CPA P1 managerial finance exam tips

4 Tips on how to aim for top marks in CPA P1 Managerial Finance exam

We have analysed the most recent Educator’s Briefing on CPA P1 Managerial Finance to help do your absolute best in your forthcoming exam. Read through these 4 pointers to know how to apply and present your knowledge in the exam. These tips can also be applied to all other exams so read on carefully!

Four Tips to Exam Success

There are a number of threads that weave together to help you to pass your CPA Managerial Finance exam and we all know them well.

  1. Your knowledge and understanding of the material across the whole syllabus.
  2. Practice of past papers so that you are ready for how questions may be asked in the exam and the level of response that will be required to capture the available marks.
  3. Exam technique which includes timing, format, clarity and presentation.
  4. Application which takes the theory you learn and applies it to a real scenario.

How those threads might unravel!

Today I would like to talk you through what the examiner has to say about recent exam sittings and where students have gone wrong.

Get top marks in your CPA Ireland exam

Know the material across the whole syllabus.

1. Knowing the Material

The examiner commented on the lack of detailed knowledge of the material that was illustrated by poor MCQ performance:

‘The multiple choice questions were generally poorly answered. This indicates that, in the majority of cases, students are not covering the entire syllabus and are not able to answer concise questions about a range of topics relevant to managerial finance.’


The key word here is concise. You must be able to answer very specific questions to do well in MCQs and this means being comfortable across the entire syllabus.

2. Using the Required Format

The examiner tells us that the purpose of Managerial Finance is:

‘to present information that will assist managers to make decisions relevant to increasing shareholder wealth and other issues. This means that the information should be presented in a way that is useful and understandable for the intended audience. Management time is a scarce resource and if the results are summarised in table format, this can help managers to focus on key issues and investigate detailed calculations if necessary.’


If you do not layout your responses in the format requested you lose easy marks that can be the difference between a pass and a fail.

CPA Managerial Finance exam tips

Presentation is the key. Plan how to communicate your point across.

3. Presentation

Next up is plain old communications. If the examiner can’t read it or can’t find it he cannot mark it. He says:

‘Students should take extra care with the presentation of their answers to ensure that the text and numbers presented are clearly legible, numbered correctly and each significant part of the solution is started on a separate page.’


Help him to help you! Don’t make him work for your marks.


4. Application

The examiner commented as follows:

‘At a professional level, students should have knowledge of current business and financial issues that are relevant to organisations of all sizes that operate in Ireland and in global markets. This information should be incorporated into solutions in order to illustrate the ability to apply knowledge of managerial finance in various organisational contexts.’


We do not practice in a vacuum. All of your learning on Managerial Finance is focused on assisting in real decisions and real wealth creation. Practice applying your knowledge to situations you witness occurring in the world around you to bring your understanding and ability to apply to a new level. Your examiner will recognise and appreciate the difference between rote learning and real understanding.


Martial Arts does not often meet Accountancy, but Bruce Lee is famously quoted as saying, ‘Knowing is not enough we must apply’. While we all know the four threads well at this stage of our professional journey, the examiner would not be commenting as he has if we were all applying them. Make sure that you don’t fall down on the basics in your CPA sitting this August.  


Read the full briefing here

Leave a Comment