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The examiners’ workshops: P4

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

July 2017

P4 Advanced Financial Management

Exam structure
Section A – one compulsory 50-mark question based on a small case scenario, testing a range of areas.
Section B – three 25-mark questions, students chose two. Smaller questions and focused mainly on one syllabus area, but could go across more.

New structure from September 2018
Section A – one compulsory 50-mark question based on a small case study. At least two syllabus areas will be tested in the question.
Section B – two compulsory 25-mark questions. Smaller questions focused mainly on one syllabus area.

The examiner said that over the past two years the pass rate has continued to be between 33% and 39%. He said it was vital students bring the tools and skills they honed at F9. “If they don’t they won’t succeed,” he suggested.
The examiner said that there was a danger with the four sittings a year. Students seem to sit the exam again and again without seemingly preparing properly. Students should only sit the P4 exam when they have the knowledge base to help them pass, he said.
P4 studiers also need to study for a good period of time. It’s not enough to work hard for three weeks and then do a week of revision.
The examiner wants students to use the extra time they have in the exam to read the question properly. He doesn’t want you to just dive in and suggests you underline key words.
He is also hurt by the fact that students don’t appear to be reading his articles in Student Accountant. There are two new topics there – reverse takeover and behaviour finance. He wrote them and you should be reading them – simple. However, these articles aren’t a hint of what is appearing in the next exam.They are just something for the toolkit.
Interestingly, he felt there was an over-reliance on past papers and intensive study programmes. Too many candidates are also making fundamental calculation errors.
He also said your tutors should ensure you are keeping up-to-date with what is happening in the real world. Markers love a real-world example and when they have got the scope they will give extra marks for these.
And while question practise is important, students need to show they can move beyond that. “Students are good at answering a set question and have learnt this. But if there is a question that has no set format they struggle,” he suggested. Students then need to be able to answer the unstructured questions, too.

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