ACCA P1 Exam Tips March 2017


ACCA P1 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 P1 Exam Tips March 2017:

ACCA P1 Exam Tips March 2017 session are given below by famous tuition providers


Each P1 paper offers 4-6 marks for displaying professional skills, which can easily be the difference between a pass and a fail. The marks are available for both format and the tone and style of your answer, where you may have to prepare a speech or write a letter on behalf of the Board addressing specific concerns. Take a look at the Article of 24 August 2009 for more guidance and some great hints on style.

P1 is a very wordy paper, and the examiner wants to ensure that you have a good grasp of the theories behind the questions, but also that you can successfully apply the theories to given scenarios. Therefore, it is very easy to get lost within a question if your layout and approach to a question is poor.

A good approach is to apply 3 rules in your answer:

Introduction – this should be very short, but can help you get over any ‘writers block’. It might include a read back of the question, or a definition of the subject matter (for example, if the question asks for the roles of NED’s, start by very quickly defining what an NED is)

Theory – this section will show the examiner that you actually understand the issue being questioned, again, as with the introduction, this should really be kept short, it can be a section quote from the code, or a reference to an author (Cadbury or Greenbury et al).

Application – This will be the main bulk of your answer and should relate directly to the scenario. This is often the most difficult section of the answer, but should be made easier by the use of the introduction and theory sections.

In addition remember the golden rules of written questions:

  • Plenty of white space
  • Headings as required
  • Short punchy meaningful paragraphs

Following are some of the famous topics that were tested in past

  • Corporate governance critique and improvements.
  • Effective internal control systems, reporting within differing jurisdictions.
  • Influence of and intervention by institutional investors.
  • Diversification of Board
  • Function and importance of internal audit.
  • Risk definition, analysis of risk and the role of the Board of Directors.
  • Risk correlation and strategies for management of such risks.
  • Ethical standpoints and their application to business decisions.
  • Corporate codes of ethics critique and improvements.
  • Tucker’s ethical decision making model.
  • Social and environmental footprint.
  • Sustainability accounting.
  • Integrated Reporting
  • Conflict of interest and independence
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)


Section A:

One compulsory question worth 50 marks which uses a lengthy scenario, often based on real-life events, to test all three main syllabus areas. Typically, this consists of four written requirements, some of which may be broken down into smaller sub-requirements where discrete syllabus content will be tested both as knowledge and application.

Within the total of 50 marks, there will be 4 professional marks available for producing some form of written communication (such as a briefing note, press release or letter to shareholders) which tests a candidate’s ability to write logical, structured and appropriate content suitable for a particular purpose, often with the aim of presenting a certain point of view.

Section B:

A choice of two from three written questions each worth 25 marks and which typically each test up to two syllabus areas by applying the syllabus to a smaller real-world scenario. Again, candidates will be expected to apply their knowledge to the scenario in order to score well.

P1 has the following syllabus areas:

A Governance and responsibility
B Internal control and review
C Identifying and assessing risk
D Controlling risk
E Professional values, ethics and social responsibility

General advice:

ACCA students are no longer given a separate period of 15 minutes ‘reading and planning’ time at the start of each written exam as the exam duration is now 3 hours and 15 minutes to include reading, planning and writing. However, we would still advise you to use a period similar to this at the start of the exam to continue planning the things you need to include in your answer. It is essential that you use the information in each scenario to make your answers relevant – due to the typical size of the compulsory scenario, we would advise that you still use this notional 15 minutes to plan this question above all others.

During this time you should also think about how you will produce your answer – 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 present information with no further explanation: this will typically only score ½ mark per point listed.

Recent exams have tested content from the examiner’s technical articles (such as June 2015 on corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy and strategic CSR) so you should ensure you are familiar with any new articles that have recently been published just in case – they can be found here:

You can expect to see the use of stakeholder, ethical and other CSR theories applied to scenarios, as well as the use of risk, control and governance syllabus content, especially relating to board directors, remuneration and reporting – you should be aiming to attempt as many past-paper questions as possible, especially those focusing on dysfunctional behaviour in areas such as bribery and corruption, environmental risk or poor ethical stance.

Good luck!


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Section A

50 marker compulsory question – 90 minutes

  • this 90 minutes should be allocated as 25 minutes PLANNING your answers to the various parts of the question and 65 minutes writing your answer to those various parts
  • the question will most likely be broken down into 5, 6 or 7 sub-questions with the fifth or sixth asking for a report, a draft press release, an address to the members or something similar worth 14 – 16 marks
  • the remainder of the marks will typically ask for generalities about for example corporate governance, the role of a board sub-committee or general comments about ethical standpoints
  • it is vital that you stick rigidly to time allocation in this question. There should be no question of you finishing the 3 hours and saying “I didn’t have time to do parts e) and f) of question 1”. There HAS to be a proper attempt at ALL parts of the questions that you elect to attempt

Section B

choice of 2 from 3 questions worth 25 marks each – 45 minutes each

  • planning time here is 12.5 minutes for each of your two chosen questions so use it wisely
  • 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.
  • each comment that you make should be within its own sentence and leave a line between your sentences effectively making them into paragraphs
  • time yourself copying sentences from a book and stop after 1 minute and 18 seconds. That’s the time that you have available to write one sentence containing just one markable point.
  • you’re unlikely to get past the third line and that’s the MAXIMUM length of a sentence / paragraph in the exam
  • make sure that your writing is legible. If a marker can’t read your script, he can’t give you credit for your thoughts!
  • if you write one long paragraph containing several points, then there is a danger that the marker will miss some of the points.
  • start each part of each question on a new page in the answer booklet (if you run out of pages you will be provided a supplementary booklet!).
  • that way you can always go back to questions and you will be able to add more to your answer neatly, if you have time left at the end of the exam.
  • do make sure you make it clear at the top of the page which part of which question you are answering.
  • for a non-numerate exam like P1, be aware of just how many marks are available for each part-question and plan sufficient points to include within your answer to get the majority of those marks. Remember, one correct point earns one mark.

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