Exam Times – Accounting


Ray O’Loughlin, who has been teaching Accounting at The Institute of Education for 9 years, advises students to prepare for this section, as it is manageable, ‘like diagnosing a patient in many ways’, and will ensure that they have choice in every section of the paper…



  • Accounts however must be perfectly legible, properly titled, neatly ruled, dated including the year and columns used appropriately. You will loose marks here if they are carelessly prepared.
  • Figures must be entered in accounts to earn marks. It is not sufficient to calculate the correct figure for e.g. drawings in your workings for Incomplete Records. You must show drawings fig in the Balance Sheet to earn the marks. Presentations of accounts under correct headings are vital for Q.1. Published and Cash Flow in particular
  • In Sections 1 and 2 you earn very few marks for totals / correct figures for Net Profit etc so don’t waste time checking figures until exam end when all questions are completed.
  • If stuck for time you will always earn more marks for making entries than balancing off Balance sheet unless you need the fig for future calculations.
  • Correct figs. entered on the incorrect side may not earn marks e.g. over-provision for bad debts (gain) entered as under provision ( expense )
  • In Section 3 however up to 25 % of the marks awarded may be allocated for correct answers so be extra vigilant in your calculations here.



“The more I practice the luckier I get”

  • Accounting is one of those subjects that will reward students who are regular and consistent workers. It is very difficult to postpone work and cram for the Accounting exam.
  • The secret to success for any student is to get to grips with the simple accounting principles and try to do an accounting question most days between now and June under timed conditions.

Try not to predict

  • Many students are tempted to disregard certain topics as they may have appeared on the exam last year or they feel that they are too difficult. This is a very dangerous strategy as topics repeat themselves from year to year and statistics show that unpopular and poorly answered topics regularly reappear.
  • Coming close to exam time you will most likely focus on certain areas, so have “benchmark questions ” identified to help you in your revision.

Operate a system

  • Having a system for dealing with each question (and the workings for those questions in particular) is vital, as the confidence you get from following the same procedure will definitely stand to you at exam time.
  • Use a normal, unruled answer book for the exam if that is what you use in class, instead of a special Accounting answer-book and inform superintendent in advance of exam that you wish to use this book.
  • Start each question on a separate page.


  • Use a supplementary answer book for all your workings which will make life easier for you and the corrector. All your workings are now on a 4 page movable sheet which will be easy to transcribe figures from and separate from your accounts.
  • Workings only have to be legible and may never be looked at (if figures are correct) so under no circumstances waste time ruling notes or use different colours etc.
  • Cross referencing your workings ( W ) is sufficient to show you have a working for that relevant fig.
  • Workings are optional but do remember that an incorrect fig in the accounts without a working may not get any marks.

Attempt all parts of each question including theory

  • Theory questions are an increasingly more important part of the paper (approx 15 %). Expect theory on all Sections but particularly Section 2 and 3. Always attempt as easy marks may be earned for even weak attempts.


Full Supplement Download

Published on Thursday, 13th February, this supplement focuses on Leaving Certificate Accounting.

Download Accounting Supplement (3.08 MB)