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Preparing to retake the Corporate Reporting exam


Published: 23 Sep 2021 Update History

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In this guide we will look at how to prepare if you are resitting the Corporate Reporting exam including reviewing what went wrong.

Reviewing what went wrong

Having to retake an exam is never a pleasant position to be in. However, approached constructively, it can give you a really good opportunity to improve both your technical knowledge and exam process.

Start by using the marks feedback service. Marks feedback is available for a failed exam and details a breakdown of the marks you achieved per question. As you review this breakdown of marks ask yourself what went wrong. Common areas include lack of process, time management, lack of balance between requirements and missing key pieces of information.

Sometimes students struggle to identify a path through the question, being overwhelmed by the information presented and what to do with it. If this is the case, then focus on the learning process by developing checklists of steps to follow when working through key areas. Revisit simple questions, develop a process for attempting such questions and then practise applying this process to exam standard questions. With an explicit process identified, it should make it easier to get from the start to the end of the question. Remember this is key to scoring the 50% needed for a pass.

Often time management is an issue. Keep practising questions under timed conditions. The more you do this the quicker you will become. Regular repetition of standard questions will increase your speed in the exam. As you work through these questions do not stop to check the model answer as you go through. You must develop the pace and confidence to keep going, even if you don’t know if you’ve got the correct answer.

Perhaps you did not answer all parts of the requirement. Try allocating one third of your time for reading the information and structuring your response. Work on the assumption that each paragraph you produce, each section of calculation and each journal will each score you a mark. Therefore, what combination of narrative, numbers and journals will you use to score the marks for that section of the question, and overall have you produced a plan that will earn you the total marks available for that question?

Sometimes, students miss key pieces of information and therefore make avoidable mistakes. When reading the scenario slow down and develop a technique to ensure that all relevant information is captured. This can involve making timelines, highlighting the scenario or thinking about the key accounting rules for a standard and making sure you have captured all the necessary information, to apply those rules to the scenario in front of you.

How to prepare to retake your exam

Once you’ve identified the areas that you need to work on it’s a good idea to progress with a combination of questions you’ve seen before and new questions. Questions you’ve seen before will be great to try out your new techniques, reflecting on how you are approaching the question differently from previous attempts. This will reinforce the techniques that you have identified and build confidence as you will be able to see the improvements from previous attempts at those questions. Then new questions will help you develop the confidence to apply the newfound techniques to additional questions in preparation for the retake.

Be aware of technical areas you find difficult and focus your question practise in those areas. Make use of the guides in the question bank to focus on those questions relating to the areas you wish to focus on. 

One of the most important things with a retake is to make it happen. Devise a plan so that all of the above can be addressed in good time for the retake exam.