How to overcome the Requirement 3 stumbling block

5 August 2020

In our experience, having marked many ICAEW Case Study scripts, the common barrier to passing the ACA Case Study exam is Requirement 3.

Taken by itself, Requirement 3 is not especially challenging. So why do so many fail this section?

What goes wrong? 

Firstly, 4 hours is a long time, and by the time you get to Requirement 3 you are already tired. Secondly, as the exam goes on there are a number of factors that conspire to prevent you from starting Requirement 3 on time. These can include:

  • The time you take to do Appendix 1
  • Writing too much for Requirement 1
  • Not being on top of the calculations for Appendix 2
  • Planning too slowly
  • Not having good enough AI notes


When you start to fall behind in the exam you become more stressed, you start to make poor decisions and you lose focus. This will often result in you answering the Requirement 3 that you want to answer rather than the one that is set.

Practice, practice, practice to pass

The Case Study exam is asking you to apply your knowledge. It is not enough to know how to use tools such as Porter’s, you need to demonstrate how that information can be used to offer professional business advice.

Pulling this together in a report that hits all the required competency grades is a skill and the best way to refine any skill is to practice it.

Mock Exams are the perfect tool for this, especially when they can be marked to ICAEW standards with feedback so you can determine areas that require improvement.

Mock exams with marking can help you:

  • Refine your technique
  • Gradually build your stamina – 4 hours is a long time to focus intently
  • Build your speed – once you know how to get the marks, you need to ensure you can hit those marks in the designated timeframe
  • Apply your AI knowledge
  • Make improvements based on marks feedback


Ideally, you would complete 3-4 Mock Exams based on the live AI. If you have not yet started your mock exam practice take a good look at your plans and see if you can squeeze in at least two so you have some feedback and pointers on areas for improvement ahead of the Scour ICAEW Case Study exam on 26 August.

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