Panicking that you’ve left your ACCA exam revision too late? Here’s what you need to know to salvage your chances of a pass…

You’re probably sick of hearing how important it is to start your revision early. Even the best intentions crumble, so if you’re worried you’ve left your ACCA exam revision too late, take heart. Nothing is quite as effective as a proper, well-planned revision schedule… but all is not lost.

Use these last minute tips to claw back some semblance of control. You won’t walk into the exam knowing everything, but at least you’ll know something – and every little counts.

Last Minute ACCA Exam Revision Tips 

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1 – Be Strategic

It’s time to face facts. If you’ve left your ACCA exam revision late, you don’t have time to learn everything. Cramming 12 hours of revision into your remaining days will only ensure you understand everything badly. Rather, be selective about the areas you focus on.

I’m not advocating question spotting as this rarely works out.

What I’m suggesting is that you get savvy and play to your strengths. Revise the areas you’re really solid on first to cement your knowledge, and you’ll be less likely to drop stupid marks on the day.

Revise the areas you strong at first to cement your knowledge, and you’ll be less likely to drop stupid marks on the day.

Work down from there, building up the areas you’re confident on. At this stage, if there are any topics you really struggle to get your head around, it might be better to gloss them and make sure you’re maximising your chances of doing well on the other areas.

Saying that, this tactic does depend on which paper you’re sitting.

The fundamentals papers have a broader and shallower syllabus so knowing a few areas in-depth is unlikely to get you enough marks for a pass. You need to be harsh with yourself about moving through the topics briskly so you can aim to cover as much ground as possible.

Be harsh about moving through topics briskly so you can cover as much ground as possible.

The professional papers are deeper and narrower, so the stakes are a little higher. Revise a few areas in-depth and you might get lucky with the questions that come up… or you might not.

There is an element of luck to any last-minute revision, I’m afraid. It’s not ideal, but you’re going to have to grit your teeth, start with your strengths, and keep your fingers crossed on the day.

2 – Focus On Exam Technique

Last minute ACCA exam revision is all about minimising avoidable mark losses. You’ve done that with the content by focussing strategically on your strengths and working down, but exam technique is a critical element, especially on the professional papers.

You’re throwing away marks you can’t afford to lose if you drop marks on a question that you knew, but didn’t know how to answer.

Don’t waste precious time writing everything you know about a topic.

Past papers and sample answers are freely available on the ACCA global website. Jump straight in and familiarise yourself with the question format. When you’re reviewing sample answers, go through and try and identify why and where marks have been awarded.
This will help you develop your question answering technique – which is critical if you want to maximise your marks in the exam. Many students waste time writing everything they know about a topic instead of writing just enough to secure the marks and moving on.

If you know the depth of knowledge that is required to earn a mark, don’t waste your precious remaining revision time studying areas in more depth than you need. Be mercenary – learn what you need to and move on.

3 – Revise Smart

If you’ve left your ACCA exam revision to the last minute, you don’t have time to waste. You’re going to need to smart about the ACCA revision techniques you use, to maximise the amount of information you can learn in a short period of time.

Avoid copying out paragraphs of notes or highlighting endlessly: studies have repeatedly shown they’re ineffective ways to learn. Some of the most effective revision tactics depend on you having left plenty of time, but there is one technique you need to know: self-testing.

Time and again, studies have shown that self-testing is one of the most effective ways to revise. This means anything that forces you to test your knowledge without having the answer in front of you. The most traditional self-testing method is past papers, but depending on how much time you’ve got left this might not be feasible.

Self testing is one of the most effective ways to learn.

Go for shorter, snappier self-testing methods so you can maximise the areas you cover, such as flashcards or quizzes. The aim is to force yourself to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible. If you check out our bitesize ACCA exam revision videos, you’ll see that each video has its own bespoke quiz for exactly this reason.

The self-testing methods quickly identify which areas need the most work, so you can spend your time most efficiently. When you’ve left your ACCA exam revision too late, efficiency is the order of the day.

Nobody likes feeling unprepared, but sometimes there’s no way around it. If you’ve left your ACCA exam revision too late, you’re never going to walk into that exam at the top of your game. But, and there’s a big but, that doesn’t have to mean you fail.

If you allocate the time you do have in the most efficient way, you’ll be able to maximise the marks you can pick up in the paper. And, you know what? It might seem like cold comfort now but if the exam doesn’t go your way you can view it as a learning experience. There’s no such thing as failure, remember…

Any ACCA exam revision tips you’d add to the mix? How did you overcome the last minute panic?