ACA Exemptions



My university degree gives a few exemptions for the ACA. However, for one of the exemptions there are two modules I need to have “A pass mark of 60%, with at least 40% in all assessed elements”.
One module I achieved in the 70s, however in the other I only achieved 59.8
Could anyone advise me whether there is anything I could do, or if they round up grades

Thanks in advance!


It depends what it says on your degree transcript - that is what ICAEW check the grades from


Thanks for the reply.

I will probably try and get the university to round it up for me


unless ur planning to go straight in ACA or ACCA etc after you finish i.e your applying now to start next september, i wouldnt advise taking the exemptions


That’s an interesting comment, redfred1.
If you have experienced difficulty in this area it would be useful to share with other graduates who are thinking of applying for exemptions.
Am I correct in saying that the exemptions only apply to the knowledge papers not the application papers?


Oh ok-well I am applying now for jobs in Sept 2010, but not sure whether I will get one anyway :S
why do you advise on not taking the exemptions? I have heard that some firms make the graduates take the exams anyway irrelevant of exemptions



In the absence of redfred1’s response I guess what he’s saying is that if you go straight from university into accountancy, then the subjects are still fresh in your mind. If you have a gap year before going into accountancy and use the exemptions route you may be disadvantaged by being a bit “rusty” on some of the core topics which will impact on later professional exams. It could be also that although you have covered the topics at university, you may not have covered the same syllabus as the ICAEW and there could be some knowledge gaps.
However, if I had the chance not to take an exam and that gave me more time to focus on the ones I do have to sit, then I’d think that’s worth doing.


was going to post this yesterday but the site stopped working:

The maximum exemptions you can get is for all 6 knowledge and 2 application papers

What you get depends on your course and grades

You can apply to get them before you register with ACA but to actually get them you must join - and if you don’t have a training contract you will have to pay the £165 student registration fee plus exemption fee for each exam £60 for knowledge £80 for application

I think you have 10 years to qualify - the time will start when you join (but resets when syllabus changes every few years I think)

Also some companies want you to go to the classes and sit the exams anyway even if you have possible exemptions (or maybe just go to the classes)

Also a few companies (KPMG comes to mind) do not let you apply to the graduate scheme if you have sat exams or been granted exemptions already - they say that you must apply to the experienced roles (Which is stupid as you won’t get them as you have limited experience)

edit: also if you take an exemption you can still get the study manual and questions and go through them to refresh your memory


tutor your pretty much spot on with your reasoning, basically in my case there was an 18 month gap between finishing uni and starting ACA. So i would have seriously struggled to remember alot of the stuff, also in uni you tend to learn how to pass the exam rather than applying learnt material to certain situations and understanding the logic behind it. Alot of ACA is about this application of knowledge so unless you’ve got it fresh in your mind its very difficult. Also with the majority of firms its one strike and your out when it comes to exams, so do you really want to risk it.
Dont get me wrong there are one or two really basic introductory exams that you might want to be exempt from and if your going pretty much straight from uni to ACA then you’ll probably get away with it, but for me personally 18months was too long.


So, did you take any exemptions?
If you are exempt an exam at Knowledge level do you automatically get exemption from the same subject at Application stage? If so, then it makes sense to take the exemption OR are you thinking ahead to the effect on the Advanced stage exams.
My degree was not accountancy, so no exemptions btw.


thanks for the input guys. I think I might just have to take things one step at a time. First actually get a training contract, and then find out what the firm’s policy is i.e. whether they would want me to attend classes and take the exams or not.

It’s true that my method of revision is sometimes more based around exam technique and past papers rather than learning the material itself, so in this case I’d rather re-learn the material and take the exams.


“If you are exempt an exam at Knowledge level do you automatically get exemption from the same subject at Application stage?” No if you are exempt from say Accounting you don’t get an exemption from Financial Accounting

The only application stage papers you can get exemptions from is FM and BS - but it has nothing to do with your exemptions at Knowledge level


Ok. Understood, nearly.
Which seems odd really since Tax, Assurance and Accountancy virtually carry on and expand at Application level to become, Tax, Audit & Assurance and Finacial Accounting. Bus Fin, and Man Info don’t follow the similar pattern at Application level. Since the application level is Bus Strategy and Fin Management. However, I imagine that quite a lot of relevant graduates will be exempt at both stages?
I’m labouring the point now but hopefully this will inform others who may be wondering about the whole exemption thing which even some employers (certainly in smaller firms) are not very familiar with.


Generally yes if someone is exempt from BS and FM it is very likely that they will be exempt from BF and MI aswell.

I think another thing to remember is that over the last few years there have been a number of changes leading to IFRS conversion, soon their is IFRS for SME’s so people who have studied under UK GAAP may need to update their knowledge too - can’t be calling a Statement of comprehensive income a p+l a/c anymore!! (I wish they would allow it…)