Dec 17 ACCA Exam Pass Rates: Tips from Examiner

Updated: Aug 19, 2019



This artile is about December 2017 ACCA exam pass rates and examiners’ comments. If you would like to read the latest ACCA attempt examiners’ comments and guidance, please click HERE for details.

Dec 17 ACCA Exam pass rates are just published.

There are 5,548 students passing their final exam and becoming ACCA affiliates.


If you are one of them, I must say congratulations to you as it is really a great milestone to you and your great achievement.

In ACCA announcement, the word "impressive results" are used showing a big improvement in overall exam pass rates, especially P3.


It is true P3 pass rate improved from 55% to 56%.

But I don’t agree on ACCA comments as I see the changes are varied for different papers in both Professional Module and Skills Module.

PQ Magazine also thinks it is not impressive at all.

Read: PQ Magazine on Dec 17 ACCA results

Professional Module – Is it really improved?

Before answering this question, I would like to show you a trend chart on ACCA Professional Module exam pass rates in past 10 attempts.


ACCA P1, P2, P3, P4, P5, P6, P7 Pass Rates December 2017

Date Source: ACCA Website

We can see the chart is divided into two groups of “lines”. P1, P2 and P3 is one group above the other group which includes P4, P5, P6 and P7.

Optional papers pass rates are much lower than those essential papers.

Essential Papers – P1, P2 and P3

P1, P2 and P3 pass rates are now steadily above 50%.

It is amazing to see professional papers having such high pass rates which even higher than any paper from F5 to F9 in Skills Module.

I agree with ACCA comment on P1, P2 and P3 in which the pass rates are very impressive and improved.

Optional Papers – P4, P5, P6 and P7

Optional papers are not as good as essential papers.

P6 pass rates is relatively stable and P7 slightly improved in the period.

But P4 and P5 worries me (or you) a lot!

P4 (Advanced Financial Management) – Falling star

We find 2 years ago, ACCA P4 pass rates was ranged between 35% and 40%.

But recently, it drops and now is between 33% and 35%.

I am sad to see this trend, probably you are also with me if you took P4 or considered to take P4 as your optional paper.

So, what’s wrong with it?

Why ACCA P4 pass rates getting worse?

In his technical article “Stepping up from Paper F9 to Paper P4” shared in ACCA website, William Parrot tells us part of the answer.

Read: Stepping up from Paper F9 to Paper P4


He points out the major difference between F9 and P4, in addition to more in-depth technical understanding, is the application of knowledge in different scenarios.

However, Dec 17 P4 examiner's report highlights the main reasons for not performing well are –

  1. Not answer comprehensively on the question

  2. Poor time management

  3. Not structuring question

  4. Discursive answer with bullet point format, incomplete sentences

  5. Focusing either numerical or discursive question

  6. Not reading requirement

For point 1 and 5, they are relevant to the preparation and others are exam techniques.

Based on the comments, examiner considers If you cannot answer question comprehensively, it maybe because you do not study the whole P4 syllabus.

Or it maybe you are not applying all knowledge studied in answering the questions.

Read: Dec 17 P4 examiner’s report


Tips on P4

Passing ACCA P4 is not only studying the textbook, simply reading pass papers questions and answer that you can make it.

My tips on P4 is you have to plan your study and after finishing 1 section, you can go to do past paper questions to test your knowledge.

It is possible you frequently check the suggested answer initially.

But try not to read answers before you write down something on your note.

The learning process in professional level is to think how to apply your knowledge.

Therefore, studying the textbook twice or even more without thinking on application, you cannot pass P4.

P5 (Advanced Performance Management) – Still in low end

ACCA P5 pass rate is still at low end among all professional module papers.

ACCA P5 pass rate is ranging between 30% and 33%, now is only at 29%.

What’s happened?

Areas of focus in P5

It is not uncommon students are confused between P3 and P5 for their aim and objective.

If you perform well in P3, you may think the same will be in P5 as well.

But it is not correct as they are very different.

ACCA published an article explaining P5 focus is to evaluate the choice of performance management systems and performance measures for an organisation to ensure that they are fit for purpose and if necessary make alternative recommendations.

Read: Guidance for P3 and P5 Studies