Advanced Performance Management (APM) essentials on one page

How to approach the Advanced Performance Management (APM) exam

APM: the five capabilities

The APM syllabus has five capabilities which can be summarised as follows:

  • Use strategic planning and control models
  • Identify and evaluate design features of performance management systems
  • Apply appropriate strategic performance measurement techniques
  • Advise clients on strategic business performance evaluation
  • Apply a range of professional skills in addressing requirements within the exam.

Most of these will feature to some extent in every exam session.

APM - a strategic view

The exam requires you to build on a good grasp of basic knowledge and skills and show awareness that performance management depends on an organisation’s specific situation and environment.

Illustration showing a strategic view of the APM exam, looking how to fulfil the advisory role and add value. This includes creating information from detailed data. New knowledge: SWOT, Porter,BCG, PEST, McKinsey's 75, BPR, 'the cloud', Lean systems, EVA(TM),Kaizen, Six Sigma.  New skills include: assess/evaluate, recommend, respond, justify and advise.

Advice from the examining team

  • Remember that APM builds on PM knowledge by applying it in more complex scenarios
  • Create information from the detailed data provided in the scenario
  • Add value to the organisation with comments relevant to the issues at hand.

Tips for success in the APM exam

  • Visit our past exams and question practice page for guidance on how to approach question practice, including using the ACCA Practice Platform
  • Understand the links between issues at the strategic, tactical and operational levels
  • Understand in particular how the choice of operational performance measures affects strategic performance
  • Be able to apply PM knowledge to more complex scenarios
  • Use any exhibit, information, model or technique explicitly referred to in a requirement
  • Interpret and further analyse data provided
  • Be selective in making calculations
  • Assess alternative approaches from different perspectives
  • Justify advice using the evidence given in the scenario
  • Quantify comments, where possible
  • Discuss commercial implications.

Tackling the exam

How to earn professional skills marks

The APM exam has 20 marks for demonstrating professional skills

  • Communication
    Section A questions require a report. Use appropriate headings and sub-headings, and clear, concise language. Ensure you answer the question asked!
  • Analysis and evaluation
    Analysis or evaluation must be relevant to the organisation and their situation.
  • Scepticism
    Have a questioning mindset that challenges information, evidence and assumptions.
  • Commercial acumen
    Demonstrate your understanding of what is appropriate in different types of organisation and different contexts. Draw appropriate conclusions and make properly informed decisions which are appropriate to the scenario.

Key resources