Availability of ACCA Past Papers
Using ACCA past papers is an essential part of your ACCA studies, since they enable you to practise answering questions under examination conditions, and at the same time assess your progress in your studies.
ACCA Past Papers and Suggested Answer Guides are provided by ACCA free of charge.
The ACCA Past Papers are accessed by the following steps:
2. Top right scan box – key ‘exam papers’
ACCA Answer Guides are written by the Examiner
The Answer Guides provided by the ACCA, for the ACCA past papers, are written by the Examiner who set that particular ACCA past paper.
Read through them carefully – they will give you a good idea as to what was in the Examiner’s mind when he or she set the Question and what he or she was looking for as way of answer.
At the end of each set of ACCA Answer Guides you will also find a ‘Marking Guide’ which the Examiner issued to Markers to tell them how marks were to be awarded. Study these carefully – they provide essential information about question balance and answer focus.
Don’t be concerned about the excessive length of most model ‘Answer Guides’ provided by the ACCA for the ACCA past papers. The ACCA model answers are considerably longer and more detailed than would be expected from any candidate in the examination. You should use them as a guide to the form, style and technical standard (but not in length) of answer that you should aim to achieve. However, model answers may not include all valid points mentioned by a candidate and credit will be given for mentioning other relevant points. For this reason, you should try to add points to an ACCA model answer and thereby use the answers actively - rather than simply adopting the easier approach of ‘ passive reading’.
You can also use the link provided above to access the ACCA Examiner’s Report. The purpose of the reports is to offer candidates generally constructive feedback as to their performance in the examinations.
The reports provide a general commentary on the overall performance of candidates in each session as well as details on:
- technical aspects that were being examined in the questions
- whether candidates performed well or poorly
- what aspects of the questions appeared to cause difficulty to candidates and if possible why it was a problem e.g. lack of knowledge, poor examination technique etc.
These reports also provide essential feedback for students reviewing ACCA past questions.
Build ACCA Past Papers into you exam preparation
ACCA past papers will give you ample practice in answering questions under simulated exam conditions. It is a good plan to print out copies of as many ACCA past papers as you have time to work through. In this way you can familiarise yourself with the layout of the paper, its possible division into sections, the choice and type of questions and the time allowed.
You should, however, be prepared for the possibility of changes in the way in which the ACCA past paper has been drafted.
Mark your own answers to ACCA past papers by using the ACCA model Answer Guides – particularly concentrating on the ‘Marking Guide’ provided at the back of each set of answers.
Better still, link up with a colleague or fellow student who is also studying for the ACCA past paper and agree to mark each others’ answers. You will learn a lot about weaknesses, what not to do and common difficulties when you read through the answers of another student – as he or she will by reading yours!
Using ACCA past papers for revision
Revision is essential. It helps you to keep the whole of your ACCA subject in the forefront of your mind. The best way to guard against forgetting what you have learnt is to revise frequently. The great secret of being successful in your ACCA studies is the constant habit of revision.
Wyttenbach, the noted Dutch philologist, gave this excellent advice to his students:
“What I choose is this: that every day the task of the preceding day should be reviewed, at the end of every week, the task of the week; at the end of every month, the studies of the month; in addition to which the whole course should be gone over again and again during the vacation.”
When you are satisfied that you have learnt all the essential points in a syllabus topic, check your knowledge by working through ACCA past papers. These ACCA past papers represent the type of questions you may be asked in the actual ACCA examination. They embody some of the essential points in an ACCA syllabus topic, and are there to challenge you.
Can ACCA part papers be used for predictions?
Relying on exam predictions is a dangerous policy. Predictions are notoriously inaccurate. Forecasts based on ACCA past papers are, as the name implies, projected from historic (‘ex ante’) data. The assumption, then is that the future can be predicted from past events. It is almost like driving a car forward by looking in the rear mirror!
However, there are ‘swings’ in some ACCA papers (probably swings of 4 or 5 exams) – but examiners are famous for catching out ‘lazy’ and under-prepared students. Also there are a lot of syllabus topics, in most ACCA subjects, that have still not been examined, So take care if you decide to predict likely questions by using ACCA past papers.
It is important to balance your ACCA studies
To achieve success in your ACCA studies it is of utmost importance that you develop a balanced study programme. To help impress the most important features of every ACCA syllabus topic upon your memory, try the following plan:
1. Read one topic, straight through at least once, or preferably twice, to give yourself a clear idea of the main parts of the topic.
2. Make a detailed study of the topic making use of ‘Activities’ and ‘Questions’ incorporated within your study material. Stop your ACCA studies periodically to recall what you have learnt – this helps to fix important points in your memory.
3. When you have completed studying the topic, read it right through again, perhaps more than once. You should be in a position to see and understand it as a whole.
4. Now you can make use of the ACCA past papers. Consider each relevant question carefully. What is the principle involved? How can I apply it to the question in the ACCA past paper?
Good luck in your ACCA studies!