How to prepare for a pass at FNST

Hi All,

Following a few threads on here (and emails to me personally) about FNST and the element of fear that students seem to inherit from this paper, I have published an article on my website today which will hopefully put students on the right path to success in this paper.

The article can be found here.

Some of you may know that I used to teach the old DFS unit, which was broadly similar to the new FNST, and I have used my experiences of students whom I met on such courses and the difficulties they faced prior to passing DFS in this article.

I hope it helps alleviate the concerns many of you have with this paper. I would strongly advise not to be fearful of this paper and if you cover the whole syllabus adequately there will be no reason not to pass. Read this article, and heed its message and you should be popping the champagne corks on results day!:thumbup1:

Good luck



  • MWAUGH1983
    MWAUGH1983 Registered Posts: 420
    Cheers for this steve; I am coming to the end of my level 3 and im hoping to start this in july so hopefully this will help.

    I did group accounts at uni and I loved the area!

  • Morpheus1980
    Morpheus1980 Registered Posts: 120 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Thank you so much Steve! Currently studying FNST with the exam booked for next month, so this has come in very handy.

    After what students have written on the forums about this module, and about consolidated statements in particular, I was initially quite apprehensive about FNST. However, I spent today going through chapters 6 and 7 in the Kaplan book (Consolidated accounts: statement of financial position and Consolidated accounts: statement of comprehensive income) and it's relatively straight-forward. Mind you, as a distance-learner, I don't really have an alternative!

    I've said before that it's easy to read the negative things that students have said about modules like FNST (and also ICAS) and just panic. But if you have the time to go through the textbooks on a chapter-by-chapter basis, doing the activities as and when they crop up, things do start to click and fall into place, I guarantee it!

    Good luck to all currently revising for FNST, and those with exams coming up soon. And a million thanks, Steve. I shall print out your article and go though it in addition to trawling through the textbook. Just hope I pass my exam when I get to it!
  • Audrey
    Audrey Registered Posts: 3 New contributor 🐸
    Thanks Steve, I have printed it and will share with other colleagues before sitting exam next Thursday night. Audrey
  • welshwizard
    welshwizard Registered Posts: 465
    Thanks Steve

    I have printed your article and am going to make copies for all of my Level 4 students who have to resit this assessment. I particularly like the reference to doing work outside of the classroom - it seems to me (and my colleagues) that students are reluctant to do any work outside of class and are frightened of making mistakes. I have always believed that making a mistake is a really good way to learn - surely, we all learn that a hot kettle burns us better by touching the kettle than by reading about it?

    Again, Steve, thank you for your excellent article - I hope those students facing Financial Statements soon take note of its contents.
  • jane
    jane Registered Posts: 165 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Thanks Steve for the time you have taken to put this article together.

    I have printed it off and am reading through it as I am typing this to you.

    Thank you for being such a good support line, very much appreciated.

    Jane :)
  • Barry
    Barry Registered Posts: 101 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Steve this article is fantastic and very relevant to us students of ACCA F7 as well.
    My tutor mentioned you in our revision class and advised us all to read your works!
    I hope to be at your level when I pass my ACCA. You are an inspiration to every student out there.
  • welshwizard
    welshwizard Registered Posts: 465
    Key tips (from the Chief Assessor at a recent Masterclass)


    In financial statements make sure that you use +/- figures (e.g. Cost of sales would be a negative)

    Also make sure you fill in the workings boxes as the system will automatically check here should you have an incorrect figure in the financial statement (this gives you chance to gain some marks even if you get the answer itself wrong).

    Statement of Cash flows

    Again, make sure you use the correct +/- symbol as the built-in autosum facility will not correct an error here.
    The final 3 lines:
    Net Increase/Decrease
    Cash at the beginning
    Cash at the end
    Should be brought from the financial statements and not just calculated from your Cash flow statement

    Questions on standards

    Do not try to memorise the standard, do as Steve suggests and try to teach yourself the standard in language you understand. You will be far more likely to be able to define and explain a term/standard if you have learned this way. You also need to know the key definitions contained in each standard and the key accounting treatments dealt with in each.


    Get to grips with ratios - use the AAT's Guidance document for formulae - this the definitive list for formuale for this unit don't just rely on formulae that you've used in other units.

    When calculating a formula and recording your answer on-screen - make sure that you record it correctly - i.e. if it says calculate to one decimal place then one decimal place it is so:

    15.55 becomes 15.6
    15.45 becomes 15.5
    15.01 becomes 15.0 (this one catches a lot out apparently)

    Also, please make sure that payable/receivable days ratios are recorded to the stated decimal place. This is also an area that may be causing problems.

    When you're writing about ratios, do what you're told to do (RTFQ) (e.g. if it says compare company A and company B then compare company A and company B)

    Also make sure that you structure your letter, report, email correctly INCLUDING recipient details so:

    Writing letters:

    Headers & Dates in the right place
    Start/end the letters properly
    Dear Sir/Yours faithfully
    Dear Mr Smith/Yours sincerely

    Use Proper Business English


    To: J Smith
    From: A Student
    Subject: Ratios
    Date: xx June xxxx


    To: [email protected]
    From: [email protected]
    Subject: Ratios
    No need for a salutation (Hi ,Dear sir/Madam etc)

    Again this is a common area for students to lose marks.

    Some of the best answers are short so use bullet points etc to make things easier for you to get things down quickly.

    Comments on ratios must be based on figures and interpretation is key. It is no good just saying β€œβ€¦the ratio is…. and this is good/bad…”. You must also state why the figure is good/bad.

    Hopefully some of these tips will help you to improve your performance in this problematic unit. It si essential that you take the time to read and learn the standards (some you will already know from other units - e.g. IAS 2 and Inventories - lower of cost and net realisable value) so you haven't got that much to learn really but you cannot learn all this in the last 24 hours before your assessment.

    Good luck!
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