<a href="http://tarcafa.blogspot.

com">TARC AFA Blog</a>How to impress the ACCA m arkers All ACCA papers are now marked using the online system called Scoris , writes Sunil Bhandari. Although the paper-specific exam techniques taught to you by your professional t utors have not changed drastically, there are some subtleties that will help you r paper look better in the eyes of the marker and so improve your chance of pass ing. As a professional ACCA tutor and member of the P4 marking team I would sugg est five tips: 1) Use a black pen. Write only in black and practise all your revision questions using black ink only. 2) Use a ruler. It really helps to make your paper look neat and tidy. When unde rlining headings and setting up schedules (eg NPV) the presentation looks so muc h better if the lines are straight. 3) Space out your answers. When the paper is scanned we only see it on our lapto ps (most likely). Leave space between your computations and space out your writt en points. It is far easier to read and give marks. 4) Which question, which part? Make it really clear at the top of each page whic h element of the question you are answering. Marks given on each page have to be allotted to the relevant part of each question. Make it easier for the marker t o see clearly which part of the exam your answer relates to. 5) Leave blank pages. It would help you and the marker if at the end of each que stion requirement you have attempted you leave a page or two blank. Should you n eed to come back and add more you will have the space to do so. None of the above is rocket science, but in my opinion it will give you a better chance of passing the ACCA papers you are attempting this December TIPTASTIC - How to pass Decembers F7 So what is coming up in December do you need some tips? In June, the pass rate for F7 Financial Reporting was just 28%. That means 62% o f PQs will have to do it all again this December! Those working towards those ex ams would have looked at the pass rate worryingly, hoping that December s test wil l see a better pass rate. The problem is the paper was given the thumbs-up by al l the experts, including PQ magazine s Exam Review Board. With the current F7 pass rate in mind, we asked all the leading tuition provider s for their exam tips for the next session. We explained that our readers want r eal tips not just a list of what is in the syllabus. Some have kept to the brief and some haven t. But what ACCA readers get is some really useful guidance on wha t they should be concentrating on. A warning: in no way are the subjects listed here guaranteed to come up in December. So what do our experts think will appear in F7 Financial Reporting? ATC Common areas that feature on a regular basis in the exam are as follows: Leases. Revenue recognition. Substance versus form. Convertible instruments (IAS 39). Accounting for taxation. Accounting for assets, particularly IAS 16. Important areas that have not been examined under the new syllabus and therefore may feature in the near future are: Construction contracts. Impairment of assets. IAS 37, accounting for provisions. BPP Q1 (25 marks): Consolidated SOCI and/or SOFP with one subsidiary plus associate (including adjustments for fair values, unrealised profit, intragroup trading, g oods/cash in transit, other syllabus area). In addition, there is also a discurs ive part (b) on reasons for adjusting for unrealised profit or other group topic s. Q2 (25 marks): Accounts restatement/ preparation with adjustments, for example d

especially leasing. deferred tax. Q4 Mixed standards. and question 10 would have been perh . First Intuition Q1 Consolidation revenue statement with goodwill computation. Kaplan Financial Q1 Mixed consolidated income statement and statement of financial position possi ble adjustments to include PURP. impairmen ts. And on the matter of the IFRSs and IASs. substance over f orm issues. tax and sale or return. Nowadays. or provisions. financial instruments (change in FV or amortised cost). leases. where the questions are so techn ical. share issues or government grants. Q3 Interpretation. Q3 Ratios and report writing. discontinued operations.pqmagazine. EPS cal culation or SOCIE with a prior period adjustment Q3 (25 marks): Interpretation and/or statement of cash flows. measureme nt and placing of the double entry . with a couple of challenging areas.g. Q4 & 5 IFRS 5: Discontinued operations. and it s ha rd to get away from his passion this man really knows his stuff and loves accoun tancy. disappointing many candidates. government grants. For the interview in full go to our ACCA study zone at www. Q2 Single company accounts with. accor ding to top tutor Rob Moulin. May include discontinued operation. grants. he believes computerisation has made life more difficult for the PQ in learning the language of our profession. For P2 especially. Q3 Calculation of an element of a statement of cash flow and a report to include calculation of ratios and interpretation of the accounts using the statement of cash flow and ratio results. it makes a lot of sense to get hold of the IASB standards book. encouraging st udents to get to know their standards. LSBF Q1 Consolidated income statement with IFRS 3 (Revised) discussion. impairment. depreciation. revaluations . Learn to love double entry ACCA financial reporting students need to understand their double entries. perhaps with writt en part on aims of not-for-profit entities. Q2 Re-drafting or published accounts. non current asset. inventory valuation. lease. w e press keys and don t see the entries behind the numbers. ACCA Exam Review Board Our ACCA Exam Review Board goes over the June 2010 sitting with a fine tooth com b Vicky Taylor & the team KAPLAN FINANCIAL F4 was fair. standard setting. with or without cash flows.uk. current/deferred tax. inflation. Let s not forget. Fraud and Criminal Law aspects didn t appear. or both CSFP and CIS in same Q (last one Dec 2008). How great to be able to show the examiners you know your stuff. Q5 Long-term contracts. provisions. at their heart. sections of a statement of cas h flows (rather than the whole) may be tested Q4 & Q5 (15 & 10 marks): One question in context of conceptual framework. liquidity). and th e other containing one or two discrete topics. he says. investment property. leases. government grants. it s good for confidence and it could be worth marks. he says. intangible assets. the possibilities include: regula tory framework.epreciation. Interpretation may focus on limited ratios and their interpretation (e. they re the foundation of financial reporting. On the subject of debits and credits. EPS. He s back teaching F7 and P2 at LondonSam. It s a real shame.co. Q2 Redraft of financial statements (also to include SOCIE) possible adjustments could include revenue recognition. Q4 The framework with contingent liabilities and financial instruments. Q5 Depreciation. he s just as enthusiastic. Learn some of the finer details. deferred tax. th e accounting standards are there to provide guidelines for the timing. investment property.

The balance of syllabus coverage and mix of questions was good. containing some tricky parts. P2 was a demanding paper and in particular students will have struggl ed with Q1b.aps the toughest. The rest of the paper was fair although a great deal of time was requi red. Some students may have been surprised by the large number of writte n marks available in Section B. A s in previous diets. All in all. which students may have found daunting. The paper was fair and the well prepared candida te should score very highly. The examiner seems to not be splitting e ach 10 mark question into parts but giving candidates free range on what to writ . The part on amend ment to the rules on reclassification should boost the marks of those who attemp ted it. wit h enough variable levels of difficulty to identify the competent student. with a higher than usual proportion of marks for pure discus sion. provided they had read all the audit examiner articles. this was a good paper. P7 was fair and focused on the core syllabus areas with a welcome return to more application based scenarios. The compulsory questions in P6 were longer than ever before. this was a fairer paper. The question was by no means simple and required. Question 1 required a consolidated statement of comprehensive income of a simple group structure. The testing of swaps for the third consecutive paper would ha ve surprised a lot of students. Overall. P4 was a strange mix. F7 was overall a fair but time pressured paper. whilst there were some extre mely easy questions. Question 1 required preparation of a consoli dated statement of financial position with the usual subsidiary and associate. P5 students may have struggled with a number of the requirements in Section A wh ich examined non-core areas and required them to demonstrate their commercial un derstanding. covering lots of key topics. Well rehearsed themes were tested in F5. Question 2 was easier t han the last diet. with only the linear programming questi on giving the candidates cause for concern. which complemented the usual suspects. The m ain issues for this question are the treatments of contingent consideration and the intangible asset that was written off by the subsidiary in the post-acquisit ion period as it was considered valueless by the parent. F9 was a fair test. treatment of part disposals of subsidiaries where one still remained a s ubsidiary and the other became an associate. but there were enough strategic analysis marks available throughout the paper to make up for this. Tim Paton First Intuition F4 was fair and all core topics tested. The main issue here was IFRS 5. especially in question 3. As always. The P1 paper was unusually quite heavily focused on the governance and responsib ility . Unusually for P3 there was no strategy evaluation element. This will better pr epare students for the rigors of P6. among other things. A slightly more challenging F6 exam than previous recent sittings with the quest ions appearing to be in a different style to previous exams. Also required was the calculation a nd presentation of impairment losses on financial instruments. It was not too time-pressured and there were easy marks available to candidate s with good examination techniques. The P2 paper (Corporate Reporting) was technically demanding and was. Question 2 dealt with various standards and is representative of the exa miner s style. A moderately well prepared student should have don e well. candidates who prepared thoroughly should score well. as expecte d focused on current standards.appearing in all questions. Iyi Ogiehor City of London College Paper F7 (Financial reporting) was fair and covered a wider area of the syllabus . F8 saw a welcome return to the normal exam style.

should have ensured that ever yone who had prepared properly was rewarded. plus some marks for knowledge rather than application. F8 Pami Bahl has shown herself to be a fair examiner with a paper set at just the right level to test candidates.how many st udents will come across such a transaction in the real world? A Graham Holt clas sic. and delegates who had followed t he time honoured advice of practising questions would have identified many easy marks associated with both risk and ethics. In P2 the group accounting question with disposals would have created a challeng e and the question on hedge accounting was a disappointing question . Tougher parts included the rules surrounding Senior Accounting officers. The 10 marks on capitalisation of borr owing costs would have thrown a few students but was comfortable for well prepar ed students. The question focussing on audit report s and negligence had some easy marks. The new examiner. In section B most will have attempted the ethics question. Ann Irons kept the same style as the previous exa miner and this made for a very fair paper. Students should fare well having reviewed past exams. There were sufficient easy marks for a competent student to survive the P6 exam. F5 was well balanced between calculations and discussion and contained expected/ core topics. Paper P7 (Advanced Audit & Assurance) was a paper that rewarded PQs who had good exam technique and who had focussed their preparation on optimising their sylla bus wide knowledge and its application instead of second guessing potential exam t argets.e about in response to each requirement which weaker candidates will not have li ked. and then have faced a dilemma as to which other question work. No question had less than four separate mark scoring components. and alt hough questions were based around a theme each requirement was sufficiently ring fenced to enable a poor performance in one section not to torpedo prospects els ewhere. In P7 students can have no complaints at all. There was further evidence that the case studies have become more straightforward. The F7 exam was a good mix of written and numerical requirements together with e nough funnies to identify the prize winner. However. This would have been compounded by the associ ation of controls and perpetual inventory counts as the latter may not have been anticipated. and provided case study scenarios based on unlisted gr oups and business advisory work that had a difficulty tariff on a par with recen t sittings. Her paper covered a good range of topics and sh ould have allowed well prepared candidates to obtain a pass In F9 investment appraisal and working capital topics were there although expect ed value calculations with the cash balances would have been a little unexpected . The greatest challenge was associate d with identification and assessment of internals controls and the audit testing thereof as this is a subject which exposes both weaknesses in written technique and ability to generate hit rate. Using similar wording to previous papers and covering some core topics. P1 was sensible and fair containing some topical issues (top bankers pension and nuclear power). but delegates may have been put off by sec tion (b) and uncertainty between the concepts of an emphasis of matter and other ma tters . a well prepared candidate should have been able to complete this paper within time. hence those who had worked past papers had little to fear. In F6 the question requirements were broken down a little more than previously l eading to broader syllabus coverage and no single large full tax computation req uirements. . Paul Rogers 7 city Paper F8 (Audit & Assurance) was fit for purpose as a test of core knowledge with few hidden traps and good syllabus coverage. From an academic perspective the paper was well constructed to avoid rep licating Paper F8 skills. No serious problems for students were noted. the multi-part nature of all questions on the paper.

by bringing down the standard of the F5 exam. but would expect question 5 to be answered poorly as this was on an area that has not been examined often.Tony Mock LCA The June 2010 exam for F5 is not one about which any student should have a compl aint! The ACCA has attempted to overcome its problems with this paper . said Scott. What examiners want Exam reviews of F7. then you certainly can' t lay the blame at the feet of the outgoing examiner. F4 tested a broad range of areas and was a fair test of candidates abilities but they are likely to have struggled to generate detailed answers to questions 9 an d 10. Yes. P1. this must be described as a suitable test for the studen ts coming through from the knowledge module. Income tax was not tested. Examiner: Stephen Scott Despite the improved performance in December over the June sitting the examiner believes there is still considerable room for improvement. there was a heavier emphasis on corporate tax and ethics was examined in question 4. P2 was one of the toughest papers we have seen in terms of time pressure and tec hnical content. Students in December should expect a bigger change from what we have bee n used to in P5 than the small change seen when the current syllabus replaced it s predecessor. but we thought the probability c alculations in question 1 were a bit brutal. have different priorities and a different style.covering a number of the topics central to the syllabus. however. Candidates . This is evidenced by many sitters answering only four sometimes three of the five compulsory questions. there were a couple of papers that were more challenging. but the question itself (on variances) was perfectly fair. Questions are of a similar style and standard to those that we have seen from the current examiner for some years now. Deborah Taylor BPP As we have come to expect from the ACCA this was a reasonable set of exams. If this sitting of F5 has the same poor resul ts that have been seen for much of the current syllabus. One might question whether this ma kes a suitable test of the topic. Un til the problems of F2 and F3 are overcome (and a review of the structure of the exams is now upon us). P2 & P3 F7 Financial Reporting. F9. It also seems strange to see a business making cricket bats showing its financial results in dollars. as we though t these were reasonable papers. F8.caused b y the excessive levels of exemptions from earlier papers and the inappropriate f ormat of those earlier papers . P5 seemed fair . testing complex groups with disposals in question 1 and hedging and derivatives in question 3. F5 was in line with expectation but the style and content of some of the F 6 exam may have been a surprise. We would expect that most candidates found F7 doable. F8 provided excellent coverage of the syllabus with no surprises and the F9 pap er was more straightforward than December 2009. The question on linear programming has clearly been designed in such a way as to make the answers to the question s uitable for marking scanned copies on screen. but on the whole the student who walked into the exam hall well prepared and applied good technique t hroughout should pass. P1 and P3 made up for this. It con tained a reasonable mixture of computational marks and marks for discussion that a student could adjust according to the selection made in section B of the pape r. It will be a shame to see the end of t he tenure of Shane Johnson since any new examiner is quite likely to place a dif ferent interpretation on the syllabus. And finally. we thought the options papers were examined at an appropriate level with nothing unexpected being tested. The main fault is can didates lack of syllabus coverage.

F9 Financial Management. All questions were based on case scenarios and marks were often awarded for application to the case material. Secti on B contained three questions worth 25 marks and candidates were required to ch oose two from those three. From the papers he is convinced PQs don t know how to frame and draft a memo to management. as is illegible writing. F8 Audit & Assurance. said Head. There were some common issues that arose from candidates answers. There were als o a significant number of scripts where candidates had crossed out the first pag e (sometimes more) of their answer. but as in previous papers also contained supporting requ irements from other areas. which scored few if an y marks. Students who are successful showed that they had studied all of the syllabus. repetition of points. This was worth four marks and Campbell said few sitters managed to gain hi gh professional marks. Bahl stressed that failure to read the question requirements also meant some provided irrelevant answers. r esulting in a pleasing pass rate (58%). if at all possible. . particularly IFRS 3 (Revised) and financial instruments. So Holt is a happy man indeed. Examiner: Pami Bahl The examiner was pleased to see that most candidates attempted all parts of all five questions. Examiner: Graham Holt The examiner admitted December s paper was testing. The section B questions tended to be located in one a rea of the study guide. As in previous diets. F ailing to answer each question on a new page in the answer book was also frowned upon. He continues to be disappointed that stu dents fail to pick up the professional marks December s Q1 asked candidates for a memo. PQs also seem to be answering the 50-mark question better par ticularly with regards to the ethics question. Scott also mentioned that there was evidence of time wasteful exam techniques un necessary and over-elaborate workings. although PQs responded well. Q1 was a multi-part requirement covering a wide range of outcomes. Q4 was on non-current assets and Q5 on the different measurers of profit/ earnin gs performance and earnings per share calculations. Examiner: Antony Head There is no substitute for studying the whole syllabus in-depth. The cash flow question (Q3) was more focused this time around and students produced mixed results. This. At the last sitting section A was co mpulsory and contained one extended question (Q1) worth 50 marks.did well at the first two questions on group accounting and production of finan cial statements. P1 Professional Accountant. Duri ng revision students need to test their degree of preparation by sitting past pa pers under exam conditions. The examiner said that candidate s then need to take action to strengthen areas where they find a need for more s kill. Campbell stressed: I have made the point before that vario us forms of narrative communication should be taught to and learned by P1 candid ates. Examiner: David Campbell P1 contains four questions in two sections. P2 Corporate Reporting. Last December s paper was Campbell s fifth. etc. These are areas students know well. Holt was also pleased that there was less evidence o f candidates trying to get through the exam by answering just two out of three q uestions. felt Scott. what he got was simply a letter. In many cases. demonstrates poor answer p lanning and a consequent inevitable waste of valuable time. The examiner felt some were wasting time by rewriting the question requirements out or providing lengthy introductions or definitions which were unnecessary. rather than focusing on a small number of key a reas. knowledge and understanding. Finally. Holt believes the results reflect the be nefit of publication of articles in Student Accountant and the increased expansi on of the knowledge base in certain subject areas.

If a rule you describe or apply deri ves from statute. no more than 20 minutes nor less than 15 on any one in order to do yourself justice. P3 also builds on knowle dge gained in paper F1. So those exempt from paper are encouraged to review the content of the F1 syllabus. if it asks about partnerships. Examiner: Steve Skidmore The poor performance of candidates in section B was the main reason for the slig ht dip in pass rates. Skidmore is also concerned that a significant number of candidates only answer ed two questions. more difficult one or two marks of a question at the expense of getting the straightforward six or seven marks i n another question. . If you can remember the particular statutory reference or c ase name. You shou ld allow an average of 18 minutes for each question. There is usually no benefit i n quoting detailed case facts but you may need to make comparisons or distinctio ns when you apply case law in scenario questions. Mor e help coming here soon. Allow eight to ten min utes within that time to plan each answer.P3 Business Analysis. from a model law. ACCA exam tips for December exams What do our experts think is coming up in December s exams? Here are top tips.5 with a new title. if not. and to jot down key thoughts and reminders on the examination paper. do not give answers based on company law. to refer back to when you plan and writ e each answer. students should make use of AC CA past examination papers. said the examiner. Successful students often leave the most challenging questio ns until last. if it refers to buyers rights. promise Paper F4 Contract law: exclusion clauses or intention to create legal relations. Skidmore wanted to remind PQs that this paper is not 3. Be sure to give authority for your answers. Remember that each question carries 10 marks: the scenario questions score the same as the essay questions. do not reinterpret it for example. ATC's ACCA Exam Techniques Don t forget the following advice while in the exam Use the Reading and Planning Time before the start of the examination to make su re that you understand what each question is about. making sure to pick up the easier marks of the other questions firs t. There are significant new areas which must be learnt. Good Luck! In addition to noting the guidance set out above. Answer the question that has been set. This seems to suggest to him PQs are unfamiliar with quality a nd project management. Question 3 and 4 were not well answered . refer to it generally. Answer all ten questions.com/students. do not give detailed answers about sellers rights. Do not overrun on time trying to find the last. being sure to number them in the answer book and to ke ep each answer together. from an international code or from a judicia l precedent. he said. say so. Employment law: wrongful and unfair dismissal . pay close attention to articles published in Student Accountant in March and April and should read the Examiner s review of the last e xamination session at www. Allocate your time carefully between questions so that you do not become bogged down in a handful at the expense of others.accaglobal. quote it. two significant parts of the syllabus.

IFRS 5. Liabilities including deferred tax.. Forecasting . Computing corporation tax liabilities. capital allowance. opening year rules. Corporation tax: long period of account. . capital allowances. Transfer pricing. Personal tax: benefits. Directors duties. Backflush costing discussion. Paper F5 Interpreting financial and non-financial performance measures. property lease. Self-assessment and payment of tax by companies. Types/structure of court the English Legal System. Badges of trade. Acceptance of appointment System evaluation and management letter extracts. Paper F8 Payables validation of period end balances and cut-off. Comparing the merits of different budgetary control systems.Partnership law: ostensible authority. Leasing both numbers and written aspects. revaluation. investment property. Offer and acceptance the agreement. gain s of shares. ethical and practical issues. IASB framework elements or qualitative characteristics. Civil and criminal law the differences. ABC. Company formation. Standard costing variance analysis and operating statements. Computing chargeable gains.linear regression. Consolidated I/S and SFP for either 2/3 company groups. Intangible non-current assets including research and development. Paper F6 Taxation of employment income. VAT annual accounting. Throughput accounting techniques. Paper F7 Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income possible transactions to include depreciation. Cashflow question with report on company performance. Financial statement interpretation. Short-term decision-making techniques. Audit of estimates including provisions and contingencies. Combined Code on Corporate Governance: application and purpose. Company law: alteration of articles. or formation. Dealing with trading losses loss reliefs for sole traders and companies. adjustment to profits. Limiting factors. Fraudulent behaviour. CGT principle private residence relief. Adjusted profit computation and capital allowances for sole trader. Published accounts. Divisional performance measures . or time series.

Risk audit . ethics absolutist v relativism. Paper F9 Economic environment and the impact on interest and exchange rates. subsequent events and threats to going concern status. Paper P1 Corporate Governance risk management. separation of CEO and chairman powers (think M&S). Internal controls. Analytical review as a planning tool. Asset replacement cycles and capital rationing. director s remuneration and non-executive di rector s responsibilities. Stakeholder management Mendelow s Matrix. Risk management of foreign currency using internal and external hedging techniqu es. The need for internal audit. including settlement discounts and factoring. Ethical dilemma American Accounting Association decision model. Business valuations using geared betas and earnings based valuations. IAS 570 going concern. ISO 14001. Closing review. Inventory management. Not for profit organisations. Weighted average and marginal costs of capital and the CAPM. Internal control weakness. Working capital management EOQ with discounts and lead time buffer stock. Inventories or non-current assets.Understanding unmodified audit reports and modified opinions. TARA risk model. .in house versus external provision. Management of trade receivables. Threats to an auditors independence. Complex NPV or IRR with tax. Payroll audit procedures.

Discount activities. . Business Valuation. impairments. Enterprise risk management models Paper P2 Complex group statement of comprehensive income incorporating a part disposal or stepped acquisition. IFRS 3 revised aspects. the environmental footpr int.The contents and process of a social/environment audit. Principles and accounting treatment multi-scenario incorporating intangible noncurrent assets and impairment. Paper P4 Corporate failure. Project management and the capability maturity model. Paper P3 The balance between controlling and encouraging emergent strategy. Management responsibilities for ensuring transparency of financial statements. Accounting for environmental issues including provisioning. Business analysis in not-for-profit organisation. Impact of accounting policies on a financial covenant. Deferred tax. Stakeholder analysis and corporate social responsibility. deferred tax. E-business and supply chain management. Marketing techniques and customer relationship management. Group topics disposal of subsidiary and complex group. Convergence of IFRS and US GAAP. Other topics provisions. Scanning the macro-environment and competitive environment. WACC/financing.

Issues associated with the control weaknesses and collection of evidence for a n ot-for-profit organisation. Rollover relief. . The clarity prject. VAT capital goods scheme. Paper P6 Taxation aspects of property and investment income. Behavioural aspects of performance management. pyramid.Black Scholes. Audit challenges of determining going concern status and the impact on audit opi nions. national and market trends on performance. Taxation of group companies and consortia. Audit procedures looking at impairment of financial instruments and fair value. Current issues and trends in performance management. Computing trading losses. forecasting. Paper P7 Prospective financial information linked to applications for debt funding. Learning curves. Paper P5 Impact of world. Ethical scenarios/professional issues. IHT death estate. Lease vs buy for assets. Self-assessment for individuals and partnerships. Ethics and tax planning. The performance hierarchy. Strategic management accounting and limitations of traditional management accoun ting techniques. Auditor liability and good practice management.

.ISA 700 engagement reporting. ISA 540 accounting estimates.

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