Professional Exams


Hi guys!
Thanks for all the good advice on this site - its been v helpful.

Anyways I’ve been offered a job by one of the ‘Big 4’ for a Tax position starting next September. Its been a while since I graduated from uni and done any exams so I just wanted to ask your opinion on how hard the professional exams really are??
I’ve been told by a few people that as long as you do the work then they are easily passable whereas other people have told me that they are even much harder then University finals.

To be honest I am a bit worried but i’m hoping that as long as I concentrate whilst at college, and do say an hour in the evening, then I should be OK I hope. But then on the other side if the working hours are as long as people say they are then I won’t have much time! I’d be grateful if those of you who have been through the process could share your experiences.



They’re conceptually relatively easy to understand. Someone is now paying for you to study and therefore it’s not like university where it’s a lesiurely pace followed by a few weeks of cramming before the exams.

They’re difficult because they’re unbelievably time pressured. You can’t turn up thinking you can figure out the answer on the day in the exam. You sit down and hope that 55% of the stuff in the paper is stuff you’ve seen before.

Exams themselves are varied. Some exams are about remembering obscure details about financial reporting standards or tax legislation. Some are about how well you can bs.

I don’t know how your course will be structured but we get a block of about 2 to 3 months off work just at college in your first year. It’s more than an hour a night. You can still go out on Fridays and have the odd day off for the first few weeks but towards the end, if you aren’t working from when you wake up till you sleep then you’re either unbelievably confident and gifted or plain foolish.

But that’s the first year. It’s always hard because of how many exams there are.


I haven’t done them, but I would imagine as vocational exams the subject matter wouldn’t be harder than university exams. The hard part will be fitting in study during your working week, which is already jam-packed… coming home after a hard day’s accounting to 2 or 3 hours of accountancy revision is hard work. Keeping motivated, structuring your time and concentration will be your largest stumbling blocks.