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T4 Study Guides
Version T4 Aug/Nov2012

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T4 Study Guide Number 5 of 5 Lessons for the T4 part (b) - 10 easy marks

5.0 Introduction
The purpose of this brief CSA guide is to offer you key learning and points of observation in order to assist your understanding of part (b) in the T4 exam. It draws together extracts from the examiners post exam reports as well as our own exclusive post exam feedback. Part (b) is an additional requirement that was first introduced in the March/May2010 T4 exam - it offered candidates an easy opportunity to gain 10-marks. However, the feedback and post exam reports suggest these 10-marks are just as easy to lose. In the post exam reports for recent exams, the examiner noted: the general level of communication [for part (b)] was not strong and therefore disappointing. Dont make the same mistakes that were evident in the previous T4 exams! Take time to learn from those that sat the T4 exam before you: Step 1 - Understand what the examiner is looking for and how marks are allocated Step 2 - Understand the requirement and aim to address a single [balanced] issue Step 3 - Dedicate enough time to this 10-mark requirement Step 4 - Think about the communication and identify a clear recommendation Step 5 - Understand the top reasons for failure

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5.1 Understand what the examiner is looking for and how marks are allocated
The purpose of part (b) is to test your professional communication skills. The examiner is looking to test the candidates ability to communicate in a competent professional way their analysis, findings and financial implications relating to a particular issue contained in the unseen material (May10). That is all the examiner is aiming to test - your ability to effectively communicate. Marks are awarded on the strength of your communication. For example, there are marks available for: commentary on the strategic importance of an issue; and the inclusion of relevant financial or numerical information where appropriate; and the benefits and disadvantages of a particular course of action; and 2/4 Copyright CaseStudyAide.com 2012

recommendation(s).

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5.2 Understand the requirement and aim to address a single [balanced] issue
Check the instructions within part (b) of the requirement. The May10 post exam report noted that candidates should also follow the instructions or requirement for part (b), which in this case also asked for the financial implications. This was easily missed! Depending upon the requirement, aim to address a single issue. The March10 post exam report noted that: It is important that candidates grasp that this part relates to one issue only, not all the issues in the case.Some candidatesprepared the answer to (b) as if it related to all the issues in the case. Unless specifically asked, it is best to identify a single major strategic issue and use appropriate numerical information within the communication. Also consider non-financial issues, risks etc. for balance. The requirement sometimes limits your work, such as asking for no more than 10 short sentences. Stick to this! ---------------------------

5.3 Dedicate enough time to this 10-mark requirement


Recent post exam reports stated: Effective communication is an essential skill of a Chartered Management Accountant and therefore candidates should ensure that they address this part of the examination fully. However, many candidates failed in their attempt to submit a full answer to part (b). Our feedback suggested that 2/10 candidates ran-out-of-time and failed to even start this 10mark requirement. We asked: How long did you dedicate to part (b)? A few stated a maximum of 20 minutes, but the average time spent was only 10 minutes! In hindsight, candidates stated that they would have liked to have spent in the region of 15-20 minutes on the part (b) requirement. The March10 post exam report stated that: It was noticeable that some candidates did not address part (b) at all, possibly because of time pressures. This was a dangerous omission.

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5.4 Think about the communication and identify a clear recommendation


Within the March 2010 post exam report, the examiner suggested that: Candidates should consider carefully the purpose of the communication, for whom it is intendedthink carefully about what are the major points which need to be includedshould have clarityto the point and not ambiguous. In both post exam reports, the examiner also stated: Most candidates did not include a clear recommendation and many failed to progress beyond the superficial provision of numerical

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analysis. Many candidates thought that repeating information contained in the case was adequate. Do not simply repeat information contained in the case. The May10 requirement was also specific in that it asked for financial implications.

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5.5 Understand the top reasons for failure


Below is a summary of common reasons for failure/errors from the recent exams as observed in the examiners post exam reports, with stats from our own feedback: 2/10 candidates failed to even start this requirement 6/10 candidates ran out-of-time with this requirement The average candidate spent 50% less time on this requirement than desired Candidates failed to provide a clear recommendation Bullet points were often too excessive (of the maximum of 10) Bullet points were too long Insufficient attention to the strategic aspects of the decision Omission of any financial analysis (May10)

Dont waste your opportunity to gain these easy 10-marks!

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I hope that you have found this CSA guide useful towards your own T4 exam prep. Have you read the other four CSA T4 Study Guides? These are available for free download via our forum where you can also read further T4 debate (see case.accountancystudy.co.uk). Best wishes DAN DAN@CaseStudyAide.com www.CaseStudyAide.com

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