Basic Examination Technique

To be successful in accountancy examination, it is very important that the following cardinal rules should be mastered:

  1. You must acquire a thoroughly sound knowledge of double entry book-keeping;
  1. Always, try to understand why things are done. Incidentally, accounting is still a logical science. With the proper grasping of the underlying principles, concepts, rules, the next thing is to:


  1. Remember that accounting is NOT a reading subject. It is an intensely PRACTICAL subject and practical subjects can only be mastered by constant practice.
  1. In the months before the examination, devote at least two hours per day to resolve the working practical problems.
  1. Get as many past examination question papers with worked solutions as you can.
  1. Regarding the past examination question papers:

Analyze it -do you notice any trend, are some topics more popular than others, are you able to answer every question previously set?

  1. If you are also getting other examining body’s papers do not worry that this is not effective. Remember that this merely give you more opportunity for more varied practice.
  1. Preferably, read a few books. The reasons being you may find that some books deal with specific aspects of accountancy better than others whilst the way the author write may appeal to you more than another one.
  1. Remember to cover ALL the subject in the official syllabus –do not SKIP certain topic just because some other subjects are “hotter” or easier to learn than others. Systematically follow a course of study directed towards the examination. The key note is not to skip anything-“persevere and good things will come.”
  1. Sound funny! But do make sure you know the exact time, date and location of the examination – did you check your travel arrangement and did you leave enough time for you to reach the examination place -otherwise you might be late for that crucial exam day!
  1. Do you have a checklist? –calculator? Spare battery? Pens? Pencils? Watch?  And other requisites?

If (1) and (2) are not followed, you will panic during the big day!

Now that you are very calm as you have adhered to the Preparatory section and Immediately before the examination, you can now proceed with:

  1. Carefully read the whole examination paper including the rubric;
  1. Decide what questions you are going to answer;
  1. Decide the sequence you want to tackle the questions;
  1. Make sure you plan each question first. Make a note of the main points or principles involved. If you are unable to finish the question at least you will gain some marks from these points;
  1. Always try to answer the easiest question first – to boost your confidence and to gain the “first” marks;
  1. Do not let your answer ramble on. Be as brief as possible consistent with covering all the points you know;
  1. Decide on the time allocation for each question. Always remember that the time allocation is in direct proportion to the marks for each question.
  2. Make sure you have watch very near to you. Make

sure you can complete all the questions. Remember that if for example, you answer four questions out of five  but these four questions you answered only give you  a total of 60 marks out of 100. So, it would be wise that you should leave half an hour at the end for going on to another question to earn a few bonus marks and not for “polishing” up your answers. Therefore, go all out to complete all the questions instead of perfectly complete a few questions thinking that you can achieve perfect score for those completed questions; 

  1. Don’t waste your time searching for your errors if you still have questions not answered. There is a great danger that you might spend an inordinate amount of time trying to locate your mistake. Quickly, run through any points of doubts and if the errors is still not immediately apparent, the best plan is to leave matters as they stand and not waste any time at all at this stage;


  1. Referring to a specific question being asked: if initially you cannot balance your trial balance ,don’t waste your time trying to balance it – the most you can get is an extra 2-3 marks, focus  to get the complete set of the question answered;
  1. Read the questions you have decided to answer again. Do you know exactly what the examiner is asking? Underline the key words in the question and keep these in your mind when answering;


  1. Write neatly, underline the headings and if the question asks for a particular sequence of answer, then follow that sequence;


  1. If graphs or tables are required give them plenty of space, label them neatly and comprehensively.


  1. After you have finished writing, check that you have followed the examination regulations regarding examination title, examination number, candidate number and sequence of the answer sheets;


  1. Make sure you include all the sheets you require to be marked and


  1. If you have time carefully read each and every part of each answer and check each calculation.
DO NOT LEAVE THE EXAMINATION ROOM EARLY. Use every minute for checking and re-checking or adding points to questions answered,andAlways attempt EVERY question set and every part of each question.

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