Plan your studies around the ACCA 4 exam sittings

Posted on 16 December 2016
Plan your studies around the ACCA 4 exam sittings

Since 2016 ACCA will be offering four exam sittings per year in March, June, September and December. The increased number of exam sittings offers you more flexibility, but may also be a little confusing as you now have much more choice. Kaplan is here to help you plan your studies and decide on the best route for you to keep your studies on track.

We recommend that you aim to sit 4 papers a year, as this is the recommended optimal number of exams for the majority of students who are also working full time. This means you can aim to qualify within 3 years, and will also mean the gap between studying 2 subjects that follow on from each other (for example F7 & P2) is less, which helps you to retain the knowledge.

Depending on how and when you want to study, these are your options:

Traditional; twice a year

Studying two subjects in two core sittings (either June & December, or March & September) will give you 12 to 16 weeks to prepare for your exams and still allow you to know the results from your previous exam sitting before moving onto the next. You can really focus on your new subjects without having to worry about waiting for exam results. Plus, you can still use the other 2 sittings to re-sit any papers and keep your studies on track.

Intensive; every quarter

Studying 1 paper every 3 months allows you to focus on one subject at a time which you may find beneficial as you progress to the higher level papers. This is because some of the subjects in the higher level are harder, or have a larger syllabus to cover. However, this might mean that you have to start studying for your next paper before you have the results of your most recent exam if you want to have the optimum amount of time to prepare. If you want to wait until you receive your exam results before starting your studies for your next paper, this would mean studying over an intense period of 7 weeks.

A combination

This approach is ideal if you want to have more flexibility throughout the year and vary the number of papers you take at each sitting; to allow for peak times in work or important events in your personal life. For example, you could sit one subject in March, two in June and another in December. This would mean you are still sitting four exams in a year, but you have time for a summer holiday.

Still not sure?

There is not one set approach; it all depends on your circumstances. If you try one approach and it doesn’t work for you, you can always try a different path, so it is important to consider the following:

  • Your workload – do any of the exam sittings clash with busy periods at work?
  • Your personal life – do any of the exam periods clash with holidays or events?
  • Your employer – what is their preference and when might they give you the time you need to study?
  • What suits you and your approach to learning – would you prefer an intense period of study with breaks or continuous study?

Kaplan is here to support you once you have started studying. If you book a course in advance for a specific exam sitting and then don’t get the results you are hoping for, you can defer your course to a future exam sitting, to allow you to re-sit first.

Need further help and advice?

If you would like some help and advice on your options, why not contact us at or take a look at our ACCA courses.