Complete ACCA PM Study Guide – Syllabus, Paper Pattern, Academic Plan, Mock Exams, Tips And More

DECODING THE SUBJECT

All goods and services are delivered at a cost. It is vital for any business to arrive at the most accurate cost of its products/ services so as to fix its selling price. The syllabus of performance management fundamentally teaches us the science of how to arrive at the most accurate cost & selling price of any product/ service. However, costing is just one aspect of performance management.

At a broader level, you will learn various techniques of Decision Making & Evaluating Performances at various levels in a business organization.
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ACCA PM SYLLABUS

The Syllabus can be broken down into the following categories:

A. Information, technologies and systems for organizational performance
  • Information, technologies and systems for organisation performance
  • Information systems and Data analytics
B. Specialist cost and management accounting techniques
  • Specialist cost and management accounting techniques
C. Decision-making techniques
  • Cost volume profit analysis
  • Planning with limiting factors
  • Pricing
  • Relevant costing
  • Risk and uncertainty
D. Budgeting and control
  • Budgeting
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Advanced variances
E. Performance measurement and Control
  • Performance measurement and control
  • Divisional performance measurement and transfer pricing
  • Performance measurement in not-for-profit organisations
F. Employability and technology skills
  • Use computer technology to efficiently access and manipulate relevant information.
  • Work on relevant response options, using available functions and technology, as would be required in the workplace.
  • Navigate windows and computer screens to create and amend responses to exam requirements, using the appropriate tools.
  • Present data and information effectively, using the appropriate tools.

Hack: The paper of ACCA Performance Management (PM) is very application-based & requires an out of box thought process to crack it well. The syllabus may appear to be relatively lesser than the other papers, yet there is a significant variety of cases that challenge you to think from many perspectives. Hence the passing rate in this paper is relatively lower than most other papers.

You must begin your preparation by revising the Basic Management Accounting concepts and thereafter continue with Part B: Specialist Cost and Management Accounting Techniques. which will require significant time

Follow next with Part C: Decision-making techniques, this part covers several topics and is therefore an important part of your syllabusMake sure that you practice all the questions in the Study Text & Exam Kit thoroughly ..

After practising all the questions of Part C, you can move on to Part D: Budgeting and control. Like Part B and Part C, Part D covers equally important topics.

Investing significant time in both these parts of the syllabus. is very important to crack the exam

Continue next with Part E: Performance measurement and Control. This part covers several tricky & challenging topics which needs to be covered in depth.

Lastly, study Part A: Information, technologies and systems for organizational performance. This section deals with theory topics & is best dealth with towards the end.

ACCA PM PAPER PATTERN

The 100-marks ACCA PM exam paper has been designed to ensure that all the different areas of the syllabus are covered adequately. Following are the various sections and question types that you can expect-

ACCA Performance Management (100 Marks)
Section A (30 marks) Section B (30 marks) Section C (40 marks)
15 OTQ’s * 2 marks each 3 case studies * 5 OTQ’s in each case study * 2 marks each 2 Constructed response questions * 20 marks each

You are expected to score 50/100 to pass this examination. This is easily manageable with a clear understanding of the concepts, good practice of the questions and a positive attitude. The pass rates of ACCA PM paper across the globe are roughly between 35%-45% for most attempts.

SOURCES OF CONTENT

You need to primarily refer to these two content sources for your preparations –

  • The Study Text – for conceptual understanding
  • The Practice/Exam Kit – for practice questions

There are only two ACCA-approved content providers that you should consider, namely, Kaplan Publishing and BPP Learning Media. Apart from this, you can also refer to the technical articles published by ACCA on different topics. You can use this link to refer to the articles.

Download our curated express notes for ACCA PM here

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STUDYING METHODOLOGY

  1. Commence preparations with the Study Text & go through all the concepts, & solved questions. Thereafter, attempt all questions from the Exam Kit to get more clarity and a deeper understanding of how to approach the different questions of the syllabus.
  2. The Study Text has relatively easier & fundamental questions in comparison to the Exam Kit. The Exam Kit has several tricky questions & of diverse variety. Hence ensure that you solve questions from the Exam Kit in parallel to the Study Text.
  3. Focus equally on numbers as well a theory concepts The paper will cover not just number driven questions but also an equal number of theory questions testing your conceptual knowledge.
  4. Some of the areas of your syllabus of ‘High Importance’ include Decision Making Techniques, Budgeting, Variances, Transfer Pricing, Learning Curve, Specialist cost and management accounting techniques. Ensure that you have spent adequate time practicing these concepts.
  5. You will see several questions in the PM paper which may not be necessarily from the ones practised in the Study Text or Exam Kit. Hence you must be prepared for ‘Unknown Territories’. Your ability to understand the scenario, apply the concepts & articulate your answer is a real skill you need to sharpen for this paper.
  6. When solving the constructed response questions from the practise kit, it is useful to go through the key answer tips, tutor’s top tips, tutorial notes and examiner’s comments to understand what the common mistakes made by students are and how you can deliver a better answer.
  7. Practice a few constructed response questions using basic features of MS Word and MS Excel too. Also, you can use the constructed response ‘blank workspace’ provided by the ACCA after logging in to the Practice Platform to get a hold of the CBE environment. You can follow through this link.

HOW TO PLAN ACCA PM MOCK EXAMS

Attempting enough mock exams are a must! Going without solving mocks is like a soldier without a weapon.

The examination is now conducted using the CBE platform, it is truly important to write at least 2-3 mocks to get a good idea of how the final examination would be and to get used to the CBE environment.

You can log in to the ACCA ‘Practice Platform’ for solving mocks using the following link.

Hack: One day before the examination, invest all your time in revising what you have studied so far. Do not try to study any new concept or solve any new problem. Skim through the study text and practice kit to focus on memorizing the important concepts, theory topics, and formulas if required. Focus on memorising all the formulae, concepts and theory.

THINGS TO REMEMBER WHILE WRITING THE EXAM

After months of all the efforts and hard work you would’ve put into the preparation for this exam, it is equally important to ace your exam. Here are some things to remember-

  1. Time Management: It is important to complete the paper on time. Remember, time management is a key to success! Here is how you can allocate your time-
PAPER PM TOTAL
Section A 15 OTQ’s * 2.67 mins 40 minutes
Section B 15 case study OTQ’s * 2.67 mins 40 minutes
Section C 2 questions (of 20 marks) * 45 mins each 90 minutes
Final check 10 minutes
TOTAL 180 minutes
  1. Do not stress or panic during the exam, stay calm write all you know. If you freak out, it is possible that you mess with other straightforward, manageable, and scoring questions.
  2. Do not leave any question unattempted
    • For your OTQ’s there is always a 25% probability to get the answer right, place your bet and mark the option you believe is the closest to the answer.
    • For constructed response questions there is no negative marking. So, based on your understanding of the concepts make sure you form an answer to every question asked.
  3. Be prepared to find different and new styles of questions, with patience and linking to the concepts of your syllabus you should be able to tackle them well.
  4. Better to start with Section A first, then Section B, and lastly Section C, i.e. FOLLOW THE ORDER! Do not spend too much time finding answers to questions you are not able to crack. Section C: make sure for the numerical questions you show the workings along with the solution wherever needed For theoretical questions write enough to earn marks. One healthy and valid point is worth 1 mark.

EXAMINER’S EXPECTATIONS

The ACCA publishes an Examiner’s Report for every attempt which gives an insight into the marking process, the common mistakes that students make during the exams, and other useful techniques to do well in your examination. You must go through the Examiner’s Reports to understand what the examiner is expecting from you. It will help you understand how students have failed to tackle different questions and how they could have performed better. It’s like learning from someone else’s mistakes. You can follow through this link to refer to a few of the examiner’s reports published by the ACCA.

All the best 😊

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Summary of all links

Technical articles published by ACCA

ACCA PM express notes

Blank workspace provided by the ACCA

ACCA Practice Platform

Examiner’s reports published by the ACCA

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