CHAT SESSION WITH ACCA F5 TUTOR

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1 CHAT SESSION WITH ACCA F5 TUTOR I wanted to know why Kaplan exam kit is too vague. ACCA Tutor: I cannot answer that - I do not work for Kaplan. What is the best way to practice for f5 in terms of questions? ACCA Tutor: The best way is to practice as many questions as you can - most important are the past exam questions Why a lot of questions are not stated in similar format? ACCA Tutor: The examiner deliberately asks in different ways, to check people understand and have not just learned an answer Do you think Ann irons will give us surprises in the paper? ACCA Tutor: I do not think she will be any different from Geoff really June 2010 paper was relatively straight forward (at least first 3 questions) Do you think dec 2010 would be easier? ACCA Tutor: I expect this times exam to be a similar standard as in June. (Even though Ann did not write the June exam, she checked and changed it) Do you think doing enough studying from now will have us prepared for the exams? ACCA Tutor: You must study everything - just picking a few topics is too dangerous. There is still time. The only ones that are perhaps less likely are those that were examined last time Do you always have to write qualitative answers in the context of the question set-what r the best tips for doing such? ACCA Tutor: Not always - the examiner always makes it clear whether they want you to write generally or specific about the particular example. What thing in the paper has very bad effect on the examiner? Is every paper checker is different I mean check the paper and allow marks depend on them? ACCA Tutor: The markers have a very precise marking scheme. Also, if you are not far from the pass mark then the examiner will look at your paper also Please give some suggestion on better use of reading time ACCA Tutor: I think that the best use is to highlight or underline the requirements. So often you are asked to do 2 or 3 things in one requirement, and so many people answer the first and miss the others!! Is it wrong to start with b part of the question then get to a later? ACCA Tutor: No - it does not matter which order you do things in. Just make sure you head up the page so it is clear for the marker which part it is of which question 1

2 Doesn t the amount of information in the BPP kit (written question) reflect the amount of information you should write? ACCA Tutor: No - they write much more than is expected in the exam (it is for you to learn from). Aim for 2 points for two marks, although it is not always that. In fact if you watch Ann Irons (the examiner) video on the ACCA website, she makes it very clear that it is not always 1 mark 1 point. What I would always do is this. As soon as you start a new question, look to the writing part and head up one sheet of the answer book for this part. If you can think of something to write immediately then do write one or two lines, but do not spend time thinking too much. Then go to another page and start doing the numbers parts. While you are doing the numbers you will probably think of other points to write for the writing part. If you have one page for the writing part then you can add things as you think of them. How should we cross out an error or mistake? ACCA Tutor: If you make a mistake, then just put one line through it. The reason is that sometimes what you think was wrong is actually correct! If the marker can still read what you put a line through and it is correct, then they might give you the mark Ann Irons recently wrote an article on cost-volume profit. Why would she do that especially as i thought this was an F2 topic area... is she giving us a hint and if so what is it? Why is it relevant for F5? ACCA Tutor: Everything in Paper F2 is examinable at Paper F5. It is very unlikely that you will be examined specifically on CVP, but you must be happy about it - contribution is relevant in so many places in F5 What areas are generally answered badly? ACCA Tutor: It is the written parts of the questions that are always answered badly. People spend too much time on the numbers and do not write much for the other parts. Numbers will only be 50% of the exam you cannot pass just on numbers - you need to answer the written parts also. How do we improve on the written parts of question? ACCA Tutor: First, always write something - however little. The markers will always give 1 mark for writing anything at all sensible. That does not sound much, but in the whole exam there will be at least 15 parts of questions so that is 15 marks without knowing much!!! Secondly, make sure you make each point separate - a lot of people keep writing one point after another and the marker misses things. Leave a line between each point. Read the requirement very carefully - very very often you are asked two things in the same line and people only notice the first. For example - explain and state the advantages of something - too many explain and then forget to state the advantages Speaking of which, report writing is a crucial part, too isn't it? ACCA Tutor: Report writing is not so important for F5 Can u pass with having more understanding an applying it in writing than in numbers? ACCA Tutor: Yes - you must do some numbers, but it does not matter if you do not finish the numbers or if you forget things, provided you have also written. 2

3 Should we rote learn the theory but apply it to the question being asked? ACCA Tutor: No - you should not rote learn. That is another problem - people write an answer they have learned, which is not the same as the question being asked!!!! You must understand what you are writing. Does practicing past question help to improve the implication? ACCA Tutor: Yes - in three ways! First you get used to the way questions are asked. Second you find out if you know the subject. Third, by reading the examiners answer (especially the written answers) you learn better than you do from reading text books, I have understood theory but when I do questions from the exam kit and check my answer, only 3or 4 points match. ACCA Tutor: If 3 or 4 points match, then that is a good start - you only need 50% to past. With regard to the rest - if you cannot understand them, then ask on here (or if you are on courses then ask the tutor there) How much we have to explain or give points in respect to the marks available? ACCA Tutor: Remember that in the revision kits (and the examiners answers) they always write a lot more than they expect you to write. They write more because they know people learn from them. And also, if they expect (for example) 5 points, then the examiner always write many more points because..the markers will give the marks for any 5 of them If there is calculation error but we have used the correct procedure and then we comment on that result, to what degree someone can lose marks? ACCA Tutor: If it is clear that you are trying to do the right thing, then you will get most of the marks. Calculation mistakes are usually only half a mark. That is why it is so important to make sure that your workings are easy for the markers to understand Is extension good? e.g. including 'factors affecting demand' as possible reasons for certain situations... I mean thinking outside the box ACCA Tutor: It can be - provided that you are not wasting too much of your own time How much we have to explain or give points in respect to the marks available? ACCA Tutor: There is no precise guide. Always aim for 1 point for 1 mark (so if there are 5 marks then aim to make 5 points). However there is no rule - there are often 2 marks for a point. Write as much as you know without wasting too much time. Do not write long sentences just brief points, as long as they are sentences and not just one-word points Can you just outline topics that are usually asked together because sometimes they are mixed up, and you get lost in the ocean of data like variances and budgeting can come together? ACCA Tutor: to be honest anything can come together. However the things that usually come together are topics from the same section of the syllabus. (Costing; Decision making; Budgeting; Variances; Performance measurement) Sometimes the examiner does not exactly tell us what topic area covered in a given question. I find this throws me off balance at times...advice please ACCA Tutor: Part of what they are testing is that you can identify the problem. You can best learn this by practicing past questions. 3

4 Is it best to practice past paper questions? ACCA Tutor: Yes - past exam questions are the best way of all of learning and the examiners answers are always correct. Remember that in the revision kits (and the examiners answers) they always write a lot more than they expect you to write. They write more because they know people learn from them. And also, if they expect (for example) 5 points, then the examiner always write many more points because the markers will give the marks for any 5 of them. I would like a brief explanation on back-flush costing and throughput accounting. ACCA Tutor: I would not worry about backflush. It is being removed from the syllabuses next year and so it will be very odd if it is asked this time Can we use those calculators that solve simultaneous equations in the exam? ACCA Tutor: No, you should not. Also most of the marks are for your workings - not for the final answer Do you think linear programming will come back in dec 2010? ACCA Tutor: I do not think so (but I could be wrong!) What is the best way to answer a sensitivity analysis questions? By referring to calculations?? ACCA Tutor: sensitivity analysis is calculation (although less important for F5 than for F9) There are pricing strategies other than those mentioned in study guide.. but we could use them as answers ACCA Tutor: You can, but if they are not in the study guide then the examiner will not be expecting them (and the marker therefore will probably not give marks for them) Learning curve wasn't examined in the last paper, should we expect it? ACCA Tutor: That is true - and there is a good chance of it being asked. What is the difference in Sensitivity Analysis used in Budgeting and Risk and Uncertainty? ACCA Tutor: You will not be asked to use sensitivity analysis in budgeting Concerning Simulation... do we just need to know its usefulness of we might be asked to use the simulation process in a question? ACCA Tutor: You cannot be asked to use simulation with numbers. I doubt if you will even be asked to mention it in F5 (more likely in F9) What could be asked about budgeting? ACCA Tutor: You could be asked to prepare a budget, but more likely to write about them (for part of a question) Are we required to do calculations for feed forward control? ACCA Tutor: No calculations directly - just be able to explain it. (Although you can be asked planning and operational variances, Planning variances are an example of feed forward control) 4

5 Would we be asked to flex a budget or would we be given 1 and asked for mix +yield variance ACCA Tutor: You can be asked to flex a budget, certainly Mix and Yield is separate. It can certainly be asked (and could well be this time - the examiner wrote an article a few months ago) Will it be mentioned if we have to use additive model or multiplicative model in the question? Is there a way to know which to use? ACCA Tutor: If you get numbers on time series, then you will be told if it is additive or multiplicative. You might need to know that additive model is used when the trend is constant and use multiplicative when trend is fluctuating. Would we be asked to flex a budget or would we be given 1 and asked for mix + yield variance? ACCA Tutor: Mix and Yield is separate. It can certainly be asked (and could well be this time - the examiner wrote an article a few months ago) What is the purpose of Variance Analysis? ACCA Tutor: it explains why the actual results are different from the budget. It is useful for helping to control costs (because if costs are more than budget we will want to find out why) and it is useful for measuring how well individual managers have done (did they do better or worse than budget) What is the actual difference between ratio analysis and variance analysis? ACCA Tutor: Ratio analysis is looking at the financial accounts and comparing with previous years (or with similar companies). Variance analysis is comparing actual results with the budget I would like some explanation on building block model, just brief one ACCA Tutor: Financial performance measures just look at what happened in the past. The problem is that even if the past results are good, if (for example) quality is getting worse, then results will be worse in the future. Fitzgerald and Moon suggest using a range of measures - not just financial, but also things like quality. If you want their full list (of 6 areas) ask (or look in the OT course notes) When will the next session with the tutor? ACCA Tutor: There will be about 5 more before the exam. 5

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