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                                           Ken Lee

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

HOW TO PASS P1, P2, P3 ACCA DEC 2008

ACCA exams

P1, P2, P3 - your final test. How do you jump those hurdles?

HOW TO PASS P1
Read a good newspaper There are so many 'real world' situations of corporate failures and scandals that relate to the topics on the syllabus. Understanding the issues from practical examples will give students a solid foundation for answering questions.
Understand how the topics are inter-related The compulsory question will be based on a case study and will cover several distinct tasks from more than one area of the syllabus, so understand how all areas are interconnected and that the paper is about having an understanding of how accounting contributes to and is underpinned by governance and ethics.
Corporate governance (part A) focuses on responsibility and accountability and how best practice governance recommends responsibility for risk management and internal control. Sound systems of internal control and risk management underpin all effective governance systems (parts B, C and D) and ethical assumptions underpin any profession and system of governance (part E).
Gain the professional marks (4-6 marks) These marks are not for the content of an answer but for how well the answer is presented in terms of structure, style, layout and logical flow. In the June paper these were awarded for layout, logical flow and persuasiveness of the statement.
How to pass P2
There are three key areas for passing P2 – groups, standards and current issues. A lot of the basics for groups come from F7. With a solid knowledge of the foundations of groups it's a much smaller step up to P2 group questions. Practising F7 group questions before you start your P2 studies is great preparation. Then it's practise, practise, practise!
The list of examinable standards is comprehensive and the thought of learning all those standards is not inviting. So rather than trying to 'rote learn' them you should gain the application knowledge that you need by practising questions. Again, basic F7 standards can start you off but you need to move to P2 past questions as quickly as possible. Quoting what the standard says is not enough on P2 – you need to apply and justify the treatment you are recommending for the transaction or event in question, linking this to the conceptual framework. As the examiner has stated: "There will be an increasing emphasis on the framework."
The first question is going to be a mix of these two key areas, so they warrant a lot of attention. The examiner expects all P2 students to be aware of current issues so it is essential that you read the accountancy press (Accountancy, Accounting and Business, PQ magazine) and review websites (ASB/IASB, FASB and ACCA, PQ magazine, etc).
How to pass P3
Understand the syllabus The December sitting will be the third exam for this new syllabus and, as a result, you must consider any new models that the examiner expects you to apply that have never been examined before. For example, you may be required to undertake a TOWS analysis (this is not a SWOT in reverse!) or apply the public sector portfolio matrix or the Ashridge Portfolio Display matrix. There are a number of 'new models' on this syllabus that you must be familiar with. It is also worth studying the V-Model, CMMI and the Cultural Web for the December exam. 'Old models' should also be considered that have not yet been examined on this new syllabus, such as Porter's National Diamond and Mendelow's matrix.
Manage your time Time management is a major problem for students with this paper, especially question 1. The length of the scenario's in section A and B are longer, on average, than the old 3.5 exam questions. There is no substitute for question practice and I would recommend that you attend a question-based revision course with a training provider who will set appropriate exam style questions examining the new models. To guarantee a pass, you must practise answering questions under exam conditions – without looking at the answer as you go along!
Planning your answers There are two approaches to answer planning: contents planning and structure planning. Structure planning your answer is crucial for ensuring that the contents you use from the scenario actually answer the question. Part of structure planning also requires you to consider the mark distribution for the question and ensure that the amount you write (and quality) relates to the marks allocated by the examiner. Make sure that your lecturers read some of your answers and give you appropriate feedback – or if you are on home study, appropriate feedback from your home-study provider.


source: pq magazine

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