How to earn Professional Skills marks in ACCA SBL

How to approach the Strategic Business Leader (SBL) exam

How to earn Professional Skills marks in  ACCA SBL



SBL is a 4 hour integrated case study which examines a breadth of organisational functions. It assesses not only technical and ethical skills but the professional skills expected of effective leaders and advisers to senior management. 

The rationale for the syllabus can be summarized as follows: 

1. Leadership and governance.

2. Strategy requires an understanding of risk management.

3. Technology and data analytics are transforming businesses.

4. Organisational control includes internal audit.

5. Financial aspects support decision making.

6.  Innovation, performance excellence and change management are essential to organisational success.

How to Earn Professional Skills marks.

20% of the total marks will be allocated to Professional Skills:

 Read each requirement:

 Note the specified answer format (e.g. a memo) 

• Identify the professional skill (e.g. skepticism) and recall the sub-skills (e.g. probe, question, challenge) 

• Read the prompt for how to demonstrate (e.g. ‘by challenging the comments made at the emergency meeting’)

Bear this skill in mind as you

• Read the requirement again 

• Actively read the relevant exhibit (e.g. transcript of emergency meeting) 

• Think about and plan your answer points 

When you prepare your answer:

• Present it in the specified format 

• Use suitable headings and subheadings 

• Make only relevant points 

• Avoid repetition 

• Write clearly and concisely 

• Keep your tone professional 

You should complete the Ethics and Professional Skills Module before attempting any of the Strategic Professional examination
Most frequently used SBL exam verbs:

Read this article for more about exam verbs

Tips for success in the SBL exam

✓ Plan to study the syllabus content as quickly as possible.

✓ Start practicing case study questions as soon as possible. If you’re preparing for an SBL CBE, visit this page for guidance on how to approach question practice, including using the new ACCA Practice Platform. 

✓ Attempt each specimen and past exam in 4 hours and in full.

✓ Work on your professional skills from the outset .

Links to support resources


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