The ACA Assurance exam will be the introduction to audit methodology for most people. The content allows students to grasp why and how financial audits are carried out.
If you work in audit, the exam should be fairly straightforward providing sufficient time and care is taken with preparation. If you don’t work in audit, the exam can be a bit more difficult as many of the concepts will be brand new. That said, even with no prior experience the exam is very much passable.
Overview of the ACA Assurance exam
This paper provides an introduction to audit and assurance which is further built on at the professional stage.
The areas of examination are as follows:
|The concept, process and need for assurance||20.00%|
|Gathering evidence on an assurance engagement||35.00%|
As can be seen by the above breakdown, the topic areas are split fairly evenly. The highest weighting is given to the gathering evidence subject area and therefore this should be where the concentration of your revision should be.
Gathering evidence on an assurance engagement is essentially asking candidates to specify what type of information is required when auditing different financial statement lines. Getting a real grasp of this content should not be too difficult, especially if you work in audit.
Each of these areas come up again in the professional level audit and assurance exam and therefore it is definitely worth knowing them well.
Method of Assessment
The exam itself is 1.5 hours and given it forms part of the Certificate level, it can be sat at any time. As such, in the exam you will be set random questions from a question pool and so you will not be answering the same questions as many of your peers.
The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions, meaning each question is worth 2 marks each.
How to Pass ACA Assurance exam
My biggest tip for this exam would be to learn which audit assumptions need to be addressed when auditing each financial statement line, and then the appropriate test and therefore evidence required to satisfy these assumptions.
The question bank is your friend for this exam. The syllabus is quite limited and as such completing the question bank and understanding answers to past questions will mean that you are very likely to pass the exam.
How hard is the ACA Assurance exam?
I would say that this is probably the easiest exam of all 15 ACA exams. It may be that the reason for this opinion is helped by the fact I worked in audit, but I feel there isn’t a great deal of difficult content to learn.
I would give this exam a 2 out of 5 for difficulty.