The Professional level consists of 6 exams in total, which represents the next set of exams after the Certificate level. This is the middle section of the ACA exams.
As should be expected, the professional level is a step up in difficulty when compared to the Certificate level.
Which exams make up the ACA Professional Level?
The 6 exams which make up the Professional level are as follows:
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
- Audit and Assurance (AA)
- Tax Compliance (TC)
- Business Planning Tax* (BPT)
- Business Strategy and Technology (BST)
- Financial Management (FM)
*The Business Planning papers also have Banking and Insurance variants, however Business Planning: Tax is by far the most sat exam of the three.
How to pass the ACA Professional level exams?
The pass mark for each of these exams is 55% and each exam is 2.5 hours long, with the exception of FAR which is 3 hours long.
Unlike the Certificate level, there are specificity exam periods in which the exams must be sat. There are 4 sittings per year, which are in March, June, September and December.
In addition, each of these exams is a written paper as opposed to the multiple choice questions in the certificate level. All of the exams are now computer based and are sat on software set by the ICAEW.
Which Professional level exam is the hardest?
I would say that the professional stage is the make or break stage of the ACA qualification.
There are some difficult exams which make up this stage, notably BPT and FAR, and passing this stage should set you up for successfully passing the advanced stage.
BPT has the reputation for being the most difficult, and I would agree with this view. The exam itself is quite different to the other professional stage exams, and many of the concepts are likely to be brand new.
All pass rates can be found here.
Be sure to take a look at our exam guides to read our tips and tricks to passing each of the specific exams.