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?
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.
- 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.
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 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!