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How to pass the ACCA Business and Technology exam (FBT)

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Iryna Mcdonald
By Iryna Mcdonald, Tutor at Kaplan Link to Iryna Mcdonald's LinkedIn profile

This blog has been developed to set you up for your ACCA Business and Technology (FBT) exam, so you can be in the best possible position to pass.

The level of the exam

Whether you are starting with the Foundation level qualification or going straight into full ACCA qualification, Business and Technology (FBT) will be one of the first papers you encounter.

The paper will introduce you to the universal language of business and help you grasp the key concepts and principles according to which any organisation is managed.

The exam topics

1. The business organisation, its stakeholders and the external environment. This topic explores the differences between commercial and non-for profit organisations, the importance of managing stakeholder relationships as well as providing a general overview of the wider macro-environment in which the organisation operates.

2. Business organisation structure, functions and governance. This topic explores the best practice in structuring and running the organisation.

3. Accounting and reporting systems, technology, compliance and controls. This topic introduces the key concepts in financial, management accounting as well as audit that will be further explored in subsequent papers.

4. Leading and managing individuals and teams. As a finance professional, you not only need to understand the organisation but also manage its staff. This topic introduces the key ideas on how to create a successful workforce.

5. Personal effectiveness and communication in business. Being a finance professional involves managing your time and dealing with conflicting priorities. This topic demonstrates how effective communication and use of personal effectiveness tools help you to get things done.

6. Professional ethics in accounting and business. The topics of ethics and professionalism will be prominent throughout the whole of your qualification.

The exam structure

The exam is two hours long and all questions are compulsory.

Part A of the exam consists of 46 objective test questions, drawn from across the syllabus topics. These are worth either 1 or 2 marks. Questions worth 1 mark have only 1 correct answer from 3 choices, while questions worth 2 marks have 1 correct answer from 4 choices. Section A questions test your knowledge or basic application of the knowledge.

Part B of the exam is made up of 6 multi-task questions, each worth 4 marks. There is 1 multi-task question on each of the areas of the exam. Some, but not all, of these questions are based on short scenarios.

Part B requirements may be set out in different ways, including:

  • choosing more than 1 correct response, such as selecting 2 correct answers from up to 6 options.
  • matching definitions or descriptions to the words or phrases that they represent.
  • clicking on the correct response in a graph or diagram.
  • selecting the correct words or phrases from a drop-down list.

The pass rate for the Business and Technology (FBT) exam has been consistently high, at around 80%.

Key challenges of the exam

Students tend to perform well on questions related to the topics of accounting and reporting as well as managing teams and personal effectiveness. This could be due to the fact that accounting and reporting overlaps with other exams at this level, such as financial and management accounting - therefore questions touch upon subject matter already studied.

Managing teams and personal effectiveness are very practical topics, which makes it easier to relate them to the workplace circumstances you might already be familiar with.

Topic areas which pose the greatest difficulty include theories of management as well as economics, corporate governance and ethics.

Initially you might find the quantity of the theories overwhelming. However, mind-mapping and summaries provided by your tutor, as well as within the study materials, will help you to break down these theories into more logical and manageable chunks.

With the topic of economics, it’s important to remember that only a general grasp of the subject matter is being examined. There is absolutely no need to go deeper into it than prescribed by the syllabus. The topics of governance and ethics will be very useful all the way through your subsequent studies, so by knuckling down now you will save yourself a lot of effort in the future.

What should I do to pass?

It’s a common misconception that objective test exams are easy. While it is fair to say that some questions may appear to be easier to tackle than others, it may not always be the case, particularly when it comes to scenario-based questions.

On the positive side, the Business and Technology (FBT) exam is not time pressured, so there will be sufficient time to read question scenarios carefully. This is to make sure you fully understand the key facts and therefore select the answer options that best fit the given circumstances.

Finally, for some, Business and Technology (FBT) might be their first exam in a long while. Therefore it is important that you pace your studies in a way that fits around your work and personal commitments.

For more information and guidance on the topic, please see my short video:

Kaplan offers a variety of different study options, including classroom, Live Online or distance learning to fit in with your time commitments. With expert guidance from our skilled tutors, you will find it easier to acquire both the knowledge and the exam techniques needed to succeed in the Business and Technology (FBT) exam.