The most recent issue of PQ Magazine (October 2007) sees the latest ACCA exam results brought front and centre stage. One article in the magazine shines a light on ACCA’s pass rates being “so low” and identifies the issues students are having with their accounting exams. Today, we explore these problems with the aim of providing helpful solutions.
So, What Exactly are the Exam-Related Issues?
Whilst PQ Magazine highlight that ACCA exams are open access (can be taken by individuals who don’t attend courses) which lowers the pass rates, Paul Merison, London Director of ACCA at LSBF (London School of Business and Finance) highlights where the additional problems lie:
1. Failure to submit mock exams or homework
Problem: tutors are usually willing to help students prepare for their exams by marking practice papers but many individuals are failing to take advantage of this
Solution: take lecturers up on their generous offer of extracurricular support! You’ll find out which academic areas need attention and determine what actions need to be taken to resolve the problem.
2. Time management
Problem: participants are spending more time than needed on specific questions, leaving them without adequate time for the remainder of the paper
Solution: take a moment at the start of each exam to work out how much time you will need on each question. If you are comfortable with a topic, shave some time off that question, and if you lack confidence in another, give yourself a little more time to answer it. In addition, it’s also vital to think through your approach to each question before you start writing. Remember, the first 20 and last 30 minutes of sitting an exam are very important.
3. Lack of knowledge on the syllabus
Problem: a number of students believe the secret to passing is memorising theory
Solution: in order to write about these theories and apply them to scenarios, students need to understand them first. Simply being able to recall information will only get you so far.
4. Shortage of writing skills
Problem: participants may have technical knowledge, but they struggle to put this in writing
Solution: the best way to overcome this hurdle is by completing practice papers and getting the feedback from your tutor. It’s also worth investing in a grammar and punctuation guide to help your sentences flow better.
5. No interest in the real business world
Problem: exams questions often mimic real world situations, but those sitting the exams have little interest in the real business world
Solution: if you feel this way, you may want to reconsider whether a career in accounting is really for you. Paul asks “Why get an accounting qualification if you have no interest in the real world where it is useful?” It is worth noting that accounting is a dynamic occupation. You don’t have to work for an accounting firm once you graduate, you can work in the accounts department of a football club, for example.
7. Exam day panic
Problem: fact. Exams aren’t for everyone. Some individuals prefer exams to assignments, but others let nerves get the better of them come deadline day.
Solution: the better prepared you are for an exam, the less nervous you are likely to be. When revising make sure you give yourself proper breaks – cramming in information is rarely the answer. There are additional moves you can make to help you on the day such as getting a good sleep the night before, eating a meal that will give you energy and trying relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
We hope this article has made you see accounting exams in a different light. If you’re interested in a career in accounting and would like to discuss studying an accounting qualification, contact Aspiring Accountants today.