I chose to attempt paper P1 and P3 in the December 2007 exam session, because these two papers are both discursive ones and some of the contents of these two papers are closely related. As part of my revision for paper P3, I enrolled for a three-day revision seminar from 28th to 30th September 2007 which was sponsored by Sunway University College and ACCA Shanghai. The lecturer is great and experienced.
I found that the most important part of paper P3 is strategy, which contains strategic analysis, strategic choices and strategic implementation. Strategic analysis requires you analyze the current position of a company. Strategic choices comprise several parts such as business strategy, corporate strategy and strategy evaluation. Strategic implementation comprises configuration, managing change and functional strategy. Strategic analysis can be divided into three parts: external, internal and its purpose & expectation, all of which are equally important. For external analysis it is comparatively simple as we can use PESTEL, five forces and industrial life cycle to do the analytical work, while internal analysis may require you to pay more attention on it, we may need to analyze both the threshold and the core competence of the company and diagnose the strategic capability. But how many points we should write depends on the marks given by a certain question, for example, if a question gives 5 marks to the diagnosing strategic capability, 5 key points given by using value china analysis may be enough, but if the question gives 15 marks, then 15 key points given by using benchmarking and SWOT analysis are needed.
My lecturer of P3 told us that the most important thing for being successful in the exam is that we should do revision questions by ourselves and some questions may need to be done by more than once, because you will not be able to swim just by looking how others swim, you will not be able to ride a bike just by looking how others ride.