Chasing the “right” answer

14 October 2020

By now you should have attempted at least one Beal Mock Exam. When we mark Mock Exams and give feedback, there is one question we are always asked…  

“So what is the right answer?”

So far, your road to ACA has been paved with exams marked out of 100, where there was a right answer and you were awarded your marks accordingly. 

But here’s the thing.

The ICAEW Case Study exam is about application of knowledge. The exam exhibits will provide new information and you must use a combination of AI and exam information to assess the impact on Beal and the longevity of the business.

In this situation, the “right” answer is akin to a unicorn; it simply doesn’t exist.

There are so many different ways to answer each requirement, and that is one of the values of an expert Chartered Accountant – you bring fresh perspectives based on data available and the wider market.

Of course, there will be a marking key with points awarded based on the facts from the exam paper and Advance Information (hitting the target box) and demonstration of a skill or attribute (your competency grade). It is not a case of you must hit every point in an exact manner. This exam is about showcasing your ability to apply your previously gained knowledge and offer sound, relevant and justified, business advice that answers the requirement posed by the examiner.

We do provide our students with an illustrative answer for each Mock Exam. It is important to note that the illustrative answer is one way for you to achieve a good pass in the exam, and can be produced in 4 hours. It will not cover every single point on the marking key – that is simply not possible in the time allowed and is not a realistic target for anyone.  

Rather than focusing on trying to achieve the mythical “right” answer you need to invest your time in analysing your marks feedback and using our guidance to refine your technique to obtain the marks. Look for the areas where you are not achieving the required competencies and compare your answer to the illustrative answer – how did it vary? This also gives you the opportunity to develop your exam technique – did you spend too much time in one area or are you simply copying and pasting and losing out on marks?

Any exam feedback you have is valuable information. If you took Scour, compare your Marks Feedback and your Marks Feedback Review to your most recent Mock Exam results – have you improved your weak areas, or did you simply revert back to your comfort zone?

You need to ask yourself these tough questions to ensure you are comfortable with writing your report to the board. After all, this is what your clients will expect from you as a Chartered Accountant.


Keep up to date on all Case Study blogs

A FREE resource for all Case Study students: exam preparation and technique tips delivered straight to your inbox.