ACCA Pass Rates June 2019 Exam: Part 2 Tips (Focus on SBL, SBR, AFM, APM & AAA)

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

ACCA June 19 attempt results are just released.

First of all, congratulate to 4,923 ACCA students passed their final exam and become ACCA affiliates.

Link to announcement:

Few observations from this attempt that I would like to highlight –

  • Significant improvement in SBL pass rate to 51% in June 2019, very closed to P1 and P3 in old syllabus;

  • SBR pass rate is only 48% and there is still room for improvement;

  • Two audit papers (AA and AAA) are very challenging to pass, as usual

ACCA will introduce innovative digital desktop CBEs for Strategic Professional exams next year, we will keep you posted for any news coming from the association.

It is always important to review examiner comments as they are highly regarded as the exam tips directly from the authority. No matter you will attempt September 2019 or any future exam, they are the ‘tips’ to you.

Let’s start the sharing of what examiners tell you need to pay attention in next exam!

Strategic Professional Module Pass Rates

SBL pass rate is gradually improved from exams in previous sessions but still slightly below the old P1 or P3.

Based on our observations, SBR pass rate is still slightly lower than P2.

APM is no more the hardest one to pass in Strategic Professional Level, AAA is the most challenging one.

ACCA SBL – Reading and Planning is the key to pass

It is a 4-hour exam with a single compulsory section.

The marking scheme included 80 technical marks for the correct use and application of technical knowledge.

In addition, 20 marks are for professional skills and competencies.

Generally, you need to take note of the following in order to do well in SBL:

  • Spend sufficient time reading and assimilating the case study material before even contemplating answering the questions;

  • Spend sufficient time planning their answers to ensure they are structured logically, covering most important points, balanced in terms of depth and breadth of discussions, not padded out with superfluous waffle and avoiding unnecessary overlap and duplication;

  • It is recommended to answer the requirements in order especially examiner considers future exams may follow a timeline or have question requirements that progress in other ways.

Professional skills tested in this attempt include analysis, commercial acumen, scepticism, evaluation and communication.

General comments on this session SBL exam relevant to professional skills are –

  • Failing to provide all the task required which means not all parts are answers, e.g. Task 4(a);

  • Not paying attention to the format required, e.g. Task 5;

  • Failing to produce a balanced answer, e.g. Task 2(a) not giving equal weight to commercial and ethical considerations and Task 3 failed to consider potential problems of the acquisition;

  • Poor tone and comments made.

Here is a summary of specific comments for each task.

Task 1 asked students to prepare board paper for a board meeting about the weaknesses in the composition and operation of the board in the case and improvement recommendations. Professional skills required here is communication skills.

Technical marks were generally well done and only some weaker answers only stated features of the board without justifying why they were problematic.

However, it’s found limited professional marks on many answers due to 1) poor tone together with tactless comments; 2) poor format of answers.

Task 2 asked to prepare a memo divided into two parts. Part a required a discussion on commercial and ethical issues involved in publishing a book. Professional skill asked was skepticism.

The key problem in part a is many students structured their answers using Tucker framework which was technically incorrect.

Part b asked for identification of main problems in the commissioning and review process and recommended actions. The answers were often disappointing and some of them only repeat the material in part a

Task 3 required a preparation of consultancy report to the board assessing the attractiveness of an acquisition target using financial and non-financial information. It required demonstration of commercial acumen.

Technical marks were well done but not the same as in professional marks. This was because many students failed to demonstrate commercial acumen as well as failure to link the results of calculations to other information and the answer not reading like the section of a report.

Task 4 is divided into two parts. Part a required preparation of a consultancy report to the board to assess weakness and recommend how the project management of digital platform could be improved. Professional marks were to be awarded for evaluation skills.

Many answers scored at least a pass but the major issue here was failure to address the part of requirement relating to the reappointment of the supplier.

It is also the weakness addressed in limiting professional marks as well.

Part b required recommendations to the board how current digital platform can be further developed to attract and retain customers. Professional marks required commercial acumen to be demonstrated.

It was poorly answered and some candidates wrote very little. Many answers were found insufficient number of suggestions which was also the reason of lower professional marks.

Task 5 asked an analysis of problems in retaining talented staff and recommending actions to retain and develop employees in a format set out already. It required demonstration of professional analysis skills.

Due to time pressure, it was found lack of planning and thought frequently resulted in repetition, factors being put in the wrong category and poor linkage between problems and recommendations.

Detailed examiner’s report can be found:

ACCA SBR – It is a new paper and NOT P2

The purpose of SBR is to assess your professional competences within the corporate reporting environment.

Its syllabus is not significantly different to the P2 syllabus but it requires more written answers rather than numerical ones.

The exam contains two sections, A and B. Section A includes 2 questions which totaled 50 marks while Section B has 2 questions and 25 marks each.

SBR June 2019 pass rate is 48%, similar to March 2019 which was 49%.

General approaches to SBR examination are –

  • Students are examined on how they apply concepts and principles to life-like scenarios that reliance on a single textbook or revision course will not be sufficient to pass. Their readings are expected to expand beyond textbook including articles from IASB, the profession and ACCA.

  • Students are expected to synthesise and evaluate material, the key focus is on the application of knowledge.

  • The SBR exam also includes ethical aspects requiring students to show their understanding of the professional and moral judgments.

June 2019 SBR examination performance was not significantly different from previous attempts while the following items should be noted:

  • Merely discuss an IFRS without applying knowledge;

  • Spending a disproportionate amount of time on question 1.

Question 1 is divided into several parts. They ask 1) drafting an explanatory note and calculation of how a dividend received from a subsidiary, investment in subsidiary and treatment of disposal in total comprehensive income; 2) deferred tax implications from sales of inventory by holding company to its subsidiary; 3) discussion of how variable lease payments should be recognized and measured in financial statements.

Overall question 1 was well answered but the discussion and accounting principle applications are still room for further improvement.

4 parts in Question 2 which were: a) explain and calculate a share incentive scheme expense under IFRS2 Share-Based payments; b) IAS24 Related Party Disclosures; c) Application of IFRS8 Operating Segments; d) Discussion of the ethical issues with reference to ACCA’s ethical code.

In general, all parts were well answered by many students. The problem in Question 2 is on professional marks. Some students merged part b and part d in their answers while professional marks were difficult for markers to sift through answers that combine two parts of a question.