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ACCA Expert Tips and Technique - F1-F3 papers

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Find out what Kaplan tutors say are the regular Exam Tips and FAQs (below) for your ACCA paper.

ACCA F1 Tips & FAQs

  • Tutor’s comments are: exams are selected at random. New pilot paper suggests a move to scenario based questions from just statements.
  • There is a huge volume of content to learn, do this bit by bit, don’t try to cram it all at the last minute.
  • You need to know the theorists in the syllabus – make a crib sheet of all the theorists and learn it.
  • Use mind maps / mnemonics to help you retain the knowledge.
  • Read the questions extremely carefully. The existence of just one word can completely change your perception of the question.
  • F1 is not as time pressured as F2 or F3, so you should ensure you steadily read over not only the question, but also all of the potential answers.
  • In some of multiple choice questions you should try and eliminate all of the wrong options before coming to your conclusion as to which one is correct. This will avoid rushing your decision and choosing one which “looks about right” whilst overlooking the correct answer.
  • Students with a good overall knowledge of a wide range of areas will have a greater chance of passing this exam that students with who have only have an in depth knowledge of a small range of topics.
  • Practice as many questions as possible across the syllabus, and don’t just concentrate on the areas you like.
  • Before you end the exam ensure you’ve checked that all questions have been attempted. There is no negative marking, so you could make an educated guess at a multiple choice question if you really have no idea.

FAQs

Q. Do I need to know all the theories?
A. As F1 is 100% compulsory you need good syllabus coverage of all topic areas. It is therefore essential that you are comfortable with the key theories you have covered in your course.

Q. What is the best way to study for F1?
A. F1 is basically a memory test exercise, but you need to make sure you do more than just read the material over and over again. Note taking is an excellent way to revise a topic like this, start on page one, try and condense the long passages of text down to shorter notes. If you already know something do not just write it down. Work through the entire book taking notes, then when you get to the end, bin your notes and start again. By writing things down and thinking how to put long text into shorter notes you are storing the information in a different part of your brain which retains information for longer.

Q. The syllabus is huge, are there any areas I can miss out?
A. Unfortunately not. The point of an objective test exam is that it can ask you anything from any area of the syllabus so there is no escaping it I am afraid!

Q. There are so many theorists, do I need to learn them all?
A. You need to learn the theorists which are examinable by name. These could easily be tested in multiple choice questions – perhaps scenario type questions.

Q. How should I approach the exam?
A. Follow what we call a two wave approach. Work through all the questions initially answering all the ‘easier’ questions first, then work through the remainder. If you get stuck with a question, do not spend too much time on it, leave it to the end but remember to go back to it. Make sure you answer all questions. If in doubt, use process of elimination, and if you are still struggling, guess!

ACCA F2 Tips & FAQs

  • This is a multiple choice exam with some data entry/fill in the blank style questions but there is no negative marking, therefore answer all the questions. If you don’t know the answer, make an informed guess!
  • It is very important that you attempt mock exams and past papers so you’re aware of the style of question set for this exam.

FAQs

Q. Is the exam time pressured?
A. Not if you know your stuff. The two hours is more than sufficient to complete the exam. There will however be some numerical multi-choice questions that you may find time consuming but these will be balanced out by much simpler multi-choice questions which will only take a few seconds.

Q. I hate Process costing, if I can’t do it will I fail?
A. No, you won’t. Process costing is a tricky subject at first. The good news is, as the exam aims to test all of the syllabus you should only see a few questions on it.

Q. There is a lot of complex mathematics in this course and I don’t like maths! What can I do?
A. Unfortunately there is some maths in this course. The good news is that the Kaplan course materials are logically set out and take you through each learning objective at a reasonable pace. A lot of the knowledge gained for this class will also be used in F5 so it is worthwhile really getting to grips with the maths at this stage. All difficult formulas are given in the exam.

Q. There seems to be a lot of theory in this course and very little relevance to real life. Is that true?
A. This is the first time you will have met Management Accounting within a professional qualification therefore it is essential that the theory is explained. Alternative costing principles will be built on in further studies and are relevant for the modern business environment. The same applies to Performance measurement techniques - this may something that you are not currently involved in but as you progress, both in your studies and your work, it will become more relevant to you.

Q. How should I approach the exam?
A. Follow what we call a two wave approach. Work through all the questions initially answering all the ‘easier’ questions first, then work through the remainder. If you get stuck with a question, do not spend too much time on it, leave it to the end but remember to go back to it. Make sure you answer all questions. If in doubt, use process of elimination, and if you are still struggling, guess!

ACCA F3 Tips & FAQs

  • Make sure you know your double entries – you cannot pass the exam without knowing these well.
  • The exam can be quite time pressured, therefore practise as many questions as possible to time before the exam – the more you practise the faster you will become.
  • Practising as many questions as possible prior to the exam will also allow you to get used to the way in which the questions are asked the best way to approach the questions.
  • The F3 exam will involve a mixture of question styles, some of which are very quick to answer and others which will be quite time consuming. It is important that you do not spend too much time on questions which you are struggling with. If you are not 100% sure what to do in a question you should move on and come back to it later on.
  • Common problem topics for students are Cashflow Statements, Dealing with Errors, Accruals, Prepayments, Incomplete Records and Group Financial Statements. For all of these topics you need to have a good understanding of the basics before you can answer questions. Make sure you put the work in before your exam.

FAQs

Q. How should I approach the exam?
A. Follow what we call a two wave approach. Work through all the questions initially answering all the ‘easier’ (non calculation) questions first, then work through the remainder. If you get stuck with a question, do not spend too much time on it, leave it to the end but remember to go back to it. Make sure you answer all questions. If in doubt, use process of elimination, and if you are still struggling, guess!

Q. Will all areas of the syllabus be examined, are there any that I can ignore?
A. The point of objective test exams is that it can ask you anything from any area of the syllabus so make sure you cover all syllabus areas.

Q. Are the Computer Based Exam questions random?
A. Yes, they are generated automatically once you input your student registration number.

Q. Are there more theoretical questions then numerical?
A. The mix is completely random.

Q. Should I leave questions out and come back to them at the end?
A. No, always guess your answer in case you run out of time. Make a note and return to it later, if you have time.

Q. Is there a pattern of answer in the multiple choice paper of most answers being either A B C or D?
A. No.

Q. Can we use a printable data retaining calculator for the exam?
A. No, a basic calculator will suffice, a printable or data bank calculator is not allowed.

Q. Do we bring paper and pens for the exams?
A. Only pens and pencils. All paper is supplied and destroyed after the exam.

Q. How much of the paper is made up of multiple choice questions compared to filling the blanks?
A. You will find that for most of the numerical questions you would be required to fill in the blanks, where as the theoretical questions will be multiple choice.