What are computer-based exams like?

soramsey —  19 March 2014 — 3 Comments



by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

ACCA computer-based exams (CBEs) have been around over 10 years for exams F1-F3. The latest news is that paper F4 – Corporate and Business Law, will be converted into a CBE by December 2014.

Sitting for CBEs is different. I have taken paper exams for most of my life, and sitting for CBEs for the first time was quite daunting. There are some key differences between taking CBEs and paper-based exams.

Exam results

Firstly, there is no delay in finding out your result, which saves the 2 month wait from the end of your exam to results day.  So you will know instantly if you will need to prepare better to pass the paper (if you fail), or move on to other papers faster (if you pass).

Saving time

You can also use your time more effectively when revising – because you can practice more multiple choice questions in the same time as you would spend writing out much fewer essay answers in preparation for exams. As a result I honestly felt that I was better prepared for my CBEs than my paper-based exams, because I was able to practice many more questions through this method.

Not an ‘easy option’

Multiple choice questions are difficult in their own way. A candidate must understand the exam syllabus fully in order to select the correct answer to gain the marks, rather than getting confused by one of the similar incorrect answers. That means you are required to know the syllabus THOROUGHLY before you are ready to take an exam.  There’s no chance of bluffing your way through the exam by guessing the answers – you won’t score enough marks to pass.

Other advantages

There are certainly advantages to CBEs in comparison with paper-based exams. For instance, you will eliminate the risks of messy or even illegible handwriting, as well as the awful moment when your last trusty black ink pen runs out of ink halfway through the exam. Bad hand or wrist cramps from writing too fast or too hard are eliminated too.

Once the pros and cons are taken into account, I believe CBEs are a change for the better.

Until the next time, study smart and take care of your health.


3 responses to What are computer-based exams like?


    Does this mean the F4 exam will be converted to multiple choice questions. if not how then is the marking going to be conducted electronically.


    I hope its will be better for students, and aslso MCQ’s are not easy to mark in its own way. solving MCQ’s without study is not possible, so the goal ( stdy and concept) both covers in MCQ’s too.


    i found comfort in cbes i passed first time, practicing questions makes you ready

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