The examiner tells the Lecturers' Conference what is inside his head!

May 2013

P6 is a nice static exam with nothing much happening, said the examiner.

He stressed that P6 was a big syllabus and you have to have good technical knowledge in many areas.
There are some areas that cause confusion, he said, and they are:
• Income tax – students are happier talking about schemes in general. Residency and overseas income is a particular problem.
• Capital Gains Tax and IHT is done pretty well, apart from reliefs, these are just not known well enough. IHT mechanics is done well, the problem is with business property relief – it just becomes part of CGT again!
• Corporation tax is usually done well. But candidates do have a problem when de-grouping charges arise.
• Learn direct/indirect ownership properly please.
• VAT. Teaching it is tricky and the fundamental concepts are not easy to pick up when you are self-studying. Students have to realise that they might need a bit more help on VAT.

The examiner pointed out that he tells his markers to look to give marks even when they are in doubt. His approach is he is a tax manager and if you bring him useful stuff he will give you a mark.
While most do it these days, you have to answer all four questions and all the parts. Since he took over there has been an increase in students having a go and they are often picking up marks.

He also warned against students wallowing in difficult questions hunting around for the marks. Instead they should just push on and keep earning marks elsewhere.

Again he asked students to avoid repetition. Use the reading time and then get your points down. Two short sentences, sometimes even one sentence can earn a mark. He just asked more candidates to think before they write.
You need to:
* Identify all of the relevant information.
* Identify all of the relevant issues.
* Identify all of the possible outcomes.
The marginal candidates are just not picking up enough marks for all their effort, he explained. If you are getting 1 mark a page then you will fail. Now, that might mean you need to slow down and answer what is being asked!

The exam structure is clear. It is 35 marks for Q1, 25 marks for Q2 and section B questions are 20 marks each .
The examiner suggested it was easy to spot the candidates who haven’t sat a revision course. “Those on revision courses are doing better,” he said. They seem to know how to behave in the exam hall. They also seem to know the 4 professional marks, for instance, are in Q1.