Tackling TPS pre-course work - TPS Modular Students

By Lauren O'Brien, TPS Level Controller

7 May 2018

In a recent post we looked at TPS Assumed Knowledge work for TPS Modular students. Here we look at the TPS Pre-Course work.

Remember you should be regularly referring to the pre-course timetable you were emailed with your joining instructions during the pre-course period. There are far fewer hours in your timetable dedicated to the TPS pre-course work compared to the assumed knowledge, so you will be glad to see that there isn’t as much work to complete for pre-course.

Pre-course work for FR, ABS or Afin

Whether you are studying FR/Tax, Afin/Tax, FR/ABS or Afin/ABS, the first thing you should do for these subjects is access the step-up guides on CABLE. The step-up guides take a concept you will be familiar with from TC (or perhaps university) and shows how it could be examined in TPS.

In TPS exams there will be no objective test questions and no pro-formas available. If you have followed the recommended timetable so far, you will have spent recent weeks revising assumed knowledge. But, you will have been using TC-style objective test questions to help you.

In TPS exams there will be no objective test questions and no pro-formas available, so this step-up guide should help set your expectations about what you will be expected to do in TPS with your assumed knowledge.

In TPS exams there will be no objective test questions and no pro-formas available.

In addition, there are two FR modules, five ABS modules or two Afin modules that need to be covered as part of your pre-course work. These modules will not be taught in class, and are fully examinable in the mock exams and the actual exam.

When you come to class we expect that you will have read through these modules, and worked through all of the relevant WSEs, particularly the WSEs that are highlighted in the pre-course timetable.

There are CABLE guides available to help you work through the pre-course work. The pre-course work will be tested in a pre-course test (‘PCT’) for each subject that needs to be completed by 9am on your first day of class.

Pre-course work for Tax

Now some good news for you – there are no specific pre-course modules to work through for TPS Tax!

However, your preparation time for Tax should focus on working though the step-up guide on CABLE. Just like the step-up guide discussed above, this will show you how your TPS Tax knowledge will be built from your PoT knowledge.

At TPS Tax it’s vital that you can bring different elements together to answer a larger linked topic.

There are also PoT step-up questions available on CABLE for Tax to help close the gap between PoT and Tax.

These are included because when studying PoT you will have practiced how to do parts of calculations in isolation. At TPS Tax it’s vital that you can bring these elements together to answer a larger linked topic.

Bringing it all together

For example, in TPS Tax students could be given a scenario where they are presented with a set of accounts for a sole trader or company and asked to calculate the income tax/corporation tax liability. This would involve a number of steps, all of which have been learned at TC PoT but, and this is crucial, they will not have been tested as a single scenario in the PoT exam.

You now need to practice putting the individual steps that you learnt in PoT together into one, bigger, scenario. The individual steps for this particular example are as follows:

  • Calculate the capital allowances using the fixed asset additions/disposals information.
  • Prepare an adjustment of profits to arrive at the tax-adjusted trading profit (including a deduction for capital allowances).
  • Prepare an income tax computation/corporation tax computation using the trading income figure and any other income/gains figures provided.
  • Calculate the income tax/corporation tax due for the period; and
  • Advise on the filing and payment deadlines for the tax returns.

Anything else I need to do?

To ensure that you are fully prepared, you also need to complete the following:

1. Access the Communication Skills module on CABLE.

In each TPS exam day you could be awarded between -4 and +4 extra marks in relation to your communication skills. These communication marks are in addition to your technical marks and they can make the difference between a pass and a fail. The Communication Skills module takes you through this in more detail and is essential reading for all of your TPS courses.

The marks awarded for your communication skills are in addition to your technical marks and can make the difference between a pass and a fail.

2. Complete the pre-course test (‘PCT’) for FR, ABS and Afin.

You need to do this before 9.00am on your first day of class. This is an electronic objective test question test. The pass mark for the PCT is also 80%, and it will test the relevant pre-course modules discussed earlier. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no PCT for Tax.

3. Print out the relevant supplementary material for your subjects.

This material is required for classes, mock exams and the real exams and spare copies will not be available. The supplementary material can be found on the ICAS website.

4. Mentally prepare yourself for TPS.

They will be long days, and you will likely feel a little overwhelmed at first. Remember, we don’t expect you to be exam ready immediately. But, we do expect you to work hard – around three hours per evening and one full day at the weekend is the expected study commitment when you are at classes.

5. Be prepared for your first mock exam.

To help motivate you when in class, students studying TPS will generally have a mock exam for each subject in the second week of class. Remember, the mock exam can also cover your assumed knowledge and pre-course work, so this pre-class study period is just as important as the time you will be spending in class.


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