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

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

ACCA September 2019 results and pass rates for all papers are published!

First of all, congratulate to 3,646 ACCA students passed their final exam and become ACCA affiliates.

The focus in this attempt is SBR. SBR pass rate is 52% which is the highest since it's started in September 2018.

ACCA executive director strategy and development said: ‘We’re delighted with the September 2019 exam results. It’s very pleasing to have achieved the best results to date for the SBR exam, a year after its first introduction into the ACCA qualification."

Link to announcement:

In addition, ACCA will launch Strategic Professional CBE in 2020. Just check our analysis of the new Strategic Professional CBE for your benefits.

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 December 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

The focus in this attempt is SBR. SBR pass rate is 52% which is the highest since it's started in September 2018.

ACCA executive director strategy and development said: ‘We’re delighted with the September 2019 exam results. It’s very pleasing to have achieved the best results to date for the SBR exam, a year after its first introduction into the ACCA qualification."

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 are –

· Generally, all three questions are answered but the quality of some candidate’s answers tailed off towards the end of the exam with indications that they either mismanaged their time or had run out of stamina;

· Mostly answered the questions in order although some of students leaving one question to answer at the end. Although this examination did not follow a timeline and therefore candidates should not have been disadvantaged by answering questions out of sequence, it is recommended that candidates answer the requirements in order.

There are two parts in question 1.

Part a asks to produce a set of notes for a presentation on sales development strategies requiring a demonstration of commercial acumen skills.

Part b requires an evaluation the financial and non-financial implications of prioritizing an order as well as making a recommendation.

Good answer in Part a included clear and well-structured presentation notes, focused on the impact of the strategies proposed on the company’s strategic aims.

The overall standard of Part b answer was extremely disappointing especially the financial analysis. Many answers show they are not familiar with the financial techniques and methodologies required for SBL exam and future candidates have to bear in mind.

Question 2 is divided into two parts. Part a asks for an analysis on how the risks in the risk register could impact on both strategic aims and make recommendation to mitigate the risks.

Part b requires classifying and evaluating directors responses relating to the use of child labour.

Part a is well answered with well structure in an appropriate format.

Part b answer standard was a huge degree of variability while part b(i) and (ii) were well answer with correct application of TARA framework and proper explanation of ethical consequences. Part (iii) is poorly answered especially on the control measures.

Question 3 asked for evaluation on the company’s criteria to achieve performance excellence.

This task was the section of the exam paper where candidates performed worst.

The key problem in this question is many students did not demonstrate a sound knowledge of performance excellence or the Baldridge model. Therefore, very few answers can identify the areas which were being achieved by Dulce and those which were missing from the Baldridge model.

Detailed examiner’s report can be found:

ACCA SBR – It is the best performed SBR exam ever

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.

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.

SBR September 2019 pass rate is 52%, it’s the highest since the SBR launched in 2018 which shows an improvement in the overall performance of this examination compared to previous SBR examinations.

Question 1 is divided into three parts. Part a asks i) calculation of goodwill on acquisition measuring the NCI and; ii) an explanatory note of how the fair value of a factory site is determined as part of a subsidiary acquisition. 11 marks were available in Part b which required discussion and calculation of an impairment loss relating to the same subsidiary some years later. Part C asks i) explanation of how consideration in the form of shares in acquisition and; ii) Share-based expense and a discussion of the vesting conditions.

Generally, Question 1 was well answered with well-argued points though area for improvement is found for explanation of impairment loss and vesting conditions.

2 parts in Question 2 while all parts were very well answered. The first part requires a discussion of three issues and their impact upon gearing. These issues included the treatment of a cash advance, the issuing of preference shares and the recording of a deferred tax asset. Second part is about discussion of ethical issues including an intimidation threat, an advocacy threat compromising objectivity, and reporting bias led by pressures of breaching debt covenant and overdraft limits.

Question 3 was not generally well answered. It is divided into three parts. The first part related to income recognition from selling a licence in exchange for shares in a new start-up company and the royalties in future. Second part was about the investment contributions in a joint venture in the form of own intellectual property, cryptocurrency and a building. The final part related to a pension plan curtailment and the implications of IAS 19.

The final part about IAS 19 was the least well-answered.

Question 4 is divided into two parts and focus on accounting principles. Part a required a discussion of why a reporting entity may choose a particular accounting policy where IFRS allows a choice, and the impact of faithful representation and comparability on the choice. Part b required i) a discussion on the usefulness of ROE and its components, and ii) a discussion of the impact of the accounting transactions on ROE and calculation of ROE.