Skip to main content

How to pass a written paper

One of our Kaplan tutors has written some top tips on how to pass a written paper if you're studying for an Accountancy qualification.

Think about the structure to your answer

Use the requirement to structure your answer... how many things are they asking you to do and then set up subheadings around the requirement. This will help you to answer set requirement in a logical, structured way.

Do not re-write the requirement

Make sure you aren't providing introduction paragraphs. This is a waste of time as you will not be awarded any marks. Get straight into your answer and do not waffle.

Use the mark as a guide on how much to write

If the requirement is only one or two marks then all you need is one or two statements. Conversely if there is a 12 mark requirement, you will be looking for about 12 points. Too often students spend ages on a short requirement and then do not spend enough time on a larger requirement. Look at the marks available, work out how long you have got and as a rule of thumb you need to come up with a separate point for each mark i.e. five mark requirement – needs five ideas/tests.

Each point should be a separate statement in your answer

Leave a line between each point so your answer is clearly laid out and easy to follow.

You must allocate your time

Too often students do not manage their time correctly and end up spending 5 minutes on the final question. You have to be ruthless with time management. Generally you have 1.8 minutes per mark. Work out your time allocation for each part of a question and stick to it. It is difficult to pass an exam when you have only attempted parts of it. Missing out questions will seriously hinder your chances of success.

Watch your writing

This is a classic exam hint. It sounds obvious but you would be amazed at the writing markers have to read. If the marker cannot read the script then how can they mark it. To put it simply: think more, write less, and focus on making what you write clear and legible.

Be specific

Vague points, not related to the scenario can only pick up half marks at best. By making your answer more specific and tailored to a scenario then you can easily turn that half mark into a full mark.