Tips for studying Paper F5 Performance Management

theaccablog —  20 May 2014 — 3 Comments


by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

Paper F5 is the one where most students have the misconception that it’s very easy, because the paper requires formulas and is conceptual. You may think that it’s only a matter of throwing in different (albeit complicated) formulas during the exam and an easy pass will be awarded. Well, not so. I personally made the same mistake when I sat this paper. I was also attempting Paper F4 and Paper F6 as well and I focused a lot more on these two papers and neglected F5.

True, answering F5 questions requires application of formulas and extensive calculation, but the scope of questions that can be asked is rather broad. If you are not fully prepared, you can stumble in the exam.

Fret not. I can give you some pointers on how you can prepare better for the exam.

1. Ensure you have extensively covered the entire syllabus

Or at least the concepts covered in the syllabus. This should be easier to manage, in comparison to the bulk of volume in F4 and F6 (if attempted together). There is less theory in the F5 syllabus, when compared to F4 and F6, so for students like me who struggle with theory (I tend to memorise it blindly rather than understanding the rationale of the theory), it shouldn’t pose much of a problem.

2. Practice questions.

Questions asked can be in any format and the trickiest part to answering questions in F5 is to make sure your answer relates to the industry being talked about in the question. This may offer an advantage to those who lack work experience, as they would not be exposed to the characteristics of certain unfamiliar industries. Hence, practice as many past exam papers as you can do. You can also buy additional questions from revision kits, which are widely available in the market.

3. Don’t panic if something that you ‘did not study for’ is asked as a question.

High chances are, they are asking for answers that you already know, just not in the format that you have answered before (in past year questions, practice questions). When that happens, first thing to do is NOT to panic or throw in the towel. If it’s called for, skip that particular sub-section and revisit that question after you have finished attempting the paper.

For particularly trickier questions and in times of desperation if you aren’t sure of the correct answer, I personally believe, logic trumps all. As long as the answer that you write is logical and reasonable, such points should be accepted, unless there are other reasons, for example, for going off topic, then it’s reasonable accept that you will not be awarded any marks.

Until the next time, study smart, and take care of your health!


3 responses to Tips for studying Paper F5 Performance Management


    This article is very insightful. I have also made similar mistakes in attempting this paper on three varied sittings without the obtaining the required marks. The most painful one was my last attempt in December 2012 when I almost threw in the towel after getting 48 marks. I suspended myself from continuing to study the ACCA but after a careful analysis of the situation I have decided to write the F5 again in the Dec 2014 sitting. I studied hard in the previous sittings but time management was my weakness. I believe that one can learn well but if time is not well managed in the exams hall, disappointment will always embrace the candidate. Thanks for your tips…


    I just want to register for ACCA in two days time, but I don’t have any idea of what it’s all about because I dunno if one can write more than one question at a time?? say I wanna take F1-F4 on december diet, is it possible? or its one step at a time?

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