We have received numerous requests for writing about How to prepare for ACCA exams? And few subjects are requested many times. Even though there is no particular success policy that can ensure pass in an exam still doing the right thing at the right time and considering experience of teachers and students will definitely put us on the right track. Detailed article covering each subject are in pipe line and will be posted in coming weeks but at the moment here are some power points for each subject that students must not miss in preparing their next ACCA exams in 2011.
Totally theoretical so requires reading and ability to comprehend the questions. Students should not be much worried about this subject as many of us already know many business terms and how businesses are conducted.
Bottom Line: Reading is a key to success in this subject. NO Shortcuts!
Blunders: Cramming the topics which is of absolutely NO help!
Book: Emile Woolf ACCA F1
To many students one of the toughest exams right at the start as many take up ACCA without no or minimal understanding of management accounting. Some others just concentrate on computational aspect of the exam and thus either score low marks or just hit rock bottom.
Bottom line: Practice with understanding is of prime importance in this subject
Blunders: Not preparing variance analysis topic, ignoring theoretical part of the syllabus. Overly reliance on objective based questions for preparation.
Book: Emile Woolf ACCA F2
First of Financial Accounting in ACCA series and covers lot of ground. Many students find syllabus easy to follow but some take F3 too easy and leaving much to be done close to exams which is FATAL. ACCA F3 to my mind is easiest among the first three but lack of practice can make it complete headache.
Bottom line: Practicing long questions i.e. subjective style questions promises not only success but also good marks.
Blunders: Selective study and skipping topics like Cash Flows Statements, Control Accounts, Single Entry system. Just practicing objective type questions.
Book: Emile Woolf ACCA F3
This is a theoretical subject whose purpose is to ensure that students have an understanding of legal framework, case laws, legal terminologies and case scenarios. Its knowledge relating to share capital is examined in paper F7 and P2 and corporate governance in F8
Bottom Line: Students need to give time to this subject as it is lengthy and only by constant practice will they be able to understand and implement the case laws in the scenario questions.
Blunders: Not practicing how to interpret questions in relation to particular legal implications. Ignoring landmark cases.
Study Text: Emile Woolf ACCA F4
A major step forward after ACCA F2 and focusing right on planning and control functions of management and how management accounting supplements these two managerial roles. Students must realize that this paper is not Advanced Management Accounting but Performance MANAGEMENT. This one last word changes the whole scope of the exam and because of this just mastering numbers and calculations is definitely not enough.
Bottom Line: With 50-50 balance of computational and theoretical aspect in the exam, practicing past exam papers and reconciling the requirements of questions and how they should be answered is THE skill of doing this exam.
Blunders: Not practicing time management, selective study and skipping topics of budgeting and variance areas of syllabus which are the major reasons of studying F5.
Book: BPP ACCA F5
This paper introduces the students to the field of taxation and ensure that the student gains an understanding of the UK tax system, and a knowledge of income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, value added tax, and national insurance. As a person who is aspiring to become a chartered accountant it is necessary he / she has exposure to taxation as they will encounter it in their professional life and may need to take decisions on behalf of their company. It also provides a launching pad for those students who wish to take up P6 Advanced Taxation.
Bottom Line: Students need to do lots of question practice from the revision kit or past papers in order to grasp the key concepts and answering pattern or style which the examiner prefers. Read the questions carefully and understand the requirements like what does the examiner truly wants to be answered.
Blunders: Too much focus on topics related to questions one and two of the paper, failure to make short notes of the essential points of the syllabus
Study Text: Emile Woolf ACCA F6
Students who have a good idea of topics dealt in ACCA F3 will not find getting along with F7 much of a problem. With an addition of few newer topics the rest is the same as F3 but definitely the skill and difficulty level will be raised. Especially this will be the first longer version exam of financial accounting therefore students must well rehearse the exam back at home and build the computational “grinding” of 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Bottom Line: Rehearsal must include practicing accounting treatments as per standard. Though theoretical part is not much in F7 syllabus but recent trend shows that examiner is now inclined to ask 5-10 marks questions related to theory based topics/concepts.
Blunders: Preparing only Group/Non-group financial statements and thinking of passing F7 exam!
Book: Emile Woolf ACCA F7 | Kaplan ACCA F7
Considered to be one of the most challenging and demanding subjects in foundations module of ACCA course. Students starting ACCA straight will face the subject of auditing for the first time and as after F8 there is only subject which is among optional papers in professional module. Because of this reason F8 holds a lot in itself regarding auditing and goes straight to standards as it is expected that now have a good foundations of accounting and English comprehension. And honestly this is the main reason why F8 is so much feared. Students lacking in English comprehension will find scenario based questions really tough and above that if they are unable to relate auditing procedures with accounting procedures than passing F8 will be like ascending to K2 summit.
Bottom Line: Understanding the auditing basics, requirements of auditing standards and how auditing procedures are done helps passing this exam. As most of the students have no auditing experience therefore, doing as many scenario based questions and involving in discussion with fellow students is considered mandatory.
Blunders: Over weighing the importance of scenario based questions and relying only on these questions to pass F8 exams. Jumping to past exam papers too soon
Book: Not satisfied with any. Making notes out of standards is preferred. But if you still insist about the book then Emile Woolf ACCA F8.
This paper continues where paper F2 ends. It expands the management accounting concepts learned in paper F2 and takes it a notch further. Knowledge learned in this paper creates a stepping stone for students who want to sit the more advanced optional paper P4 Advanced Financial Management. In this paper students are required to apply financial management techniques and upon passing this paper they will have the knowledge and skills necessary to manage the financial functions of a business which include areas of investment, financing and dividend decisions
Bottom Line: Students must have a firm grip on the theoretical aspect and concepts for all the calculations they have performed, do lots of past paper practice so as to have confidence and knowhow of answering the questions as per the examiner’s preference. Proper time management, apply key terms and concepts of financial management while answering the questions.
Blunders: Avoid question spotting as paper comes from entire syllabus, don’t indulge in irrelevant discussion and if the question says discuss it means write in paragraph style not in bullet points as less marks are awarded for them.
Study Text: Emile Woolf ACCA F9
This is one of the essential papers of the professional stage, it is totally theoretical and it builds upon the governance and ethics topics examined in F1 paper, Audit independence in F8 paper and Managing risk in F9 paper. This paper focuses on the responsibilities of the directors, chairman, ceo and other key management personal, how they should use their powers in the best interest of the stakeholders (principle / agent relationship) and the risk and rewards associated with them.
Bottom Line: Students sitting this paper should have sound knowledge of corporate governance i.e. its main principles and codes. It focuses on how corporate governance is complied and implemented utilizing internal controls, the monitoring of systems and the prevention and detection of fraud.
Blunders: Failure to understand the stakeholder relationship and relate to ethical models.
Study Text: IFP Publishers ACCA P1
This one of the most challenging and trying papers of ACCA it is a computational and discursive paper, it builds on the knowledge gain in Paper F3 and F7. Its tests the students knowledge and application of accounting standards along with questions related to consolidated financial statements and consolidated cash flow statements
Bottom Line: Students sitting this paper should focus on group accounts, financial instruments, employee benefits, leases and ethical issues.
Blunders: Students do not spend much time on grasping the accounting standards which comprises of section B of the paper.
Study Text: Kaplan
This paper is the last of the essential papers in the professional, its syllabus comprises of a large variety of models for business strategy, business change, implementation of strategy and feasibility models. It contains knowledge tested in F1, F7, P1 and P5. It main aim is about analyzing a business. I.e. where it currently is, where it wants to be, how it will get there. It also wants to impart knowledge of how to assess the strategic position of the organization, evaluate strategic choices available to it and then determine and implement appropriate strategic action, taking into account relevant financial and quantitative information hence in short it is all about strategy formulation and implementation using various models.
Bottom Line: P3 is all about assessing and implementing strategic models to aid an organization in achieving its long term and short term goals keeping in mind its objectives and mission statement.
Blunders: Failure to cover the entire syllabus with not putting in the required effort to grasp the models thus in turn implementing them inaccurately.
Study Text: IFP Publishers P3
This paper is the advance version of paper F9 and it builds upon the knowledge gained in it hence it is essential that students have a firm grasp of the F9 syllabus before attempting this paper. It also has some aspects of P1. This paper will enable the student to focus on debt and its different types and using various sources of finance to make sound financial judgments. It will also impart knowledge of investment appraisal and real options, the value of the firm as an option against the underlying assets of the business as well as the classical techniques of DFC, NPV, cash flow valuation, mergers and acquisitions, corporate reconstruction and risk assessment.
Bottom Line: Students should avoid question spotting and go through the entire syllabus.
Blunders: Inaccurate implementation of the formula and the knowhow of how to implement them properly
Study Text: BPP ACCA P4
This is one of the optional papers in the professional stage of ACCA and it builds upon topics from paper F5 and P3. Its aim is to improve student understanding of performance management thus enabling them to evaluate the strategic performance of organizations and select an appropriate performance management system which in turn will allow the planning, controlling and evaluation of performance. Some of the topics it looks at are the role of strategic planning and control in the planning and monitoring of organizational performance, the key external influences on organizational performance such as relevant macroeconomic, fiscal and market factors, the use of the business systems, the use of measurement techniques.
Bottom Line: Students should spend time understanding the syllabus and how to interpret various scenarios. Question spotting should be avoided.
Blunders: Lack of past paper practice and inadequate grasp of the core topics lead to answering the scenarios in a haphazard way.
Study Text: IFP Publishers.
This paper builds upon the knowledge gained in paper F6 hence it is essential that students have a firm grip on F6 syllabus as most if not all of it is applied here. Some topics of paper P1 are also examined. The aim of this Paper is to ensure that upon completion of this paper the accountant can provide his clients who could be either individuals or businesses with the necessary information and advice as regards what impact major UK taxes may have on their financial decisions and situations. This paper emphasis on the practical application of tax rules to client scenarios, and the production of professional documents incorporating helpful, clear advice. One of the things that will be tested is the ability to communicate with clients, HM Revenue and Customs, and with other professionals.
Bottom Line: Students must have a firm grasp of the rules and conditions commonly applied in the UK tax system, Inheritance tax, trusts and other topics in the syllabus.
Blunders: Incorrect application of rules and proformas.
Study Text: Kaplan ACCA P6
This paper builds on the knowledge gained from paper F8, P1 and P2, the candidate plays the role of a senior auditor / partner who provides audit and assurance services to clients, This paper focuses on the application of International standards on Auditing, Ethical regulations, practical, commercial decisions, practice management, audit of historical financial information for single entities and for groups of companies, audit-related and assurance services, the review of prospective financial information, forensic audits, internal audit and outsourcing.
Bottom Line: P7 is concerned with International standards on auditing, international standards of accounting, international financial reporting standards, international standards of quality control hence students should spend time and learn how to apply them.
Blunders: Poor time management, inaccurate application of the standards and not writing down relevant points which are required by the scenario based question
Study Text: Emile Woolf ACCA P7