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The examiners’ workshops: P5

Our editor reports directly from the ACCA Global Learning Providers’ Conference

August 2017

P5 Advanced Performance Management:
The examiner stressed that knowledge of his syllabus will usually only score about 30% of marks. “Brain dumps don’t work either,” he said. When it comes to application, students are expected to answer in the context of the scenario. And, the examiner said that ‘evaluate’ at P5 means more than ‘calculate’.
He wants PQs to use a logical approach. You can’t expect to pass on defining technical terms though. You are also expected to be critical – just becuase it has appeared in the answer to another question it doesn’t mean it’s right!
The examiner felt that students generally do well with EVA, quality systems (especially JIT), and models from section E of the syllabus – like the balanced scorecard.
However, too many PQs confuse terms; they learn the jargon but don’t know what it means. So they know the words when it comes to the balanced scorecard, but he wants them to apply it and that’s when the issues come. “The number of P5 students who don’t know the definition for the return on capital employed is jaw dropping,” he suggested. The examiner warned sitters it will come up again!
Other areas where students need to do more work are ABC and overhead cost allocation systems, responsibility centres and transfer pricing.
The examiner said students must not question spot, either: “I deliberately try not to have patterns in paper, but there are core areas.”

Changes for 2018:
New exam structure – section A one x 50-mark case study. Section B two x 25-mark questions.
New exam guidance – section A, syllabus areas A, C, D. Section B, one question from E, one question from any area of the syllabus. B will pop from time to time, too!
The examiner is hoping the introduction of the SBL exam will help push up P5 pass rates. He felt that students would be better served to sit SBL before they attempt P5.

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