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Sit exam for SBR or SBL first? haven't studied in a few years

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Sit exam for SBR or SBL first? haven't studied in a few years

Hi All,

It is a few years since I've sat an exam and just getting back into it. worse still, am also working in management rather than practicing any real accounting. is it preferable to sit SBR or SBL first? dreading starting back but if I don't do it now, I never will. had P1 but lost it without P3.

Many Thanks for your wisdom,


October 8th 2019 AN ACCA USER 120 Points

4 Replies

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I would suggest take SBR first

October 9th 2019 AN ACCA USER 140 Points
0 Votes

Hi Will,

I suggest you check the free resources on ACCA website if you didn't before. You can get a better idea of what each exam requires and decide how long it will take you to prepare.

In my opinion, considering you are not practicing accounting, SBL can be better to start with because handling a syllabus of strategy, risk and ethics can be easier with your management background. You passed P1 before so while it is not the same exam, you are familiar with at least some of the SBL syllabus. Also, all professional papers, including SBR have ethical components and getting SBL out of the way can help you with ethical questions in the following exams. Another thing I experienced is SBR has a much wider syllabus and can take longer to learn if you are not familiar with IFRS and when you have exemptions from the previous exams or had a long break between papers.

Whatever exam you choose to start with I wish you the best of luck.


October 12th 2019 AN ACCA USER 140 Points 1 Flag
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I am also not practicing accountant and had a 3 year pause from the last exam. I choose SBL because it is more about risk, ethics and strategy, what I am more familiar with. And I passed SBL from the first seating. Now I am preparing for SBR and it seems to me much more difficult.


October 15th 2019 AN ACCA USER 330 Points
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Hi Will

Definitely do SBL first. I passed in September 2019 at my first attempt and just 8 weeks of revision. You do need to cover the syllabus but you can draw on previous management and work experience to help you answer the case study questions.

I've been told that SBR is the hardest exam of them all to do, especially if you're not doing accounts in your day-to-day work.

I found the Open Tuition lectures helpful for SBL -they are free and cover the basics!

I'm doing ATX in December and then SBR in March to finish. I have self-studied for all my exams (until I found Open Tuition for FM) but I will probably pay for tuition for SBR purely because of the amount of technical knowledge required.

I also did take the Professional Ethics module before SBL as ACCA kept telling me people who take it have a higher pass rate but if you've done P1 you may have covered a lot of it anyway. It was only £70 but took a lot of hours to complete!

Good luck

October 20th 2019 AN ACCA USER 140 Points