As an ACCA affiliate, I am aware of how difficult ACCA exams are but how good it feels to finally pass them all. Here are a few things that I found helpful when preparing to sit the exams.
- The ACCA website contains a wealth of information to help you understand what is expected from your answers in the exam. I have picked out some that I found particularly useful below.
- The technical articles on the ACCA website are often produced by members of the examining team and offer really good insights into the kind of topics they think are important at the moment. They often include tips on exam technique which are invaluable.
- Practicing past exam questions and marking your answers using the mark scheme helps to identify how to structure your answers to accumulate marks. I also found it useful to practice some answers in the time I would be given in the exam, and attempting a full exam paper too.
- It sounds obvious but if you don’t understand something in the study text, try a different study text or book. Reading it explained in a different way can make a big difference and there’s always the internet!
- I found it useful to work out how many minutes I had to gain a mark in the exam. Excluding an estimate of how long I would spend on reading and planning, I worked out this was roughly 1.5 minutes per mark in my last exam. At the start of each exam, I quickly worked out how long I had to finish writing my answer according to the marks available (i.e. 9 marks x 1.5 minutes = 13.5 minutes) and wrote this down next to the question. After roughly this amount of time, I stopped writing and moved on to the next question so I could cover all the questions in the exam. This technique might not work for everyone but is a good one to try when practicing questions. ACCA have an article regarding this technique on their website.
- It is tempting to try to guess which questions will be in the exam based on previous exam papers, but covering the whole syllabus in your studies and revision helps you to be fully prepared and ultimately feel more confident.
- Having enough sleep in the days running up to the exam is very important and I found it useful to eat something just before I went into the exam hall.
- The examiner’s reports on past exams on the ACCA website are invaluable for an insight into what the examiner wants from your answers and there are often videos you can watch too. If you’ve failed before, it can be comforting to read that lots of people make the same mistakes and how to avoid these pitfalls next time.