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Tips for success


Published: 21 Oct 2021 Update History

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In this guide we introduce some tips for success to help you master the Accounting exam.

1) Explain it to someone else

A good test of whether you truly understand a concept or a calculation (rather than just having memorised a specific example) is if you can explain it to someone else. For a particular topic, find someone to try and teach it to – ideally, someone who will be able to let you know whether you’ve gone wrong, or who can ask probing questions. If you don’t have someone who will be able to do this, just be honest with yourself, and try to teach someone who doesn’t know! If you stumble when explaining a particular point, make a note of it and go back to revise that area later. 

2) DEAD (debits, expenses, assets, drawings) CLIC (credits, liabilities, income, capital) will never fail

Anything that ends up in the financial statements has had to have applied to it – in the exam, and in real life. Even for the most complicated questions, try to go back to the fundamentals of double entry, whether the question is asking what the scenario has already done, what they should have done, or how to correct it. This will always work so if you can break down the harder questions and make sure you have matching debit and credit entries, you stand a good chance of getting to the correct answer. 

3) Answer every question

Remember to answer every question – there is no negative marking in the exam. At each of the shorter questions, ensure you check if the question is asking for one or more answers to be selected. For the scenario-based question, remember to type something into every box, even if you think the answer is 0 (there may be marks awarded for this). 

4) Follow the exam guidance on inputting answers to the scenario-based question

You will be reminded on the introduction page of the exam, but remember that for the scenario-based question, you should answer to the nearest £ (therefore if you put pence, it will be marked incorrectly). Also remember that for negative numbers you must include a minus sign before your number or put your number in brackets (the exam system will recognise either). Examples where this will be relevant are expenses in the Statement of Profit or Loss, or cash outflows in the Statement of Cash Flows.

5) Take breaks

Human brains are not designed to concentrate for hours on end. Ensure that you take regular breaks to keep refreshed. This will also help you to keep focused during your study sessions. Try to plan breaks in advance. Some students like to take breaks at regular time intervals eg, every hour, others like to take breaks when they have completed a particular topic area. Try both to see which keeps you focused and motivated the most.

6) Know the details of your exam booking

If you have booked to take your exam at an exam centre, make sure you know where your exam is, how you will get there and what time you need to be there by before your exam. This will eliminate unnecessary stress on the day. You could also consider practising the route beforehand so you can feel calm on exam day.

If you’re taking an exam via remote invigilation, all the information you need is within the exam booking confirmation email. Before the exam day, run a system check to ensure that your internet bandwidth is sufficient, you have a working webcam and your device has audio and volume control. On the day of your exam, log in 30 minutes before your exam time to complete the required administrative processes.

For students studying with a tuition provider, they may provide you with your exam details.