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Introduction to the Accounting exam


Published: 21 Oct 2021 Update History

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In this guide we will introduce you to the Accounting exam. We will cover what to expect when sitting the exam, what to look out for and preparing for the exam.

The Accounting exam covers topics which are fundamental to the whole of your qualification. You will learn why accounting is important for all businesses regardless of size, and how financial statements are put together. The main skills acquired will be the practical process of creating financial statements, as well as focusing on how to correct errors when they occur. You will also get comfortable with the differences between the three main types of profit-making entities: sole-traders, partnerships and companies.

What to expect when sitting the exam

The Accounting exam is 90 minutes long and has two parts. The first part is a scenario-based question, worth 40% of marks. You will be asked to prepare single company financial statements; either a statement of profit and loss and statement of financial position; or a statement of cash flows, using a pro-forma template.

In the exam, this question will be split in two on your screen. On the left-hand side will be all the information you require to be able to answer; and on the right-hand side you will type in your answers to the template statement(s) provided. Partial marks are awarded in this question, view the question banks which gives examples of how partial marks may be split within the exam.  You can also view how this question will be displayed in the exam via the sample exam

The second part includes 24 questions which are presented in the form of multiple-choice, multi-part multiple-choice or multiple-response. Each question is worth 2.5% each – a total of 60% of the exam marks, and they will test all areas of the syllabus. 

What to look out for

Many students find this exam time pressured, so when you’re planning how to use your time effectively in the exam, ensure you keep the mark split in mind and allocate your time accordingly.

It is important that you answer every question. There is no negative marking, so you have nothing to lose. A couple of common mistakes to watch out for: on the scenario-based question, if you are typing in an expense (SPL) or cash outflow (SoCF) make sure you put these as negative numbers – either in brackets, or with a minus sign. In the multiple-choice, multi-part multiple-choice or multiple-response questions make sure you read the question carefully – some questions may ask ‘which of the following are…’ whereas others may ask ‘which of the following are not….’, for example.

Preparing for the exam

Question practise is key! Make full use of the question bank and aim to complete it twice. This will ensure full coverage of the syllabus, as well as helping to check that you are learning from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, this is one of the most efficient ways to learn. When you’re unable to correctly answer a question, focus on why you didn’t get it correct, and what you will do differently the next time a similar question comes up. 

We provide a range of resources which will help you prepare. As well as the workbook and question bank, you can access more resources within the exam resources area of the website. Particularly important are the sample exams, which you should use as mock exams, in exam conditions to see how prepared you are. Good luck!