I Failed ACCA Performance Management. Now What?

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I received my exam results and they revealed that I failed ACCA F5. I’m not surprised at my result, however I am surprised that I scored so highly. The examination was not difficult and there were no surprises. I covered all of the topics in my first run, so everything was familiar. Although I’m a bit bummed out about it, I know exactly how I should prepare for the next exam.

Reasons Why I Failed ACCA F5

The first major reason why I failed ACCA F5 was because I did not prepare properly. Yes, I covered each inch of the syllabus and study guide in the weeks leading up to the exam. But no, I did not practice every inch of the syllabus and study in the days leading up to the exam.

ACCA’s examiner reports are very clear and direct when they say that the ACCA F5 exam covers everything in the syllabus. This means that you cannot randomly select topics, cross your fingers and hope that they come. You must be comfortable with every area of the syllabus and be prepared for each and every topic to come on the exam.

Another reason I failed ACCA F5 was that I did not take practice enough questions. Although I was somewhat familiar with the question format, I did not adequately prepare for the amount of work that was required to answer each question.

People mistakenly believe that multiple choice questions are easy. This is dead wrong. Multiple choice questions are the worst type of questions. You’re either right or wrong. And your chances of being right are a dismal 1 out of 4, whilst your chances of being wrong are 3 out of 4.

So, even before you begin the examination, the odds are against you. The only way to get around this is to learn all of the topics, practice questions on all of the topics and take a few mock exams and simulate the real examination.

I also realise that I failed ACCA F5 because of poor time management. Working full time and studying is a super human tactic. It is difficult and stressful and often you are forced to choose between studying and working late. In my case, work won out most of the time and studying suffered.

Many life events also popped up during the time that I was preparing for ACCA F5. And because they required my immediate attention, I had no choice but to deal with them. And once again, studying for the exam was put on the back burner.

Retaking the ACCA F5 Exam

ACCA has an awesome ACCA F5 retake guide which outlines the steps that you should take when you are preparing to give the ACCA F5 exam another shot and pass. The guide has a brief section which asks you to identify where you went wrong in the first exam try. Based on your answers you can then create a plan to strengthen the weak areas in time for the next exam.

My plan for retaking the ACCA F5 exam is simple.

  1. Review all of the Examiners’ Reports and highlight the critical points
  2. Read and review all of the exam tips on the ACCA website
  3. Review all of the syllabus topics, paying close attention to updates. This ACCA student blog was created so that I could have my notes on the go. This worked perfectly for me and proved to be an easy method to review topics.
  4. Create a robust revision timetable that features reading up on problem areas and using practice questions and exams
  5. Commit to studying everyday leading up to the exam.
  6. Introduce new learning aids  in addition to my free Instagram flashcards. I want to create audio lectures so that I can listen to them at work or when I’m doing chores at home. I also have another idea, which I used for another exam, but I’ll test it out before I mention it.
  7. Be confident that I will pass: This speaks more to my psychological makeup. The June 2017 sitting was my first exam in a very long time and I had a few jitters. Now that I’m officially back in the studying mode, my mind is ready for the challenge.

Prepare to Pass ACCA F5

The pass rates for the March 2017 sitting of the ACCA F5 exam was 38%. This may appear to be a daunting task, but you have several resources that you can use to pass the examination on your second try. However, you have to make sure that you are ready for the task ahead.

Find out Your Weaknesses

What are the areas that you are a bit hazy on? If you are planning to retake in the next available exam session following the failed session, then the majority of the topics should still be fresh in your mind. Make a list of those topics that you can’t remember that well and the ones that you struggled with prior to your last exam.

Believe in Yourself

Self-confidence might be at an all-time low right now and you probably feel like crap. I’m no stranger to failure, but I knew accepted that it was just a passing event that I would get over. If you want to be successful in your remaining exams, you have to remain positive and believe that you can do it.

Stay True to Your Learning Style

Everyone learns differently. Some people prefer face to face interaction whilst others can work comfortably on their own. I prefer to study on my own using as many online learning aids as possible. If you try to force yourself to learn using a style that’s uncomfortable, you will fail.

Final Thoughts

Failing an ACCA examination is not the end of the world. Always remember that it’s a part of your journey to your desired career. The last thing you should be thinking about is walking away or giving up. One bad grade does not define your ability or capability.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and resolve that you will give it your best effort. Let’s get back to studying.

About Accounks
Accounks is an ACCA student blog that follows my journey to the ACCA qualification.

6 thoughts on “I Failed ACCA Performance Management. Now What?”

  1. I failed twice before passing f5. Got 38 first time and the second time as well. But I was able to get 57% the third time mainly because I changed my study approach. Watch some good lectures (acowtancy or lsbf) and practice the BPP or KAPLAN kit. For this exam I watched lsbf videos on youtube and then practied BPP kit. To be frank, it’s not that difficult. You have to study smart instead of studying Hard(Study texts are just too long and too many useless information). So far I have finsihed f1,f2,f3,f4,f8 and f9 in the first attempt. Doing F6 and F7 this december. . If I can do it, you can do it too! Best of Luck 🙂

    1. Thanks! That’s what I keep telling myself – it’s not difficult. I just need to practice the questions all day every day. But then work gets in the way and throws my studying out of whack. So happy that you commented with such amazing advice.

      1. Thanks for sharing I am doing the F5 & F7 in June, and is my first time doing ACCA exams (I had exemptions).
        Any other tips?

        Best Regards

        1. Practice questions every day until you become familiar with each topic. The March 2018 exam was very difficult and some of the questions were a lot more intense than the revision and practice kits. Also, practice your timing. I think the rule of thumb is 1.8 seconds per mark, but if you can get that down to 1.5, you will have extra time in the event of a brain breaker. Let me know how you’re progressing! You can follow me on IG: @accounks.

        2. How was the exams ..I am giving this December and me too got exempted from 4 subjects and am giving f5 and f7 in december. Can you please tell me your experience. Thank you in advance

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