This year’s HKDSE Business, Accounting and Financial Studies (Bafs) was a lot like the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE) accounting exam, with questions in Paper Two testing students on their abilities to apply accounting concepts to real-life situations.
Leo Lau, a tutor at The iCon Education, said there were a few challenging questions in Paper One Section A, which consisted of 30 multiple choice questions. Q7 was pretty tricky, he said, as it asked how much Anna needed to contribute to her Mandatory Provident Fund’s (MPF) account each month if her monthly salary was HK$40,000. “MPF contribution is capped at HK$1,500 per month by law, so students should have known that they couldn’t use the [regular rule of] five per cent of Anna’s monthly wage to calculate that contribution.” Lau said that students need be aware of current financial issues when answering questions.
“Q2 tested students on abstract accounting concepts,” Lau added. “It asked what the relationships are between the trial balance, ledger balances, financial position and income statement. Some people might have had difficulty understanding such relationships.”
Tony Man, a tutor at Modern Education, said most questions in Paper One Section B were fairly straightforward. Students had to keep a note of all wording of Q3 (d) though, as it asked students to explain in which year the electricity of a certain amount should be recorded as an expense. “Marks were lost if candidates didn’t include years in their answers.”
Both teachers agreed Paper Two – which were an accounting module (Paper 2A) and a business management module (Paper 2B) – was just as tough as last year’s.
A Form Six student surnamed Yeung said there were some uncommon question types in Paper 2A. “I didn’t really know the weighted average cost method for inventory valuation in Q2. My school didn’t focus on this method, so I found this question tough,” she said.
Lau agreed. This year’s Q2 was not one that appears often in the DSE exams – but it’s one that has appeared before in the HKALE accounting exam. He said in future, students should expect there to be more questions asking other fundamental accounting concepts, such as period-end adjustment and inventory valuation.
Man said Q3 in Paper 2A was also tricky as it asked students about depreciation. “Questions that ask students to calculate the annual depreciation are uncommon in the DSE Bafs exams. The formulas are very complicated. The cost classification in Q3(b) and (c) weren’t easy to calculate. This year’s Q3 was also like something you’d find on the HKALE accounting exam paper,” he said.
Q5 in Paper 2A was another challenging question, Man added. Q5(a) asked students to prepare the necessary journal entries to correct the errors. Students had to understand where things had gone wrong (the situations of the wrong entries). Then they needed to try to record the right entries of transaction. They had to complete all of these steps to be awarded full marks. “I believe some people had difficulty calculating the gearing ratio for Q5(c) because the formula was difficult to memorise.”
Lau said this year’s Paper 2B was similar to last year’s. Q7 and Q8 had two case studies – one of an airline company and one of a fashion chain. Students should have given examples, he said, like the brands of related companies to back their answers up. “Book knowledge wouldn’t have been enough – students needed to provide examples of similar situations in real-life to make their answers sound solid,” he said.