ACCA F8 Exam Tips March 2017


ACCA F8 Exam Tips March 2017 session given below are just intelligent guesses from exam point of view provided by famous tuition providers. These exam tips must not be relied on totally. To increase chances of success in Exams you must prepare full breadth of syllabus and topics

ACCA F8 Exam Tips March 2017:

ACCA F8 Exam Tips March 2017 Session are given below by famous tuition providers


Part A: MCQ’s will be from any syllabus area.

Part B: Some of the frequently tested areas in the past were

  • Ethics / Conflict of Interest / Confidentiality / Audit committees
  • VFM, Outsourcing,
  • Audit risks and responses
  • Cash, inventory, purchases (including tests of control)
  • Purchases, revenue, Payroll
  • Written representations
  • Auditor’s reports
  • Limited assurance engagements
  • Expectation gap
  • Auditor rights and duties
  • Engagement letters
  • Fraud and error
  • Components of an internal control system
  • Inherent limitations of internal control
  • Risk assessment procedures
  • Financial statement assertions (Ratios)

You must learn the ISAs – not the numbers, but the objectives and key provisions of each ISA. Nearly 30% of the last exam was testing pure rote-learned knowledge.

The examiner wants QUALITY not QUANTITY – sometimes gives 1.5 marks for a well-explained point.

Look at the past exams – many of the model answers were in columnar format. Long windy paragraphs are not an option. Stay to the point and straightforward.

Time allocation is as important in this exam as it is in the others – 1.8 minutes per mark.


Section A:

Three mini-case style scenario based questions each with five 2 mark questions based on the scenario (total 30 marks). Each mini-case question will test single topic areas of the syllabus and so will either test syllabus area A, B, C, D or E. We would particularly expect questions in Section A to focus on syllabus areas A and E.

Section B:

Q16:                       One 30 mark question.
Q17, Q18:            Two 20 mark questions.

All three questions in Section B will be broken down into sub requirements and be scenario based. The majority of marks in each question will test syllabus areas B, C and/ or D.

Areas expected to be tested in questions 16 to 18 include:

  • audit planning
  • audit risk (identification and explanation of audit risks from a scenario and explanation of the auditor’s response to each risk);
  • internal audit;
  • internal controls (identification and explanation of deficiencies in internal control and the recommendation of suitable internal controls or description of tests of controls); and
  • audit procedures (both substantive procedures and tests of controls).

F8 has the following syllabus areas:

A Audit framework and regulation
B Planning and risk assessment
C Internal control
D Audit evidence E Review and reporting

General advice:

Where questions are based on a scenario it is essential that you use the information in the scenario to make your answers relevant. You should also think about how you will present your answer – try to use a tabular format in your solutions where relevant as the examining team have stated that candidates who do this score better.

Pay attention to the verbs used in question requirements as these indicate the number of marks available. For example, the verb “explain” requires a sentence and will score one mark if properly explained whereas the verb “list” simply requires you to list out information with no further explanation and this will score ½ mark per point.


For MCQs focus on ethics, especially threats to objectivity & corporate governance principles.

For the three long questions:
– Substantive procedures – purchases or inventory.
– Internal control objectives, deficiencies and procedures, tests (purchase or inventory).
– Audit risk & response practical scenario.
– Audit reports scenario, with KAM and MURGC.
– Internal audit pros and cons of outsourcing, comparison with external audit.
– Different levels of assurance.
– ISA 220, 240, 250, 260, 560, 610, 720.

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Section A – Multiple Choice Questions

  • Do not waste time doing neat workings for calculation questions – your workings will not be marked. Only the answer on the answer sheet is marked. You cannot attempt to justify or explain any of your answers.
  • Look first for the short questions and those on topics you feel most happy with. Section A is a mix of 1 and 2 mark questions totalling 20 marks. Don’t waste time on a question that requires a lot of reading – come back to it later when you have finished the shorter questions.
  • If you come across a question that you know little about, you might be able to eliminate one or two answers as being obviously wrong and this will improve your odds at guessing the correct answer. If you know nothing about a question, then staring at it will not make any difference – guess an answer and move on. A guess is always worthwhile.
  • Watch your time. You should spend 36 minutes on Section A and no longer. You can always go back to it later if you find you have time left after completing Section B.
  • Keep your eye on the clock and when there is 5 minutes left before the end of the exam stop what you are doing, and guess any of the Section A questions that you have not answered. To maximise you marks be sure to answer all 12 questions even if it means guessing several of them.

Section B – long form questions

  • Make sure you write something for every part of every question. You are unlikely to be able to finish every part of every question – either because you run out of time or you get stuck – but you can always write something for each part. In the calculations each part of the workings is marked separately, whether or not you have finished. In the written parts, each comment is marked separately.
  • Even if you can only think of one brief comment and get just one mark, that could turn a 49% fail into a 50% pass.
  • Calculations are relatively rare in F8, but if you have to carry out, for example, analytical procedures, show your workings neatly. It is the workings that get the marks (whether the final answer is right or wrong) but the marker can only give you the marks if they can follow what you are doing.
  • For the written parts of questions, make sure that your writing is legible. (Before the exam day, ask someone if they can read your writing easily – if they can’t then consider printing the words!)
  • For the written parts of questions, write each separate point on a new line (with a line space between points). If you write one long paragraph containing several points, then there is a danger that the marker will miss some of the points.
  • Allocate your time. You should allow 18 minutes for each 10-mark question, and 36 minutes for each 20-mark question. There are 6 questions and submitting 6 questions all part finished, will get you more marks than only submitting 5 questions and missing one question completely.
  • Start each part of each question on a new page in the answer booklet (if you run out of pages they will provide an extra booklet!).

That way you can always go back to questions and be able to add more to your answer neatly, if you have time left at the end of the exam.
You do not have to attempt the questions in order or even every part within a question in order, but do make sure you make it clear at the top of the page which part of which question you are answering.

FTMS Global:

Professional ethics – May have a question on identifying ethical threats and safeguards/responses. (See June 2006 Q4, June 2007 Q1a, Pilot Q3, Dec 2008 Q3a, June 2010 Q4, June 2011 Q4c, June 2012 Q3b, Dec 2013 Q4c, New Pilot Q1a, June 2015 Q1, Dec 2015 Q1).

If the above ethics case study is not here, take note of confidentiality and what are the exceptions to this principle. (See Dec 2011 Q4c) Plus conflict of interests (June 2011 Q4a, June 2014 Q3c).

Compliance with laws and regulations (See Dec 2011 Q1c)

Acceptance decisions – factors to consider before accepting an engagement. See June 2010 Q4, including preconditions for audit and content of engagement (See Dec 2010 Q3a, Dec 2013 Q4)

Theory of evidence – Factors affecting sufficiency of evidence (see June 2008 Q2a). Identify the assertions for account balance and class of transactions (see June 2009 Q2b, Dec 2009 Q2a and Q5a, new Pilot Q4a).

Internal audit (IA) is important and very likely it will be appearing in this exam. Reliance on IA by EA – what are the factors to consider (see Dec 2011 Q1e, Dec 2009 Q4b, try and understand June 2009 Q3b). Read up Dec 2007 Q3a too, a good question on IA independence. Read up functions of IA (June 2013 Q4b), IA vs EA (see new Pilot Q1b), factors to consider when setting up IA department (Dec 2012 Q3c)

Planning may still be important, using June 2009 Q1a and Dec 2009 Q1a (Strategy vs Plan). See also Dec 2006 Q1a for risk assessment procedures (RAP)

Must read up on audit risk and responses to risk (see June 2010 Q1a, Dec 2010 Q3, June 2011 Q3, Dec 2011 Q3, Dec 2012 Q3 and June 2013 Q3b, Dec 2013 Q1, June 2014 Q3, Pilot Q5a, Dec 2014 Q2, June 2015 Q5b, Dec 2015 Q4). Almost every exam will have this topic except June 2012 exam. Examiner may set it again!

The control objectives and internal control you would expect to find in the PURCHASE or PAYROLL system (See June 2015 Q4, New Pilot Q6, June 2013 Q1, Dec 2010 Q1, Dec 2009 Q5).

The substantive tests used to gather evidence in respect of major assertions (completeness, existence, valuation and allocation, accuracy, cutoff), especially in relation to payable, debtors, bank and payroll expenses (see June 2009 Q1, June 2011 Q1b, Dec 2012 Q4b)

Define true and fair – See Dec 2010 Q2a.

Corporate governance is still important. Review those cases on identify weaknesses and recommend improvements on CG (See Dec 2011 Q4, June 2014 Q4b) but focus on audit committee, its roles/functions plus adv and disadv of audit committee.

Audit of non-profit organization – Characteristics of non-profit organization, the risks and how these risks affect the audit approach. (Dec 2006 Q4, Dec 2008 Q4)

5 elements of assurance engagement (See June 2010 Q2a).

Computer audit is important. Use of CAATs (audit software, test data) by auditors to perform the audit. Adv and disadv of using CAATs. (See Dec 2012 Q1c)

Audit of accounting estimates – See Dec 2010 Q5a, see audit of depreciation & provision (New Pilot 2014 Q2)

Sampling – See June 2012 Q2b and Dec 2006 Q5.

Management representation letter – Purposes (Dec 2012 Q5a), content and actions if mgt refuse to sign. (Dec 2010 Q5b, June 2005 Q2)

Other topics – Purposes/benefits of audit, limitations of audit (Dec 2012 Q2c) and rights of auditor (Dec 2012 Q2a).

Look out for any new articles put up on the ACCA website that are relevant to F8.

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