Here are a few ACCA F9 Exam Tips in order to maximise your chances of success while sitting the exam.
You have 15 minutes reading time during which you can write on the exam paper (but anything you do write on the exam paper will not be marked), but during which you cannot write in the answer booklet.
Use this time to:
- Read the requirements for the Section B questions and underline key words in the requirements. The requirements often ask for more than one thing in the same sentence – for example, calculate the cost and comment on it. The calculation and the comment will both carry marks, but it is easy in the middle of the exam to calculate and then forget to comment. Underline the words ‘calculate’ and ‘comment’ and you are then less likely to forget to do both.
- Start doing the Section A multiple choice questions on the exam paper itself (but remember to copy the answers on to the answer sheet at the end of the reading time).
Section A – Multiple Choice Questions
- Do not waste time doing neat workings for calculation questions – your workings will not be marked. Only the answer on the answer sheet is marked. You should not attempt to justify or explain any of your answers.
- Look first for the short questions and those on topics you feel most happy with. All the questions carry 2 marks and so don’t waste time on a question that requires a lot of reading – come back to it later when you have finished the shorter questions.
- If you come across a question that you know little about, you might be able to eliminate one or two answers as being obviously wrong and this will improve your odds at guessing the correct answer. If you know nothing about a question, then staring at it will not make any difference – guess an answer and move on. A guess is always worthwhile.
- Watch your time. You should spend 72 minutes on Section A and no longer. You can always go back to it later if you find you have time left after completing Section B.
- Keep your eye on the clock and when there is 5 minutes left before the end of the exam stop what you are doing, and guess any of the Section A questions that you have not answered. To maximise you marks be sure to answer all 20 questions even if it means guessing several of them.
Section B – long form questions
- Make sure you write something for every part of every question. You are unlikely to be able to finish every part of every question – either because you run out of time or you get stuck – but you can always write something for each part. In the calculations, each part of the workings is marked separately, whether or not you have finished. In the written parts, each comment is marked separately.
Even if you can only think of one brief comment and get just one mark, that could turn a 49% fail into a 50% pass.
- For calculation parts of questions, show your workings neatly. It is the workings that get the marks (whether the final answer is right or wrong) but the marker can only give you the marks if they can follow what you are doing.
- For the written parts of questions, make sure that your writing is legible. (Before the exam day, ask someone if they can read your writing easily – if they can’t then consider printing the words!)
- For the written parts of questions, write each separate point on a new line (with a line space between points). If you write one long paragraph containing several points, then there is a danger that the marker will miss some of the points.
- Allocate your time. You should allow 18 minutes for each 10-mark question, and 27 minutes for each 15-mark question. There are 5 questions and submitting 5 questions all part finished will get you more marks than only submitting 4 questions and missing one question completely.
- Start each part of each question on a new page in the answer booklet (if you run out of pages they will provide an extra booklet!).
That way you can always go back to questions and be able to add more to your answer neatly, if you have time left at the end of the exam.
You do not have to attempt the questions in order or even every part within a question in order, but do make sure you make it clear at the top of the page which part of which question you are answering.