Using the examiner's reports

  • An examiner’s report is produced after every exam sitting and focuses on areas that students did well in and where they could have done better.  They refer to specific exam questions and provide guidance on how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

  • Ideally you should look at the last four reports – noting specific knowledge areas which caused difficulties as well as specific areas around exam technique.

  • Review the examples below for guidance on how the reports link to specific exam questions.

Example 1: (Taken from Q1, December 2014)

Q1(ii) Briefly justify appropriate management approaches to each of the stakeholders and, based on this analysis, evaluate the appropriateness of the performance measures suggested in Appendix 1.  (14 marks)

Extract from examiner’s report:
Many candidates chose to rework the analysis of interest and power stating whether or not they agreed with it, which wasted time when the focus of the answer needed to be on suitable management approaches. The discussions of the five performance measures tended to be general rather than specific to the issues at Boltzman and the stakeholder analysis.

Further comment:
The stakeholder analysis had already been done in the scenario and so students were expected to use this analysis to justify a management approach for each stakeholder. An evaluation of the performance measures required the student to then say what was good and what was bad about those measures in relation to the stakeholder analysis.

What a lot of students actually did was re-do the stakeholder analysis which was not asked for and instead of evaluating the performance measures in Appendix 1 they produced a list of new ones. Students may think that they have answered the question as they have recognised the application of Mendelow’s matrix when in fact they have not. If you had practised this question during your revision and answered the question in this way then without using the examiner report you may not identify that this was the incorrect approach. This illustrates why the examiner reports should be an essential part of your revision.

Example 2: (Taken from Q1, June 2014)

Q1(i) Evaluate the current performance report in Appendix 1.  (15 marks)

Extract from examiner’s report: There were a number of candidates who provided an irrelevant evaluation of the performance of Cantor. Those that attempted the question asked scored most of the marks associated with such reports in general (eg data overload, rounding numbers, lack of narrative). However, fewer scored the marks that were available for appreciating the scenario surrounding Cantor. It was especially surprising that despite comments in previous examiner’s reports, candidates still seem reluctant to use the mission/strategy of the business to evaluate the report.

Further comment: This requirement was asking for an evaluation of what was good and what was poor about the performance report for the company (Cantor) in the question. It was not asking for an evaluation of performance. The examiner’s report identified this issue and also gave other important advice which could be missed if these reports are not used in your examination preparation.

In addition to the examples given here, the technical article 'Improving your P5 answers – part 1' (see 'Related links') gives a more detailed analysis relating to example 2 above, as well as an example of a weak answer to this question, which further illustrates what not to do in the exam.

A second article, 'Improving your P5 answers – part 2' (see 'Related links') provides an example of a student answer which would pass this question, demonstrating the key points needed to gain sufficient marks to pass, along with a model answer.

The 'P5 effective study and exam technique' video (access the streaming video if you don't have access to YouTube) provides you with some further detail around some of the more common areas included within the examiner’s reports – if you don’t want to watch the whole video at this stage, focus on the content in the four-and-a-half minutes starting 31 minutes into the video.

All of the P5 examiner’s reports are available on the ACCA website (see 'Related links').