How to pass Audit and Assurance

Key messages

Remember that the format of AA is different from most of the other exams at this level in that it has only two sections.

There is no choice; all syllabus areas are examinable. Think of this as a positive factor – you do not have to make the agonising decision of what you can risk leaving out of your revision! You will also not waste time wondering which questions to pick in the exam.

It is easy to forget in the heat of the exam that the pass mark is 50% so you do not need perfection to pass at the first attempt.


Be prepared

Section A has three scenarios with five Objective Test Questions (OTQs) for each one. Each OTQ is worth two marks so there are thirty marks in total available for Section A.

Section B has three constructed response (longer, written) questions, one worth thirty marks and the other two worth twenty marks each. Seventy marks are therefore available in Section B. In the CBE the requirements may be split over a number of right-hand screens, with the full question text showing on the left-hand screen for all the requirements of the question. This has a different feel from a paper-based exam, so you should gain sufficient CBE practice to ensure that you are familiar with the layout.

No matter how good your underlying knowledge, there is no substitute for practising questions under time constraints. Sonar Education’s suite of three mocks is designed for maximum syllabus coverage, and at the end of each exam you will be shown some metrics that allow you to see at a glance if you are weak in any of the main syllabus areas.

In the exam

Section A

ACCA recommends that you split the 54 minutes that you should be spending on this section between the three scenarios rather than between individual questions. This is good advice because you will need to read and absorb the information for each set of five questions before answering them. This means that you have 18 minutes for each scenario. Once the time is up, move on. You can come back to any unanswered questions at the end of the exam and, if time is nearly up, you can have a guess. 

Section B

Questions are based on unique scenarios so avoid regurgitating rote learning and providing generic answers. You will need to think on your feet and apply your knowledge to the specific task in hand rather than recall a similar question that you might have attempted during your studies. Auditing is a practical skill, and the exam will test that.

In this section you will have 54 minutes for the thirty-mark question and 36 minutes for each of the two twenty-mark questions. The approach to each constructed response should be as follows:

  • Read the requirement carefully

  • Note the verb for the level of detail required

  • Plan the answer to ensure key points are covered

  • Write the answer

  • Make use of the word processing functions (e.g. bullet points for lists, bold for headers)

  • Review the answer for clarity, spelling, and logic

  • Read the requirement again to ensure that all relevant points have been addressed


As in Section A, once your time allocation for a question is up, move on.

The more questions you practise under time constraints, the better your plan of attack will be in the real exam because you will have a tried and tested approach that works for you.

Key Resources

  • Audit and Assurance (AA) was previously known as F8, and all resources for F8 can be used for AA.

  • ACCA has a wealth of resources on the website: AA Study support resources

  • Specific guidance on CBEs is available here: Guide to session CBEs