Here are a few ACCA P4 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 and reread Question 1: 50% of the marks are for this question and you must thoroughly understand the issues raised there. Remember to read the requirements before you read the question as these will alert you as to what the question is about.
- It is very difficult to study the large amount of information given in this question in the middle of the exam, that’s why we recommend devoting your reading time to it.
- 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.
- You can perform calculations and write the answers on the question paper together with comments on relevant material found there. Be wary about underlining or highlighting too much otherwise almost all words end up being emphasised. Comments in the margin are better at reminding you why that part of the question is important.
- The current examiner has been helpful in usually splitting the information into sections corresponding to the separate sections of the requirements (do watch the lectures in the Revision Kit Live section of the P4 pages on OpenTuition – they work through several recent Question 1’s and discuss the approach as well as the technical content.)
Attempting the questions
- When you are allowed to, start doing the Question 1 on the exam paper itself. Remember, for all questions to put your answers in the proper format where required – Question 1 almost always requires a report. Make sure that you have the appendix separate from the report.
- Do make sure that you state the assumptions that you make in Question 1 – very often the question specifically asks you to state your assumptions and there are therefore marks for them. In addition there are often different assumptions you could make (which result in different answers to calculations) – provided you have stated your assumptions and they are reasonable, then you will still get the calculation marks.
- 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 – though that is slow!)
- 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 45 minutes for each 25-mark question, and 90 minutes for the 50 mark question. Within question allocate the proper time to each part (1.8 minutes per mark).
- 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.