Here are a few ACCA P1 Exam Tips in order to maximise your chances of success while actually 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 or highlight key words in the requirements.
- at this stage, identify which of the three option questions that you will not attempt. Read it anyway – there may be some useful phrases or ideas that you can work into the other answers
- beware the word “and” within the requirement! The requirements often ask for more than one thing in the same sentence – for example, identify and explain
- the identification and the explanation will both carry marks, but it is easy in the middle of the exam to identify and then forget to explain. Underline or highlight the words ‘identify’ and ‘explain’ and you will find it much more difficult to forget either
- then reading the Section A 50 marker requirement so that you’re aware of what you’re looking for in the question when you read it
- next, read the question highlighting key words as you go along and effectively making the skeleton of an answer plan
50 marker compulsory question – 90 minutes
- this 90 minutes should be allocated as 25 minutes PLANNING your answers to the various parts of the question and 65 minutes writing your answer to those various parts
- the question will most likely be broken down into 5, 6 or 7 sub-questions with the fifth or sixth asking for a report, a draft press release, an address to the members or something similar worth 14 – 16 marks
- the remainder of the marks will typically ask for generalities about for example corporate governance, the role of a board sub-committee or general comments about ethical standpoints
- it is vital that you stick rigidly to time allocation in this question. There should be no question of you finishing the 3 hours and saying “I didn’t have time to do parts e) and f) of question 1”. There HAS to be a proper attempt at ALL parts of the questions that you elect to attempt
choice of 2 from 3 questions worth 25 marks each – 45 minutes each
- planning time here is 12.5 minutes for each of your two chosen questions so use it wisely
- 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.
- each comment that you make should be within its own sentence and leave a line between your sentences effectively making them into paragraphs
- time yourself copying sentences from a book and stop after 1 minute and 18 seconds. That’s the time that you have available to write one sentence containing just one markable point.
- you’re unlikely to get past the third line and that’s the MAXIMUM length of a sentence / paragraph in the exam
- make sure that your writing is legible. If a marker can’t read your script, he can’t give you credit for your thoughts!
- if you write one long paragraph containing several points, then there is a danger that the marker will miss some of the points.
- start each part of each question on a new page in the answer booklet (if you run out of pages you will be provided a supplementary booklet!).
- that way you can always go back to questions and you will be able to add more to your answer neatly, if you have time left at the end of the exam.
- do make sure you make it clear at the top of the page which part of which question you are answering.
- for a non-numerate exam like P1, be aware of just how many marks are available for each part-question and plan sufficient points to include within your answer to get the majority of those marks. Remember, one correct point earns one mark.