Getting past that last ACCA examination paper

theaccablog —  November 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

If you were to approach any ACCA member and ask them what some of their challenges were, chances are many of them will say that completing the ACCA examinations was one of their biggest challenges in becoming a professional accountant.

The ACCA qualification is well-known for its robust curriculum, but it does bring along certain benefits once you complete it and go on to become a full ACCA member.


To help our students sitting for their December examinations in less than a month, we recently caught up with Tarun Mohan, an ACCA student who is just about to complete his final paper, to find out more about his ACCA journey and some tips and tricks on how he got past the previous 13 examination papers.

What stage are you currently at for your ACCA qualification and in your opinion what are the three things that got you here?

I am currently in the Professional stage of my ACCA qualification and just about to complete my final paper.

I started my ACCA qualification from the Foundations in Accountancy (FIA) stage onwards.

Hence, I needed a lot of patience as it took some time for me to finally reach this stage. There were road bumps during my journey and so I needed to show persistence in order to continue and not just give up.

Finally, it has taken a lot of hard work to complete all the stages so far, and it will be even more hard work to get through this final paper. In my opinion, these are the three things that got me here – Patience, Persistence, Hard Work.

What is the life of an ACCA student like when it’s nearing the time of the examinations? Bring me through what a typical day is like for you when you are preparing for your ACCA examinations.

As examinations near, I tend to feel a little bit stressed. More time is spent on studying.

A typical day would entail waking up early for breakfast and starting my revision by around 9am. I normally study for about 1 ½ hours before taking a short break.

Lunch is normally around 12.30pm, after which I head to Kaplan for more revision and activities that help me relax and relieve stress, such as going to the gym.

I then head home for some light evening snacks and a bit of rest till dinner at 8pm. After dinner, it’s more revising till around midnight, which is when I hit the sack.

Do you have a strategy for revising?

My main strategy for revising is to write out whatever I study. I find this helps me to remember the content a lot better.

My revision follows the class. So I will revise whatever chapters that we do in class. I try to make sure I complete revision of all the chapters before the revision classes.

Then I will start doing past exams and past exam questions. While doing these exam questions, I take note of whichever topics I was not able to answer properly and I then go back to the books to revise that particular topic again.

What are your top three must-dos the night before the exam? Any strict regime that you follow closely that perhaps could be useful to your fellow ACCA students?

The night before the exam, it is important that I calm myself and ensure I get enough of rest. I make sure I sleep early and eat well. I am a religious guy, so a prayer or two helps to calm myself.

If I am an ACCA student taking my first ACCA Professional paper this December, what is the biggest piece of advice you would give to me?

The main difference between the Professional papers and the previous Fundamental papers, is what is required in the answers.

We are required to show that we understand the subject. Therefore, only a small amount of marks are given for the math and workings. The majority of the marks are given to the explanations, reasons for getting that particular answer, and how we connect it back to the case.

So my biggest piece of advice is that the ACCA student must ensure they can understand what is happening so that they can give the required explanations.

What is the first thing you do and what do you look out for when you are allowed to start looking through the examination paper on the examination day?

The first thing I do is to read all the questions. I take note of what is required from each question, and then I decide which question I will attempt first.

I will always attempt the question that I am most confident of answering. This helps to give me the confidence and momentum to answer the rest of the questions. This also gives me the best chance of scoring as many marks as possible.

Study hard or study smart? Which one works for you and why?

I feel it is a combination of both. I, personally, tend to study hard more than study smart and that has worked well for me so far. Studying hard gets us to know more about the topics and to understand them well. This is important as we cannot truly predict what topics will come out in the exam. Studying hard does not leave much to chance.


We thank Tarun for taking time off his hectic study schedule to share some insights with us. And to all students preparing for the December examinations, keep up the momentum and best of luck!

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