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by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

How does one pass P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics paper? I was fortunate this last sitting to have passed this paper first go and I am sure that what I will share below will “add value” to your question paper.

Our lecturer told us the obvious:

  • Study the whole syllabus
  • Practice questions
  • Sit at least 3 Mocks under examination conditions

BUT: What “added that extra value” to all the above was the following.

He set up an intranet site on the college server, he then took REAL LIFE examples for each chapter and scenarios we had in the syllabus and posted it there. His material that he uploaded spanned from previous ACCA technical articles, to annual reports, newspaper clippings from the financial newspapers and ANYTHING that we could link with the syllabus.

For e.g. when we covered the annual report of a PLC and all its inclusions (Chairman’s report, various disclosures and so forth) we had real life examples to go and read and study.

The secret apart from the obvious stated above was to understand the topic broadly and then apply it to real life instances, be able to say whilst reading your P3 Text book from the approved ACCA Text Books that “I can relate what is been written here to such and such story which was reported in the news last week” for example.

The best way to conceptualise the above point is to see an ACCA video on YouTube:

It talks about the very principles I spoke of above. At one point of the video the speaker said, “The fundamental principles of Corporate Governance are valid for all organisations” It very easy to understand and provides great relevant and recent examples that can be used by you, the aspiring ACCA accountant in your P1 Exam.

My personal opinion is that in the exam, if you write down, relevant, real life reported cases and link it to your question it will for sure “add value” to your paper.

I am a firm believer and I have no proof of this next statement but I am sure this is what helped me pass P1, understanding the syllabus but been able to link it to real life scenarios.

Visit the ACCA website for more information on Paper P1

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by ACCA student blogger Adhitya Fadriansyah

“How many ACCA Papers should I sit at an Exam session?”

A friend of mine, who has recently decided to study for the ACCA Qualification, asked me the question above and it inspired me to write this article. I would like to share some factors you may need to consider before deciding how many papers to take in one exam session.

Part time student / full time student?

As a full time student you may be able to take the maximum of four papers per exam session. But if you are studying while working, you may want to think twice, or you will need to prepare yourself as much as possible, if you want to take more than two papers per exam session. When taking multiple papers in one session, a good time management is key. Make sure you cover all the materials and do lots of exam question exercise. Whatever you decide to do I always recommend using an ACCA Approved Learning Partner and the right study materials regardless whether you study part time / full time. You will find lots of useful study and revision resources on the ACCA website.

Did you claim an exemption?

At what stage did you start your ACCA journey? Did you claim exemptions from all the fundamental papers (F1-F9)? If yes, it might be a good strategy to take one professional paper first to get a good feel for the exam. That way you can adapt your strategy in the next exam session.

Workload?

Even between June or December exam session, you might find a different answer depending upon how your workload will be during that particular period of the year. I would suggest you combine your study calendar with your work calendar and see how it will work out for you.

What is your goal?

Have you set your own goal on how long will it take for you to complete the ACCA exams?  Even though it will be very good if you can pass the ACCA exams as fast as possible, there is nothing wrong with making small steps and taking one paper at a time.  I have had to resit an exam several times; fortunately I am able to pass them all in my second attempt. My strategy is always to try the failed exam in the next session, that way I can carry over the precious lesson that I learned – although the hard way – in the previous sitting. Initially I am aiming to pass the entire exam in the previous June session, but because I failed two of my last paper I am now aiming to pass them all in the next December exam session.

The answer to the questions above will vary for each person. Based on my past experience, taking two papers per exam session, works perfectly for me. It does add additional pressure, but doing it this way will help me to complete the ACCA exams faster. How about you? Have you ever taken three or even four professional papers while working? How did it go? Did you pass all the papers? Look forward to hear your insight and success stories!

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1. “Keep yourself calm, take some time to read inspirational quotes, and then prepare for exams.” in Three study habits to counter exam stress by Shahroze Naeem.

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2. “For better planning, you may want to create a consolidated schedule between your study plan and your workload in the office” in The 6 parts of self-study scheduling by Adhitya Fadriansyah.

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3. “Try to keep healthy, drink lots of water, and exercise to keep the brain energised.” in How to overcome obstacles on your journey by Ng Jia Wen

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4. “Practice, practice, practice. Download the past papers and answers from the ACCA website and ask your tuition provider for these too.” in 3 tips to help you pass exams first time by Elyse Burns-Hill.

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5. “Don’t copy out entire sections of your notes – it’s wasting valuable time” in 10 worst study habits to avoid by Pantelis Fouli.

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6. “Figure out your study methods –  it may include colours, pictures through brainstorming and mind maps” in How to prepare for exams with 1 month to go! by Naresh John.

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This post was originally published in ACCA Potential e-magazine 

Why is it that when there is something that we have to do, we find a million other things we ‘need’ to do first? It is not easy juggling your deadlines all at once; add in paid work, socialising, keeping fit, responsibilities and family. Good time management isn’t just about being able to make a study timetable or work schedule. It’s important to learn how to use the time you have effectively.

Try the following tips to improve your time management:

* prioritise your tasks

* be self-motivated to get your work completed

* get yourself organised so that you don’t waste time looking for things

* develop your study practices so that you use your time efficiently

* stay informed about things like timetables, submission processes and deadlines

For a quick fix to get your time under control try these 5 steps

  1. List everything you need to do

Listing what you need to do is the first step in taking control instead of being reminded and overwhelmed at the thought of everything you still need to do.

  1. Organise under three headings – now, soon and later

Prioritise deadlines into what needs to be done now or perhaps can wait to be done ‘later’. You might be lucky and find that it does not need to be done after all.

  1. Break down big tasks into smaller steps

Try breaking down your tasks into smaller chunks, taking a step at a time, rather than aiming to complete the whole task all in one go.

  1. Tick off what you have done from your ‘now’ list.

It feels good when you get one piece of work done and helps you relax to work on the next piece calmly, even if it was something you were avoiding. If you get stuck, ask for help or go back to the basics and build from there.

  1. Make a plan to tackle the other tasks and put them in order of priority.

Plan what you have to do and when it needs to be done by. Make sure you check the deadline dates and word counts, you are not expected to do more than the scope that is set out for you.

Download the free ACCA student planner app for the iPhone and the Android – this may help keep you organised, so you have student information at your fingertips.

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by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

Sometimes life throws not just lemons, but curveballs at you. How do you deal with it?

As I am attempting my final two ACCA papers and since I am a full time student, there are so many things that I will need to take charge of to prepare myself for the next chapter of my life.

A few years ago, when I started my journey with ACCA, I knew that I would have to sacrifice some things in order to keep my studies on track. The question that I always had (and I am sure many students have) was this; what would I have to sacrifice, and how much? Would I achieve that elusive study-life balance that everybody was talking about?

As I am nearing the end of my student life, I’ve come to a conclusion that study-life balance can be achieved. It’s just a matter of prioritizing, but how to prioritize, you ask? Everything seems important, phone calls to make, exams to study for, appointments to attend, work needs to be done.

The 80/20 rule

Pareto’s 80/20 rule of thumb is ‘80% of consequences stem from 20% of causes‘, quoted by Joseph M. Juran, the person who discovered the theory (later named the principle after Pareto). This goes to say 20% of the activities we do will affect 80% of the outcome.

I apply the 80/20 rule in every action I take every day. This way, I constantly remind myself that I should perform the activities necessary that will give a positive outcome, which is, of course, studying.

Of course, life goes on, unexpected events happen, but how do I make up for it?

Learn to say ‘No’

Sometimes I have emergencies that were unplanned and I would triple-book myself in a day. I’ll admit, it’s difficult, if not impossible to juggle so many things in one day.

The most important thing that I still struggle with is learning to say ‘no’. Growing up in an Asian parenting style, we were told that saying no is a bad thing, especially when saying it to your boss or your elders. I still struggle with saying no; holding the fear that people will view me negatively and I would disappoint them.

However, saying no to certain things that is too much for you is essential. I had a personal experience when I took on too many things at one time, I got too stressed and didn’t perform as well as I should have in everything that I had undertaken. Now, I only take on special tasks if I must and only if I am certain I can take on the role and perform it to my best.

Do stop to smell the roses

Often at times when I study and work too hard, I sometimes I forget that there are more things to life. After all, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’.

On some days, I take time off to allow myself to have a break, time with family and friends, and time to pick up a hobby.

I’d like to think that it’s good to have a balance of book smarts and street smarts. After all, the theory we learn in school may or may not be applicable in real life, but they give us a strong foundation for us to learn better in the future.

Hopefully by now you would have picked out some tips that I’ve delivered through this article. Until the next time, study hard and take care of your health!