The ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) exam is regarded as one of the most highly respected professional courses in India. The profession has garnered a lot of credit, as students have a plethora of job opportunities both within India and abroad due to ACCA’s global recognition.
Having the right approach is what sets apart a student especially in the case of a course like ACCA as it has a large amount of portion in terms of a syllabus. If students are not strategic in their approach it will not be possible for them to tackle the volume of topics in the last-minute rush. ACCA as an organisation extends a lot of support to the students in the form of resources.
In this article, we will walk you through some of the key steps you should keep in mind while preparing for the ACCA exam.
Start preparation early and plan well in advance
ACCA exams give you flexibility as to the exams you wish to attend. As that is the case you should take full advantage of it and plan well in advance. When asked to rank holders, most students also resonated with the same strategy. Break your syllabus down into portions that are a lot more acceptable for you. Create a plan for the entire year, calculate the annual workload and chalk in the holidays as well to ensure that you have a plan to help you cover all the portions at ease and one that you can practically stick to. If you feel you are falling behind, add on a few more hours each day to catch up.
When you are going through the portions, make sure you cover all of them and do not cherry pick the questions you like from guides or sample question papers. Your aim should not be to just clear the paper but to know the topic very well so that you can get the best scores. So, the earlier you start the better are your chances of covering the whole portion. Understand the subjects and topics well rather than memorizing them. For eg: in your F7 paper if you analyse and study the principles of standards rather than memorizing them, then this will help you to tackle paper P2.
Another thing to keep in mind is that each paper would deserve a different preparation strategy. While some papers are heavy on calculations, others would focus more on current affairs and theory.
Use past test papers to master exam techniques and refine technical practice
One exam preparation technique that has stood the test of time and helped students in the past is when they work on previous exam papers, sample answers and examiners reports. This technique will help you to easily identify your weak spots and is also one of the best ways to improve your technique.
If you are looking to score a high score then it is crucial to have good knowledge and exam technique. It is also a great way to tackle time management and gather a better understanding of answer planning. When you check the previous question papers from foundational to professional papers you will see that it was not easy to tackle exam techniques to meet the question requirement. You should also try and keep an eye out for professional marks, they are rewarded for good exam technique. These marks would make a big difference from you being a rank holder, so keep working on your exam technique.
It is vital that you sit in a controlled environment when you are trying our past papers so that you will be able to simulate test conditions and know if you can tackle the exam under similar pressures. There is no point if you knew all the answers but didn't have the time to complete them.
Balancing study with life
As you come nearer to the D-Day is also crucial that you take your break times as important as you do your study time. As mentioned in the first step, if you plan and structure things out well, then balancing study with fun will not be an issue. Having a good time will ensure that you are able to focus better on your exams. If you are someone who is working alongside preparing for the ACCA papers, it would be much better for you to limit the number of papers you are attempting. Cause if you observe you will see that most exams coincide towards the month-end. When you focus on a fewer number of papers, you will have time to better prepare and practice your exam technique. It also significantly improves the chances of you clearing papers in the first attempt.
Make efficient use of the resources available for your on-demand exams
- Utilise the study guide and syllabus: When you are preparing for the ACCA on-demand exam, try and make maximum utilisation of the scheduled syllabus and study guide. Treat this very diligently as this is the reference source for the examiners as well, all the exam questions will be drawn from this. Pay attention to the structure of the exam in the section ‘Approach to examining the syllabus; this specifies the split between objective questions and multi-task questions.
- Go through the approved content providers textbook: The ACCA approved textbooks from Kaplan and BBP learning media. These are consistently monitored by ACCA to ensure that the quality matrices are met. Under the support guide, you will find a control sheet that is relevant to your chosen text.
- Don’t limit to practising objective questions: Multi-task questions in section B may examine only the selected syllabus areas. If you practise the longer questions then you will get a deeper understanding of the subject matter, in this way you will be able to have a good understanding of relevant concepts when looking into objective test questions.
- Take full advantage of the ACCA website resources: Make sure you are making total utilisation of the syllabus, and the study guide. You should also practice the CBE specimen exams. Take 5 minutes to explore the examining team video - this will give you the general approach to the syllabus, and you can pick up on tips on how to improve your exam performance. Also, go through the examiner's reports thoroughly, these are published every six months. The examiner uses a sample of the questions that candidates appeared to find most difficult, explains misunderstandings and clarifies specific areas of the syllabus where knowledge or understanding may have been weak. Make sure to also check the technical article written by students, this will help you to enhance your exam writing techniques.
Tips to keep in mind while you are writing the exams
When writing the exams, make sure you read through the whole text, not just the core text. This will enable you to strategise the exam writing plan. This will also give you the chance to read the whole paper and the question requirements. Highlight the answers neatly and clearly.
One of the best parts about the ACCA exams is that they have no negative markings. So, make sure that you attempt all the questions. Answer the questions to the best of your ability, while sticking to the time allotted (roughly 1.8 minutes per mark).
Keep building on your success
If you had done well on your previous exam, then use that as a reference point. Go back and analyze what had worked well on the previous attempt. Dissect what didn't work out as well and make the necessary changes. Actively link your studies with your job - cause the ultimate objective is not to score well but to successfully apply it.
Hope you crack the exams. Wishing you the best!