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am I smart enough for ACA

Hi!

I just graduated from Bristol with 2.1 in Chemistry.
I have never been the best in exams and it took me more than others to achieve my result of 2.1.

For example on average people did 40-45 hours of uni work per week.
I did about 50-60.

This got me wondering that I may not be smart enough to do an ACA qualification as even if I study for my entire time off job I may not get enough time to prepare for the exams. Only getting 3 low As at A level despite literally doing only studying and nothing else (others achieved all A*s with less effort )

I managed this degree with about 8 hours of part time job a week. I had no social life in my last year as I spent 95% of my time studying/working.
The very few hours a week I spent gaming or watching Netflix.
So, I am comfortable being alone.

May I ask if you think I could pass those exams ( Am I smart enough? )
Yes you’re absolutely smart enough to pass them. The difficulty of the ACA exams is extremely exaggerated. None of them are particularly difficult. Some can just be extremely time pressured.

Also ACA exams aren’t really a test of your intelligence. They’re very skills based and you develop those skills over the course of the qualification. Take for instance BST and Case, they’re completely skills based exams.

Also the good thing about these exams is the pass mark being 55% for the first 12 exams and 50% for the final 3 so you can always balance having a normal fun life with exams without the worry of having to get a high mark to pass.

I really enjoyed doing the ACA so would definitely recommend if it’s something you want to do.
Original post by MarkJohnson97
Yes you’re absolutely smart enough to pass them. The difficulty of the ACA exams is extremely exaggerated. None of them are particularly difficult. Some can just be extremely time pressured.

Also ACA exams aren’t really a test of your intelligence. They’re very skills based and you develop those skills over the course of the qualification. Take for instance BST and Case, they’re completely skills based exams.

Also the good thing about these exams is the pass mark being 55% for the first 12 exams and 50% for the final 3 so you can always balance having a normal fun life with exams without the worry of having to get a high mark to pass.

I really enjoyed doing the ACA so would definitely recommend if it’s something you want to do.


I'm sorry this is absolute absolute nonsense and I can't tell if this is sarcasm.

ACA exams are horrendous and anyone who tells you different is a liar. Im no mug and am a prizewinner for one of the professionals, I have a degree in biomedicine and a masters in business, and they are without doubt the most difficult exams I have ever sat.

There is an enormous amount of content to learn, the exams after the first 6 are horribly time pressured, and it's very common for people to fail and get fired from their training contract

I'm not trying to gate keep the profession or deter you but I was fed all the same old **** about the difficulty is overexaggerated and its all so manageable with a work life balance.

It's not. If you want an idea of what you're getting into browse the forum about CR and SBM yesterday.

The reality is you will be working and over timing on a training contract and then studying in the evenings and weekends. Kiss your weekends goodbye when exam season is up and this can last for months at a time for the professionals.

Having said all of this - do not worry about not being clever enough. If you do Chem you've already got a working understanding and ability to manipulate data and figures. This wil help you a lot. All of the technical stuff you will learn and be taught at college and home study. The other poster is right in the sense its not about intelligence but it's about grit and resilience to get through to the end. So yes you're clever enough and probably cleverer doing chem than most aca students who do history and all sorts and have limited experience working with data and figures but it's grit and resilience you need rather than brains.

Just make sure you are aware of what you're getting yourself into as a three year training contract with any top firm is just brutal. I say that having been there myself and whilst the opportunities if you can make it to the end are great, many don't.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by KingBoo1995
I'm sorry this is absolute absolute nonsense and I can't tell if this is sarcasm.

ACA exams are horrendous and anyone who tells you different is a liar. Im no mug and am a prizewinner for one of the professionals, I have a degree in biomedicine and a masters in business, and they are without doubt the most difficult exams I have ever sat.

There is an enormous amount of content to learn, the exams after the first 6 are horribly time pressured, and it's very common for people to fail and get fired from their training contract

I'm not trying to gate keep the profession or deter you but I was fed all the same old **** about the difficulty is overexaggerated and its all so manageable with a work life balance.

It's not. If you want an idea of what you're getting into browse the forum about CR and SBM yesterday.

The reality is you will be working and over timing on a training contract and then studying in the evenings and weekends. Kiss your weekends goodbye when exam season is up and this can last for months at a time for the professionals.

Having said all of this - do not worry about not being clever enough. If you do Chem you've already got a working understanding and ability to manipulate data and figures. This wil help you a lot. All of the technical stuff you will learn and be taught at college and home study. The other poster is right in the sense its not about intelligence but it's about grit and resilience to get through to the end. So yes you're clever enough and probably cleverer doing chem than most aca students who do history and all sorts and have limited experience working with data and figures but it's grit and resilience you need rather than brains.

Just make sure you are aware of what you're getting yourself into as a three year training contract with any top firm is just brutal. I say that having been there myself and whilst the opportunities if you can make it to the end are great, many don't.


Hey!
Thank you for honesty.
May I ask how many people made it through from your memory.
Also, May I ask if I will have enough time for the gym during the contract.
Also, how long should you spend travelling a day to have enough time for the exams.
Thanks

Thank you!
Original post by skyangelbro
Hey!
Thank you for honesty.
May I ask how many people made it through from your memory.
Also, May I ask if I will have enough time for the gym during the contract.
Also, how long should you spend travelling a day to have enough time for the exams.
Thanks

Thank you!

Hi - my comment was absolutely not sarcasm or nonsense and I’m actually slightly offended by the tone. Although I fully respect the comment above that not everyone will find the exams easy, the reputation that certain exams like FAR, BPT and CR have is that they are ridiculously hard exams and everyone struggles. The reality is an awful lot of people actually get their highest marks in those exams because once it clicks, it clicks. The questions in the ACA are so very repetitive which is why so many people tell you to treat your question bank like your best friend. They are also very skills based i.e. apply relevant points to the scenario and having the ability to time manage effectively. A huge key to passing exams like BPT, CR, SBM and Case is being able to time manage effectively. The most common reason why people fail ACA exams is because they didn’t manage their time effectively, not because they didn’t know the content.

I think the pass marks speak for themselves. Some exams have pass rates between 85-90%. Yes, as I admitted they are time pressured, but there’s a hugeeeee amount of headroom on the mark schemes so you don’t have to cover every single point in an exam to do well. For example for a 40 mark question there could be 90+ marks available if I remember from exams like AA.

In terms of how many people make it through - everyone at the firm I worked for qualified on time, the vast majority with first time passes. The year who were below me are sitting case tomorrow and I can’t think of a single person who has failed an exam as of yet and I don’t think that’ll be changing tomorrow.

As I said above the pass mark is 55% for the first 12 and 50% for the final 3. It’s an achievable pass mark. You don’t have to score 80+ in every exam or be a prize winner. You just need to pass.

There are plenty of videos on platforms like YouTube about the difficulty of the exams. JagsJourney is a good one so I’d recommend checking it out.

Have faith that you can do it! Well over 1000 if not 2000 people will qualify every year. There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t be one of them!
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by MarkJohnson97
Hi - my comment was absolutely not sarcasm or nonsense and I’m actually slightly offended by the tone. Although I fully respect the comment above that not everyone will find the exams easy, the reputation that certain exams like FAR, BPT and CR have is that they are ridiculously hard exams and everyone struggles. The reality is an awful lot of people actually get their highest marks in those exams because once it clicks, it clicks. The questions in the ACA are so very repetitive which is why so many people tell you to treat your question bank like your best friend. They are also very skills based i.e. apply relevant points to the scenario and having the ability to time manage effectively. A huge key to passing exams like BPT, CR, SBM and Case is being able to time manage effectively. The most common reason why people fail ACA exams is because they didn’t manage their time effectively, not because they didn’t know the content.

I think the pass marks speak for themselves. Some exams have pass rates between 85-90%. Yes, as I admitted they are time pressured, but there’s a hugeeeee amount of headroom on the mark schemes so you don’t have to cover every single point in an exam to do well. For example for a 40 mark question there could be 90+ marks available if I remember from exams like AA.

In terms of how many people make it through - everyone at the firm I worked for qualified on time, the vast majority with first time passes. The year who were below me are sitting case tomorrow and I can’t think of a single person who has failed an exam as of yet and I don’t think that’ll be changing tomorrow.

As I said above the pass mark is 55% for the first 12 and 50% for the final 3. It’s an achievable pass mark. You don’t have to score 80+ in every exam or be a prize winner. You just need to pass.

There are plenty of videos on platforms like YouTube about the difficulty of the exams. JagsJourney is a good one so I’d recommend checking it out.

Have faith that you can do it! Well over 1000 if not 2000 people will qualify every year. There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t be one of them!


I truly appreciate your time and the amount of details you gave me. I am just so glad there are people like you on the internet.
Big thank you to you.
:smile:
Original post by skyangelbro
I truly appreciate your time and the amount of details you gave me. I am just so glad there are people like you on the internet.
Big thank you to you.
:smile:

No worries :smile:

If you have any questions drop me a private message. I’m more than willing to help talk you through anything ACA related.
I agree with Mark, i've not started yet, but the accounting exams in uni i've taken (allowing me to be exempt from some exams so they must be similar to ACA) were very repetitive. The questions I got given were difficult but if you can do those, you could do the exams, so practice is the way to go. many topics in accounting does not really contain crazy concepts, you just need to see how it's applied and then you know what they mean

I think and I hope that much of the difficulty of ACA is that it is because you are doing it alongside a full time job, which means your time management skills need to be good.
On top of this i've met so many people who go into the ACA from a non-accounting background and do well. If you can get through chemistry concepts, you can get through accounting ones.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 8
Original post by skyangelbro
Hi!

I just graduated from Bristol with 2.1 in Chemistry.
I have never been the best in exams and it took me more than others to achieve my result of 2.1.

For example on average people did 40-45 hours of uni work per week.
I did about 50-60.

This got me wondering that I may not be smart enough to do an ACA qualification as even if I study for my entire time off job I may not get enough time to prepare for the exams. Only getting 3 low As at A level despite literally doing only studying and nothing else (others achieved all A*s with less effort )

I managed this degree with about 8 hours of part time job a week. I had no social life in my last year as I spent 95% of my time studying/working.
The very few hours a week I spent gaming or watching Netflix.
So, I am comfortable being alone.

May I ask if you think I could pass those exams ( Am I smart enough? )


Hi,

This probably goes through everyone's mind before they start the ACA exams (It definitely did mine)..

I would say they're manageable if you're disciplined but I wouldn't say they're easy. The content in particular isn't hard but the volume of content can be abit much, especially when you're doing a full time job and doing multiple exams at the same time. This added with the pressure of potentially losing your job if you fail (every company has a different policy so best to check this) doesn't help with the stress but it's part of the process and something you need to just accept because ultimately the firms are paying you a salary and paying for your courses/materials etc...

I think as long as you have the right attitude, motivation and follow what your tutors say at college then you should be fine. You can't really go in with the attitude of cramming last minute. Structure your time in work and outside of work so you can sit down and study. Some exams are definitely easier than others as reflected in the pass marks. You do need exam technique an a strategy on how to tackle the papers, especially the really time pressured one's like BPT, CR and Case.

Just be confident and try your best.
Of course you can do it. From your post it seems like you have strong academic credentials and work ethic which is all you need. The exams arent conceptually difficult theres just a lot of content to learn and you have to nail the exam technique through repetition in question practice. It is manageable if you're willing to put the hours in. You just have to accept that in 6 week bursts you will have no life outside of study and work. Accounting is not a very academic subject compared to chemistry atleast.

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