September 7, 2015 at 12:53 am
@favour – no big ask here then?!! 🙂
Read the assessment criteria – it is clear that your grade will mainly be influenced by the quality of your Evaluation & Analysis – so that is what you focus on.
I would read and re-read every single CEO and Directors’ Report for the last 4 years. Why 4 years? Because the first year you look at for your 3 years will probably have been influenced by the previous year’s factors. Make detailed notes from these reports as they are big clues to the strategies, decisions and policies the company will have pursued.
Start the E&A with the SWOT and PESTLE and spend time on researching the key factors that have impacted on the company. Try to trace these via the strategies through the trends for three years and really show the linkages. DON’T put too many figures and percentages in the text – your graphs should do most of the ‘talking’ in this respect -so only mention key figures for impact otherwise the whole lot becomes a monotonous repetition of numbers and loses all effect.
A text-book approach, statements of the obvious and comments that read like the notes to the account (e.g. net profit decreased because administration costs and depreciation charges increased) are likely to result in a fail.
With ratios explain profit ratios, gearing and investor ratios in detail. Also remember the relationship between ratios and strategies – if shares have been issued then look for possible changes in gearing – not so much the change in proportion of debt to equity but whether the capital from the shares was used to repay long-term loans or used instead for heavy subsequent investment either in capital equipment or acquisition of a subsidiary. It is showing awareness of how everthing fits into the big picture that will impress the reader/marker whereas just churning out routine comments and formulaic work will bore them to tears. C grade for T8 often means it wasn’t particularly informative but met the assessment criteria.
A B or above normally indicates a more structured approach and evidence that the student really understood what they were writing about, provided good examples as appropriate and their commentary was based on sound research and sensible reasoning.September 7, 2015 at 6:44 pm
As apparently marking and moderation is mostly now done and dusted for P30 I asked one of the moderators if there was anything they could add to my comments above to help students get at least a B grade.
Here were some of their main comments:
“Somehow it never occurs to students that by the end of the session a marker may have had to read in excess of 80 RAPS on T8 by which time they will be fed up of reading the same-old, same-old comments. What you want as a marker is something that is written clearly and shows depth of understanding. So something that IS fresh really stands out. Sometimes this is when the student has gone ‘the extra mile’ – everything is well explained, it flows well and makes sense and they surprise you with the depth of their research. If it is a joy for the marker to read then you are going to reward the student by awarding a higher grade than a C.
By contrast sometimes I wonder if a student has tried reading through their whole work in one go – like the marker has to do. I am convinced most haven’t otherwise they would realise how heavy going some of their work is – far too many generalisations, figures everywhere and so dreadfully repetitious that the marker actually despairs….”
Other points they mentioned:
– keep your work clear and crisp -nicely laid out with appropriate headings/ sub-headings, adequate line spacing, good graphs – cramped work is harder to read and unappealing
– Don’t waffle, explain to the marker what they can’t see for themselves from the graphs and from the financial statements and show off your Research – aim to impress with your knowledge
-use your words well -no one needs primary data usually for T8 so why bother droning on about what primary data is in Part 2? Stick to the point and finally don’t forget that a good Conclusion is required so learn how do an effective one.
So everyone I hope that helps! – TrephenaSeptember 23, 2015 at 4:28 pm
Thanks OT for this forum. What are the tips on the research approach..October 2, 2015 at 9:21 am
@josuns – use a broad range of sources. For T8 this means searching reputable business pages such as Forbes.com, BBC news online, Telegraph etc or the equivalent in your own country for articles relevant to the organisation chosen. You also need to read the CEO and Directors reports for your chosen company for the 3 years and analyse the strategies used.
In Part 2 for some topics you need to do a brief literary review e.g Topic 6 review of the classic motivation theories; Topic 17 a brief background history of Corporate Governance – you will find Google Scholar a useful source for this.
Good research relies on appropriate sources and these if used well help present balance and add critical thoughtOctober 5, 2015 at 11:25 am
Hello ma is it OK to start each paragraph by stating during YE 12 Gross profit fell by 10% due increase in price of raw and also because of rise in price of petrol.( BBc 2015)October 5, 2015 at 11:35 am
Hello ma how do I display judgement In my rap is just saying profit went up 50% due to high demand of products ABC as price fell to reman competitiveOctober 5, 2015 at 4:57 pm
@stevr – please can you note that this forum topic is EXCLUSIVELY for top tips for the RAP and NOT for queries?
Your queries need to be posted to the most relevant forum topic – one based on ‘Topic 8 financial analysis’
You need to explain the trends so yes “during YE 12 Gross profit fell by 10% due increase in price of raw and also because of rise in price of petrol.( BBc 2015)” would be appropriate but the marker would expect other reasons too…
With your second query this is good as far as it goes but you would need to provide a reference to support your statement that demand has risen and probably also another to support the statement that this was a consequence of a definite decision to remain competitive (such as referring the reader to the page in the CEO / DIrectors’ report where the management had made these statement[s]). References show that your comments are based on reliable evidence you found from your research.October 5, 2015 at 5:01 pm
Thanks ma u are greatDecember 16, 2015 at 8:36 am
I have an average of 66,and the only way to get a first class degree is to get an A in my research, can anyone who got an A please tell me what is required of me. ThanksDecember 16, 2015 at 9:32 am
@nish81 – you need to choose a decent topic and company and go for clarity throughout for starters. You need to blow the marker away with the depth and relevance of your research. If doing T8 really link the SWOT & PESTLE factors to the findings and analyse the impact of management strategies (+ 3 years for competitor analysis). Nice clear relevant graphs, and NO superfluous figures and percentages in the text – just significant ones. Aim to ‘thrill’ rather than ‘kill’ the marker (through boredom) – my contacts in the marking team tell me they suffer ‘a thousand deaths by numbers’ during marking!December 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm
@trephena thanks a lot,was just curious though,do you offer mentorship for the research.December 16, 2015 at 3:55 pm
No unfortunately it would put me in difficult position as if I were a paid mentor with contacts in the marking team it could compromise both me and the independence of them and might be construed as I am exploiting them for personal gain. Instead I am able to offer advice to everyone. (And I am sure mentors as well as students have also benefited).
If you haven’t chosen a topic yet then I do recommend T17 as 2 of our students following my advice on the T17 Forum confirmed getting B grades. I think with a bit more critical thought in looking at the pros and cons of CG in general and evaluating that aspect in the context of their company + perhaps using appropriate resources of the website for Applied Corporate Governance to help in their approach then possibly they might have been able to have achieved an A. (I know from their emails and posts they had minimal mentor support so a first rate mentor may have been able to help them lift it through constructive criticism).
As you have 5 months you have the time to research well and review your work which are 2 important factors for a higher grade. Good luck! 🙂December 16, 2015 at 4:18 pm
@trephena I appreciate your help,for any queries and guidance I know who to come to, again thank you.December 17, 2015 at 10:52 pm
Hope you are well!
I am sure that Trephena replies & the top tips must have helped you well. For your help you can see my suggestions below:
Firstly, you need to decide topic of your RAP which is key deciding factor of your grade because you need critical evaluation skills for all topics. In addition, if you are not comfortable with analysis and topic, then you unable to exert 100% efforts.
Research Analysis Report is a good example of cyclist in a championship. What it means is that you need to do simple things, balance and run bicycle as fast as you can, without doing any tricks or stunts. What OBU require from students is to produce a BALANCED REPORT covering all areas required by topic under its passing criteria which is:
1.Understanding of accountancy/business models (Choice of models, evidence of wider reading, be clear & relevant)
2. Application of accountancy/business models (Insightful & critical application of model)
3. Evaluation of information, analysis & conclusion (Critical thought & rigorous approach)
4. Presentation project findings (Can engage reader in coherent manner, appropriate structure & coherent report) Graduate Skills
5. Communication (Fluent language, grammar and spellings)
6. Information gathering and referencing (Evidence of range of information sources & use of Harvard Referencing System)
7. Information Technology (Use of online sources & use of spread sheet and/or other software)
8. Ethics (This is not required by OBU specifically as a passing criteria but in opinion it is essential)
If you need detailed help, please tell your topic and industry also. I will soon be posting a topic on understanding of OBU marking which will help you in understanding how to cover above areas.
I hope above helped you.
Hammad Ahmed Qureshi (ACCA & ACA) – BSc MentorDecember 21, 2015 at 8:28 am
I felt that there is confusion over how Research Analysis Projects (RAPs) are marked as many students fail to understand its marking in same way they understood for ACCA Exams.
Before you write 1st word in RAP, you need to make clear yourself that assessment criteria of RAP include material you studied in ACCA but there are additional skills required. Further, there is no rule of ACHIEVING 50% & PASS. RAP is marked based on predetermined assessment criteria of OBU and pass or fail is opinion based justified by markers & moderators in their comments.
For RAP assessment, there are 7 skills related to Research Report, References & Appendices and 2 skills for Skills & Learning Statement & Presentation. In summary:
1. Research Report (RR) – Require 7 Skills
2. Skills & Learning Statement (SLS) – Require 2 Skills
As I already said that there is no numerical marking as for ACCA exams, hence you cannot pass RAP if you demonstrate 4 skills in RR & 1 skill in SLS. What it means is that you need to demonstrate your competence in all 9 skills that marker will assess under set criteria of OBU.
Please mark my words for whole RAP:
—————- YOU NEED TO PRODUCE A BALANCED REPORT——————
What I want to emphasis here is, you should cover all aspects of assessment criteria. You cannot pass RAP if for topic 20 you cover assessment of organisation’s corporate social responsibility policies, business ethics, and their impact on business practice but forget to cover impact on key stake holders.
Also remember the word BALANCED mean:
– While selecting a framework for RAP, highlighting strengths of framework, why did you select it? and its limitations (covering both pros & cons)
– While evaluating organization’s performance, highlighting both financial & non-financial aspects and positive & negative characteristics of performance
– Demonstrating competence in all 9 skills (see below)
By failing any skill of RR, OBU will fail whole RR and by failing any skill of SLS, OBU will fail whole SLS. If you fail either RR or SLS you will get fail for whole RAP.
What markers are looking for is a reasonable RAP not a best one and a reasonable RAP is the one which cover all skills that are required to be demonstrated not the one best in any particular area. For topic 15, you cannot pass if you do best in analysis and evaluation of management of organisation’s working capital but do poor in analyzing its impact on organisation funding strategies.
Skills To Be Demonstrate – Research Report (RR) – 7,500:
There are total 7 skills related to RR for which OBU require your reasonable competence. These are divided as:
1. Technical and Professional Skills
2. Graduate Skills
Grading of RAP:
Remember there is no grading A, B or C for SLS and Graduate Skills. Whole grading of RAP depend on Technical and Professional Skills and achieving pass in Graduate Skills and SLS. If you want to obtain A grade for RAP then you need to work harder in demonstrating 4 Technical and Professional Skills and obtaining pass grade in SLS & graduate skills.
1 Technical and Professional Skills:
SKILL 1: Understanding of accountancy / business models:
Before selecting any model/framework for RAP, you need to ensure that you understand the model, its strengths, its limitations and why you have selected it? You must ensure that you make clear to te marker that you understand everything you are doing in your RAP.
Choice of model must be relevant to topic, RAP objective(s) and situation of organisation. There should be evidence of wider reading which will demonstrate to marker that framework(s) are chosen after thorough research & thinking.
If you choose best and relevant model(s) depending on topic & circumstances of company, provide evidence of wider reading and that you have done thorough research, making everything clear in RAP to the marker and ensuring that everything written is relevant to objective and title of RAP then it is likely that you will achieve A grade in this skill that will help you achieving A grade for RAP.
SKILL 2: Application of accountancy / business models to the project topic:
This requires insightful & critical application of models you have selected. Insightful application requires you to have deep & accurate application of frameworks. A good example can be for topic 8, if you choose to do ratio analysis then you will be required to select some ratios. Selection of ratios should be done carefully, based on trend in performance and financial situation of company. If a company has interest cover of 16, 20 and 9 in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively, then I will not recommend to select interest cover ratio as no matter it goes up or down, if it is above 1 in all years there is no risk for company and due to limitation of word count, I will recommend student to select any other ratio such as brief Cash-Flow Statement analysis.
Critical analysis requires you to analyse strengths & weaknesses, pros & cons, merits & faults and positives & negatives. These can be for company as a whole or for each model or even for each ratio in my above example.
Overall, you need to ensure that you effectively apply theory of model to a practical organisation and you will not be able to do this if you lack skill of understanding of accountancy / business models.
If you do deep analysis using your selected framework(s) which contain an unbiased analysis highlighting both risks & benefits as per the topic then you will likely to get A grade in this skill.
SKILL 3: Evaluation of information, analysis and conclusions:
Being a professional accountant, you are required to be extremely thorough and careful in evaluating information, analysis and conclusion. Evaluation literally means highlighting pros and cons of something. So, you must highlight benefits and risks or limitations of information you are using in RAP, models you have selected and any bottlenecks to your research.
Your RAP must have balanced evaluation as per topic and flow from your objective to a critical and rigorously approached analysis to final conclusion. There should be clear links between different areas of RAP supporting each other to reach final conclusion and recommendations.
If you want to achieve A Grade in this skill, then you need to have high level of critical thought shown in the analysis and a rigorous approach to the evaluation of information, analysis and conclusion.
SKILL 4: Presentation of project findings:
This skill mainly relate to presentation of findings in your RR. OBU require your report to engage reader in coherent manner. This emphasis on having an appropriate structure that is presented in logical and consistent manner. It shouldn’t be like for example, for topic 5, you evaluate use of 1 short-term Islamic financial instrument in a section and its impact on financial statements of an organisation in another section. You need to make sure you clearly explain to the marker about which evaluation relates to a particular financial instrument and what their impacts are. Similarly, for topic 8, you need to make sure that in financial analysis you clearly state reasons for movement in ratios and make obvious what reasons relate to which years and whether reasons are for inter temporal comparison or competitor analysis?
Your report must be written in professional manner with a flow from reason for selecting topic to objective to analysis to conclusion & recommendations.
You will be able to achieve A Grade in this skill if you can engage reader in a professional manner and produce a relevant and coherent project report with appropriate structure.
2 Graduate Skills:
Grade of your RAP just relate to above 4 Technical and Professional Skills of RR and for Graduate Skills you need just to be competent in them. You will either be competent or non-competent in these skills and you will get either pass or fail for these skills.
SKILL 5: Communication:
Language for your research report must be fluent, your grammar must be reasonable and your spellings should be correct. Remember this communication skill is different from communication skill of SLS which mainly relate to your PowerPoint presentation.
SKILL 6: Information gathering and referencing:
These relate to evidence of range of relevant information sources in your RR. You must use different sources to have an unbiased report of balanced sources. You must try and corroborate all information from different sources and refer them to your report using Harvard Referencing System. I recommend that your list of references should comprise some books, articles, magazines and newspapers.
SKILL 7: Information technology:
This skill require you to provide reasonable evidence of having accessed online information sources, use of spread sheets and other software such as MS Office, Skype etc. in preparing project report.
Skills To Be Demonstrate – Skills & Learning Statements (SLS) – 2,000:
There are total 2 skills related to SLS for which OBU require your reasonable competence and you will just get pass or fail in these skills. Hence, you are required to be competent in them:
SKILL 1: Self-reflection:
This is a skill which 99% students lack if they fail in SLS. This skill requires you to reflect on judgments made and actions taken in answering 4 questions of SLS. You should write your experiences, strengths, weaknesses, what you learnt from meetings with mentor? How was your experience of presentation? Here you should also ensure that you write your experiences rather than focusing on mentor that what your mentor told you, what he/she said, what you did in the meetings. Don’t provide a to do list in answer of questions to the marker. It is highly recommended to focus on yourself and your experiences.
SKILL 2: Communication:
This skill requires you to present a professional presentation to your mentor and attach a copy of it to OBU while submitting your documents. Your presentation must be clearly linked to report and must have appropriate structure. Presentation must be brief, to the point which becomes basis of discussion. Don’t copy paste your report in presentation, use bullet points and brief sentences.
In my opinion ethics is another area for which markers want some evidence in RAP and you should also cover this in your report.
If you want to pass RAP then you need to pass both RR & SLS. If you want to get A Grade in your RAP then you need to be fully competent in 4 Technical and Professional Skills of RR. If you fail in any skill of RR or SLS then you will fail whole RAP.
Markers require a Balanced Report that reasonably covers all skills required to be demonstrated. You need to ensure you do not miss any area and cover everything subject to word count. Do not emphasis or use too much words in an area for doing best in it and ignore any other sensitive area of RAP as per your topic.
In case of re-submission, you are only required to correct mistakes or problems indicated in markers comments.
Hammad Ahmed Qureshi – OBU BSc Hons. RAP MentorJanuary 6, 2016 at 8:03 pm
Great article Sir. Thank you so much.January 6, 2016 at 8:04 pm
Can you also tell, for topic 8 what are important models???January 7, 2016 at 10:28 pm
Thank you Maria for appreciating my article.
Please note, there is no rule of thumb for model selection with regards to any RAP topic. Each model selection should be relevant to circumstances of the company, its performance and topic itself. For example, if there is a company which is loss making, it would be more relevant to apply models such as Altman Z Score and others related to business failure if company is making series of losses in prior years. If it is a profitable company, then you would focus on GP margin, NP margin etc. rather EBIT or EBITDA to sales ratio etc.
Everything is dependent on relevancy to company, performance and circumstances. Also, please note that you must be master in knowledge of the model. You cannot apply a model and get A grade if you are confuse about it.
So, in my opinion you may select a general model such as SWOT, PESTEL, 5 FORCES, RESOURCE AUDIT etc. for business analysis but also apply 1 specific model such as BCG Matrix, Life-cycle analysis of key product etc. For financial analysis, you may apply some ratios with horizontal analysis of numbers, which is totally dependent on company’s performance but i will recommend to choose key ratios and critically analyse them rather analysing 25 ratios in just 1 brief paragraph.
In case of any confusion, please ask further question(s).
Hammad Ahmed Qureshi – OBU Registered MentorJanuary 27, 2016 at 3:34 pm
Please help me guys, the area of the RAP called overall research approach, what is expected of me in this area?January 28, 2016 at 5:41 am
Where from F1 to F9 do we study SWOT and PESTEL?January 29, 2016 at 12:38 am
1) Research Approach – Please take a look at the information pack provided. It discusses how you need to understand Primary and Secondary research and its limitations. Also, to discuss the models you use for your report.
2) PESTEL & SWOT – It is mostly touched on in F1 and P3.
All said, these are very common models and there is an abundance of information available online (or offline) from reputable sources – university articles, journals, books
Tips: Do research and use such diverse sources when writing the RAP instead of overly relying on textbooks.February 9, 2016 at 10:58 pm
Can you please tell what is difference between Bibliography & List of References?
Thanks in advance.February 12, 2016 at 2:52 am
Please find below:
You will have cited a number of books, journals, newspaper articles etc, using the author’s name and the date of publication. At the end of the piece, you provide a list of all those authors, giving full details of what their work is called, and where it was published. This list is headed References, list all these items, again alphabetically by author and subdivided by year and letter, if necessary, in your References
You may also have used material that has been helpful for reading around the subject, but which you do not make specific reference to in your own work. It is important to acknowledge this material. Under the heading Bibliography, list all these items, again alphabetically by author and subdivided by year and letter, if necessary, in your References
Hammad Ahmed Qureshi – OBU Registered MentorFebruary 12, 2016 at 4:21 am
Kindly find the below mentioned link and read pg 72 of bsc info pack 2015/2016
2.2) The difference between the reference list and the bibliography
Within your piece of written work, you will have cited a number of books, journals, newspaper articles (or whatever), using the author’s name and the date of publication. At the end of the piece, you provide a list of all those authors, giving full details of what their work is called, and where it was published. This list is headed References, and provides all the information about the published works you have mentioned in your text ALPHABETICALLY by the names of the authors (or originators). This list can be subdivided by year and letter if necessary. (More about this later). Also, during the course of your preparatory reading, you may use material that has been helpful for reading around the subject, but which you do not make specific reference to in your own work. It is important to acknowledge this material. Under the heading
Bibliography, list all these items, again alphabetically by author, regardless of whether it is a book or journal, and include this list separately after the reference list.
The Bibliography indicates to your reader or examiner that you have read more widely that was strictly necessary to produce the piece of written work, and that you therefore have a better grasp of the area or the topic than if you had only used the works cited in your text
and your reference list. Everything you cite (i.e. mention) in your piece of written work will be listed once alphabetically by author and subdivided by year and letter, if necessary, in your References.
I can make it more easy for you. Suppose you read annual reports of your company and competitor & you keep visiting online business media while preparing your project..
Under the heading of Bibliography
1) ABC, Annual Reports 2012
2) ABC, Annual Reports 2013
3) ABC, Annual Reports 2014
4) XYZ, Annual Reports 2013
5) XYZ, Annual Reports 2014
6) XYZ, Annual Reports 2015
Online Business Newspapers/Media:
1) Business Recorders,
2) Dawn News
3) The News,
Hope the answer of the question.
OBU Registered MentorFebruary 12, 2016 at 7:33 am
Regarding Referencing please visit our homepage http://www.opentuition.com/obu where you will find ‘The Open Tuition Ultimate Guide to Referencing your RAP’.
This, as the title implies, has all the information and links that you should need to reference your RAP correctly and avoid any possibility of plagiarism. It is presented in 3 parts but ensure that you follow our Golden Rules as they include advice on all the important points that markers of academic work are likely to apply when assessing students’ work
Note: If any student has further questions on Referencing in the interest of keeping our Forums tidy, please post them on our Forum ‘Referencing – Rules, Queries, Harvard etc’ which obviously is dedicated to that particular subject (and is currently to be found on page 2 of our topic list). Thanks
Trephena – OT OBU Forum Moderator
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