Help for re-sitting ABS exams

Adults looking for verbal feedback
By Alasdair Douglas, Assurance and Business Systems TPS Subject Controller

13 July 2016

Are you feeling a little unsure after your ABS exam? It is a fact of life that some students will fail their ABS exam at each diet. 

Unlike the other TPS subjects, which contain much more in the way of direct number analysis, we’ve found that students can struggle to understand where they have failed to achieve marks in the ABS exam after reviewing the examiner’s report.

If you don’t know what you need to focus on for your re-sits then talk to us. ICAS offers a verbal exam feedback service for students after a failed ABS exam. We aim to help you identify where there is potential for picking up more marks and understand the solution or marker’s report. 

What is involved?

A senior member of the ABS team reviews student scripts for either paper one or paper two, together with the marks awarded by the examination marking team. They will identify constructive comments that can be discussed with you.  

We’ll arrange a phone session with you; normally for around an hour, to allow these comments to be fed back in full. Our exam policies restrict us from allowing students access to the actual scripts, but routinely the lecturer will provide examples from the scripts to demonstrate and support the comments being made.  

This practice allows each student to hear examples of both good and weaker elements of their paper, as well as getting you thinking about key areas for improvement in advance of the next exam attempt.

Over the last three exam diets, 88% of students who used the service have gone on to pass ABS at the next attempt.

Should I bother asking for feedback?

I have carried out a number of these sessions in recent years and have discovered that most students find this service very beneficial: notably, it aids in identifying specific weaknesses in exam technique that can usually be enhanced through additional question practice.  

For example, students can be too vague or generic in their answers to ABS question scenarios. Through review of examples from their question paper and discussion with the lecturer, this becomes easier to understand and improve on for the future.  

Over the last three exam diets, 88% of students who used the service have gone on to pass ABS at the next attempt. Students also frequently give positive feedback at the end of their session.

It is important to note that the focus of these sessions is on exam technique rather than technical content, as the former reason is primarily why students miss out on marks during the exam, particularly on the first attempt.   

The service is also designed to aid students who feel that they have a made a comprehensive attempt at the exam paper, but do not understand why they failed after reviewing the solution and examiner’s report.

Further information on the service can be found with our TPS retake materials.


  • Retaking exams
  • CA Student blog

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