It’s 2 months shy of the yearly O’level examinations. Most students are, by now, engrossed with their textbooks and ten-year series. They will focus more on core subjects that have a direct impact on their L1R4/R5 such as English, Elementary Mathematics and Mother Tongue. This would have left seemingly irrelevant subjects such as POA in the sidelines of every student’s study plan. Yet, POA can be considered as one of the easier subjects for O’level. If students work hard and get the right help, they will stand a good chance of doing well in POA.
If you are a POA student looking for ways to secure that distinction, this article provides 5 points that may just give you the answers that you are looking for.
1) Common mistakes and difficulties POA students make and face
It can be a real headache when students have not figured out why the mistakes were made and have not managed to overcome the difficulties faced. The matter turns worse if these are still not rectified a week before the O’level exam.
Very likely, the fundamental problem lies in a student’s inability to grasp the basics of the subject. This could be not knowing what a current asset is or have no clue of how to open or close an account. This problem could result in students making all kinds of mistakes. For example, students lacking the basic understanding of the subject are more prone to making careless mistakes such as errors committed in addition, subtraction or totaling. These minor mistakes can drastically affect the outcome of financial statement questions such as the income statement and balance sheet.
It pays to be detail-oriented in exams too. Having good handwriting, being organized and showing tidiness in your work are habits of a detail-oriented person. Students tend to display untidiness in their work. They scribble and cancel by ‘shading’ off their wrong answers. They write answers with a handwriting that is incomprehensible to the exam markers.
Students also show a lack of time management when answering questions. For example, they may spend too much time doing heavy weightage questions like income statement and as a result, having little time to attempt the remaining portion of the paper. Hence, it is advisable that students allocate an appropriate amount of time in tackling the paper.
You can perhaps spend 15 minutes on each question in paper 1. For paper 2, you can allocate 40 minutes for the income statement and balance sheet question and spend 28 minutes equally for each of the remaining questions in section A as well as spending 24 minutes for section B. Of course, if you finish the front portion of the paper fast, you will have plenty of time to tackle the back portion of the paper.
2) Adopt the right strategies for your exam
Sun Tzu once said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” You should be able to grasp the concept of the entire subject by the time you enter the exam hall in November. In order to do so effectively, you will need to be familiar with the format of the exam paper and the fundamentals of the subject. Read the POA syllabus outline to understand what is expected of you during the O’level exam.
While it is important to work hard, working smart is important too. Otherwise, the thousands of hours of effort spent to prepare for an exam lasting in a total of 3 hours would be wasted. One way is to look at the past year papers and identify the types of questions and topics tested often and then spending time mastering those types of questions.
Based on experience, the types of questions most likely to be tested for O level POA exams are financial statements with adjustments (Income Statement & Balance sheet); financial statement analysis & interpretation; basic fundamental areas such as accounting principles & concepts, source documents, accounting equations, definitions of accounting terms; and proper format of ledger accounts.
As for the topics to focus on for O’levels, besides Income Statement & Balance Sheet as well as financial statement analysis & interpretation, you will need to pay attention to topics such as business entity, prepayments & accruals, non-current assets, trade receivables, and inventory.
As understood earlier, understanding the basics is required to grasp the concept of the entire subject. Hence, you should also give adequate attention to chapters 1-3 of the POA textbook. In particular, topics such as source document, accounting principles, and concepts as well as accounting cycle are areas requiring attention.
3) How to adopt the habits of an A1 POA student
There are many ways for students to approach their revision in POA. They just need to find the most effective and, if possible, least time-consuming way of doing so. An A1 student will not learn for the sake of merely passing the exam through hard memory. Rather, they will learn through understanding every accounting concepts they come across and clarify any doubts that they may have.
Accounting is support to commercial activities and business in general. Hence, it is crucial for you to understand the learning objectives of each topic. Students with good learning attitude will understand how each topic affects business activities.
Pay more attention to daily life, from as simple as buy and sell; concern and understand parents’ job. These simple cares help you to better understand how society and commercial works. At the end of the day, consistent practice and revision are the most crucial.
4) Utilizing the best resources for students
With the advent of the internet, there is a wealth of information available on the internet. However, it will be better, at this level, to find a responsible and resourceful tutor. This is because the information on the internet may not be easily understood by them, instead of finding help they most likely get more confused. Hence, it will be sensible for you to look for POA tuition that can offer you constructive help.
Another factor is the rigidity of the O’level examination, in which you are expected to indicate your answers from the syllabus.
Rather than searching the internet to understand the subject better, it will be best for students at this level to refer to the textbook allocated to them. The POA textbook provides informative information and is written at the students’ understanding level. This is if you are not able to find a good tutor.
5) Final advice for students
If you are reading this a week before your O’level, take note of these things you will need to do that will possibly firm up your distinction.
Spend some time revising income statement and balance sheet and understand its format well. This is a 20-mark question and easily comprises one-third of the total 60 marks in paper 2. Hence, you want to be sure to secure this 20 marks so as to increase your chance of scoring well for POA. Be familiar with the various ratio equations which are profitability ratios, liquidity ratio, and inventory management ratio. These could be tested in either of the 2 papers or both. Read up and recap on the fundamentals covered in Chapter 1-3 of the textbook. Understand the accounting principles and concepts and commit them into memory.
Most importantly, keep yourself in good shape leading up to the O’level examination. Have a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Sleep early the night before the paper so that you will be well-energized for the paper the next day.
Voila! These are the 5 points for you to score a distinction for O’level POA. We hope that these 5 points will help you to gain the most in the O’level POA examination. Remember: There is NO way to do well in accounting papers without a fair contribution of good effort. You would not expect yourself to score a distinction if you have very little understanding of the subject and doing last-minute work. So if you are either of the above or both, it is time to get cracking.
If you are in need of guidance or have questions regarding POA itself, please feel free to contact us. You can also try out our free one-time 2-hour trial tuition session if you are serious about improving your POA grades but unsure whether our tuition sessions will benefit you.