed further down the line.

If the qualification isn’t recent you might be better to re-study the material and deepen your understanding, so you’re in a better position for the later papers.

For example, ACCA F7 tutor Wojtek Lyjak says:

“The foundations of financial reporting on F7 start in F3, but many students never sit F3 because of ACCA exemptions. The problem is many courses don’t go into the same detail as F3 on important concepts. Many students struggle with fundamentals it’s assumed they know”.   

Read more: Tutor interview: how to pass ACCA F7

ACCA F5 tutor Garret Mulvin echoes this:

“One of the biggest reasons students don’t pass ACCA F5 is because they came into the exam without sitting F2, and don’t have the right building blocks. Exemptions are great in the short term, but they can come back to bite you if you’re not careful!”

Read more: Tutor interview: how to pass ACCA F5

So, what should you do?

ACCA exemptions are tempting. After all, you could become a qualified ACCA member more quickly.

The thing is though, the end-game isn’t just to pass the ACCA exams. The end-game is to become a more astute, more knowledgeable professional.

To that end, you don’t want to ‘gloss’ the earlier papers – even if you can. It’s crucial that you have a deep understanding of all the course material, to maximise your likelihood of passing but also to maximise the benefits of ACCA membership.

If you already have that deep understanding then claiming ACCA exemptions is a good idea. But if you’re honest with yourself and you don’t, you should probably sit the paper in question.

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