ACCA’s research and development team in recent years has conducted surveys with employers worldwide in order to make its course more relevant to the practical difficulties faced by an individual during employment or business activities. Results have shown that students having only theoretical knowledge are not enough and need to work on their soft skills as well to survive in the corporate environment for e.g. computer skills, decision-making skills, ability to multitask and etc.
The ACCA Examination team has changed its pattern of examination by introducing more application-based questions rather than asking only calculative and theoretical questions. Further, the introduction of computer-based examination in 2018 using an extract of Microsoft Word and Excel in fundamental (F1-F3) and skill (F4-F9) levels is also a step forward to allow students to learn while studying for the subject.
Issues faced by students due to changes
Due to the recent changes in the pattern and style of the question paper, students are more likely to face issues during the examination. Some of these are mentioned below:
- Unable to understand the question requirement: ACCA students in Pakistan are generally not from a strong background like O & A-Levels therefore, their English Language skills seem to be poor which therefore tends to create difficulty in understanding the actual requirement resulting in writing an incorrect answer.
- Writing quality answers: As mentioned above, poor language skills not only have an impact on understanding the question but also writing good quality answers. The new pattern asks candidates to provide reasoning for valid points rather than explaining the point itself in their own words. This has resulted in candidates filling answer booklets without scoring marks for valid points.
- Time management: Most of the candidates fail to attempt the complete question paper; this issue has increased since the elimination of the optional questions leading to an increase in the percentage of candidates failing between 45-49 mark ranges. The reason behind this issue lies with the lack of practice under timed exam conditions.
Mistakes by students during exam preparation
It has become a norm among the students not to start exam preparation till the examination fee has been paid. This has resulted in students unable to complete their syllabus coverage on time and facing difficulty during an examination. Further, students attending physical classes in tuition centers or even ACCA online lectures do not take the responsibility of revising the lectures on a daily or weekly basis.
The lack of written past papers practice also has a negative impact on the final result. During the final weeks before the examination, students tend to run to recognized teachers for revision classes in order to complete their course coverage and only read ACCA examiner answers to satisfy them of being prepared for the paper.
The number of papers being attempted in one session and the paper combination is also a very crucial variable to be kept in mind while preparing for examination as some students might either become overconfident by attempting two or three papers while others are uncertain in attempting just one paper.
In recent years, ACCA online lectures and classes have become a trend in Pakistan which has led much full time and working students to set their study plans according to their comfort. Although, learning from home is a great opportunity for part-time working students however the essence of learning face-to-face from teachers has been lost as it does not provide the opportunity to ask questions or clarify a topic during the online lectures resulting in confusion.
The ideal way to prepare and to pass ACCA exams in the first attempt is as follows:
- Attending all session classes regularly both physically or online to complete their course coverage on time.
- Learning conceptual knowledge rather than methods of solving the question.
- Maintaining a clean register to note down important pointers during classes which will be later referred during the final revision.
- Revision of work on a regular or weekly basis with written practice of topic wise past papers.
- Learning the entire course rather than topic-specific learning based on past trends.
- Use of Learn to Pass Webinar by ACCA Pakistan for final revision and attempting mock exams under timed conditions for final practice.
- Briefly read the question paper carefully with all the requirements to understand the syllabus coverage.
- Writing quality answers to the point with valid reasoning. Break the answer into three parts: First, identify then explain and recommend.
- Attempting question based on marks. Do not write unnecessary information or extra valid points compared to the marks being offered.
- Presentation of an answer to be clear in order to make it easier for an examiner to understand by using proper headings and paragraphs.
- Identify the area where marks are easy to gain and attempt accordingly within the time limit set first and then move on to a difficult one.
- Marks from difficult areas to be gained from identifying and explain points from the scenario. Even though writing the impact part may be difficult, students must try to write whatever he/she understands at that point of time but to make sure it is relevant to the scenario.
- Attempt the whole question paper and complete it at least 15 minutes before the end of the exam time.
- Use your last 15 minutes to review your answer booklet to make sure that everything is attempted.
The whole technique has been used and followed accordingly and has resulted in many students to have passed. However, this might not be the only method of passing the examination but may be helpful for some students for their upcoming papers.Tags: ACCA, Article, Blog, Exams Preparation