ACCA F5 Key to success

Nature of the ACCA F5 paper

ACCA F5 Paper – Performance Management – continues from Paper F2 and is concerned with managing the business so as to achieve better performance. Most of the topics were introduced in Paper F2, but are examined in more detail and to a greater depth.

Structure of the ACCA F5 paper

There are two sections to the exam – Section A will comprise 20 multiple choice questions of 2 marks each; Section B of the exam comprises three 10 mark questions and two 15 mark questions.  The two 15 mark questions will come from decision making techniques, budgeting and control, and/or performance measurement and control areas of the syllabus.The Section A questions and the other questions in section B can cover any areas of the syllabus.

There are 3 hours for the exam, plus 15 minutes of reading time.

Overall, approximately 50% of the exam involves calculations, and approximately 50% is written.

Emphasis of the ACCA F5 exam

Although most of the arithmetic involved is not difficult in itself, the calculation parts of questions are designed to check that you understand the techniques, and can decide what information is relevant, rather than checking that you have just learned rules.
For the written parts of questions there is some learning involved, but most of them are again checking that you understand the techniques – that you can explain them, that you can discuss advantages and disadvantages, and that you can identify the problems of applying them in practice.

How to pass ACCA F5 Exam

Use the OpenTuition ACCA F5 lectures along with the ACCA F5 Course Notes. Make sure that you are happy with the arithmetic, but also listen carefully to the lectures and check that you really do understand the techniques.
When you are confident of a topic then practice as many past exam questions as you can. To help you we have recorded F5 revision lectures and F5 Revision lectures based on past F5 exam questions.

See also:

F5 Forum Support – post your questions to get help from other students

Ask the Tutor ACCA F5 Forums

The F5 Syllabus
Updated! Exam formulae & maths tables
F5 Past exam papers
F5 Technical articles
F5 Examiners’ reports
F5 Examiner’s approach interview
F5 Examiner’s approach article
F5 Examiner’s analysis interview
F5 Pass rates


  1. Profile photo of nyarai ncube says

    hello admin i want to write f5 in dec graduated 2013 …. have tried using the study buddy finder but always receiving an error message if there is any one who wld like to become a study partner and help each other wth ths paper

  2. avatar says

    Hi admin!
    I have finished my bcom (accounting and finance) from calicut university in 2014. I got the online result but i am still waiting for my certificate.
    I’ve heard i would get exemption from few papers thats from F1 to F4. Now for december i am planning to appear for f5. And by jan i’l have my certificate so i can claim for exemptions.
    I am really confused as you appear for F5 exam now or wait till feb. Please advice me on this.

  3. avatar says

    Hi Admin
    I graduated from university in 2006 with a degree in Accounting and Finance. As a result I am exempt from eight papers on Acca. I didn’t manage to find a job within accounting however I now want to do my Acca this December. I was thinking of forfeiting my exemptions and beginning from scratch as it has been a long time. What advice would you give me? Any help will be much appreciated.
    Kind regards

    • Profile photo of John Moffat says

      I would not forfeit your exemptions – it will mean a lot of extra work and time.

      Although the exams are progressive, not so many of the later exam rely on technical knowledge from the earlier ones.

      If you do find a problem with any of them (because of any technical knowledge that you have forgotten) you can always use the relevant lecture on here for the earlier papers to pick up on it.

      • avatar says

        Thanks a lot for that piece of advice. I have been grappling with it for the past month. I also wanted to commend you guys at open tuition for providing such invaluable help and material.

      • avatar says

        Hi John
        I am planning to sit papers F7, P1, P2 and P3 in December. I was wondering if there are any progression rules that might hinder this.

      • Profile photo of John Moffat says

        You can do that, but only if you have passed all of your other F exams (or have been exempted from them), which from what you wrote before is the case.

        However, I do warn you that taking 4 exams at the same time will be hard work – the P level exams are masters degree level. Make sure that you plan plenty of time for studying!

    • Profile photo of John Moffat says

      I am sorry that you did not pass, but there is no magic formula – it is down to studying and to practice.

      Did you practice lots of exam-standard questions? Do you have a Revision/Exam Kit? You must get a new one for the December exam because of the change in the format of the exam and the introduction of multiple choice questions.

      Why did you only attempt 3 questions? You must attempt all the questions. It is better to have attempted all the questions even if you do not completely finish any of them, rather than to only attempt 3 questions.

  4. Profile photo of kamran7426 says

    I am planning to give F5 in june 2014, I have to start studying yet but my base is very weak provided I studied F2 in 2007 and after that I couldn’t continue studies due to personal reasons. Now I have to study, I have pretty much forgotten what I had studied in F2 and as F2 knowledge is required in F5 do I need to study F2 first and then prepare for F5? if so which topics should I study please guide me as there is very less time remaining until the exam.

  5. avatar says

    hi guys how are you? I need to know where I can find the F5 book, because I have found the class videos but some charapters are not available, so how can I find that material? thanks

    • Profile photo of John Moffat says

      There is a link to the Course Notes above – you can download them free of charge.

      If you want a Study Text then you will have to buy one from one of the approved publishers. However our notes and lectures contain enough to pass the exam well (provided that you get an Exam/Revision Kit and practice lots if questions )

      • avatar says

        ok I will trust in your advice, thanks to reply so quickly, I was just worried about some charapters as: Chapter 3 Life-cycle costing , Chapter 4, Chapter 9 Short-term decision making but I had checked the course notes and I was insure.
        best regards

      • Profile photo of John Moffat says

        You are right in that there are no lectures on chapters 3, 4 and 9.
        However they are covered in the course notes (and there are answers at the back to the examples in the notes.
        There will never be a lecture on chapter 4 – as you will see on the list of lectures, the examiner has said that there will not be calculations and it will only ever be a small written part of a question. What is written in the notes is as much as you could need.
        The other two chapters do include some arithmetic but they should be easy enough without lectures (most of chapter 9 is revision of Paper F2).

  6. Profile photo of fidahussain says

    can any body help me to know if i have bought f5 book in 2011 so was there any appropriate change after 2011 in syllabus that i should buy new one if i am sitting for dec attempt plz answer as soon as possible thank you very much

    • Profile photo of John Moffat says

      There have been changes to the syllabus, but how many depends on whether your book was for the 2011 exams or whether you bought it in 2011 for the 2012 exams.

      Best is to look at the syllabus on the ACCA website ( )

      (Make sure that you read the end of it because the examiner removed some topics from the syllabus because they are assumed knowledge from Paper F2, and therefore they are still examinable)

      Our Course Notes and lectures are up-to-date for the current syllabus.

      • Profile photo of fidahussain says

        thanks for your time however books is for june and dec 2011 sitting and can you also mention me the chapters which cover huge part of exams and which i should cover first then to look rest of area of syllabus

      • Profile photo of latoyah says

        hi, All topics need to be covered without a doubt. you cant go wrong practing advance variances and budgeting.

        To better prepare if its been a while since you have done F2 then i suggest you go over those lectures as well as it helps to prepare you for f5 as a lot of it is assumed knowledge.

        Also i would suggest investing in a revision kit. this would have whatever you need along with the lectures and your old study text

    • Profile photo of latoyah says

      how much time do you have to invest in studying?

      there is no magical formula its what everyone here has said before, cover the entire sylabus and practice practice and practice somemore!

  7. avatar says

    I am preparing for f5 and f6 on a serious note in DEC 2013 exam .
    please guide me on how the answers are presented in the exam .
    can we follow the exact format as the answers that are given to us on the ACCA answered questions

  8. avatar says

    I have just recently been transferred to Acca( FIA is done). Now my seniors are scaring me EVEN my course advisor was saying that its too much difficult, many boys stay unpassed. I really demotivated.

    Please help me to motivate or what you think better. Because I know you are the greatest and superb to other nerd teachers.

    Many Thanks

    • Profile photo of John Moffat says

      The ACCA exams are certainly difficult. However I assume that you have passed the FIA Diploma exams in which case you already know how much studying is necessary. Obviously the later exams are harder, but they are progressive and provided that you are prepared to put in the necessary studying there is no reason not to qualify.

      The Qualification is certainly worth having – it is a passport to much greater employment prospects :-)

      • avatar says

        ok. Thanks.
        2nd Question:

        My knowledge of f2 is so poor because I passed it about last year’s March( there was a crises that delayed my papers, but now I am a regular student with the part time job). So do I need to study f2 again or it will be covered in f5 lectures and….

        Many Thanks

  9. Profile photo of accagirl says

    Ok, I intend to write paper f5 in dec though I wrote f2 10 years ago. With all the assumed knowledge based on the admin reply how do I start. Do I need to revise f2 again befor reading f5. My background is in medical sciences

  10. Profile photo of kreggie says

    Hi admin,
    I wish you could advising me on this; is the opentuituon course notes and video lectures complete enough to help one pass the exam or should they be studied alongside other course notes from different ACCA course providers?

    • Profile photo of John Moffat says

      The course notes (like all course notes) do not go into as much details as Study Texts and therefore cannot be guaranteed to cover 100% of the syllabus.
      They do however (combined with the lectures) cover more than enough to score highly in the exam – provided, obviously, that you do properly understand what is covered.

      There is little point in using other providers Course Notes in addition to ours. If you want to study more, then better to obtain a Study Text from one of the providers.

      However, again, our Course Notes and lectures contain enough to pass the exam well :-)

    • Profile photo of admin says

      Basic variances have been removed from the syllabus because they are assumed knowledge from Paper F2.
      There will not be full questions on basic variances, but you can still be asked them as part of a question. Also, you must understand basic variances to be able to calculate planning and operational variances (which are still in the syllabus and are very likely to be asked!).

      • avatar says

        Thanks admin, i found from the F5 syllabus time series and quantitative techniques have been removed also please explain thanks.

      • avatar says

        Hi admin,
        I got Accountant magzine today it says Basic variance and operating variance have been removed and planning and operational variances have been calried, can you adivce and explain above meaning thanks

      • Profile photo of John Moffat says

        What has happened is that basic variances have been removed from the syllabus because they are assumed knowledge from Paper F2.
        There will not be full questions on basic variances, but you can still be asked them as part of a question. Also, you must understand basic variances to be able to calculate planning and operational variances (which are still in the syllabus and are very likely to be asked!).

  11. avatar says

    My advice (as a tutor) is to practice practice practice. Those difficult questions do start to become easier after a while. You start to know what the examiner wants quickly. Good luck to you all. It is a big syllabus!

    • avatar says

      any advice on performance measurement i seem always foreget to link calculations how not to go with a set of mind and how to actually get ur self into the depth of the scenario

  12. Profile photo of latoyah says

    This is depressing between these post and the ACCA fb feedback session today I am now worried I may not pass even if i knew the study text from back to front.
    I plan to practice as much as i can that must the only way to pass.

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