Plan your studies
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On average, it takes 3 years to complete your ACCA qualification. That's a huge time commitment - and whilst the rewards are definitely worth it, a lot of students ask how they can use their time more effectively and get qualified in the most time-efficient way.

So we've prepared some advice to help you, covering three areas:

What to do after you've sat your exam

Plan your year using the 4 exam sittings

Choosing the best subject combinations

What to do after you've sat your exam

Start your next subject straight away

If you're feeling confident coming out of the exam, you could get ahead and start a subject for the next sitting.

In most cases, this will give you a full 12 weeks to study. But you need to be quick, as most Classroom and Live Online courses start within 2 weeks of exam week!

Wait for your exam results and study an intensive course towards the next sitting

If you prefer to wait, you can still take a late start intensive course in selected centres or through Live Online and catch up with recorded lectures.

You'll need to work efficiently and make sure you have enough time to commit, but it's a great option if you want to move quickly through the qualification.

Wait for your exam results and plan ahead for a future sitting

With timetables up to December 2018, you'll be able to see when your next course is due to start and book on. You'll have a full 12 weeks schedule, plus you'll get your study materials delivered in advance so you can get a headstart!

Resit your exam with Revision & Question Based Day courses

If you don't get the result you want, brush up on your knowledge with a revision course or get more practice with a Question Based Day.

And if you have a Lifetime Pass Guarantee, we'll support you through your resit courses at no extra cost (Terms & Conditions apply).

Whatever you decide, we'll have a course option that's right for you, with selected centres and Live Online offering a range of start dates.

Using the 4 exam sittings

With exam sittings in March, June, September and December, you've got more choice than ever. But choice can be confusing. Do you use some or all the sittings? When do you take a break? How many subjects do you take per sitting?

To start with, we recommend our students aim to pass four subjects a year. We think this creates a manageable workload and will allow you to qualify in under three years.

With that in mind, we suggest 3 options for structuring your year. There's no 'ideal' option, so find one that works best for you.

Traditional - twice a year
Intensive - every quarter
A combination

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 resit any subjects and keep your studies on track.


  • Gives you more time to ensure you fully understand the material which will give you a greater chance of passing and retaining the knowledge.
  • It also gives you the opportunity to apply your knowledge to the workplace and put it into practice to complete your Practical Experience Requirement (PER).
  • Studying for 2 sittings will provide natural breaks, so you have more time to plan your studies around your personal life.


  • You will be studying two subjects at a time which can be demanding, particularly at the higher levels.

Intensive - every quarter

Studying 1 subject 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 subjects. This is because some of the subjects in the higher level are harder, or have a larger syllabus to cover (for example Advanced Taxation). However, this might mean that you have to start studying for your next subject 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 subject, this would mean studying over an intense period of 7 weeks.


  • Allows you to focus on one subject at a time
  • Allows you to study in a steady and regular pattern in shorter bursts, so you can focus on one thing at a time and make sure you really know the subject.


  • You might feel uncertain about starting a new subject without knowing the results of your previous exam
  • Being able to schedule resits could become more difficult as you won't have any 'spare' exam sittings, so you will have to re-sit at the same time as taking a new subject. At Kaplan, we will support you if this happens, giving you the option to defer any courses booked for specific future sittings, to give you time to resit first.

A combination

This approach is ideal if you want to have more flexibility throughout the year and vary the number of subjects 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.


  • This route gives the benefit of flexibility and spreading your studies throughout the year whilst still giving you time to have a study break.


  • This doesn't give a clear window for any resits, so you will need to plan and decide when you might want to take resits. At Kaplan, our tutors and customer support team are here to help you plan for this and give you advice

As a Kaplan student, you'll be able to see a course schedule that runs up to December 2018, so you can see what subjects we teach in each of our centres. And you'll be able to study any subject for any sitting with Live Online or Distance Learning and for Applied Skills with OnDemand from June 2018.

Subject combinations

If you want to progress quickly or you're thinking of taking two subjects in a sitting, we recommend the following subject combinations. These provide a good mix of complex and more straightforward subjects, plus a balance between numerical and discursive subjects. And the exams take place on different days.

For students in a financial accounting role For students in other roles
Options 1 & Options 2 Options 1 & Options 2

Before moving to 4 sittings, many of our students took 2 subjects at a time, so it is achievable. Make sure you give yourself as much time as possible to study for the best chance of success.

Taking two subjects can also be a great option if you want to take a break for one sitting then catch up in the next.

If you are studying via a Level 7 Apprenticeship, you must take Strategic Business Leader (SBL) as your final examination.

Plan your studies