Why has SBR been left out?

ACCA is introducing professional marks across the board for all optional papers come September 2020 (see PQ magazine, March issue).

However, a leading tutor has asked PQ magazine why SBR has been singled out as the one strategic professional exam that will not have 20 professional marks you for grabs? “It is a strange one,” he suggested.

Our expert said the move to introduce professional marks is to be welcomed. He explained: “If students only have 80 technical marks to earn and the same amount of time in the exams then hopefully the quality of answers will improve.”

He also suggested some other ways to improve pass rates at the strategic professional stage:

  • Make it mandatory that students complete the Ethics & Professional Skills Module before being allowed to enter their first Strategic professional exams. It’s an open secret that students who complete their EPSM have higher pass rates.
  • Pass the SBR exam before being allowed to enter AAA. At present ACCA gives “guidance” that doing SBR before AAA is recommended. But why isn’t it a requirement? ACCA should publish the pass rates for students who had passed SBR and those who had not passed SBR before sitting AAA. Students could then make an informed choice to take SBR before AAA.
  • Require that students do the SBL last exam – as their capstone exam. This is a requirement for students studying ACCA under the apprenticeship scheme. With SBL going pre-seen surely it makes sense that this exam is given the respect by all students and sat as the last exam.