So how do you pass a paper with one of the worse ACCA pass rates - ask the examiner of course

May 2013

The pass rate has been consistent in this paper! It has been 31%, 31%, 32% and 32%. That is low, said the examiner and it is disappointing, but this is a challenging paper.

The stats also mask the fact that there are a lot of students stuck in a marginal fail. So, while they are doing well in individual questions in a lot of questions they are not performing well.
So what are students doing well:
• Business risk evaluation.
• Knowledge of certain financial reporting issues.
• Identifying ethical threats – generally quite good. The problem is that they are not good at developing problems and explaining why the threat there.
• Recommending audit procedure.
• Assurance scenarios, eg due diligence, prospective financial information.
And, not so well:
• Risk of material misstatement - weak on discussion of specific risks to financial statements. This is a significant issue and a really important area, she stressed.
• Explain WHY ethical threats arise.
• Describing audit procedures, some answers good, a lot very vague and often just not relevant.
• Audit reports generally are not answered very well. You just need to understand AR!

The examiner felt that candidates are just not sufficiently sceptical of the information given. They also need to understand the relationship between the audit firm and the audit client. That is about the mechanics of how it all works.
The choice of question in section B also needs to be thought through. “I am just now sure candidates often make the right choices,” she said.

She stressed that P7 is a quite practical paper and felt that students may need more guidance. She encouraged students to read the whole question paper before they chose what they plan to answer. Too many are still picking questions and then appear not to be able to answer it!

To help students need to improve their knowledge of IAS and ethical code requirements. Students also need to be able to discuss a wider range of issues and be able to develop their points fully. “Three sentences won’t get you 8 marks,” she warned.

The examiner pleaded for candidates to make their answers specific to the scenario and question requirements. Scepticism , although in the syllabus will become more prominent, she explained.
Finally she said that students should be encouraging more interaction in the classroom. There should be debates and discussions around the question scenarios.