This post was originally published in Student Accountant
Always allow plenty of time to get to the exam hall so that you will be fully ready to approach the exams in a calm state of mind. Ensure that you have brought your stationery, calculators, your examination dockets and your student identification.
Make sure that you answer the correct number of questions, and that you spend the right length of time on each question. The amount of time you spend on each question is determined by the number of marks available. The ‘magic’ number is 1.8 minutes per mark. So for instance, a 20-mark question should be selected, completed and checked in 36 minutes. Always attempt all parts of the questions and stick to the time allocation. All three-hour papers have an additional 15 minutes of reading and planning time (RAPT). During this time, you may only write or make notes on the question paper.
Planning your answer properly and presenting it clearly is another critical component to ACCA exam success. While you’re planning how your answer should be structured, consider what format it should be in and how long each part should be. Always show which question you are attempting clearly and remember to use black ink. It is also essential to include all your workings in your answer. Do not scatter question parts from the same question throughout your answer booklet. If you are stuck with a question, leave a space in your answer booklet and return to it later.
To score well, you must follow the requirements of the question, understanding what aspects of the subject area are being tested and ensure that you tailor your answer to the question asked. Don’t forget professional marks where available. Professional marks are awarded for the overall quality of answers, and for effective professional communication skills. These will be determined by the strength of arguments, the use of logic, sensitivity to the intended target audience, and for structure and presentation.
Get the easy marks first – do the things you find easiest, it guarantees you some marks right away, and gets you into the ‘flow’ of the exam. You should also select the optional question you feel you can answer best, basing your selection on the topics covered, the requirements of the question, how easy it will be to apply the requirements and the availability of easy marks.
If you find yourself stuck on a question and unable to answer it, then move on to another question and return to this question later. If you don’t understand what a question is asking for, state your assumptions. Even if you do not answer the question in a manner precisely the way the examiner requires, you should still be given some credit, if your assumptions are reasonable.
Success is what you can expect to achieve if you apply all of the above tips and techniques during your exams. To achieve success, you must also sufficiently revise for your exams. Being prepared will help you enter the exam hall in a confident frame of mind, which will help you as you start your exams. Make sure that your revision covers the breadth of the syllabus, as all topics could be examined in a compulsory question.
Another crucial factor in achieving success is practice. Going through question practice and mock exams will prepare you for the real exam. The more exam-standard questions you practise, the more likely you will be to pass the exams.
Remember, the key to your success lies in your own commitment and resolution towards doing well in the exams. So, get prepared, write your own success stories and be prepared to IMPRESS.