Forpaper-based exams commencing September 2016 onwards,ACCA has removed therestriction relating to the 15 minutes’reading and planning time andcandidates may now use this time however they choose.The total exams remain 3hours and 15 minutes in length.ACCA encourages candidates to take time at thebeginning of the exam to read questions carefully and to plan answers,howeveronce the exam time has started,there is no restriction as to when candidatesmay start writing in their answer booklets.
There areseveral reasons for the removal of this restriction.
First,ACCAreceived feedback from candidates sitting paper-based exams that it was timeconsuming to complete the candidate answer grid for the multiple choiceselections in F5 to F9 exams and to write legible calculations and narrativeanswers in both the Skills module and Professional level exams–they asked foradditional time to help with this.
Second,allACCA candidates are aspiring to become professionals and,as such,ACCAbelieves that they should be responsible for managing their own time during theexam–this is a life skill.Not all students are the same and,hence,theprecise use of the time is likely to vary.Consequently,candidates can use thefirst 15 minutes of the exam to plan answers,or start the exam immediately andreallocate the‘extra’15 minutes across the whole exam thereby planningquestion by question.
To be fullyprepared for the exam,including how to use the three hours and 15 minutes,practise as many exam standard questions as possible;the ACCA specimen examsfor Skills module and Approved Content Provider revision kits contain examstandard questions.
While ACCApublishes exams,these should be used with caution as they are not updated forthe latest exam syllabus,which is why we recommend Approved Content Providerrevision kits that have been checked and approved by the examining team forstyle and appropriateness.
Practicequestions and mock exams should be attempted under exam conditions towork out how best to use the exam time.As part of good exam technique,answersshould be fully reviewed and candidates should determine how performance mightbe improved in the future,including what modifications might be made to theuse of the RAPT.Also,refer to examiner reports on the ACCA website whichoften pass comment about how candidates should best use their exam time.
However youplan to use your exam time,you should:take time to accurately insert theMCQ response into the F5–F9 candidate answer grid ensure for all questionsthat the requirement has been fully understood and determine the processnecessary to answer the question;and for long questions(also referred toas Constructed Response questions)properly consider how to structure theresponse and lay it out so as to articulate the answer clearly.
Adoption ofthese principles combined with plenty of question practise will help tomaximise the chances of success.Make sure that you go into your exam knowingthat you have done everything possible to pass and that includes planningappropriately both before and during the exam.