7 Most Important Tips for preparation of RAP
In every session, many ACCA students submit Research and Analysis Project (RAP) to Oxford Brookes University (OBU) to avail BSc. Hons. Degree in Applied Accounting but only limited students pass their RAPs. Based on our experience and interaction with multiple students in each session as well as overall feedback provided by examiners / markers to students, we are listing few important tips for students to enable them ( if they properly follow) to pass their RAP in first attempt with good grades;
Proper planning for RAP before execution of work: The student needs to carefully think over about their plans about the RAP before they start the actual work on the project. This needs to include what, how and when to do a certain action. Even though OBU does not require a submission of a RAP outline, it is still recommended that the student prepares a short outline for their project and a time-table that shows the expected completion of certain phases of the work and how the student plans to meet the OBU RAP submission deadline. The student needs to be realistic and aware about the available information, the expected achievements and the time necessary to complete all the RAP documentation.
Awareness of your strengths and weaknesses: The student needs to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses when they are considering a topic for the RAP. If a preferred task is the financial reporting instead of management accounting, then the student should carefully select a RAP topic that would best present their abilities. In case the student wishes to improve their weaknesses, then they need to select a topic appropriately. If the student likes to use advanced statistical techniques, then they need to consider if they understand how to apply them and to explain the output in business terms.
Certainty of knowledge specific to selected topic: All twenty proposed RAP topics are based on the various aspects (e.g. Financial Reporting, Management Accounting, Financial Management, Information System, Corporate Governance & Law, , Human Resource, Audit and Marketing) of the ACCA Qualifications syllabus. The preparation of the RAP is a chance for the student to apply their knowledge learned during the ACCA exams. The student needs to be certain about their knowledge, as it is important for the preparation of a high quality RAP and this also enhances the knowledge and level of skill in accounting and business.
Focus on single company while working on the RAP: The RAP needs to be focused on a single company. The student is not required to work for a certain company in order to select it as a base for their RAP. Should there be enough external information about the company on which the student can base their RAP, then they may not need to contact the management of the selected company. If the student is an employee in a certain company, then they can select their own company as a base for the RAP. Still, the student needs to be certain that the necessary internal information will be provided to them, and they will be allowed to include this information in their RAP. Student should consider important requirement of OBU related to provision of Letter of Authorisation (attached as part of appendix along with other documents of RAP) if student get information from primary sources of information.
Clear vision and an unbiased mind during research: The student needs to have a clear vision and an unbiased mind when doing the necessary research. The student can have a favourite company and products, and be inclined to select such a company to base their project upon. If this is the case, the student needs to be aware of their obligation to look at the company objectively, to look at the different angles, evaluate all the different views and include all this in the conclusions in the Research Report. The student should use multiple information sources in order to support the view of the company.
Adhere all guidelines provided by Project Mentor: It is true that there is a major contribution by students in passing their RAP through putting maximum efforts, dedication, right and focused approach along with hard work but indeed role of “Project Mentor” is also very important in passing RAP and even getting better grades. Project Mentor is normally experienced professional and he/she might have vast mentoring experience. First of all, students should engage experienced mentor with them and they should also adhere all guidelines during preparation of the RAP as these guidelines are normally based on his/her experience that he/she gained during interaction with multiple students / OBU examiners / OBU management. Students must get maximum benefits from experience of “Project Mentor” and it is only possible if students adhere his/her guidelines and ask right questions throughout preparation of RAP.
Focused approach: RAP is very different from normal ACCA exams as student choose topic, organization (from approved sectors/industries of respective session), aims & objectives, research questions, research approach, sources of information, accounting & business models. As entire RAP project is based on various aspects defined by students so focused approach is very important to complete RAP as per desired expectations of OBU Examiners (refer appendix 1 of Information pack for detail of assessment criteria). Student must explain his/her point of view in allowed word limits and don’t provide any irrelevant detail that neither related to topic requirements or selected aims and objectives of RAP. Focused approach in respective sections of RAP is key to success for passing it with good grades in first attempt.
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