ACCA Exam preparation advice

Before you go head for your ACCA exam, please make sure you read there essential tips! Especially, if it is your first ACCA exam

The Most Common Mistakes in the ACCA Exam Hall

1. Not reading the question properly

Not reading the question properly,, and thereby failing to spot the easy marks. This is the biggest sin of exam taking and one of the most common errors. You should make sure you pick out the questions you can most easily answer in your first read through of the paper.

2. Answering the question you would like to have been asked

Answering the question you would like to have been asked, not the one that was asked. This is another danger linked to not reading the paper through carefully before you start. Make sure you understand the wording of the whole question – don’t be blinded by a few key terms that suggest you are on a pet subject.

3. Letting yourself be distracted

Letting yourself be distracted by watching what other people in the hall are doing. If the candidate next to you starts scribbling straight away, ignore them. They can’t have assessed the whole paper properly and they will almost inevitably run out of time by the end of the exam. This is no time to be following the herd so hold your nerve.

4. Poor time management

Poor time management – spending too much time on questions that have too few marks. Spend a few minutes at the outset planning how much time you should devote to each response; set time limits for yourself and stick to them. It’s as simple as that.

See also:

ACCA December Exam tips
Download ACCA Candidate Answer Booklet front sheet

 5. Not understanding the verbs used

Not understanding the verbs used – Explain, define and illustrate. Many marks are lost needlessly by candidates who fail to grasp the true meaning of the question. If you are asked to define a term, do just that. And if you are asked to illustrate, remember to provide examples from the question or real life.

6. Not using the mark allocation as a guide

Not using the mark allocation as a guide to the number of points to be made. Providing a list of bullet points, when a more full answer is required. Again, this is a point about how full and how organised your answer should be. The allocation of points will give you an indication of how to prioritise and what style of writing you should use.

7. Poor layout

Poor layout – not using gaps, headings and so on. The examiner doesn’t want to be faced with reams of unorganised script anymore than you do when you pick up a text book. Guide the examiner as much as possible and impress him with your organisational skills.

8. Focussing too much of your answer on theory

Focussing too much of your answer on theory, when application of the issues of the question is more important. You need to read into the question to show that you can apply the rules in practical set ups.

9. Not having a pen (and spares)

Not having a pen (and spares), ruler, and calculator (with spare batteries). This one is self explanatory – and inexcusable.

10. Not allowing enough time to get to the exam hall in time

Not allowing enough time to get to the exam hall in time – plan the journey, make allowances for traffic jams and so. Turning up early may not be ideal in terms of giving you plenty of time to develop butterflies, but consider how much more stressed you will feel stuck in a traffic jam five kilometeres away, with only ten minutes to go.

Preparation in terms of exam knowledge is important, but understanding exam technique and how to cope with the exam stress, is vitally important.


  1. avatar says

    Hallo!!! Accept greetings from this end. I am currently a part 3 student and will like to complete the ACCA program by studying in the UK. Please, I need help as to which ACCA tuition centre to study with. Looking forward to your recommendations.

  2. avatar says

    In an examination you must have a master plan,since the pass mark is 50% .The advice is target half of the question you can do without any mistake first ,next target the ones that seems to be quite difficult before doing that seems complex to you.Spread your time accordingly.You have pass.

  3. Profile photo of coolhaan says

    reaching and Sitting on your desk before 10 to 20 mints of your reading time is very important as i experienced, it feel you very much relaxed, and minimize your stress and ultimately increase your confidence..
    i would say this because i felt it every time..

  4. avatar says

    hi the tips are useful and important,keep on helping your students. they aid me when i was repeating F5,but now i am stuck with F6. i practice a lot of exam question papers. i do not know whats happening in the exam hall. when writing i feel that i know the question,come results i will be just suprise. so can you help me,what is that i should do,which you i am not doing it enough? i am down but not out. i will be sitting for my exam-F6 in this coming June. keep it up,God bless.

  5. Profile photo of jangmihyun says

    Anyway, all the tips above were true and practical.
    For those who first time approach to the exam hall, please go and have a look the exam hall before exam. Get yourself familiar with the exam centre and please make sure you know which room or hall your exam will be held. Or else, you will lost yourself.
    When you lost, you panic, and you waste time finding;
    when you panic, you make mistake;
    when you make mistake, you lose marks.
    And, a clean and clear hand-writing may save you from fail too.
    Don’t write by using the hand-writing that you can’t even read it by yourself. Underline your title/header, make simple sentence.

  6. Profile photo of jangmihyun says

    My last last exam, the temperature inside the exam hall freezing me. My hand nearly freezed but the examiner unable to make any action to settle my problem as I sit in the middle, direct to air-con, and some of my friends was sitting behind, who maybe hot like hell, all the way sweating i think…. my head pain because of the coolness. My hand-writting was affected too because of that.

  7. Profile photo of polldoll says

    I had a disastrous journey to my first exam last year. All routes across town were in gridlock and I had to give up on driving to the motorway, crawl to the station and jump on a train. Thankfully I managed to phone ahead and advise that I would be arriving 5 minutes before the exam but the additional stress is not something I’d recommend!

  8. Profile photo of Et says

    Good Luck Every One!

    Be a Devil! to a Devil . Come on you can do it!!

    By the way ,which ever part of the world you are if you hear an explosion it could only be my head!!!!!

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