Becker Profession Education's Keith Rye gives his advice about how to get a pass at P1

May 2013

The exam advice set out below is not intended as a guaranteed or definitive list of the topics that will be contained in the forthcoming examination paper and should not be construed as such. What follows is presented as an additional resource for students’ preparation, based on knowledge and past experience of ACCA examinations. Becker Professional Education - ATC International accepts no liability where final examination papers differ from these suggestions.

History shows that the “well prepared candidate” stands by far the highest probability of passing examinations.

Being well prepared means, at the very least:
• Working through all of the sessions within your study system (on the basis that a good study system covers the whole syllabus and not just a “best guess” 70%).
• Working through all past examination questions and completing all monitoring/progress tests and mock examinations under full examination conditions.
• Reading all of the examiner’s and other subject articles – they do not write for fun. Read them all, not just the ones published prior to the current exam.
• Careful study of the examiner’s reports on past examinations. These contain excellent advice on what students should NOT be doing.
• Regularly visiting Information for accountancy students ? syllabuses, exam papers, study guides | ACCA | ACCA Global

The Examiner
The examiner has now a settled style and format. No changes are expected. Therefore attempting the last four real examinations under exam conditions and then reviewing your answers along with the relevant examiner’s report is an essential pre-examination exercise.
The examiner has made it perfectly clear that following “examination tips” is a sure way to fail the examination. He stresses the importance of having covered the whole syllabus but even then, students should not expect a pass just from being able to rote learn theory. Far too many students, for example, are able to list and describe ethical theories, but then completely fail to apply such theories to a practical scenario. Without real world thinking, exam tips are totally irrelevant.
Do not be surprised to see a scenario within at least one of the questions, especially Q1, that you may recognise from a past corporate event. The examiner makes it very clear that he bases his questions on real life – and the credit crunch/banking crisis of the last few years provides plenty of sources to cover just about every area within the syllabus!

Exam Technique
The difference between passing and failing is only 1 mark. Ensure you attempt ALL parts of Q1 and of the two questions you select from Section B. If you are not sure, write something that appears sensible, reasonable and is related to the requirement – that could be the mark that gets you 50%.
Get inside the examiner’s head – fully understand his pet phrases (embed, underpin) and know when and how to apply them in your answer. Understand the format of his answers and what he expects.
A significant number of students fail because they do not get all of the available presentation marks. If a report format is required, do a report (NOT a letter). Make sure you understand what a press report looks like (there are plenty of examples on the internet) and lastly, look through the past Q1s to understand what the examiner wants.
Ensure you read through all of the past examiner’s reports – there are plenty of examples of what not to do.

Areas to concentrate on:
• Corporate governance (CG) concepts, underlying fundamentals and arrangements
• CG in other organisations (e.g. public services, NGOs)
• Types and forms of CG (e.g. rules based, principles based, insider, outsider systems, UK Corporate Governance Code, SoX)
• Agency theory, stakeholders, Mendelow
• Board structures, CEO/chairman, directors, NEDs, committees
• Internal control and business risk, Turnbull
• Ethical theories and business codes – Kohlberg, Gray, Owen and Adams, Tucker, AAA
• Professions and the public interest
• Corporate social responsibility, corporate citizen, footprints and sustainability
• Social and environmental auditing

That just about covers the syllabus.

Good Luck!
source pq