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Do you know your variances?

13 May 2016

Variance questions are so regular in F5 papers that no-one should be surprised by their appearance, says the examiner.

Yet large numbers of March sitters still seem unprepared for this topic.

The Examiner’s Report says some candidates clearly do not know the variance calculations. You must learn them, says the examiner, and although they may seem a lot, but if you practice you will learn them!

Explaining reasons for variances and movements will score many more marks than bland comments such as ‘the variance is adverse which is bad’.

The balanced scorecard is another commonly examined topic. Candidates need to be able to explain and apply it to the scenario. Difficulties with this question could have been avoided at the revision stage, suggests the examiner. Q4 in December 2014 would be a good past question to practice.

The examiner reminded F5 candidates that the syllabus is very broad, and ‘question spotting’ by concentrating revision on a few key areas is likely to result in disappointment. Remember, if an unfamiliar topic is examined for 15 marks, a pass mark becomes much harder to achieve from the rest of the paper. It is better to have a good understanding of the whole syllabus rather than be an expert on a few areas, he said.

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