The ACCA has introduced this new section into the syllabus for all of the Applied Skills and Strategic Professional examinations now that all the examinations in all locations will be computer based.
However, it does not require the same sort of learning as for other syllabus areas because it is primarily focussed on ensuring that students are capable of using the Computer Based Exam software.
The level of skill needed to be able to use the CBE software can also be beneficial for your employment.
Many students will already have a high level of skill on computers and be familiar with the use of word processors and spreadsheets. However, those provided in the exam software might not be identical to those that you are familiar with and, in addition, it is essential that you are able to navigate the software efficiently so as not to waste time in the exam.
There are many excellent resources available on the ACCA website to assist you, and so in this chapter we will direct you to some of the relevant ACCA pages and explain their importance.
2 Navigating the exam and the tools available
The exam screen has a top bar and a bottom bar.
On the top bar there are options to call up an ‘online calculator’, to call up the ‘scratch pad’, and to ‘flag for review’.
The online calculator is used in the normal way and can be switched at any time between a basic mode and a scientific mode. You can use your own calculator instead provided that it does not store or display text.
The scratch pad can be used to make notes and do your own rough workings, but nothing written on the scratchpad will actually be marked. You will also be provided with paper if sitting the exam in an exam centre and so you can use this for workings instead – the paper will be collected in at the end of the exam but, again, nothing on this rough paper will be marked. (Note: if you are sitting the exam remotely then paper is not allowed and you can only use the scratchpad.)
The ‘flag for review’ option enables you to put a mark against a question to enable you to quickly come back to it again later. This is for questions where you are unsure about your answer and want to do more work on it later should there be time.
On the bottom bar are the arrows for moving forwards or backwards through the questions. In addition there is a ‘navigator’ option which when chosen displays a list of all of the questions enabling you to go straight to a particular question.
Finally there is the option of calling up the formula sheet and tables (which are online copies of the sheet that is printed at the front of these lecture notes).
You can watch a video illustrating the use of all these features by visiting the following page:
and clicking on the link to “CBE workspace management video”.
3 Section A of the exam
This section comprises one 50 mark case study in which you will be required to prepare a report or similar business document and perform calculations on the information given in the question.
For calculations the program provides a spreadsheet in which to enter your calculations. For efficiency you should make use of the functions and formulae available in the spreadsheet (you do not need to type out separately the formulae used – the marker will be able to see them).
You can find details of the functions and formulae that are available in the ACCA booklet linked in section 5 of this chapter.
For the report you are provided with a word processor and, again, details of the functions available such as underlining and ‘copy and paste’ are in the ACCA booklet.
4 Section B of the exam
This section comprises two 25 mark questions and each question will contain a combination of calculation and written parts.
As with Section A you will be provided with a word processor and a spreadsheet.
5 ACCA Resources
You will find many resources on the ACCA website and the more you refer to the better.
Go first to the following page:
On this page, under the heading “Resources” you will find a link to download “AFM essentials on one page”. Clicking on this will download a useful small chart headed up “How to approach
Financial Management”. One of the headings on this chart is ‘Links to support resources’ and clicking on each of the items listed in turn will take you to more detail. Each of these ‘Key Resources’ is worth reading.
In addition it is important to visit the following page:
On this page you will find useful information, but also towards the bottom of the page you will find a link to “CBE Guidance Document”. This will download a leaflet which details everything about the CBEs including, importantly, a list of the functions and formulae available in the spreadsheet and the word processor (and how to input the formulae in the spreadsheet).
On the same webpage, there is information on how to access the CBE specimen and practice exams – it is essential to use these resources in your exam preparation.
7 Revision Kit Live
On our main Paper AFM page you will find a link to a section called ‘Revision Kit Live’ in which you will find lectures working through several past exam questions. It includes a lecture working through the whole of question 1 from a computer based exam, not just explaining the answers but importantly the approach to CBE.
Thank you very much for the lectures sir.
I’m about to have a look at the revision kit. However, from a first glance, i note the revision kit live has just past papers of 2013/2014. Am i not at the right page or it is what it is and that will be sufficient? Also, what about the link to the lectures working through a question from the CBE
John Moffat says
No – our ‘revision kit live’ questions are not sufficient. They are just to show how to approach exam questions.
It is essential that you buy a Revision Kit from one of the ACCA Approved Publishers. It is full of past exam questions for practice.
Thank you very much sir.
John Moffat says
Thank you very much for your comment 🙂
During my entire ACCA study, I have most of the time relied upon open tuition. Easy to learn, very well explained, very well organized notes. Simply best and enough guidance for passing paper. Studying from here I am left with just one last paper and credit really goes to open tuition. I am really thankful for all the teachers who teach on this platform and for the organizers of open tuition website.