6 Things to Do When You Fail an ACCA Exam

6 Things to Do When You Fail an ACCA Exam

Learning that you’ve failed an exam can be upsetting and discouraging. Let's look at 6 simple things you can do after you fail an exam to get back on track. 


Just because you did not pass on your first attempt or second, doesn’t mean that you’re bound for failure in your next attempt.

So, if you fail your ACCA exam, understand that failure is not the end. With the right guidance and support, you can bounce back and ace the exam. 

In this article, we look at 5 simple and effective things that can help steer you in the right direction to pass next time. 

1. Don't Panic

Failing an ACCA exam doesn’t mean your accounting dream is shattered. You have another shot at pursuing your career with the second attempt. Even better, this time, you will be even more prepared.

Try not to panic when you receive the news that you failed the exam. It may be the hardest thing to do, but accept your result and remain calm. Panicking won’t change your grade at this point.

Understand that you aren’t the only one going through this. Everyone, at one point in life, has experienced failure. How you handle it determines whether you can bounce back or stay grounded and positive.

Don’t lose heart just because you didn’t get it during the first try. Failing during the first few attempts before acing it doesn’t affect your career path. After all employers only care about the end result, not how you go there. 

2. Review where you may have gone wrong

Review where you may have gone wrong

After finding out you have failed it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to stay low for a while. Take some time off, but be ready to get back to study as soon as possible so you don;t lose momentum and forget everything you’ve already learned. 

The next step is to reflect and figure out where you slipped up. The key to passing the retake is to conduct an assessment to see what exactly you did wrong. You’ve a higher chance of passing once you’re aware of what made you fail as you can focus more energy on that particular area.

If you have only failed by a few marks, the key thing to concentrate on is your study and exam techniques. If you ran out of time, work on a better plan that will enable you to answer all questions in time. If you stumbled on some questions, consider learning more of the syllabus rather than just key areas. 

Develop a smart solution to avoid making the same mistake again. Self-evaluation will get you closer to passing the ACCA exam. 

3. Develop a plan

At this point, you should have figured out what you did wrong. Ask yourself what you can do differently this time and then get back to the drawing board to craft a plan. 

You can visit the ACCA website to get some tips, especially those highlighted in the examiner’s reports and retake guides.

Your plan of action should involve a guided and realistic study schedule! Don’t forget to develop an approach that will help you finish your exam on time. While revising, keep track of your progress as consistency is crucial when studying for all of your ACCA exams.

Don’t dwell on cramming so that you run out of time to practice. Cramming may help you retain knowledge, but it will stop you from applying it in an exam situation and use skills that are fundamental. Mock exams and practice quizzes are key at this point to test your knowledge and let you know the areas you need to work on. 

An ACCA examination tests not only your knowledge but also the application of this knowledge. When answering application-oriented questions, use the scenario provided in the question. Make references to the industries and people given.

4. Be committed to your ACCA exams

Be committed to your ACCA exams

Without commitment, there’s no point in coming up with the plan.

The hardest part is always keeping to your study plan. You can use different tactics such as timetables and even apps to help you study effectively. Timetables are great at keeping you on track from week to week.

Avoid relapses and ensure that you’re moving forward at all times. Passing the ACCA exam should be your first priority at this point.

Stay away from distractions such as video games and social media. You will have all the time to play and explore the social world after the exam. Study apps such as Forest can help you to stay focused!

Also, ensure the people around you understand that you can’t be as available as usual. Use the free time you have to immerse yourself in study while keeping a work/life balance in mind to avoid burnout.

5. Talk to peers, forums or the ACCA community

But, there’s absolutely no shame in asking questions or looking for advice, especially in the areas you find challenging. 

Don’t let your pride prevent you from getting the best mark in the ACCA exam. Go out and have productive discussions with your peers. You can even choose to have a tutor or learning partner to help you.

In addition, you can join the ACCA hosted events in the learning room. Access to these regular events is through the ACCA Learning Community. You can share your thoughts in ACCA forums or with colleagues. 

6. Be mentally prepared

Be mentally prepared

Studies show that despite students being well equipped for an exam, a great many still fail due to exam stress. 

For this reason, it’s crucial to train your mind as part of the preparation for an ACCA retake exam.

  • Be ready to answer the questions in the exam. 
  • Set your mind to reason and analyse problems in line with the examiner’s needs. 
  • Learn how to manage the allocated time well to ensure you answer all questions.

Final thoughts

Believe in yourself and be confident as you prepare for the exam. Keep in mind that failure is not the end and do your best to stick to your plan in order to pass.

Avoid comparing yourself with your friends who have qualified as it will breed frustration and discontent. 

We all have different journeys, so don’t think too much about the exam once you’ve done it. At that point, you can’t change anything. Instead, look forward to passing!


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Topics: ACCA