Prepare to Pass your ACCA exams: Week 4 – Results Week

On 15th October 2018 the ACCA releases the results from the September 2018 exam sitting.

At 12.01 many students will click on their myACCA accounts, or check their text messages, to find out whether they have passed or failed. Check out Twitter at 12.02 for some imaginative gifs from happy students!

Some people pass

In fact, let’s focus on those who pass their exams first, and it’s worth taking a moment to say, “Well Done”. The ACCA exams are challenging. And they are meant to be. 

This is a world-class, professional accountancy qualification, and the exam system is designed to ensure that all students who progress to become qualified chartered certificated accountants, are of the highest calibre.

Let’s just consider some of the global pass rates from the June 2018 sitting:

  • In the Applied Skills exams only 38% of students worldwide passed the Performance Management paper.
  • In fact, 50% was the highest pass rate that sitting, and it was found in the Taxation and Financial Reporting papers.
  • Looking to the Strategic Professional level we see pass rates are only between 34% to 40%.

What that means is that the majority of candidates fail!

So if you have passed, then please take a moment to recognise your success and give yourself a pat on the back.

But most importantly, note how you did it because whatever study technique you applied last time clearly works, and you should repeat that good behaviour.

Some people fail

Ok so if we know that most people fail, it’s likely you are reading this blog because you want to find a way to avoid it happening next time. Or ever again.

Before you do anything, take time to reflect how you approached the exams in September.

Be honest with yourself when answering the following questions:

  1. Did you complete the whole course? The examiners will test all of the syllabus and if you failed to cover everything then it’s likely you couldn’t answer all of the questions in the exam.
  2. Did you understand everything? When studying there is a big difference between reading and actively learning. The ACCA don’t test on your ability to remember information, but on your ability to apply knowledge to different situations.
  3. Did you do enough question practise? The examiner tests topics in a number of different ways, and only by working through lots of different questions can you be sure you can cope with whatever is thrown at you on exam day.

Use your personal feedback from these questions to decide what you will do differently next time.

Planning your resit

If you are planning on resitting in December, remember the exams are only 7 weeks away.

Let me share some ideas on how to prepare for a resit:

  • Although you are not starting from scratch, it’s likely that you will have forgotten some things so make sure you recap the whole syllabus.
  • Get help on understanding any tricky topics. Contact your tutor and / or review the online ACCA study resources.
  • Set aside enough time each week to study – including that all important question practise.
  • Give yourself at least a week to do pure revision, and by that, I mean complete at least one mock exam or past paper under exam conditions, mark it and debrief thoroughly.

And what of your current subject?

Chances are you have already started studying for a new subject to sit in December.

The deadline for the December sitting is 29th October 2018. That is the deadline for booking your resit, booking your new subject or amending a booking for your resit.

As to whether you should do the resit and the new subject at the same time, whilst I can offer guidance ultimately it has to be your decision as you are the one who has to do the work and only you know how much time you have to do it.

As a rough rule of thumb, if your fail was marginal (45% +) and you are on track with your study programme for the new subject, then you can probably cope with doing two subjects.

If you were further off the pass mark, or if you are not up to date with your current course, then I would recommend focusing on just one subject.

One final thought; the ACCA examiners often talk about “good exam technique” as being a key to exam success. Preparation and practise leads to good exam technique, which leads to exam success.

Caron Betts

Posted October 15, 2018