Paper P3 Examiner’s Comments

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After each exam, the examiner makes very comprehensive comments on candidates’ performance. Many comments are very question specific and are available in full on the ACCA website. Here is our distillation of the recurring, more general comments and complaints (our emphasis of certain key words).

In even more condensed form, the advice is:

* Apply models to the information in the scenario. Merely explaining models does not gain many marks.

* Look for clues in the scenarios.

* Use the quantitative data.

* Pay attention to the marks available as this should determine the time you spend on each question part.

* Question….. was so popular that it led some candidates into over-answering it, leading to time problems. In such cases, answers to the final optional question often appeared to be rushed.

* Hand writing still remains a problem for some. Please check with peers or lecturers that your handwriting is legible. It is no use having great ideas if no-one can read them!

* A quote from …… was given to help candidates understand what was meant by ……There are important clues in the …..[scenario]

* Many candidate answers were much more up-beat …… Credit was given for this approach, illustrating again that candidates do not have to always agree with the examiner’s analysis to gain the marks on offer!

* The only general point I wish to make concerns the use of case study scenarios. Many candidates had a problem applying the theoretical knowledge they had learned to the context of the scenario. At this level, there are relatively few marks available for describing a model such as Porter’s five competitive forces. The vast majority of the marks are for recognising the presence and effect of these forces in the context of the case study scenario. Many of the answers seemed to suggest that candidates had very little practice in the application of models. If this is the case, candidates should integrate such practice into their preparation for the examination.

* It is important that the fifteen minute reading time at the start of the examination is used effectively. One of the ways of making it more effective is to read the questions before reading the case study! This allows the candidate to put the case study into the context of the questions. As in other papers, there is no irrelevant information in the case study scenarios. Candidates must concentrate on linking the scenario information to questions and (where applicable) to appropriate models.

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