At a recent online conference, a team of ACCA experts, who are involved in reviewing and marking ACCA exams, offered their insights on the Applied Skills, Strategic Professional and Options (UK tax) exams. The conference provided a unique opportunity for Approved Learning Partners, tutors and other strategic partners to come together, network, and gain practical insights into ACCA’s examinations.
During the conference they reviewed the 2018 September and December exams to provide students with direction and guidance when writing their exams this year. Here is what they had to say.
According to the examiners, the syllabus has been quite consistent and there are no major changes in Financial Reporting. There are however some key areas that students did not perform well on, especially in Section C of the exam.
In the most recent exam section C contained two questions one on the preparation of financial statements and the other on interpretation of financial statements. Students seemed to struggle most with the interpretation of financial statements. According to the examiners, there will always be these types of questions in the exam. It will either be a group financial statement or an individual financial statement question. However, most students do not understand the difference between group financial statements and individual financial statements and instead try to approach both questions the same way.
“There is a similar skill required in answering both interpretation questions, but it is important to know the difference between whether it is a group or individual interpretation. In the interpretation of a group financial statement question, we expect you to discuss group elements. Think about the fact that you are dealing with consolidated financial statements and not a single entity,” stated the examiners.
How to do this:
- Comment on the fact that with group financial statements you would now have a subsidiary ledger
- Mention the higher revenue and assets as well as the group related issues that would only be unique in group financial statements.
Furthermore, the examiners found that students struggled with how to layout their answers in the proper format. This is where the importance of past exam paper practice is key. “By looking at past exam papers students will see the format in which the examiners expect them to layout their answers. Most students practise on a blank paper and when they get to the exam and see the spreadsheet, they struggle to use it successfully," they concluded.
When doing question practise, the examiners suggest that you use the Constructive Response (CR) work space on the ACCA website and write your answers in there, this will make it easier for you to layout your answers and calculations in the actual exam.
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