Archives For Exams

Man using laptop, hand on chin, looking away

by ACCA student blogger Sarosh Fatima

As the next exam session approaches, the panic starts to strike! For some of us, panic attacks have become almost synonymous with exams, but I can now say that I have found a way to tackle them.

I have been able to plan my studies with the help of ACCA’s self-study guides. I don’t believe in exhausting myself; instead, I have spread out my studies and focused on different syllabus areas each week. It doesn’t take me long to grasp all the concepts this way and it has helped my confidence and reduced stress.

Patience and perseverance pave the way to success. An ACCA student will always need to possess these two attributes to avoid making any mistakes in haste and under stress. Every student needs to have self-belief, and a single exam result can never define one’s ability.

Failing an exam never means that you cannot do it. It just means you can do better. Every student needs to look ahead and think positively, which will enhance their confidence in their own abilities. We should be more believing – and have confidence – in ourselves.

Our exam success is solely based on the hours we spend in the exam hall. Tackling this time and taking control of our nerves will help impress the examiner with our knowledge and exam technique skills.

So, as we prepare for the March exam session, let’s believe in ourselves!



by ACCA student blogger Elyse Burns-Hill

This may be my last blog post as an ACCA student; I have just taken my last two exams (P5 & P7). I feel relatively confident that I will get the results I want in August (i.e two pass marks!)

I thought for this article I would look back over my time as an ACCA student and share my thoughts with you in four points:

1. Don’t give up
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve questioned why I was doing this. It had nothing to do with the subject or job; I really don’t like revision and I especially don’t like exams. In the times you feel like giving up – don’t. The hard work now will be worth it, so stick it out.

2. Early nights
The night before the exam is the most crucial to get to bed early and have a good nights sleep. I have done it before every single exam I’ve taken. Staying up all night revising (however tempting) will not help you in the exam.

A lack of sleep and a brain full of caffeine and sugar is as good as Gandalf standing in front of you shouting “You shall not pass!”. I promise you, I have done exactly as I preach on all 14 papers – it works.

3. Believe in yourself
You want to know the secret to passing these exams? Believe that you can.
Honestly, believe in yourself and you are over half way to passing your exams (the other half is revision and question practice!)

4. Be an accountant
I always think of the line in Miss Congeniality when Victor Melling says to Gracie Hart “You wear the crown, be the crown, you are the crown!” This should be the exact mentality to when you go into your exam. Be an accountant. Think like one. Write your answers like one. Don’t be a student; be an accountant.


A message from the blog editors: A big thank you to Elyse for contributing to the Student Blog; we’ve enjoyed her positive articles and her great advice to fellow students.



by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

ACCA computer-based exams (CBEs) have been around over 10 years for exams F1-F3. The latest news is that paper F4 – Corporate and Business Law, will be converted into a CBE by December 2014.

Sitting for CBEs is different. I have taken paper exams for most of my life, and sitting for CBEs for the first time was quite daunting. There are some key differences between taking CBEs and paper-based exams.

Exam results

Firstly, there is no delay in finding out your result, which saves the 2 month wait from the end of your exam to results day.  So you will know instantly if you will need to prepare better to pass the paper (if you fail), or move on to other papers faster (if you pass).

Saving time

You can also use your time more effectively when revising – because you can practice more multiple choice questions in the same time as you would spend writing out much fewer essay answers in preparation for exams. As a result I honestly felt that I was better prepared for my CBEs than my paper-based exams, because I was able to practice many more questions through this method.

Not an ‘easy option’

Multiple choice questions are difficult in their own way. A candidate must understand the exam syllabus fully in order to select the correct answer to gain the marks, rather than getting confused by one of the similar incorrect answers. That means you are required to know the syllabus THOROUGHLY before you are ready to take an exam.  There’s no chance of bluffing your way through the exam by guessing the answers – you won’t score enough marks to pass.

Other advantages

There are certainly advantages to CBEs in comparison with paper-based exams. For instance, you will eliminate the risks of messy or even illegible handwriting, as well as the awful moment when your last trusty black ink pen runs out of ink halfway through the exam. Bad hand or wrist cramps from writing too fast or too hard are eliminated too.

Once the pros and cons are taken into account, I believe CBEs are a change for the better.

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

by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

A small time has passed since the last ACCA exam session has finished and I’m sure everybody has moved on with their busy lives. Me? I am having a semester break, but I will be busy preparing my Research and Analysis Project (RAP) for the next deadline. This is the final project that when added to my ACCA exams means I achieve a BSc degree from Oxford Brookes.

I evaluate my performance after each exam session to see if I’ve done enough preparation to score the magic number or beyond (50%). I will now give you a rough example of how you can do one of these.

Step 1: Identify which exam you would like to evaluate

I would normally evaluate my performance mentally, but you can put pen to paper. It builds up the learning process and you will remember lessons learnt better.

As for me, I attempted exam paper P1 and exam paper P3 for this session, and P3 is earlier than the P1 sitting. I will evaluate these in the order of the dates of the exams.

Step 2: Review the amount of effort you put in for a subject/paper

This is important as passing can only be achieved through hard work, although not all papers require the same amount of effort (as some subjects you will be better at than others).

The next step is to review your entire study period and determine how much time you put into the papers and compare this to how much time you needed to put in. For me, I spent a LOT more time making sure that I pass P3, to the point where I neglected P1.

Step 3: Evaluate the questions that appeared in the exams

Depending on the level of effort you have put into preparing for the exam, the questions that appear in the exam should be easy, or comparable to walking in hell.

What I really mean is that you need to review if you did enough practice to answer the questions, how much of the paper you attempted and if you had enough time to complete the paper. This step is difficult, as it requires you to be really honest with yourself.

I found P3 a LOT easier after I put in the effort. However, I got stumped at P1, because the questions were worded in a way which got me confused. For both papers, I ran out of time before I could finish the paper.

Step 4: Compare your study effort to how difficult the questions were

This is where you compare steps 2 and 3. More often than not, a question is difficult to answer because we did not put enough effort in studying for the exam.

This is a crucial step as it would help you for step 5, to review what went wrong in this last study period.

Step 5: Review faults and change for the next exam session

This step is hard as you need to be honest with yourself again. For example, I realised I spent more time on one paper than the other. So in future I will create a timetable that splits my time equally between the papers I am sitting.

I also realised I did not spend sufficient time practising past exam papers prior to the exam. So in future I will put aside more time for this.

That is it from me. Until then, study smart and take care of your health.

Staying motivated at exam time

soramsey —  28 November 2013 — 1 Comment

by ACCA student blogger Mike Tye

Often around exam time when friends are carrying on their daily lives, getting home from work and doing whatever they please, whilst I’m getting home from work and hitting the books I ask myself, ‘why bother? They’re getting on in life just fine without extra qualifications…’ so this post is going to be about why I put myself through the perils of extra study, especially with the extra pressure at exam time.

Firstly, and I imagine for most people – it’s money!  When the ACCA did a salary survey they found that 61% of their members received a pay increase in the previous year. You may even be in the fortunate position where your employer offers a direct pay increase for every exam you pass!  You can apply this monetary benefit to your individual circumstances as motivation. So if you have a family you provide for, that extra money could go towards them. Alternatively if you feel like spending the extra money on going out, then use that as your motivation. Everyone’s different, but think of the actual gain you will get from a good salary.

Secondly, it sets me ahead of the competition. At the end of the day, if you’re going for a new job then you’re effectively just a piece of paper (your CV) until you get into the actual job interview. You and your friends may know that you’re a hard worker but the potential employer will be looking at cold hard facts, ie your qualifications and experience. It will also be of benefit to your job security, if staff costs are getting too high then employees may start to get laid off.  By having the ACCA Qualification, you can offer your employer not just accounting skills, but you’ll have a background in corporate law, tax, audit etc.

That also leads me onto my final point, the fact that it is such a broad qualification. The skills you learn along the way mean that you don’t have to be just an accountant for your company, you might also lend a hand to friends with tax advice, you might help your company in producing budgets or you might get involved in internal audits.

Further study also influences my personal life, in how I approach problems or situations. The difference is quite amazing between now and when I was younger, especially since taking on the Oxford Brookes BSc degree and the Research and Analysis Project needed to achieve this.

This leads me nicely back to the beginning of this post. When I come across a problem, I can draw on the experience I’ve gained from either my studies or completing the RAP. So when for instance, I start to ask myself about why I’m putting myself through the anguish of all of this extra work, I look at the above positives and it gives me the drive to carry on.