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by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

Paper P2 was one of the more difficult papers I sat for under the ACCA Qualification (then again, all Foundation level (CAT) / ACCA papers are a hurdle of its own, but in any case). In fact, I wrote in one of my older posts previously of how it felt when I failed P2, the first failure in my entire ACCA journey and how I overcome the mental block it transpired.

I did my P2 re-sit in June 2014, with more preparation in hand. Thankfully, I succeeded. My classmates (and yourselves, surely) have all wondered what I did to prepare for the paper. Look no further. Here are the tips to prepare.

1. Know your enemy

“… If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu, the Art of War.

This quote became a mantra for me while preparing for the P2 examinations. Sure, the syllabus is voluminous, one of the few papers in ACCA that contains this amount of width and depth. However, one must understand that we have to progress. The course requirements can only go higher from where we are, and we cannot stop learning.

With that said, understand the requirements of the paper. The study guide and syllabus gives a good direction for this.

However, knowing the enemy isn’t the only thing that matters.

2. Know yourself

“… If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” – Sun Tzu, the Art of War.

It is more dangerous to go into the exam hall without knowing what the requirements of the paper are, and how much you know. I’m pretty sure most of us, if not all, have gone through this experience while sitting for the exam where we did not actually study hard for.

With that said, preparation is the key to success. Question is how do you prepare for P2?

3. Consistency

Now that I know the paper is voluminous and I know full well that I do not have the luxury of being able to study for long period of time (which I am sure is one of the biggest problems all ACCA students face), I decided to approach the paper differently compared to my previous sitting.

I decided to create cue cards, something that is shorter than short notes. The purpose of these cue cards is to act as a trigger for other related words to flow in. These cue cards will fit one side of an A4 paper so that it will be lightweight and easy to look through when I have some spare time.

For example, in my cue card for IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Instruments, for the definition of ‘asset’, I listed 3 bullet points.

Asset

  • Resource controlled by entity
  • Result of past event
  • Future economic benefits expected to flow to entity

Granted, I didn’t follow the standard word for word, but the points required for the definition of asset are all there, which matters most during the examinations. Also, I did not list every small detail that the standard teaches. Some of the items have been taught in F7, Financial Reporting or have been repeated in a different standard.

The purpose of the cue cards is to remind you of new things, different in the standard.

You can create your cue cards now, during your revision period to help consolidate what you know. With my cue cards, I revised them every day, for all the standards that were tested in P2.

4.Time issues

Many people would have run out of time during the exam because they had over written their answers in the previous questions. Thus, question practice is important too.

I practiced a past exam paper every 2 days, and timed myself to finish the exam within stipulated time (with reading and planning time included. That is important too. Don’t ignore RAPT).

I generally take slightly longer time to finish question 1 because it is worth 50 marks, so I needed to train myself to write faster legibly for the Section B questions.

Mind you, these tips aren’t specific to P2; you can and should tweak your study method between different papers because their requirements and approaches are different.

Hopefully with these tips of mine, they would have answered one of life’s greatest mysteries (how does this person pass this paper?). Until then, study hard and take care of your health!

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by ACCA student blogger Shahroze Naeem

Lots of students today face a shortage of time to study and prepare for exams. When I was preparing to take four exams last December, I had the same issue. Knowing I would have to come up with a plan, I decided to use the following three tips to draft an effective study schedule:

1. Prioritizing the subjects

There is always that one subject which is harder than the rest. If you too feel you need to devote more time to a particular subject, prioritize it for the first three months of your preparation time. Study more of it and try to go through the complete subject syllabus within those three months.

This will help restore your confidence and provide you ample time to revise the tougher bits of that subject in the last three months. Now that the tougher subject is prepared, you can focus on the other subject(s) in the second half (the last three months) of your preparation time.

2. Prioritizing the hobbies

I had a lot of activities going on with friends, family and relatives. When I decided to sit four exams, I knew I wouldn’t have time to enjoy all those activities. I decided to prioritize what mattered most. I came up with a well-defined schedule that clearly stated what I could do during the week without harming my study schedule.

A lot of ACCA students make study schedules, but our hobbies are just as much related to our exam success as our preparation for the exams. It is time you define what matters most for you and get to enjoy those hobbies.

3. Having a study buddy

I prepared for my exams along with my sister and therefore we both were on the same page. We decided to be study buddies and help each other by sharing useful notes, tips and little tidbits of information that were important with each other. There is loads of information in our study texts, and missing even the slightest bit can contribute to failure. With a study buddy, chances of missing anything are reduced.

This helped me and my sister a lot and we were very confident regarding our exam success when the time came.

Good luck with your studies.

 

If you don’t have a study buddy, why not join the ACCA Learning Community and link up with other students studying for exams and share your tips and ideas for successful revision.

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by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

How does one pass P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics paper? I was fortunate this last sitting to have passed this paper first go and I am sure that what I will share below will “add value” to your question paper.

Our lecturer told us the obvious:

  • Study the whole syllabus
  • Practice questions
  • Sit at least 3 Mocks under examination conditions

BUT: What “added that extra value” to all the above was the following.

He set up an intranet site on the college server, he then took REAL LIFE examples for each chapter and scenarios we had in the syllabus and posted it there. His material that he uploaded spanned from previous ACCA technical articles, to annual reports, newspaper clippings from the financial newspapers and ANYTHING that we could link with the syllabus.

For e.g. when we covered the annual report of a PLC and all its inclusions (Chairman’s report, various disclosures and so forth) we had real life examples to go and read and study.

The secret apart from the obvious stated above was to understand the topic broadly and then apply it to real life instances, be able to say whilst reading your P3 Text book from the approved ACCA Text Books that “I can relate what is been written here to such and such story which was reported in the news last week” for example.

The best way to conceptualise the above point is to see an ACCA video on YouTube:

It talks about the very principles I spoke of above. At one point of the video the speaker said, “The fundamental principles of Corporate Governance are valid for all organisations” It very easy to understand and provides great relevant and recent examples that can be used by you, the aspiring ACCA accountant in your P1 Exam.

My personal opinion is that in the exam, if you write down, relevant, real life reported cases and link it to your question it will for sure “add value” to your paper.

I am a firm believer and I have no proof of this next statement but I am sure this is what helped me pass P1, understanding the syllabus but been able to link it to real life scenarios.

Visit the ACCA website for more information on Paper P1

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by ACCA student blogger Adhitya Fadriansyah

“How many ACCA Papers should I sit at an Exam session?”

A friend of mine, who has recently decided to study for the ACCA Qualification, asked me the question above and it inspired me to write this article. I would like to share some factors you may need to consider before deciding how many papers to take in one exam session.

Part time student / full time student?

As a full time student you may be able to take the maximum of four papers per exam session. But if you are studying while working, you may want to think twice, or you will need to prepare yourself as much as possible, if you want to take more than two papers per exam session. When taking multiple papers in one session, a good time management is key. Make sure you cover all the materials and do lots of exam question exercise. Whatever you decide to do I always recommend using an ACCA Approved Learning Partner and the right study materials regardless whether you study part time / full time. You will find lots of useful study and revision resources on the ACCA website.

Did you claim an exemption?

At what stage did you start your ACCA journey? Did you claim exemptions from all the fundamental papers (F1-F9)? If yes, it might be a good strategy to take one professional paper first to get a good feel for the exam. That way you can adapt your strategy in the next exam session.

Workload?

Even between June or December exam session, you might find a different answer depending upon how your workload will be during that particular period of the year. I would suggest you combine your study calendar with your work calendar and see how it will work out for you.

What is your goal?

Have you set your own goal on how long will it take for you to complete the ACCA exams?  Even though it will be very good if you can pass the ACCA exams as fast as possible, there is nothing wrong with making small steps and taking one paper at a time.  I have had to resit an exam several times; fortunately I am able to pass them all in my second attempt. My strategy is always to try the failed exam in the next session, that way I can carry over the precious lesson that I learned – although the hard way – in the previous sitting. Initially I am aiming to pass the entire exam in the previous June session, but because I failed two of my last paper I am now aiming to pass them all in the next December exam session.

The answer to the questions above will vary for each person. Based on my past experience, taking two papers per exam session, works perfectly for me. It does add additional pressure, but doing it this way will help me to complete the ACCA exams faster. How about you? Have you ever taken three or even four professional papers while working? How did it go? Did you pass all the papers? Look forward to hear your insight and success stories!

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1. “Keep yourself calm, take some time to read inspirational quotes, and then prepare for exams.” in Three study habits to counter exam stress by Shahroze Naeem.

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2. “For better planning, you may want to create a consolidated schedule between your study plan and your workload in the office” in The 6 parts of self-study scheduling by Adhitya Fadriansyah.

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3. “Try to keep healthy, drink lots of water, and exercise to keep the brain energised.” in How to overcome obstacles on your journey by Ng Jia Wen

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4. “Practice, practice, practice. Download the past papers and answers from the ACCA website and ask your tuition provider for these too.” in 3 tips to help you pass exams first time by Elyse Burns-Hill.

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5. “Don’t copy out entire sections of your notes – it’s wasting valuable time” in 10 worst study habits to avoid by Pantelis Fouli.

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6. “Figure out your study methods –  it may include colours, pictures through brainstorming and mind maps” in How to prepare for exams with 1 month to go! by Naresh John.