There has been a lot of criticism of ACCA June 2012 Paper F5 examination on the OpenTuition forums.
It would certainly be difficult to get very high marks, but this is the same with all ACCA exams – they are not meant to be easy!
However, a well-prepared student who attempted the exam sensibly should have been able to get pass marks without too much difficulty.
It is clear that too many students rely on question-spotting and on tutors’ guesses. The Paper F5 syllabus is very large and there is no alternative but to study the entire syllabus.
For many students this will have been their first ACCA examination (because of exemptions). It is too easy to under-estimate the level of difficulty and the amount of studying required.
(Download June 2012 F5 examination Questions here >>)
Part (a) was a reasonably standard question on relevant costing. There was a lot to read, but students should have been able to get pretty high marks on this part.
Part (b) was asking for a make-or-buy decision with limited labour. It needed the answer to part (a) for the calculations (but as usual marks are not lost twice if students took the right approach). It was a topic that many students will not have concentrated on in their studies, but even so they should have been able to make a decent attempt.
Part (c) asked for non-financial factors to be considered when making a decision about outsourcing. This did not require anything from the previous parts of the question and was a fairly easy 5 marks.
Overall: even those students who had not studied make-or-buy decisions should certainly have been able to score 50% from a combination of parts (a) and (c)
This question was entirely written and was about target costing, which is certainly a core topic for Paper F5.
Part (a) – the steps involved, and part (b) – characteristics that distinguish services from manufacturing, were both very standard textbook topics and students should have been capable of scoring pretty highly from the 10 marks available.
Part (c) was not textbook and expected students to apply their understanding of target costing to the scenario in the question. This was not so easy (although the ‘clues’ were there) but was only 4 marks in total.
Part (d) asked for three difficulties in using target costing. Given the pressure in examinations it might have been hard to think of three points, but students who understood the idea of target costing should have certainly been able to think of two points.
Overall: there was a lot to read in this question. However, students who read the requirements first would have realised that there were 10 marks (parts (a) and (b)) that did not require reading the scenario at all and could have been attempted fairly quickly.
Part (a) of this question was on time-series analysis, and was an unusual (and, for most students, unexpected) topic for Paper F5 – particularly since it is examinable in Paper F2. (However, students who were exempted from Paper F2 are less likely to have covered it previously at university.)
The question did not make it clear how the trend was to be forecast before adjusting for the average seasonal variation.
Although the arithmetic involved was not particularly difficult, it is certainly a question that will have upset many students.
Part (b) however was more straightforward in asking for the likely impact on the staff and business of the budgeting style and inaccurate sales forecasts, for 10 marks. There was enough information in the scenario to make several points reasonable easily and sensible students should have been able to score fairly high marks on this part.
Overall: students who had not spent time preparing time-series would have found part (a) difficult. However, provided that they spent time answering part (b) they should still have been able to scrape the 50% pass marks.
Part (a) was a straightforward variance analysis question (for 12 marks), which should not have presented too much difficulty.
Part (b) mentioned TQM and has been the subject of enormous criticism on the OpenTuition forums. Certainly it is a topic that has not featured in Paper F5 before, but it did not require any real knowledge of TQM to be able to write a decent answer. The real question was the potential conflict between concentrating on quality and measuring performance using quantitative variances.
Overall: yet again, it would have been hard for many students to get very high marks on this question, but a combination of a reasonably straightforward part (a) and some sensible comments for part(b) should have meant that most students scored at least the 50% required.
This question was made up of five small sections, all of which were testing aspects of ROI and RI.
These are core topics for Paper F5 and all students should have been familiar with them. As such it was a very straightforward question.
Overall: all students should have found this to be one of the easier questions in the paper and should certainly have been able to achieve pass-marks without too much difficulty.