Steve Collings DFS Tips Dec 2009

I mentioned on my revision days that I would include some last minute revision tips via the forums, just to remind some of you who attended my days on what to do in the last couple of days before the exam!

1. Don't panic! Easier said than done, but for DFS this is particularly important given that it is both a "number crunching" paper and a discussion paper both at the same time.

2. Now is the absolute must time to deal with your weakest areas. We have 6 days that is 144 hours to the exam so if you do not like ratios, concentrate on those, if you hate consolidations, you must go back to basics and understand them.

3. Understand what it is you are doing. As I have said on revision courses, it is imperative that you know why you are doing something rather than just doing it because "that's how it's always been done". For example, how many of you could answer this question:

"Why are consolidated financial statements prepared?" Answers on a thread please? I bet there are thousands of AAT students that could calculate goodwill but not actually understand why it is calculated.

4. The June pass rates were shocking for this paper - and I am using shock tactics for some of you because I know some of you that have contacted me by e-mail haven't even done half of the past papers! You are going to fail if you don't get your backsides in gear! You are now in the "last chance saloon" where this paper is concerned. If you don't know it now, the chances are you are never going to!

5. For those that have put the effort it and have done revision courses, then you should be feeling pretty fed up with DFS at the minute. This means you are now ready for your exam!

6. Don't let the June 2009 sitting detract you from what you know already. It's very easy to sit there and think "all those that failed in June 2009". Well that was then, this is now. You've done the work, now prove to the examiner that you know the basics i.e. that you are competent - not perfect - competent!

7. The last few days - certainly the weekend - should be focussed on exam standard question practise. You should practise questions to time and have made sure you have worked all the past papers from June 2007.

8. Do not be despondent if revision does not go well. Revision is designed to flag up weaknesses and highlight strengths. Students tend to become despondent with their weaknesses and forget about their strengths which leads to despair! Remember, in every exam paper there are always going to be areas you struggle with.

9. Remember, you don't have to be "paper perfect" to pass DFS - you are not going to get 100% so try not to be despondent if things don't go well during a revision session (this links into "8" above).

10. Remember, in a consolidation question (even in a single entity financial statement prep question) if you are going to make a mistake anywhere and your position statement (balance sheet) doesn't balance, the chances are it might be something to do with reserves! Also remember the tip I mentioned on the revision days re subsidiary. If the examiner does not give you the holding in the consolidation question, then (as in June 2008) we had Harris and Skye - notice 'H' and 'S' are highlighted - "Holding" and "subsidiary", so your holding calculation should not be any less than 51%!! Also remember if you get an odd % i.e. 66.6667% holding then turn it into a fraction i.e. parent holds 2/3 rather than 66.6667% - your position statement will still balance by using the odd % figure but your numbers will be out of "sync".

Good luck - especially to my students on the study and revision days.

Stee

Comments

  • jilt
    jilt Registered Posts: 2,903
    Thanks so much Steve, you are an absolute star especially seeing how busy you are at present. As a home studier I really appreciate all your help and encouragement, you should receive an award!
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    Can i second that thanks steve you really are a star and pass or fail i gained a great deal from the course in confidence and knowledge and whole heartedly advise anyone planning on sitting dfs next session try and get on.

    O and gained a fab study buddy jill :)
  • cornflower
    cornflower Registered Posts: 129 ? ? ?
    Can I say steve got me through this paper and he fabulous. As a tutor he is brill.

    Steve your dedication to students needs rewarding as jilt says. Any ideas? You are the best
  • Steve Collings
    Steve Collings Registered Posts: 997
    Thanks for the kind words - but do remember that if any of my students on my study/revision courses fail, then I fail.

    I want 100% pass rates (as I got in June) otherwise I haven't delivered well enough, so I'll be equally as nervous on AAT results release and rely on you lot to keep me informed!

    Best of luck.

    Steve
  • jilt
    jilt Registered Posts: 2,903
    Thanks for the kind words - but do remember that if any of my students on my study/revision courses fail, then I fail.

    I want 100% pass rates (as I got in June) otherwise I haven't delivered well enough, so I'll be equally as nervous on AAT results release and rely on you lot to keep me informed!

    Best of luck.

    Steve

    No pressure then Steve :lol:
  • jilt
    jilt Registered Posts: 2,903
    A-Vic wrote: »
    Can i second that thanks steve you really are a star and pass or fail i gained a great deal from the course in confidence and knowledge and whole heartedly advise anyone planning on sitting dfs next session try and get on.

    O and gained a fab study buddy jill :)

    Oh thanks Vicky
  • Symbol
    Symbol Registered Posts: 41 ? ? ?
    Steve

    Any advise for BTC and PCT as ther is only one or two max past papers?
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    I love the day and minuets countdown thanks steve (cold sweats)
  • Steve Collings
    Steve Collings Registered Posts: 997
    Symbol wrote: »
    Any advise for BTC and PCT as ther is only one or two max past papers?

    I think with tax papers it is important that you have a good grasp of the rules and the basis periods, particularly for sole traders. Finance Act 2008 brought in some pretty substantial changes to the capital allowances regime and capital gains regime so make sure you're familiar with those. I would also implore you to read any articles written by the examiner concerning Finance Act 2008. I don't subscribe to the Accounting Technician magazine, but I would be extremely surprised if the tax examiners had not published any articles concerning FA 2008 as it has got some pretty big changes from FA 2007.

    One question that does seem to be asked quite a lot is about numerical errors. You will lose marks if you calculate something wrong in a tax computation, for example if you use the wrong personal allowance, but you won't lose marks again if you subsequently use the incorrectly calculated number again in a subsequent area of the answer - this is known as a 'carry forward' error i.e. you won't be penalized twice.

    I would also advise you in any tax exam to read the scenarios and question requirements extremely carefully as diving straight in and going off on a tangent may mean that you miss a vital piece of information which may lose you marks. Remember, the exam is designed to be completed in 3 hours so don't be put off if someone gets up an hour into the exam and walks out. That is the "beauty" (for want of a better word) of ACCA exams, because you are required to stay in the exam hall until the full exam time has been completed - you can't walk out early if you finish early! Students are often put off if candidates start to get up and leave after about an hour!

    The UK's tax system is very much "rules based" so it is important that you understand the rules. Again question practise is vital in tax but as past tax papers are quite limited given they change every year or so to incorporate the new Finance Acts, you should try and practise exam standard questions from a practice and revision kit wherever possible.

    Good luck.

    Regards
    Steve
  • Steve Collings
    Steve Collings Registered Posts: 997
    I'm moving this back up as it is becoming more and more relevant!

    Best of luck.

    Steve
Privacy Policy