All you need to know about ACCA MA exam. ACCA Management Accounting.

By Justyna Wachulka-Chan •  Updated: 11/16/22 •  6 min read

ACCA Applied Knowledge Level

The aim of the ACCA Applied Knowledge level is to introduce you to business structure, the basics of accountancy for business, and the relationship between accountants and businesses.

There are three papers in this level, which we will go through

Business and Technology focuses on business strategy and the pervasive and underlying benefits of using technology in business to propel performance in the modern world.

Financial Accounting which focuses on financial reporting and providing external sources with information on how the organization is performing.

Management Accounting is more internally focused. It focuses on the nature and purpose of management information, as well as data analysis, budgeting and performance measures. It aims to help the business make better decisions.

Data analysis is used to help understand trends in order to predict the future and to make better judgments.

Budgeting plays a big part in an organizations planning process. Putting targets in place and comparing actuals with estimates helps us understand whether or not we’re on track. This comparison is known as variance analysis; analyzing the difference between actual and budgeted costs.

Measuring performance is a much broader issue than simply measuring profit. Measuring performance looks at ways to improve overall business performance.

ACCA Applied Knowledge Exam Structure

It’s a computer-based, two-hour paper with a 50% pass mark. The exam is an objective test.

Objective tests are broader than multiple choice questions. For example, you may be given a small scenario and you have to select a correct answer from a list, sometimes you will be asked to select a ‘true’ or ‘false’ answer, you may be asked to select multiple answers or you may even be asked to select an answer from a drop-down list. You may also need to enter correct figures to answer a question.

The exam is split into two sections

Section A covers 70% of the exam – 70 marks out of 100 (35 two-mark questions).

Section B covers 30% of the exam – 30 marks out of 100 (3 sets of ten-mark questions).

Section B will focus on budgeting, standard costing and the performance measurement parts of the syllabus. It may well also include forecasting and the use of spreadsheets in practice.

Useful Tips for Your ACCA Exam

1. Time management is important

You have 2 hours in total. It sounds like a lot, but it can fly by so quickly!

For section A, aim to spend 1.2 minutes per 2-mark question (or approx. 10 questions answered every 20 minutes).

For section B, aim to spend 15 minutes per 10-mark question.

Keep a close eye on the clock. Don’t spend too long trying to work out an answer. Flag it, move on and go back and look at it later if you are struggling.

2. Pay close attention to negatively worded questions

When doing the exam, it’s important to pay close attention to negatively worded questions. For example, sometimes you may be asked to give answers to questions, such as ‘What is the least…? / What is not correct….? It can be easy to respond with positive answers if you don’t pay close attention to negatively worded questions.

3. Don’t get lost in a scenario

Similar to point 2, don’t get lost in a scenario. Its quite natural to form an idea of a scenario in your head but sometimes it can be quite different to the one that’s on the question. Again, always read the questions and scenarios carefully.

4. Really struggling to answer a question

Try to eliminate all INCORRECT answers until you are left with a higher probability of getting the right answer. Maybe the right answer will become clear when you eliminate any wrong ones.

Sometimes, you can look at the options that you are given and work backwards. So, rather than working through the question and trying to work out the answer, you could use some of the options as being potential answers and see if those answers work or make sense when rotating the question!

You may even have a list of 4 options and notice that 2 of them are very similar. In this case, it’s likely that one of them is the correct answer and you just need to work out which of the 2 makes more sense.

If you have been struggling to answer a question and are at the stage where you need to guess a choice from a list, it’s important to beware of outliers; answers that look very different to all the others, which MAY suggest that they are incorrect, although not always.

Your ACCA Exam Date

When it comes to studying, it’s a good idea to set an exam date and to book it at the beginning, because accountants, like most of us, are very deadline driven! Having that date set in the diary is great for initiative and motivation. You will want to set more time aside to practice and then you will feel more motivated whilst doing so! Get in plenty of practice on the run up to your exam. It’s so important.

Use tools that replicate real exam conditions and use them as often as you can.

Here at Practice Tests Academy, we have the perfect tools and resources to help you study in the most effective way!

Quick Tips for Successful Exam Preparation

Try to avoid cherry-picking the syllabus; don’t stick to the things that you think you’re best at and ignore the things that you’re not very good at because you can never guarantee what questions you will get in your exam.

If there is an area that you feel you are not so good at then it should certainly be your focus when you are studying. It’s important to cover the whole syllabus.

The best way to learn is to work through the study materials then leap straight into question practice. Keep track of questions you’ve got wrong, in particular, and go back and look at them later and discover where you went wrong. This way, you should make speedy progress!

To make sure your studying is effective, keep a diary. For example, set yourself study days throughout the week in the run up to your exam. Try to have a study break for at least 1 day a week, if you can. It will be much better for your well-being overall.

Take regular breaks even if you don’t feel you need them.

For example, if you’re sitting down to study for three or four hours, after 45 minutes, stop and have a 10-minute break, have a drink, walk around the house, something to stave off the feeling of being tired and washed out after studying for too long without a break.

Always keep your eye on the big picture and remember this: Studying is a short-term pain for a career worth of gain

If you bear that in mind, it should keep you going right through to the end of your qualification.

Justyna Wachulka-Chan