I really believe that the APC exam is a culmination of 25 years of formal and informal education and learning. This may be a scary thought as this is only tested in a single 8 hour sitting. But relax, you got this. For me the UCT Board course was a great way to show me how to put down all the accumulated knowledge onto paper. (I know you’re not writing on paper but “putting it onto keyboard” just does not have the same ring). It is very likely you already have the knowledge from your degree, life experiences and business knowledge to pass the APC, but the initial ‘scary’ moment when you read a question will be ‘where should I start’. Board course practise will show you what angle to take and what the examiner wants. The marking rubric after a practise test/exam is very good at showing you what you should have mentioned in order to obtain that fantastic little letter “C” next to your exam. So look over the marking rubric after every exam to see how to hone your above-mentioned accumulated knowledge into the correct answer.
That being said there should be a lot to think about when selecting your group. I think it was the legendary Paully M who stated something on the lines of “The APC theory is that you do not remember your accounting and tax from ITC, but if your boss asks you a question and gives you time to research an answer, you are competent to teach yourself the material”. Thus you want a team that can complement different ways of thinking and thought processes. This is a group project, so why would you want 4 other people exactly like you, who think the same way as you? If that were the case, you could write this yourself. I would highly recommend getting as much diversity in your group. This is the strongest piece of advice I can offer. Get somebody who obtained their undergrad from another university, try get a banker (if you are an auditor) as well as someone in a different sector (if your office is sector-driven). You will be baffled by the way different people just see different things that you would never have been able to pick up on. This adds tremendous value to your exam prep.
In terms of the few days before the exam prep our group would do the following:
- Read the scenario individually, and each identify triggers
- That morning we would come together, sharing our triggers and discussing thoughts on each trigger
- We split triggers between ourselves. If there was a ‘difficult’ trigger, or a trigger that different people would come to different conclusions, 2 people were assigned that trigger.
- On the Sunday we would come together and share our research, debate and discuss. We did not need to each agree on the same conclusion, but as long as each of us was comfortable with the topic. If someone did not think they were confident to tackle that trigger come exam day, they obtained work from another group they trusted.
The APC is not the most time consuming process but is something that can bite you if you underestimate it. Have fun and learn a lot. And remember to call Shaunny P “Prof”
Disclaimer: The above is my own personal opinion. Which, knowing me, means it is probably wrong. In the words of Baz Luhrmann “Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it”. So take what you feel will add value, and ignore the points you are sceptical about – this is not a golden rule. It worked for one person, which does not mean it will work for everyone.