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In this guide we will cover how to prepare to retake the Financial Accounting and Reporting: UK GAAP exams including reviewing what went wrong and how to prepare for the retake.

If you do find yourself unfortunately needing to retake the Financial Accounting and Reporting: UK GAAP exam here are a few tips for success next time:

Reviewing what went wrong

With hindsight, could you have done anything differently?

  • Did you dedicate enough time to studying Business Strategy and Technology?
  • Have you practised questions to time and used the ACA marking guides to look for ways to improve your work?
  • Did you repeat too much theory without applying it to the facts?
  • Did you have other things going on in your personal/work life?
  • Did you run out of time?
  • Did you just have a bad day?

Whatever it is, what are you now going to do differently? Do not make the same mistakes twice.

Use the ICAEW marks feedback to assess your weakest areas. These are the areas you now need to concentrate on (without completely neglecting the rest of the syllabus, of course).

Draw up an action plan to schedule what you are going to do through this revision period. This should cover the technical areas where you need to refresh your knowledge. The following are the most common reasons students lose marks:

  • Are you addressing all parts of the question? Eg, consider the reasons for outsourcing and recommend how the contract should be managed, is effectively two requirements in one. You must give both equal weight
  • Are you developing your points clearly? For each point aim for three sentences. A good approach may be as follows: sentence one to explain the point you are raising, sentence two to provide evidence to justify the point and sentence three to explain why it is important to the business
  • Are you writing enough? Everyone will write at different speeds, but you may need to tailor your style to the speed of your typing. If you do not type quickly practise summarising your answers as you mark them. Could you say the same thing with fewer words?

How to prepare to retake your exam

The key is going to be question practise. You may or may not have done every question in the question bank but there is nothing wrong with repeating questions. Use the 'topic finder' and contents page to decide which questions you are going to practise based on your analysis of your weaker areas. Make sure you build in a good rotation of topics to keep the rest of the syllabus as fresh in your mind as possible. Make a note of any questions you struggled with and go back to those areas to fill in any knowledge gaps if needed.

If you have a mental block on certain topics ask your tutor to spend some time going through these with you. If you don’t have a tutor perhaps a colleague who has taken the Financial Accounting and Reporting: UK GAAP exam could help you.

Can you get hold of a new set of mock exams to practise? Ask your tutor and see whether they will mark the mock exams for you and provide feedback.

You may also be able to use the latest real exams from the ICAEW website to give you some additional question practise (depending on how many sittings there have been between your original exam and your retake).

On exam day, start your retake exam by deciding which order you will tackle the questions in (after taking a brief look at them) and stick to this plan. Most importantly, stick to the 1.8 minutes per mark rule for every question to ensure you have time to attempt all four questions. 

Remember, it is intended to be challenging but achievable. Do your best to prepare fully and manage your time carefully on the day.

Good luck.