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Kaplan Publishing UK
Unit 2 The Business Centre
Molly Millars Lane
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The nature of strategic business analysis
The environment and competitive forces
Internal resources, capabilities and
Stakeholders, governance and ethics
Strategies for competitive advantage
Other elements of strategic choice
Methods of strategic development
Business process change
The role of information technology
Project management I – The business case
Project management II – Managing the project to 441
Strategy and people
Strategic development and managing strategic 587
Questions & Answers
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The aim of ACCA Paper P3, Business analysis, is to apply relevant
knowledge and skills and to exercise professional judgement in assessing
strategic position, determining strategic choice and implementing strategic
action through beneficial business process and structural change;
coordinating knowledge systems and information technology and by
effectively managing quality processes, projects and people within financial
and other resource constraints.
Objectives of the Syllabus
Assess the strategic position of an organisation.
Evaluate and redesign business processes and structures to implement
and support the organisation's strategy taking account of customer and
other major stakeholder requirements.
Integrate appropriate information technology solutions to support the
Apply appropriate quality initiatives to implement and support the
Evaluate the strategic choices available to an organisation.
Discuss how an organisation might go about its strategic
Advise on the principles of project management to enable the
implementation of aspects of the organisation's strategy with the twin
objectives of managing risk and ensuring benefits realisation.
Analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of a company's strategy and the
financial consequences of implementing strategic decisions.
The role of leadership and people management in formulating and
implementing business strategy.
Core areas of the syllabus
The syllabus for Paper P3, Business Analysis, is primarily concerned with
two issues. The first is the external forces (the behaviour of customers, the
initiatives of competitors, the emergence of new laws and regulations) that
shape the environment of an organisation. The second is the internal
ambitions and concerns (desire for growth, the design of processes, the
competences of employees, the financial resources) that exist within an
organisation. This syllabus looks at both of these perspectives, from
assessing strategic position and choice to identifying and formulating
strategy and strategic action. It identifies opportunities for beneficial change
that involve people, finance and information technology. It examines how
these opportunities may be implemented through the appropriate
management of programmes and projects.
The syllabus begins with the assessment of strategic position in the present
and in the future using relevant forecasting techniques, and is primarily
concerned with the impact of the external environment on the business, its
internal capabilities and expectations and how the organisation positions
itself under these constraints. It examines how factors such as culture,
leadership and stakeholder expectations shape organisational purpose.
Strategic choice is concerned with decisions which have to be made about
an organisation’s future and the way in which it can respond to the
influences and pressures identified in the assessment of its current and
future strategic position.
Strategic action concerns the implementation of strategic choices and the
transformation of these choices into organisational action. Such action
takes place in daytoday processes and organisational relationships and
these processes and relationships need to be managed in line with the
intended strategy, involving the effective coordination of information
technology, people, finance and other business resources.
Companies that undertake successful business process redesign claim
significant organisational improvements. This simply reflects the fact that
many existing processes are less efficient than they could be and that new
technology makes it possible to design more efficient processes. Strategic
planning and strategy implementation has to be subject to financial
benchmarks. Financial analysis explicitly recognises this, reminding
candidates of the importance of focusing on the key management
accounting techniques that help to determine strategic action and the
financial ratios and measures that may be used to assess the viability of a
strategy and to monitor and measure its success. Throughout, the syllabus
recognises that successful strategic planning and implementation requires
the effective recruitment, leadership, organisation and training, and
development of people.
We have reproduced the ACCA's syllabus below, showing where the
objectives are explored within this book. Within the chapters, we have
broken down the extensive information found in the syllabus into easily
digestible and relevant sections, called Content Objectives. These
correspond to the objectives at the beginning of each chapter.
Syllabus learning objectives and chapter references:
A THE STRATEGIC POSITION OF AN ORGANISATION
1 The need for, and purpose of, strategic and business analysis
(a) Recognise the fundamental nature and vocabulary of strategy and
strategic decisions. Ch. 1
(b) Discuss how strategy may be formulated at different levels (corporate
business level, operational) of an organisation. Ch. 1
(c) Explore the Johnson & Scholes and Whittington model for defining
elements of strategic management – the strategic position, strategic
choices and strategy into action. Ch. 1
(d) Analyse how strategic management is affected by different
organisational contexts. Ch. 1
(e) Compare three different strategy lenses (Johnson & Scholes) for
viewing and understanding strategy and strategic management. Ch.
Explore the scope of business analysis and its relationship to strategy
and strategic management in the context of the relational diagram of
this course. Ch. 1
2 Environmental issues affecting the strategic position of, and future
outlook for, an organisation
(a) Assess the macroenvironment of an organisation using PESTEL.
 Ch. 2
(b) Highlight the external key drivers of change likely to affect the structure
of a sector or market. Ch. 2
(c) Explore, using Porter's Diamond, the influence of national
competitiveness on the strategic position of an organisation. Ch. 2
(d) Prepare scenarios reflecting different assumptions about the future
environment of an organisation. Ch. 2
(e) Evaluate methods of business forecasting used when quantitatively
assessing the likely outcome of different business strategies. Ch. 2
3 Competitive forces affecting an organisation
(a) Discuss the significance of industry, sector and convergence. Ch. 2
(b) Evaluate the sources of competition in an industry or sector using
Porter's five forces framework. Ch. 2
(c) Assess the contribution of the lifecycle model, the cycle of competition
and associated costing implications to understanding competitive
behaviour. Ch. 3
(d) Analyse the influence of strategic groups and market segmentation.
 Ch. 2
(e) Determine the opportunities and threats posed by the environment of an
organisation. Ch. 2
4 Marketing and the value of goods and services
(a) Analyse customers and markets. Ch. 11
(b) Establish appropriate critical success factors (CSFs) and key
performance indicators (KPIs) for products and services. Ch. 3
(c) Explore the role of the value chain in creating and sustaining
competitive advantage. Ch. 5
(d) Advise on the role and influence of value networks. Ch. 5
(e) Assess different approaches to benchmarking an organisation's
performance. Ch. 5
5 The internal resources, capabilities and competences of an
(a) Discriminate between strategic capability, threshold resources,
threshold competences, unique resources and core competences.
 Ch. 3
(b) Discuss from a strategic perspective, the continuing need for effective
cost management and control systems within organisations. Ch. 5
(c) Discuss the capabilities required to sustain competitive advantage.
 Ch. 5
(d) Explain the impact of new product, process, and service developments
and innovation in supporting business strategy. Ch. 5
(e) Discuss the contribution of organisational knowledge to the strategic
capability of an organisation. Ch. 5
(f) Determine the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation and
formulate an appropriate SWOT analysis. Ch. 3
6 The expectations of stakeholders and the influence of ethics and
(a) Advise on the implications of corporate governance on organisational
purpose and strategy. Ch. 4
(b) Evaluate, through stakeholder mapping, the relative influence of
stakeholders on organisational purpose and strategy. Ch. 4
(c) Assess ethical influences on organisational purpose and strategy.
 Ch. 4
(d) Explore the scope of corporate social responsibility. Ch. 4
(e) Assess the impact of culture on organisational purpose and strategy.
 Ch. 16
(f) Prepare and evaluate a cultural web of an organisation. Ch. 16
(g) Advise on how organisations can communicate their core values and
mission. Ch. 4
(h) Explain the role of integrated reporting in communicating strategy and
strategic performance. Ch. 4
B THE STRATEGIC CHOICES AVAILABLE TO AN ORGANISATION
1 The influence of corporate strategy on an organisation
(a) Explore the relationship between a corporate parent and its business
units. Ch. 7
(b) Assess the opportunities and potential problems of pursuing different
corporate strategies of product/market diversification from a national,
international and global perspective. Ch. 8
(c) Assess the opportunities and potential problems of pursuing a
corporate strategy of international diversity, international scale
operations and globalisation. Ch. 8
(d) Discuss a range of ways that the corporate parent can create and
destroy organisational value. Ch. 7
(e) Explain three corporate rationales for adding value – portfolio
managers, synergy managers and parental developers. Ch. 7
(f) Explain and apply a range of the following portfolio models (the BCG
growth/share matrix, public sector matrix, the parenting matrix or
Ashridge Portfolio display) to assist corporate parents in managing
their business portfolios. Ch. 7
2 Alternative approaches to achieving competitive advantage
(a) Evaluate, through the strategy clock, generic strategy options available
to an organisation. Ch. 5
(b) Advise on how pricebased strategies, differentiation and lockin can
help an organisation sustain its competitive advantage. Ch. 5
(c) Assess opportunities for improving competitiveness through
collaboration. Ch. 5
3 Alternative directions and methods of development
(a) Determine generic development directions (employing an adapted
Ansoff matrix and a TOWS matrix) available to an organisation. Ch. 6
(b) Assess how internal development, mergers, acquisitions and strategic
alliances can be used as different methods of pursuing a chosen
strategic direction. Ch. 7
(c) Establish success criteria to assist in the choice of a strategic direction
and method (strategic options). Ch. 7
(d) Assess the suitability of different strategic options to an organisation.
 Ch. 6
(e) Assess the feasibility of different strategic options to an organisation.
 Ch. 6
Establish the acceptability of strategic options to an organisation
through analysing risk and return on investment. Ch. 6
C STRATEGIC ACTION
1 Organising and enabling success
(a) Advise on how the organisation can be structured to deliver a selected
strategy. Ch. 8
(b) Explore generic processes that take place within the structure, with
particular emphasis on the planning process. Ch. 8
(c) Discuss how internal relationships can be organised to deliver a
selected strategy. Ch. 7
(d) Discuss how organisational structure and external relationships
(boundaryless organisations; hollow, modular and virtual) and strategic
alliances (joint ventures, networks, franchising, licensing) and the
supporting concepts of outsourcing, offshoring and shared services,
can be used to deliver a selected strategy. Ch. 8
(e) Discuss how big data can be used to inform and implement business
strategy. Ch. 8
(f) Explore (through Mintzberg’s organisational configurations) the design
of structure, processes and relationships. Ch. 8
2 Managing strategic change
(a) Explore different types of strategic change and their implications. Ch.
(b) Determine and diagnose the organisational context of change using
Balogun and Hope Hailey's contextual features model and the cultural
web. Ch. 16
(c) Establish potential blockages and levers of change. Ch. 16
(d) Advise on the style of leadership appropriate to manage strategic
change. Ch. 16
3 Understanding strategy development
(a) Discriminate between the concepts of intended and emergent
strategies. Ch. 16
(b) Explain how organisations attempt to put an intended strategy into
place. Ch. 16
(c) Highlight how emergent strategies appear from within an organisation.
 Ch. 16
(d) Discuss how process redesign, quality initiatives and ebusiness can
contribute to emergent strategies. Ch. 16
(e) Assess the implications of strategic drift and the demand for multiple
processes of strategy development. Ch. 16
D BUSINESS AND PROCESS CHANGE
1 Business change
(a) Explain that business change projects are initiated to address strategic
alignment. Ch. 16
(b) Apply the stages of the business change lifecycle (alignment, definition,
design, implementation and realisation). Ch.16
(c) Assess the value of the four view (POPIT – people, organisation,
processes and information technology) model to the successful
implementation of business change. Ch. 15
2 The role of process and process change initiatives
(a) Advise on how an organisation can reconsider the design of its
processes to deliver a selected strategy. Ch. 9
(b) Appraise business process change initiatives previously adopted by
organisations. Ch. 9
(c) Establish an appropriate scope and focus for business process change
using Harmon's processstrategy matrix. Ch. 9
(d) Explore the commoditisation of business processes. Ch. 9
(e) Advise on the implications of business process outsourcing. Ch. 9
(f) Recommend a business process redesign methodology for an
organisation. Ch. 9
3 Improving the processes of the organisation
(a) Evaluate the effectiveness of a current organisational process. Ch. 9
(b) Describe a range of process redesign patterns. Ch. 9
(c) Establish possible redesign options for improving the current
processes of an organisation. Ch. 9
(d) Assess the feasibility of possible redesign options. Ch. 9
(e) Assess the relationship between process redesign and strategy. Ch.
4 Software solutions
(a) Establish information system requirements required by business users.
 Ch. 9
(b) Assess the advantages and disadvantages of using a generic software
solution to fulfil those requirements. Ch. 9
(c) Establish a process for evaluating, selecting and implementing a
generic software solution. Ch. 9
(d) Explore the relationship between generic software solutions and
business process redesign. Ch. 9
E INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS
1 Principles of information technology
(a) Advise on the basic hardware and software infrastructure required to
support business information systems. Ch. 10
(b) Identify and analyse general information technology controls and
application controls required for effective accounting information
systems. Ch. 10
(c) Analyse the adequacy of general information technology controls and
application controls for relevant application systems. Ch. 10
(d) Evaluate controls over the safeguarding of information technology
assets to ensure the organizational ability to meet business objectives.
 Ch. 10
2 Principles of ebusiness
(a) Discuss the meaning and scope of ebusiness. Ch. 10
(b) Advise on the reasons for the adoption of ebusiness and recognise
barriers to its adoption. Ch. 10
(c) Evaluate how ebusiness changes the relationships between
organisations and their customers. Ch. 10
(d) Discuss and evaluate the main business and marketplace models for
delivering ebusiness. Ch. 10
3 Ebusiness application: upstream supply chain management
(a) Analyse the main elements of both the push and pull models of the
supply chain. Ch. 10
(b) Discuss the relationship of the supply chain to the value chain and the
value network. Ch. 10
(c) Assess the potential application of information technology to support
and restructure the supply chain. Ch. 10
(d) Advise on how external relationships with suppliers and distributors can
be structured to deliver a restructured supply chain. Ch. 10
(e) Discuss the methods, benefits and risks of eprocurement. Ch. 10
Assess different options and models for implementing eprocurement.
 Ch. 10
4 Ebusiness application: downstream supply chain management
(a) Define the scope and media of emarketing. Ch. 11
(b) Highlight how the media of emarketing can be used when developing
an effective emarketing plan. Ch. 11
(c) Explore the characteristics of the media of emarketing using the '6I's of
Interactivity, Intelligence, Individualisation, integration, Industry structure
and Independence of location. Ch. 11
(d) Evaluate the effect of the media of emarketing on the traditional
marketing mix of product, promotion, price, place, people, processes
and physical evidence. Ch. 11
(e) Describe a process for establishing a pricing strategy for products and
services that recognises both economic and noneconomic factors.
 Ch. 11
(f) Assess the importance of, online branding in emarketing and
compare it with traditional branding. Ch. 11
5 Ebusiness application: customer relationship management
(a) Define the meaning and scope of customer relationship management.
 Ch. 11
(b) Explore different methods of acquiring customers through exploiting
electronic media. Ch. 11
(c) Evaluate different buyer behaviour amongst online customers. Ch.
(d) Recommend techniques for retaining customers using electronic
media. Ch. 11
(e) Recommend how electronic media may be used to increase the activity
and value of established, retained customers. Ch. 11
Discuss the scope of a representative software package solution
designed to support customer relationship management. Ch. 11
F PROJECT MANAGEMENT
1 Identifying and initiating projects
(a) Determine the distinguishing features of projects and the constraints
they operate in. Ch. 12
(b) Discuss the implications of the triple constraint of scope, time, and cost.
 Ch. 12
(c) Discuss the relationship between organisational strategy and project
management. Ch. 12
(d) Identify and plan to manage risks. Ch. 12
(e) Advise on the structures and information that have to be in place to
successfully initiate a project. Ch. 12
(f) Explain the relevance of projects to process redesign and ebusiness
systems development. Ch. 12
2 Building the business case
(a) Describe the structure and content of a business case document. Ch.
(b) Analyse, describe, assess and classify the benefits of a project
investment. Ch. 12
(c) Analyse, describe, assess and classify the costs of a project
investment. Ch. 12
(d) Evaluate the costs and benefits of a business case using standard
techniques. Ch. 12
(e) Establish responsibility for the delivery of benefits. Ch. 12
Explain the role of a benefits realisation plan. Ch. 12
3 Managing and leading projects
(a) Discuss the organisation and implications of projectbased team
structures. Ch. 13
(b) Establish the role and responsibilities of the project manager and the
project sponsor. Ch. 13
(c) Identify and describe typical problems encountered by a project
manager when leading a project. Ch. 13
(d) Advise on how these typical problems might be addressed and
overcome. Ch. 13
4 Planning, monitoring and controlling projects
(a) Discuss the principles of a product break down structure. Ch. 13
(b) Assess the importance of developing a project plan and discuss the
work required to produce this plan. Ch. 13
(c) Monitor the status of a project and identify project risks, issues,
slippage and changes. Ch. 13
(d) Formulate responses for dealing with project risks, issues, slippage
and changes. Ch. 13
(e) Discuss the role of benefits management and project gateways in
project monitoring. Ch. 13
5 Concluding a project
(a) Establish mechanisms for successfully concluding a project. Ch. 13
(b) Discuss the relative meaning and benefits of a postimplementation
and a postproject review. Ch. 13
(c) Discuss the meaning and value of benefits realisation. Ch. 13
(d) Evaluate how project management software may support the planning
and monitoring of a project. Ch. 13
(e) Apply 'lessons learned' to future business case validation and to capital
allocation decisions. Ch. 13
G THE ROLE OF FINANCE IN FORMULATING AND IMPLEMENTING
1 The link between strategy and finance
(a) Explain the relationship between strategy and finance. Ch. 14
(i) managing for value
(ii) financial expectations of stakeholders
(iii) funding strategies.
(b) Discuss how the finance function has transformed to enabling an
accountant to have a key role in the decision making process from
strategy formulation and implementation to its impact on business
performance. Ch. 14
2 Finance decisions to formulate and support business strategy
(a) Determine the overall investment requirements of the business. Ch.
(b) Evaluate alternative sources of finance for these investments and their
associated risks. Ch. 14
(c) Efficiently and effectively manage the current and noncurrent assets of
the business from a finance and risk perspective. Ch. 14
3 The role of cost and management accounting in strategic planning
and decision making
(a) Evaluate budgeting, standard costing and variance analysis in support
of strategic planning and decision making. Ch. 14
(b) Evaluate strategic and operational decisions taking into account risk
and uncertainty using decision trees. Ch. 14
(c) Evaluate the following strategic options using marginal and relevant
costing techniques. Ch. 14
(i) Make or buy decisions
(ii) Accepting or declining special contracts
(iii) Closure or continuation decisions
(iv) Effective use of scarce resources
(d) Evaluate the role and limitations of cost accounting in strategy
development and implementation, specifically relating to.
(i) Direct and indirect costs in multiproduct contexts
(ii) Overhead apportionment in full costing
(iii) Activity based costing in planning and control
4 Financial implications of making strategic choices and of
implementing strategic actions
(a) Apply efficiency ratios to assess how efficiently an organisation uses its
current resources. Ch. 3
(b) Apply appropriate gearing ratios to assess the risks associated with
financing and investment in the organisation. Ch. 3
(c) Apply appropriate liquidity ratios to assess the organisation’s short
term commitments to creditors and employees. Ch. 3
(d) Apply appropriate profitability ratios to assess the viability of chosen
strategies. Ch. 3
(e) Apply appropriate investment ratios to assist investors and
shareholders in evaluating organisational performance and strategy.
 Ch. 3 and Ch. 12
(Note that Section H of the syllabus is underpinned directly by knowledge
gained in F1, Accountant in Business. Students are expected to be
familiar with the following Study Guide subject areas from that syllabus:
A1, A2, B1B3, D1, and D4D6)
1 Strategy and people: leadership
(a) Explain the role of visionary leadership and identify the key leadership
traits effective in the successful formulation and implementation of
strategy and change management. Ch. 15
(b) Apply and compare alternative classical and modern theories of
leadership in the effective implementation of strategic objectives. Ch.
2 Strategy and people: job design
(a) Assess the contribution of four different approaches to job design
(scientific management, job enrichment, Japanese management and
reengineering). Ch. 15
(b) Explain the human resource implications of knowledge work and post
industrial job design. Ch. 15
(c) Discuss the tensions and potential ethical issues related to job design.
 Ch. 15
(d) Advise on the relationship of job design to quality initiatives, process re
design, project management and the harnessing of ebusiness
opportunities. Ch. 15
3 Strategy and people: staff development
(a) Discuss the emergence and scope of human resource development,
succession planning and their relationship to the strategy of the
organisation. Ch. 15
(b) Advise and suggest different methods of establishing human resource
development. Ch. 15
(c) Advise on the contribution of competency frameworks to human
resource development. Ch. 15
(d) Discuss the meaning and contribution of workplace learning, the
learning organisation, organisation learning and knowledge
management. Ch. 15
The superscript numbers in square brackets indicate the intellectual depth
at which the subject area could be assessed within the examination. Level 1
(knowledge and comprehension) broadly equates with the Knowledge
module, Level 2 (application and analysis) with the Skills module and Level
3 (synthesis and evaluation) to the Professional level. However, lower level
skills can continue to be assessed as you progress through each module
Business analysis will be assessed by way of a threehour closed book
The examination paper will be structured in two sections. Section A will be
based on a case study style question comprising a compulsory 50 mark
question, with requirements based on several parts, with all parts relating to
the same case information. The case will usually assess across a range of
subject areas within the syllabus and will require the candidate to
demonstrate high level capabilities in order to evaluate information available
and to prepare reports and other forms of analysis such as structure and
process diagrams where required.
Section B comprises three questions of 25 marks each, of which the
candidate must answer two. These questions will be more likely to assess a
discrete subject area from each of the main syllabus section headings.
The questions will cover all areas of the syllabus:
Number of marks
One 50 mark question, possibly in several parts
Two out of three 25mark questions
Total time allowed: 3 hours with 15 minutes reading
Using the reading time
The reading time should be used as follows:
(a) Read through, and do an outline plan of, each of the section B
questions. This will allow you to choose which you will attempt.
(b) Analyse the requirements of the section A question in detail – do you
understand them? What tools or models do you think will be useful and
why? What calculations could help? Can you see how the requirements
(c) Read through the section A scenario in detail, highlighting key issues
on the question paper. This could involve the use of frameworks – e.g. if
you plan to include a SWOT analysis with your answer, then you could
underline issues in the question and write the appropriate S,W,O or T in
Approach to the remainder of the exam
Divide the time you spend on questions in proportion to the marks on offer.
One suggestion for this examination is to allocate 1 and 4/5 minutes to
each mark available, so a 25 mark question should be completed in
approximately 45 minutes.
Stick to the question and tailor your answer to what you are asked. Pay
particular attention to the verbs in the question.
Spend the last five minutes reading through your answers and making any
additions or corrections.
If you get completely stuck with a question, leave space in your answer
book and return to it later.
If you do not understand what a question is asking, state your assumptions.
Even if you do not answer in precisely the way the examiner hoped, you
should be given some credit, if your assumptions are reasonable.
You should do everything you can to make things easy for the marker. The
marker will find it easier to identify the points you have made if your answers
Scenariobased questions: to analyse a scenario, first identify the area in
which there is a problem, outline the main principles/theories you are going
to use to answer the question, and then apply the principles/theories to the
Essaystyle questions: Some section B questions may contain essay
style requirements. Your answer should have a clear structure. It should
contain a brief introduction, a main section and a conclusion. Be concise. It
is better to write a little about a lot of different points than a great deal about
one or two points.
Computations: It is essential to include all your workings in your answers.
Many computational questions require the use of a standard format. Be sure
you know these formats thoroughly before the exam and use the layouts that
you see in the answers given in this book and in model answers.
Reports, memos and other documents: some questions ask you to
present your answer in the form of a report or a memo or other document.
So use the correct format – there could be easy marks to gain here.
Study skills and revision guidance
This section aims to give guidance on how to study for your ACCA exams
and to give ideas on how to improve your existing study techniques.
Preparing to study
Set your objectives
Before starting to study decide what you want to achieve – the type of pass
you wish to obtain. This will decide the level of commitment and time you
need to dedicate to your studies.
Devise a study plan
Determine which times of the week you will study.
Split these times into sessions of at least one hour for study of new material.
Any shorter periods could be used for revision or practice.
Put the times you plan to study onto a study plan for the weeks from now until
the exam and set yourself targets for each period of study – in your sessions
make sure you cover the course, course assignments and revision.
If you are studying for more than one paper at a time, try to vary your
subjects as this can help you to keep interested and see subjects as part of
When working through your course, compare your progress with your plan
and, if necessary, replan your work (perhaps including extra sessions) or, if
you are ahead, do some extra revision/practice questions.
You are not expected to learn the text by rote, rather, you must understand
what you are reading and be able to use it to pass the exam and develop
good practice. A good technique to use is SQ3Rs – Survey, Question,
Read, Recall, Review:
(1) Survey the chapter – look at the headings and read the introduction,
summary and objectives, so as to get an overview of what the chapter
(2) Question – whilst undertaking the survey, ask yourself the questions
that you hope the chapter will answer for you.
(3) Read through the chapter thoroughly, answering the questions and
making sure you can meet the objectives. Attempt the exercises and
activities in the text, and work through all the examples.
(4) Recall – at the end of each section and at the end of the chapter, try to
recall the main ideas of the section/chapter without referring to the text.
This is best done after a short break of a couple of minutes after the
(5) Review – check that your recall notes are correct.
You may also find it helpful to reread the chapter to try to see the topic(s) it
deals with as a whole.
Taking notes is a useful way of learning, but do not simply copy out the text.
The notes must:
be in your own words
cover the key points
be modified as you study further chapters in this text or in related ones.
Trying to summarise a chapter without referring to the text can be a useful
way of determining which areas you know and which you don't.
Three ways of taking notes:
Summarise the key points of a chapter.
Make linear notes – a list of headings, divided up with subheadings listing
the key points. If you use linear notes, you can use different colours to
highlight key points and keep topic areas together. Use plenty of space to
make your notes easy to use.
Try a diagrammatic form – the most common of which is a mindmap. To
make a mindmap, put the main heading in the centre of the paper and put a
circle around it. Then draw short lines radiating from this to the main sub
headings, which again have circles around them. Then continue the process
from the subheadings to subsubheadings, advantages, disadvantages,
Highlighting and underlining
You may find it useful to underline or highlight key points in your study text –
but do be selective. You may also wish to make notes in the margins.