How do I pass the ACCA APM exam? Tips

by Eduyush Team

The ACCA Advanced Performance Management (APM) exams are notoriously difficult, but with the right preparation they can be passed. In this blog post, we will outline a tips that will help you pass the APM exams. First, we will discuss the structure of the exams and then we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to study for them. Let's get started!

What does Advanced Performance Management (APM) build on?

Advanced Performance Management is at the strategic professional exam level and, therefore, unlike your skills in applied papers, you need to demonstrate confidence with the numbers and explain this in a workplace scenario. APM builds on the knowledge gained at other levels.

The Performance Management exams would be more of preparation and doing calculations. In contrast, the APM is taking this detail but giving an opinion by connecting all the relevant information, adding a strategic perspective to it, understanding and contextualising but with a degree of healthy scepticism and very importantly able to explain it in in business english. The PM knowledge is assumed at the APM exam and will now be tested in a more critical thinking capacity.

What are the study resources available to me?

 What are some APM exam tips?

Practising your writing: This is the area where the student should be investing most of their time on, given the nature of this exam.

The exam aims to address strategic, tactical, and operational ,issues, and your answers must demonstrate an understanding of the connections between these levels. Learn to develop your response and look at it from a variety of perspectives. 

Do not overload your answers with calculations, ratios, and measures – use the data that is relevant and meaningful, and transform the data given to address the overall objective of the question.

What tools can assist me here?

  • One of the most valuable tools for this purpose is reviewing examiner reports, understanding what other students do wrong and making sure you are able to avoid those common pitfalls. This is not something every student does, and this is a pity because it is such a fantastic and valuable resource that people do not take advantage of.
  • If you have the opportunity of studying with a tutor, getting a study plan and a framework along with essential exam skills will help you. 
  • Take a mock exam, if possible 2-3 prior to the exams. Compare your answers with model answers. It is one of the most constructive learning process.  
  • If you are a student resitting the exam, then think about what you do differently to change the earlier outcome, what went wrong the first time, understand how the answers come across and to do that, they need to practice writing answers to questions

To what extent does my answer have to mirror the official response?

  • The official answer is much more elaborate and very extensive, and being able to reproduce to the same extent is not the expectation from students.  
  • Also, remember, in the time you have, you will not be able to reproduce the full mock exam answer.   
  • Use the mock answer as guidance that you can tailor to the scenario.

How can I make the best of mock exams?

  • Do mock exams properly, invest your time, debrief your answers, and use the ACCA practice platform, which is available for all students, 
  • Time yourself, get yourself into the environment in which you are going to take this exam,
  • Remember, the closer the training to the actual event, the greater the benefit from that training. 

Some tips for the Exam Day 

  • Focus on your mental health, and keep a healthy balance across your priorities – work, exercise, studies, social life, and adequate rest,
  • Remember how much you are invested in this and be confident,
  • Make the very best of your time in that exam room - keep going, do not give up,
  • Have clarity on where this result will take you, and you are sure to succeed.

Closing comments

Remember – the expectation of APM is the ability to apply relevant knowledge and skills and exercise professional judgement in selecting and using strategic management accounting techniques in different business contexts.  

You are being tested for your ability to add value to your advice by taking information already produced and identifying the essential features.

If you want to pass the APM exams, be sure to use BPP's Online course. This is a great resource that will help you prepare for your exams. In addition, we have provided some exam day tips that should help you on test day. Take a free BPP demo.