ACCA P5 Key to success

ACCA P5 – Nature of the paper

ACCA P5 Paper – Advanced Performance Management – is concerned F2 and is concerned with managing the business so as to achieve better performance. Most of the topics were introduced in Paper F2 and F5, but are examined at a higher level. This does not mean that any calculations are more difficult, but you are now at a management level and should show a greater critical awareness of the difficulties in measuring and management performance.

Structure of the ACCA P5 paper

Part A One compulsory question 50 marks.
Part B Two from three questions each of 25 marks

Emphasis of the P5 exam

You will find that you will have already covered most of the technical content in this exam either in F2 or F5. However, the questions, particularly in Part A, present you with much more information that you would have been presented with in an F5 question. Often you are asked to devise or criticise performance measures, assess performance, criticise and improve the way in which information is presented. As suggested in the first paragraph, you have to think of yourself in the role of chief accountant or finance director rather that being in the role of an accounts assistant.

How to pass ACCA P5 Paper

Use the OpenTuition P5 lectures along with the P5 Course Notes. Make sure you know the theories and techniques and can follow the worked questions in the lectures.

When you are confident of a topic then practise as many past exam questions as you can. You will be expected to work very quickly through any calculations as these are regarded as relatively simple. The real importance in the exam is usually your critical assessment of the results of the calculations. Remember, although Question 1, in particular, often sets out a large and forbidding amount of information, you have 15 minutes reading time at the start of the exam. You should use that time to become thoroughly familiar with the longer question in Part A of the exam.

See also:

P5 Advanced Performance Management Forums – post your questions to get help from other students

Ask the Tutor – P5 Exams

Paper P5 Syllabus
Why choose paper P5
P5 Maths table
P5 Past exam papers and Pilot Paper
P5 Examiners’ reports
P5 Examiners’ guidance
P5 Technical articles
P5 Pass rates


  1. Profile photo of elegant11 says

    I have come down for the 5th time and am really frustrated. Its been too long i have been stuck in this single paper. I just cant figure out where am going wrong. I managed to pass all other papers but this is just a pain.The last session was the most frustrating and just don’t know as to why the examiner want to fail students in such a harsh manner.
    Some one please advice !!!

  2. avatar says

    I have failed paper P5 two times. the first time i failed with 45%, i thought i had not covered enough but to my surprise, i had a lower mark of 37% the second time i attempted it and this time i thought i had prepared adquately.

    what should i do? Help

  3. avatar says

    I sat P5 as my last exam I’ve passed all exams first time but failed in Dec-13 with 42% :( I’m not entirely sure where I have messed up in the exam I know when sitting it it was not what I expected and didn’t really cover slot of the syllabus When reading the answers they seem similar to what I put but I think maybe I waffled a bit or went off on a tangent rather than sticking to the question. Where should I start for my resit just question practice?

    • avatar says

      It is very disturbing to see so many messages about P5. I failed the first attempt with 41,but passed it in the second attempt with 71 marks. I would request all to please go through the exam technique and past exam papers available on ACCA website. The course notes and lectures on Opentuition are also very helpful. I did not attempt any mock papers in exam conditions but went through the past exam papers several times. Infact, I was working in my office the earlier day before exam, so be relaxed on the exam day hoping for the worst but give your best in the paper thinking in your mind that worst come worst you will have to resit the paper. Do not be afraid to write what you think, there are no negative marks for the wrong answer. It worked for me and I am an average guy, so it can work with all of you. All the Best.

      • avatar says

        I like your advice and very much agree. It’s hard to revise for this exam since it’s less about knowledge and more about interpreting the scenario. Do as many original exam papers as you can so you can get a feel for the examiners questions. Do all the calculations on your own the first time and understand the theory behind them, do not just memorise the calculation as it will never be the same again. I’ve failed twice & re-sat today so feel free to ignore my advice!

  4. avatar says

    Failed this paper again this time I received a very low score, I also failed P4, this is the second time around, I really cant afford to take intensive courses and I have read that others have taken them and failed. This time round I attempted exam questions under timed conditions, mind mapped the whole course and reviewed them regularly. I can only think I let myself down on the exam day its self. I was aware that I P4 wasn’t going to be a success however I was shocked to see my results for this paper. There wasn’t a question I couldn’t answer, I finished within the 3hrs and to what I felt was a pass rate standard. Can someone provide advice on where I could start when facing this paper again for the third time, also would it be advisable to split the papers up or go ahead and take them together again. Thank you

  5. Profile photo of sanguzulu says

    It’s sad to hear so many negative or bad experiences with P5 exams by many students. I am of the view that the paper is NOT as difficult as most students think. It is all about A & A (i.e. Analysis and Application). Relax, read the question and apply your knowledge to the seemingly real life scenario. At this level, every student should be able to apply their knowledge to specific situations. Indeed, there is no correct answer BUT there is a correct approach depending on the scenario. This paper is highly passable. I am siting it for the first time and I am definitely passing it!

    • avatar says

      I am studying p5 too which is the last paper out of the 14 papers. I have engaged in this paper for 3 times and i am very struggling with how to abtain the comprehensive attaintion of this paper. please contact me and study it together!

    • Profile photo of lungowe says

      Hi kensey iam attemptin p5 for the second time I cn be ur study partner ,just layout the programme and will try and I work around it dis time I am determined 2 pass it ,thank you plis reply

  6. avatar says

    Hello Ksa1945, I have been struggling also with this paper…. i have written it 4 times now and still haven’t passed. This is the only paper in ACCA I have failed so many times and don’t know what else to do. How can you assist me? I will be so grateful for you help!!!

    • avatar says

      daciaw . first thing , you should have to strong your which comes from f5 , f2 , normally students dont care about it and just focus on p5 areas they ingnored that p5 comes from these two papers and also have strong grip on performance measure models qualitative and quantative both , these are important if you written already 4 times then you should learned from yourself what mistakes you made in exams and why you falied every time , what weakness need to overcome ,
      second thing do pratice as much you can , never leave the question considering that , this is easy and i can do , when you start doing then you know implication in qquestion if you just go through the question then you not able to do that like you pratice .
      read examiner reports and answer carefully , and articles as well , and dont loose hope and do like this paper you doing first time . and you will passs this time i wish ..
      i am also doing last paper of acca p3, p5,p7 .
      hopefully you will be affliate this attempt . wish you best of luck. what materials you use for p5 ?

      • avatar says

        hello seeker

        Thanks for your advice!!!

        Sorry for the late response..

        I am using BPP materials.

        I spent time doing learning curve from F5 the last time around but this time I will spend more time looking back at the F2 and F5 this time.

      • avatar says

        My dear if you are attempting it in Dec 2013 concentrate on that Topic LEARNING CURVE, there is a very high likelihood that it will appear this siting. What I have learn t from Alex Watt is that he normally sets a comprehensive F5 question in P5. take a look at his past papers staring from Dec 2011 and find out.
        Dec 2011——————- Sensitivity Analysis SECTION A
        Dec 2012—————— Budgeting
        Jun 2013—————— Activity Based Costing.
        So watch out for Learning Curve Dec 2013

    • avatar says

      > ensure you know the application of all topics/models
      >while in exam, consider yourself as a consultant and provide a real life solution to scenarios; think about solutions before you think about reference to text.
      > don’t leave some questions without answers
      > practice past exam question in a real exam situation.

  7. avatar says

    I started my first attempt on P5 in Dec 2010 exam. Have tried it three times with total failure. As you can see from the pass rate, the pass rate has dropped from June 2010 well above 40% to average 35% for the recently few sittings, and also from the changes in questions / requirements, all the past exam questions before June 2010 might not longer be relevant to what we are facing now. I think of giving up the whole ACCA because of this.

  8. avatar says

    Sometimes, I do wonder will IT bring me far as my golden passport for job opportunity? Yes, I may not be the brightest student, but I am determined to continue my journey. This is where I start and this will be where I am ending. The job market out there is tough with many graduates, I had a hard time looking for jobs. Is either reject on the first interview or no reply from the employer. Life may be tough for marginal pass like me. My degree of 2nd class lower may not proved that any employability. Stress tends to build up. When you are hoping for the best, but it does not happen.

    • Profile photo of gromit says

      @janne, Don’t give up – you’re nearly there. Things are tough, but some work experience, even relatively non-challenging, soon takes over from degree class. There are many people with first class degrees who are unemployable: heads in the clouds.

      With regards to P5, I might be wrong, but I think you should try to relax when answering questions. A remarkable number of questions require relatively simple common sense analyses. Have confidence and comment on anything you feel significant and worthwhile – but fully explain the points you are making.

  9. avatar says

    Dear janne, dont give up the p5 paper as it is not a tough paper to pass, but it is very tough. i want to said you must have to change your style and attitude in order to pass this paper, you must get rid of fear about this paper read and understand the syllabus very carefully in holistic manner and throught your study take this as it is your favourate and very interesting subject and think you are studying this paper for the 1st time and at least 3 times practice past exam papers in exam pressure, i hope if you follow my instructions definitely you will succeed.

    • avatar says

      If you look at the past papers, sometimetimes you may feel like you are refering to a different paper. The type of questions asked in current P5 exams are quite different from privious papers. Probably the current examiner’s approach is a bit difficult to many candidates.

    • avatar says

      Hi Muhammad Kaleem,

      I really worry about the P5 paper because I had tried from paper3.3 Jun,2006. It is interesting that my first testing of paper 3.3 was scored at 46. I have tested new examiner from June,2010 which was scored at 43. After 14 times, I was only scored by 41 in Dec,2012. I am not so clever but really diligent to treat P5 exam.

      I think if I continue to focus on the way of study or degree of practice may be failed forever. I am really unbelievable that I can pass P5 under normal study way.

      I really need to find a feasible solution how to pass P5. Please instruct me.

  10. avatar says

    Hey, some1 help me out. since i started acca i cant confess it has been easy but just this one time when i thought am so done i failed p5 in the june seating this year. initially i had all the motivation to read it but every time i face a question, giving up is all am thinking of. What should i do?

  11. avatar says

    The Key to passing these pappers is all abt exam technique.. it dnt matter how much u kno in these exams its how u get it over in 3hrs…….its all abt knowing how much to write wen to move on and which questions to tackle first…..

  12. avatar says

    @ksa1945,I am one like @janne who is very desparate after failing p5 in june. While I need passing this paper very badily at the same time due to financial,family and time problem I am in a dilema and i a difficult situation whetehr to take p5 in december or I highly appriciate your help in areas of what you advised to @janne concerning business channels,ceo’s talks,economyand buss models,can you specfically help me in those areas?(althgough you said your help to be extended to our friend @janne I appriciate once again if you could sacrifice your timre another fellow… Thank you very much

  13. Profile photo of jakes44 says

    dont ever reach so far and give up. i did P3 three times and failed also. the last time i was sure of getting in the 60s and i got 39. Dont know what ACCA wants. But a former marker said what we take 3 hrs to write they take 3 minutes to mark so how can this be fair?

  14. avatar says

    How should I change my strategies this time around? I went to some colleges but some don’t offer this subject or others don’t want to accept me as suddenly I barged into the course? Should I continue to apply for a job? It is a tough competition out there? It is either I get rejected for being rejected from the job market or failing my exams. I don’t want to disappoint my parents. Please help!

  15. avatar says

    Failed for the 3 attempt in P5. First & second attempt, self studied, fail. Third attempt, attended class ans intensive revision class but fail. Studied everyday in library but it does help. People criticize me of no working experience, so unemployed. Please help me as P5 is my last paper. Wanted so badly. Tired and wanted to give up. But my never give up attitude ensures me continue to carry on with this battlefield.

    • avatar says


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