With good planning and deligent application of the right strategy, it is possible to pass your ACCA exams quite easily
In an ideal situation, you would want to pass your ACCA exams at all levels of at one sitting. This would, of course, mean you get your professional certification without spending too much money on repeating the exams.
A 2014 study showed that the average fail rate of the ACCA Professional exams is rather high. Across all levels, the fail rate was about 58% percent. This meant, less than half of students don’t pass ACCA exams.
Though this grim statistics can be applied to almost all professional exams, the high failure rate can lead to frustration. This in turn swells the number of people discontinuing the program.
If you don’t want to be part of that statistic, the following tips should help you pass your ACCA exams at whatever level you are quite easily.
1. Adequate planning
The first stage to success is effective planning. Nobody plans to fail. And doing it well would increase your chances of passing.
For new students, planning effectively means preparing a good timetable that is both practical and flexible. You would need to take into consideration your other commitments like work, family, and social engagements.
Then find the best time to fit in your study period heading towards the exams.
For an old student preparing for the next level, you don’t have to wait for the results of the previous exams before you start preparing for the next one.
Time is of the essence here so you don’t want to waste about two months waiting for the results first.
2. Get acquainted with the syllabus and exam structure
Not having the syllabus is almost like trying to take a trip across the desert without water.
The syllabus would help you focus on topics that are germane to the exams. It also outlines how far you need explore certain topics.
Also important is the fact that your syllabus helps you understand the structure and nature of the coming exam. To pass your ACCA exams, you’d find this is an invaluable tool.
This link from ACCA website is a good guide on the structure of all the exam levels.
Also, you can understand how examiners approach questions during the exams and what they expect from you by studying the material on this link.
3. Study approved ACCA texts
Most of the time, personal notes from your study center or from friends are not enough for you to pass your ACCA exams.
No matter how comprehensive those notes are, they are never as good as approved texts from ACCA. ACCA texts are comprehensive and constantly updated by ACCA to encompass the whole syllabus.
So try to make sure you get to study these texts to be on the safe side.
4. Study Smart
Actually studying entails a lot of things. Smart studying means you don’t waste time on material that would not lead to exam success.
So you must:
- Set a target for yourself each day or for each study period. Targets that can be set include whether you need to cover a chapter per day or how many past exams you need to study in a given study period, etc.
- Try to understand the idea or concept underlining a given subject or topic. To pass your ACCA exams, you need to be able to apply these concepts to practical examples. The examiners place more emphasis on this and accordingly assign more marks to them.
- If you find a particular topic difficult to grasp, don’t hesitate to ask for help from you teachers or even friends if possible. And it’s better to seek help immediately. Don’t let your issues pile up.
5. Practice past papers
It is essential to practice past questions in a situation as close to real exam conditions as possible. So when you are practicing these questions, time yourself like you are in an exam situation.
These would help you manage your time effectively during the exams.
However, while practicing past questions, you must avoid memorizing the answers. This is because, as the syllabus changes, exam questions are also set differently to fit the new syllabus.
Just focus on the structure and logic of the model answers during your study.
6. Study Examiner reports
After each ACCA exams, an in-depth report of the examination is published on the ACCA website. An important area covered by this report is the common mistakes made by students during the exams under review.
Studying the Examiner reports would help you in a big way to pass your ACCA exams.
7. Know the marking scheme
As well as the Examiner reports studying the marking scheme would help you pass your ACCA exams.
With knowledge of the marking scheme, you would know what questions to dedicate more time to and how to present your answers to get the most marks.
8. Undertake an analysis of past exam papers
Analyzing past exam papers would help you understand the trends of questions. From your analysis, you should be able to
- Know the type of questions frequently asked
- Which topics get the most questions
- What areas of the syllabus questions rarely come from
With these information, you could plan where to focus on during your studies. In a way, it is a good way to predict likely questions
9. Study the Examiner Analysis Interview
Each exam paper has an Examiner Analysis Interview published on the ACCA website.
The interview gives the examiners perspective on the performance of students and how they think students could do better. Also, the Examiner Analysis Interview gives an indication of how future exam questions would be set.
This is an invaluable resource for ACCA students and it can be obtained from this link.
10. Read Student Accountant magazine
ACCA regularly publishes the Student Accountant magazine. Of particular interest to you are technical articles published about a month to the exam.
In this publication, examiners discuss very important stuff like the impact of changing the syllabus on the structure of the exams.
Other important hints you would get include:
- The likely structure of the coming exams
- The standards expected from students
- Changes to the laws guiding the exams.
11. Revised adequately
You must allocate enough time to do a final revision before the actual exams start. You can make personal study notes, study cards and reminders to help with the revision.
12. Visit the exam center
Try and visit the exam center at least once before the exam. This is to make sure you don’t waste valuable time looking for your center on the day of the exam.
13. Try and get a good sleep
It is understandable if nervousness takes hold of you a day before the exam. And subsequently, you might find it difficult to get a good sleep.
You must find a way to calm yourself down to get a good night’s rest. You seriously need that to be sharp and alert the next day.
That would help you give your best.
A good night rest would also help you control any panic you might likely feel.
14. During the examination
At the exam proper, you must never lose sight of the following
- Read the instructions carefully before answering questions
- Try as much as possible to answer questions directly. Unless instructed otherwise, long introductions before tackling a question would not give you extra mark. They would only waste your time.
- One good trick if you think you are running short of time is to first of all list the main points of questions. Then you can proceed to explain the points one after the other time permitting.
- Ensure you allocate time to review your answers before submitting your paper.