Exam Digest for the P Papers – Issue 1

eemeiyi —  February 9, 2017 — Leave a comment


Exam Digest for March 2017 Exams

P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics

The examination consisted of the standard two sections. Section A contained one question for 50 marks and Section B contained three 25 mark questions, from which candidates had to answer two. This is a Professional Level paper and as such candidates must be fully prepared, both in terms of technical knowledge and exam technique. Good exam technique is essential to this paper as it is in all others. As a starting point, the exam rubric of how many questions to answer in each section must be adhered to in order to maximise your chances of success. The exam is challenging enough to pass by attempting the correct amount of questions but becomes extremely difficult if only one question from Section B is attempted. There are very few candidates that will pass if insufficient questions have been answered. Similarly missing out sections of questions, which could add up to a significant number of marks, should also be avoided. Reasons why whole questions or parts of questions are not attempted are probably due to either lack of knowledge or poor time management or possibly both. Although tuition providers and candidates may attempt to predict which syllabus areas will feature in any particular session, it would be extremely hazardous for candidates to come into the exam hall with large syllabus gaps in their knowledge.

Candidates are reminded of the exam resources available to students via the website which contain many technical articles, study support videos, syllabus updates and exam technique guidance which provide an invaluable source of information. To illustrate this point the following technical articles were relevant to this particular paper; Corporate Governance – from the inside out, The Integrated Report Framework, Environmental Accounting and Reporting, COSO’s Enterprise Risk Management framework, Internal audit, Independence as a concept in corporate governance and risk and environmental auditing. Future candidates are reminded to make full use of these resources as part of their overall learning strategy.

Read the full P1 examiner’s report – December 2016.

More resources:

P2 Corporate Reporting

The examination consisted of two sections. Section A contained one question for 50 marks and Section B contained three questions of 25 marks each, from which candidates had to answer two questions. It is apparent from candidates’ scripts that there seems to be different approaches taken by candidates to learning. Some candidates focus on the main facts with retention of information being important. These candidates simply memorise the information and do not understand the meaning behind the material. This can lead to candidates remembering a list of apparently unrelated facts, as they do not understand the principles behind the learning. This style of learning is seldom effective because of the focus on memorisation rather than understanding.

Those candidates who try and interpret the meaning of the subject matter perform better in this examination. This means that candidates have to interact with the material by thinking critically about the information and relating it to practical examples. Candidates are responsible for their learning and so should utilise an active approach to learning and develop efficient study skills. For example, rather than simply relying upon a tutor’s manual and revision pack, candidates should read articles published in professional magazines and try to see how this knowledge can be applied in practice in order to develop their understanding of the subject matter. If this approach is taken, it is more likely that the information will be retained long-term. It is the learning activities of the candidate, which creates the understanding and complements the instruction of the tutor. In order to perform well in this paper, candidates need to develop an understanding of the important corporate reporting concepts so that they can then apply their understanding of these concepts to the scenarios presented in the examination.

Read the full P2 examiner’s report – December 2016.

More resources:


P3 Business Analysis

In general, performance in this examination was in line with performance in recent sittings. Candidates continue to appear to know what is expected of them, but many are let down by poor knowledge of certain areas of the syllabus. In this examination, candidates seemed to have knowledge gaps in project management, big data, competency frameworks and the learning organisation. This is surprising, given that there is an article on each of these in the learning resources on the ACCA website. Candidates need to be aware of the examination support resources provided by ACCA. Here is a list of resources which would have been relevant to this paper.

Big Data

Now that big data is part of the P3 syllabus, we define what exactly ‘big data’ is, how it can be used to inform and implement business strategy and examples of how it is being used by different industries today.

The Learning Organisation

This article discusses why it is vital for organisations to continue to learn and retain that learning, their skills and abilities, to sustain their position in the dynamic marketplace.

Culture and configuration

This article focuses on two areas of P3’s syllabus on preparing and evaluating a cultural web of an organisation, and the importance of organisational structure and configuration.

Conflict management and the accountant as project manager

This article looks at project management, an important issue relevant to P3. It considers the skills required by accountants in the role of project manager to ensure projects are delivered on time and managing potential areas of conflict.

Business forecasting and strategy

This article outlines key forecasting techniques for students to use when preparing for the P3 exam.

Project management

If you are aware that danger accompanies an undertaking, then it makes sense to understand the nature of the undertaking and how the danger can be managed.

Competency frameworks

This article explains the purpose of competency frameworks for professionals at work and the benefits of these for trainees, qualifying bodies, tuition providers and ultimately to business organisations. Evidence from candidate answers suggests that these resources are just not being used.

Read the fullP3 examiner’s report – December 2016.

More resources:

If you find this helpful, do leave a comment and let us know how we can further improve. Keep a look out for issue 2.

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