Here are a few ACCA P7 Exam Tips in order to maximise your chances of success while actually sitting the exam.
The examination lasts for 3 hours and 15 minutes. I suggest that you use the extra 15 minutes purely for reading and planning and therefore not use it to start answering the questions in the exam.
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 read the requirements for the 2 Section A compulsory questions worth 35 marks and 25 marks respectively so that you’re aware of what you’re looking for in the questions when you read them
- next, read the questions highlighting key words as you go along and effectively making the skeletons of answer plans
- which question to do first? There are two schools of thought about this and it’s your choice. The first school says start with the 35 marker, then the 25 marker followed by 2 x 20 marks.
- I think that I would probably choose the second method and start with a 20 mark question followed by the 35 marker, then the 25 marker and finish with the second 20 marker, but that may not suit you so, as I say, it’s your choice
35 marker compulsory question 1 – 68 minutes
- this will probably involve responding to a partner’s email about a forthcoming audit client where you are asked to identify business risks, audit risks that you expect to face, principal procedures that you expect to perform during the audit and any ethical issues that may be relevant
- the 63 minutes time allocation should be allocated as 17.5 minutes PLANNING your answers to the various parts of the question and 45.5 minutes writing your answer to those various parts
- it is vital that you stick rigidly to time allocation within all these questions. There should be no question of you finishing the 3 hours and saying “I didn’t have time to do part d) of question 1”. There HAS to be a proper attempt at ALL parts of the questions that you elect to attempt
- this is the question where 4 professional marks are available for style, presentation, clarity, persuasiveness …. so make sure that you can write a letter, an email, a draft press release, an address to the shareholders a report …..
25 marker compulsory question 2 – 49 minutes
- planning time here is 12.5 minutes so use it wisely and that leaves just 36.5 minutes for writing out your plan
- this is typically an audit question with an accounting twist asking you to comment on “matters to be considered and explain the audit evidence that you should expect to find during your review of the audit working papers”
- the particularly important word in this question is “explain” the audit evidence. Not identify or list but explain. Further, you don’t expect to find something like “if that fails then telephone the third party ….” So be very careful to restrict your answer to an explanation of the audit evidence that you could expect to find in audit working papers (and a telephone conversation isn’t evidence that you would find on an audit file!)
- also important is to ensure that you are on top of the IAS / IFRS and particularly the more recent ones or those with recent amendments
- document numbers and titles are NOT IMPORTANT – they score no marks
choice of 2 from 3 questions worth 20 marks each – 39 minutes each
- planning time here is 10 minutes for each of your two chosen questions so, as always, use it wisely and that will leave only 29 minutes writing time
- there will most probably be something about ethics in one or even two of these optional 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.
- 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 27 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 with 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 P7, 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.