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What is the format of F5 exams?

Paper F5 currently has five compulsory questions of 20 marks each. There is a mix of computations and discussions. Candidates will be expected to know the implications of the calculations they have made. There will be a question from each area of the syllabus.

Please note that the format of the F5 exam is changing from December 2014 and a specimen exam produced under this new format can be found on the website under F5 Qualification Resources.



How many marks will be given for calculations and how many for discussion?

Each exams will aim for approximately 50 per cent of the marks for calculations and 50 per cent for discussion but may go as far as 40:60 either way.

How much content is expected for interpretation?

Generally bullet points or short sentences suffice. Candidates should be guided by the number of marks available and not write two pages for four marks!

Will candidates be awarded marks for sound interpretation of incorrect figures?

Yes, own figure interpretations will be given credit.

Could you envisage a full 20-mark question on throughput accounting or would this feature for fewer marks?

All areas of the syllabus are examinable. While in some cases it may be easy to come up with a 20-mark question in one syllabus area alone, in many other cases this may not be possible.

Therefore a single question may be drawn from different areas of the syllabus. For example, throughput accounting may come up as 20 mark question or may cover across two syllabus areas - cost accounting techniques (numerical) and performance measurement (narrative).

Is there an overall theme to the paper?

The paper's title is Performance Management and therefore this is its theme. Most questions will link to the performance management aspects of accounting.

For example, in the pilot paper the ABC question asked for calculations but went on to ask what a switch to ABC would mean for pricing and profitability. Being able to assess the performance of a business is an important skill in F5.

There is a lot in the syllabus that does not seem to get examined. Is it better for candidates to only concentrate on certain topics?

Some areas tend to be less frequently examined than others but that does not mean they should be ignored. Candidates are always advised to study the whole syllabus regardless of how often a particular topic has been examined.

Is Environmental Management Accounting likely to be tested in calculation form?


In how much depth will CVP (Cost Volume Profit) analysis be tested - will the graph for a multi-product decision be tested?

CVP will be tested in a lot of depth. Candidates should be able to draw all of the graphs covered by the syllabus (including multiple-product CVP), discuss CVP and perform calculations.

Are we likely to have more than double decision points in questions on decision trees?

Yes. But whilst joint probabilities are included, they will not be unreasonably difficult to calculate. Sometimes they may be given in the question.

Is the value of imperfect information examinable?

Yes.  It is in the syllabus.

Why has budgeting been examined in a public sector context when it isn't explicitly mentioned in the syllabus?

Any area of the syllabus can be examined in either a public sector or a private sector context.

Why is the structure of the skills exams changing in December 2014?

Students require a solid grounding of the academic content plus the ability to express their calculations and narrative using their own approach before commencing to the professional level. The multiple choice questions allow us to assess students’ knowledge and application of the entire syllabus, while the long form questions will require students to use their own approaches and narrative explanations to allow us to probe on key objectives of the subject. This combination reduces question spotting and means we can examine the whole syllabus in every exam.

Please note that these structural changes relate to paper exams for December 2014. In 2014 we are not planning to introduce CBEs across the Skills level. This is something we are considering for the future.

You should look at the study guide and specimen exams for the exams you are studying for on in the qualification resources section of the ACCA website:

F5 Performance Management

F7 Financial Reporting

F8 Audit and Assurance

F9 Financial Management  

Last updated: 30 Apr 2014