Why Students Fail in ACCA Exams and What's The Solution?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 Print Email

In each attempt a vast number of ACCA candidates fail to succeed in their exams. Roughly speaking, on average only 40% to 50% of the candidates successfully pass their examinations. The remaining 50% to 60% of the candidates have to face the shame of failure. A wide variety of factors can be responsible for this failure. It is unlikely that only a single factor is responsible for failure. Failure is a result of a combination of multiple factors. We will discuss some of the most common factors that contribute to the failure of candidates. We will also discuss how to tackle with these factors and overcome them to succeed in exams.

1. Poor planning

A lot of ACCA students do not properly plan for their studies and exams. They do not take some time out to decide how they plan to prepare for their examinations.

Before starting preparation for ACCA examinations, you should properly plan your approach to studies. When planning, you should take into consideration factors such as your work routine, availability of time, number of papers to be attempted, and other personal factors such as family commitments.

You should prepare a time table and write down your plan. Your timetable and plan should be flexible and realistic. Avoid drafting a timetable and plan that is overly ambitious because you might fail to stick to them. This might result in depression and de-motivation. Break down your plan into small achievable targets and try your best to meet these targets on a daily or weekly basis.

2. Failure to familiarize with syllabus and exam structure

Some students do not familiarize themselves with the syllabus and structure of exams. This can result in two grave mistakes. First mistake is that students might waste their time on topics which are not examinable. The second mistake is that the students might skip some of the important examinable topics. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the examiners have defined depths to which a particular topic is examinable.

Therefore it is very important that you familiarize yourself with the syllabus and the depth to which different topics are examinable. You should carefully read the syllabus of the exam you are taking.

You are advised to use ACCA's approved study material for your preparations. The approved study texts have been thoroughly reviewed by the ACCA. The approved study texts cover the entire syllabus, take into consideration the level of depth needed, and incorporate any changes or revisions made to the syllabus.

3. Poor understanding of concepts

One of the biggest reasons of failure in ACCA examinations is lack of understanding of the concepts. Students spend too much time on memorizing the rote knowledge instead of understanding the underlying concepts.

Knowledge can get you a few marks but knowledge alone cannot get you passing marks. You must understand the underlying concepts. The ACCA exams, particularly the advanced level exams, test your ability to apply concepts in a given scenario. You will be able to apply your concepts only if you have thorough understanding of the concepts.

4. Lack of Practice

Many students spend all their time in studying the notes, study texts, and other study material. They make a grave mistake of not practicing for their exams under exam conditions. Practicing for the exams is just as important as studying and preparing for the exams. A large number of students with excellent preparation fail in exams due to lack of practice.

Due to lack of practice students face three major problems. The first problem is that the students fail to learn to handle exam stress. The second problem is that they fail to learn to manage their time. The third problem, and the most severe one, is that they fail to learn to apply their concepts in the given scenarios. The students who practice under exam conditions are well prepared to handle exam stress, manage time, and apply concepts in the given scenarios. These three skills play a key role in success and failure in ACCA exams.

Therefore, you should extensively practice for your exams in strict exam conditions. A large number of past exams papers are available from the ACCA website. Download them and practice them under exam conditions. Then compare your answers with the model answers provided by the examiner. This should help you in identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Try to enhance your strengths and overcome your weaknesses with more study and preparation. Then again attempt another past paper and evaluate your performance and repeat the above circle.

5. Not answering all of the questions

Another common reason of failure in ACCA examinations is that students make the mistake of not answering all of the questions. There are two common reasons for this mistake. First reason is that the students skip part of the requirements (in some cases even a whole question altogether) due to extreme carelessness or exam stress. The second reason is that students do not properly manage their time and run out of time.

You should always be very careful and alert the whole time. You should not panic and try to stay calm. If you are careful and calm, you will not be making silly mistakes such as skipping some part of the question's requirements.

Properly plan and manage your time. You should try to allocate time to each question and requirement depending on the marks available for that particular question or requirement. Usually in most of the ACCA exams, for each mark you have 1.8 minutes. So for a question that is worth 10 marks, you should spend about 18 minutes on answering that question. Most of the ACCA exams now give you 15 minutes of reading and planning time at the start of the examination. Use this time very effectively.

If you think that you are running out of time and cannot completely answer a question, you should write down the important points in the form of bullets or short sentences. The examiner will know that you were aware of the answer but could not answer in detail due to lack of time. You will be awarded a few marks for your efforts. And remember each mark is precious! 

Quote Guest, 2 August, 2017
Thanks for sharing your great advice.
Quote Guest, 18 January, 2018
Not all these points are applicable, that's why you find someone who only attempted the paper because the exam fee was paid passing, and someone who followed the advice as give above failing repeatedly; it's more like a game of chance! Check the discussion boards for students' comments.

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