How long does ACCA take to study?



Whether you’re already studying or you’re keen to start, you’ve probably asked yourself how long it takes to complete ACCA. In this blog we’ll cover the average study time of each level, so grab a cuppa and keep reading to find out.

As with most qualifications, the time it takes to complete varies depending on the student. Whilst an Eagle distance learning course allows you to go at your own pace, classroom options can limit how much you learn per lesson. So if you’d like to pass as quickly as possible and you can put in the hours every week, self-studying could be your best option.

Diploma in Accounting and Business (Foundations Level)

According to the ACCA:launch Registered Foundation students have no deadline for completion, but this can be completed quite quickly. The three qualifications at this level are:

ACCA Diploma in Financial and Management Accounting (Level 2)
ACCA Diploma in Financial and Management Accounting (Level 3)

These both consist of two exams, plus the Foundations in Professionalism module, which can be finished in 6 months.

ACCA Diploma in Accounting and Business (Level 4)
Level 4 is likely to take you 12 months as you’ll also need to achieve work experience during your studies.

Our Academic Support team says: Based on 6-8 study hours per week, you can expect the full Diploma to take you around 12 months, as long as you are also getting your work experience.

Applied Knowledge Level

According to the ACCA:launch completion of Applied Knowledge could take you around 12-18 months.

Our Academic Support team says: You could complete this in as little as 6 months, if you studied 6-8 hours per week and passed the 2 exams in this time. However, for any exam resits, you’ll be looking at an extra 6 months. And if you choose to take things a bit more slowly instead, this level will take you around 12 months.

Applied Skills Level

According to the ACCA:launch completion of Applied Skills will also take you between 12-18 months.

Our Academic Support team says: Applied Skills can be done in around 18 months if you pass your exams the first time. If you do resit any, or need more time, it could take you 24 months. This is also based on 6-8 hours per week of studying.

Strategic Professional Level

According to the ACCA:launch completing this level also takes around 12-18 months.

Our Academic Support team says: Strategic Professional takes most of our students between 12-18 months to complete, if they’re studying 6-8 hours per week.

There is a ‘seven year rule’ at this level, which means you have seven years to pass the remaining Strategic Professional exams once you’ve passed your first*. If you don’t complete them in this time, you’ll lose any passes achieved and you’ll need to re-take them in order to complete the qualification. This rule ensures that ACCA members are up-to-date with the latest skills and techniques, and that they have shown dedication to becoming an accountant.

Total ACCA studying hours, according to the ACCA: 54-72 months
Total ACCA studying hours, according to the Eagle team: 48-66 months

Our lower estimates are for students taking 2 exams every 6 months and passing first time; this would take you around 3 years in total. Our higher estimates are for students who need to resit exams or those choosing to take it more slowly; this would take you around 4.5 years in total.

Can I complete ACCA in 2 years?

To answer this question, we first need to let you know there are four exam sessions each year. Of these, students can sit a maximum of four exams per session and a maximum of eight exams per year. So, although you could complete your exams in two years, you’ll still need three years’ practical experience before you can become a fully qualified ACCA member.

However, if you are already AAT qualified, you could benefit from exemptionslaunch and complete in two years. Taking all of this into consideration, the qualification takes most students a minimum of three years.

Can I self-study ACCA?

Self-studying ACCA has never been easier. Regardless of how quickly or slowly you plan to achieve your qualification, our cost-effective subscriptions put you in control. Choose to pay when it suits you and access all levels anytime, anywhere. We let you spread your wings.

Don’t let life put your studies on hold. Try an online ACCA course free for 7 days.



The ACCA’s guided hours in this article were sourced from the ACCA website course pages in September 2020. The Eagle academic support team’s guided hours are based on ACCA averages, times from our own students between November 2019 – September 2020, and data models from our AAT students’ averages.