Make the 4 ACCA sittings work for you

At BPP we want to give you the best chance to get ahead in your Accountancy career. With the introduction of four sittings we have put together our recommendations of what these changes mean, and what your options are. We are here to help and support you every step of the way throughout the qualification.

What do you need to know?

  • ACCA are introducing four sittings per year, starting with a pilot sitting in September 2015
  • The sittings will be March, June, September and December
  • You will have greater flexibility allowing you to choose how to progress through the qualification
  • The extra sittings are really beneficial if you ever have to resit an exam
  • This change impacts you after you have completed papers F1 to F4

Planning your studies

We recommend you aim to complete four exams per year. In the past to achieve this, you would have needed to sit two exams per sitting. More exam sittings mean you have more flexibility around when you sit your exams. To work towards passing four exams per year we recommend one of the following approaches:

Little and Often

You may have felt overwhelmed doing two papers at the same time despite the synergies of doing certain papers together. From September 2015 you will have the option to do one paper at a time, without losing momentum as you'll be able to do four papers per year. To make the most of the time available we recommend that you start studying for your next paper before you've had the results of the previous paper you've just sat.

Little and Often exam method


  • Concentrate on a single paper at a time
  • Regular study will enable you to get into a pattern of study


  • It may feel like you are not having a break
  • You may start studying the next paper before you know the results for the previous paper you sat

If this is a concern, the Regular Breaks route may be better for you. For some companies, the first quarter of the year is particularly busy, which means that studying to the March sitting may not be practical. In this case the Regular Breaks or Combination routes may be better options for you.

Regular Breaks

When there was only the June and December sitting it was common practice to study two papers at a time which meant that you had a break from your studies in between each of these sittings. You can continue to do that, either studying to March and September or June and December. The other sittings in between could then be used as a resit sitting if an exam did not go as well as expected. This means you are still achieving the recommended target of completing four exams per year.

Regular Breaks exam method


  • You get a break from your studies for a few months in between sittings
  • You will also have an available sitting that you can use for resits should you need to


  • Two papers may feel challenging at the higher levels
  • You may need to be flexible with your chosen mode of study

We recommend you plan ahead so that your route takes into account the available study modes at the sittings you choose if you have a preference about how you study.


If you like the idea of spreading out your studies a little, but because of work commitments some parts of the year are busier than others. Or maybe you just want to have a bit of a 'break' at some point in the year (for example for a summer holiday ). You could try a mixture of the other two approaches, and have a 2 + 1 + 1 approach.

You could choose one sitting to have a break from studying such as the busy first quarter leading up to March, and then do two papers to June because things slow down, then one paper to September and one paper to December.

Combined exam method


  • You get the balance of breaks from studying and spreading out the papers making your studying more manageable
  • You can still sit four papers a year


  • You may start studying the next paper before you get the results for your previous paper
  • You may need to be flexible with your chosen mode of study

What else do you need to know?

Who does this affect?
What does this mean for existing students?
Why should I aim for four exams a year?
What if I fail an exam?
What if I want to do “little and often” but have to wait for my results to book my next exam?
What if I want to start studying early?

⁰The 96% is based on part time P3 students sitting in December 2015 at our Reading centre

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