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The examiners’ workshops: F9

Here’s what the ACCA examiners had to say about your performance at the Global Learning Conference

July 2017

F9 Financial Management

Exam structure
Section A – 15 objective test questions.
Section B – 15 OT questions from three OT cases.
Section C – Two questions.
Formula sheet
Present value & annuity tables.

Pass rates
March 2017 – 40%; December 2016 – 45%; September 2016 – 47%. Results combine PBE and CBE.

The examiner is worried some PQs don’t seem to recognise the formulas they are provided with! F9 candidates need to know that sheet and how to insert those formulas into their answers. They are there, explained the examiner, to save students time at their exam desk. He said that the pass rate did take a big drop in March, but this merely reflected the poorer performance of some students. “Too many students are still focusing on investment appraisal to the detriment of other parts of the syllabus.”
The examiner also wants PQs to master the simple techniques. Without them they are missing easy marks.
He then gave lecturers an insight into the marking process. The marking software means he has access to live statistics – not only day by day but even hour by hour. Each marker gets three practice and three standardised scripts before the marking really begins. They are also some random control scripts in the marker’s pile of papers, so the examiner can quickly see if the quality of marking is being maintained. He revealed that some markers might not even be allowed to start marking if they don’t conform to the marking grid.
A common theme at the conference was the call for students to study the whole syllabus. He wants to encourage students to use the ACCA study guide and tick off the areas that need more work. “Students have to continually ask themselves how they are doing,” he said. And the examiner pointed out he uses the study guide when he writes the questions.
It was also stressed that if he asks for three points for six marks you won’t get any extra marks for any more than three. “You can’t get marks that aren’t available,” he said.
The examiner also pleaded with students to read his Examiner’s Report – it takes him two days to write after all.

F9 examiner’s top tips
• Calculator errors – normally lose half a mark.
• Mathematical errors – more serious and will give PQs problems at CBE – they have to know the formula they are putting into the spreadsheet.
• Errors of principles.
• Lack of knowledge – he sympathised with students who don’t have a perfect learning environment and don’t have unlimited time. But planning your studies is a key to success.
• Time allocation – get it right.
• It’s the same marking team for CBE and PBE. For the CBE it’s vital to pick the right cell and made your answers ‘easy to find’.
• The question-setting process is well-established so look at past papers.
• There is rigorous quality control in the marking.
• When he asks for three answers don’t provide five – the first three are what is marked, not the best of three out of five.

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