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Things you must do to pass your professional exam on first attempt

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

The exam preparation week is here once again and as a candidate, you must do whatever it takes to prepare yourself for this tough but yet passable professional exam.

Students undertaking a professional exam
Students undertaking a professional exam

As you continue to prepare yourself for that CPA, CTA or ATD exam, it is important that you get some of the basics right. These will ensure that you pass your professional examination on first attempt. The points shared below have been derived from examiners reports and our 10 years’ experience of teaching accountants;

Things to do before the Examination

  1. Practice and understand all the areas of the syllabus and their applicability,

  2. Pay particular attention to the theoretical aspects of each topic,

  3. Learn the technical terms to avoid giving explanations in terms of English language usage rather than technical terms in question,

  4. Practice past paper questions paying particular attention on how information derived from the workings feeds into the answer. The examiner has indicated this as one of the causes of failure.

  5. Attempt a standard examination (such as the model paper) by timing yourself to evaluate your ability to complete the exam within the stipulated 3 hours and 15 minutes.

  6. Practice on how to prepare a professional report paying particular attention to the important parts of a professional report.

Things to do during the Examination

  1. Read the instruction carefully and make good choice of questions to be attempted

  2. Start with the easy questions and earn the easy marks

  3. Read the scenario carefully to identify which information is relevant to which part of the question. There are lots of clues in the scenario so make sure you identify those that you should use in your answer.

  4. Read the requirement. Make sure to identify the knowledge areas being tested and see precisely what the examiner wants you to do. This will help you focus on what is important in the scenario.

  5. Be mindful of the time spent on each question (time is part of the exam!).

  6. Indicate the question number attempted at the beginning of each answer on a fresh page.

  7. Check the mark allocated to the question. This shows the depth of the answer anticipated and helps you allocate time.

  8. Do not attempt extra numbers. Any excess question will not be marked.

  9. Understand the requirements of each question so as to avoid preparing what is not requested for.

  10. Apply the correct format (for example a correct format for a cash budget, correct format for the cash flow statements etc).

  11. Always plan your answer. Consider the formats you’ll use and discussion points you’ll make.

  12. Most marks in a professional examination are awarded through workings; ensure that you provide detailed workings for your final answer!!

Understand the requirements

It is important that you understand and differentiate between the requirements and terms that the examiner typically uses. Here are some examples:

On behalf of Harvest Training and Consultancy (U) Ltd, we wish you all the best in your forthcoming examinations.


Managing Director

Harvest Training and Consultancy (U) Ltd (2013 – 2023)

Celebrating 10years of teaching Accountants


May 2024 intake is now open!


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Basimirawo Bernadette
Basimirawo Bernadette
28 ต.ค. 2566
ได้รับ 5 เต็ม 5 ดาว

Thank you so much for this insightful article.

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