by ACCA student blogger Elyse Burns-Hill

I touched briefly on mindset in my last post, and I would like to expand on it now.

Creating the right mindset for yourself is what can make the difference between success and failure. This applies to everything in life from your ACCA exams to getting your dream job. 

1. Believe in yourself

Some of us go through times when we just do not believe that we are going to make it through the next set of exams without at least one failure. I know I’ve felt like that on multiple occasions.  Whenever those thoughts come into your head, you need to push them out again. Don’t let them take hold and bring you down. This is what I tell myself when I feel like that: “I am capable of anything I want to do, and at the moment that is passing my exams”.

2. Positive energy

Create positive energy around what you are doing. If you’re studying, sit quietly for two minutes and imagine yourself opening your exam results. “Pass”- let the feelings of happiness (or relief!) sit there and radiate out through your mind and body. Then get to work.

3. Release yourself from restraining thoughts

Many of us believe that the intelligence, abilities or talents that we are born with are what we have for life. While each of us maybe born with a capacity or limit to our intelligence, very few people will reach that capacity without hard work and perseverance. If you think about it on a biological level (keeping things simple!), the brain is just a mass of connections. The more you learn and work towards building those connections, the smarter you get.

So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to believe in yourself every step of the way, create a bubble of positive energy around you whenever you do something you want to succeed in, and keep learning and pushing yourself in the knowledge that doing so will make you smarter.

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by ACCA student blogger Hafeez Adeboye

Recently I have moved into a new role in my organisation, which is a promotion from my previous position. A couple of things were responsible for my career progression, but the top reason was that I am studying for the ACCA Qualification.

That is, indirectly – in terms of employers respecting the qualification – and directly – through the knowledge gained studying the ACCA syllabus and exams. Studying ACCA has provided the theoretical and practical knowledge required to rise to the challenge of my new role.

The changes to my responsibilities in the new role meant that I needed a principal level of experience and knowledge. Studying ACCA, particularly the fact that I took relevant exam papers such as F8 and F9, has equipped me with an understanding of what is required in my new role – and how to deliver on this requirement.

My employer has more faith in my skills because of the hard work, knowledge and application required to pass the exams in the ACCA Qualification. Studying ACCA made the transition into my new role easier – and it ran more smoothly as a result.

What I am sure of is the fact that the day I become an ACCA member, my opportunities will become endless. I believe this status puts you in high demand with employers (as well as on a seven-digit salary), especially in my part of the world – where quality and assurance are in high demand.

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by ACCA student blogger Adhitya Fadriansyah

Part 1 – Exam Result

It is never easy to hear the bad news if you’ve failed an exam. It is normal to feel sad, disappointed and angry, always remember: ‘Edison failed 10,000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.

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After receiving the result, if I fail a paper, I write down what I think caused me to fail and which area of the syllabus I need to concentrate more on. If I pass, I will download the syllabus for the future papers and try to look for a combination that works for me best.

Part 2 – Planning

I start with downloading all the materials related to the paper I’m going to take from the ACCA website (syllabus, examiner reports, past exam papers, technical articles, etc). Downloading it is only the first step; the next step is to set your goals and plan your monthly or weekly activities.

Part 3 – Study Text

I only use learning materials from an ACCA Approved Learning Provider; it gives me the confidence of knowing what I will face in the exam.

To finish reading a 500 page-long study text in a month, I set a target of reading around 17 pages a day. It seems a lot -but do not wait to start; the longer you delay it the more pages you will have to read beforehand. If there is an area you do not understand quite well – ask your mentor, ask your tutor and ask your colleagues.

Part 4 – Revision

Having read the study text, it is now time to test yourself. It is very important to get used to the question type and the exam requirements. I will usually try at least one mock exam – 3 hours of writing and 15 minutes of reading and planning time.

Part 5 – Exam

Here comes the big day. Take good care of your health and ensure you have enough rest the night before the exam; plan your travel to avoid traffic. It is better to arrive earlier rather than having to rush to the exam hall and start the exam in a bad mood. Bring your ID and your exam docket and make sure you have a complete set of stationery – you don’t want to run out of pen in the middle of an exam, do you?

Part 6 – the most important part – HOLIDAY

After all that long hours spent studying, I choose to take a month away from all the books and spend my time with my family while waiting for the results.

That is how I plan my approach to an exam. The most important thing is to plan your work and stick to your plan. Wish us all the best of luck for the upcoming exams.

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by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

The interesting thing about life lessons is that you don’t learn them until after the event.So if you’ve been knocked down after a not so great result, it’s time to dust yourself down and move on.

Here are 10 of the worst study habits to avoid to help you prepare for your next exams:

  1. Having your mobile phone on
    Study time is meant for just that. Make it clear to your loved ones that for these few hours, unless the house is on fire, you should not be bothered. A mobile phone is a terrible distraction. Switch it off!
  1.  Environment
    I once had a lady in my class who could put on her headphones, crank up the music and study. She passed all her exams. BUT I have a feeling that she is in the minority. Make sure your study environment is without distractions, quiet, and that the climate is just right.
  1. Cramming in too much data
    Not to sound political, because I am not, but a lecturer once said to me, ‘Why do you think that X party is so successful?’ His answer was ‘Because the day after the elections, they start again.’ So don’t cram months of lectures into a week of learning. Work through it methodically.
  1.  Don’t get overwhelmed
    A lecturer once asked us, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ we all looked at him, looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. He answered, ‘Bit by bit.’ Don’t get overwhelmed by all the information you have, thinking that you HAVE to learn it all immediately.
  1. Looking at the practice answer before attempting to answer the practice question
    Best practice is: read over your notes, the requirement, and the passage, attempt to write as much as possible, then use your notes as a supplement, then look at the answer. I guarantee that the second time you attempt the questions you will not need your notes or the answer.
  1. Procrastination: I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll do it later. Guys – make a timetable and stick to it. The “pain of sitting revising for a few hours and sticking to your timetable is a lot less pain than you will feel later down the line when you have months of lectures to learn in a week.
  1. Reconstructing all your notes
    Flash Cards are great for remembering key points on a subject. Don’t copy out entire sections of your notes – it’s wasting valuable time. Learn the basics and your studying will be complete after you answer practice questions, questions and more questions.
  1. Having a heavy meal
    Having a heavy meal before study is not recommended. You will feel uncomfortable and agitated. Your body as well as your mind both need to be in the right frame. So have a light meal, wait a little time to digest it – and then hit the books.
  1. Pulling all-nighters
    We are human; we need to rest, enjoy the company of our loved ones, go to work, and fulfil our obligations. Planning a study session that will require you to study all night, or most of the night is a plan for failure. The secret is to plan ahead, a sound plan goes a long way.
  2.    NOT BELIEVING IN YOURSELF
    This is not a study tip, or something to be avoided, but I would like to leave you with this message; there are no failures, only outcomes. Maybe that outcome was not what you expected, but that makes it even more important than ever to believe in yourself. You can achieve anything you put your mind to.

Remember, the sky is NOT the limit, but the stars are.

Till next time.

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by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

ACCA computer-based exams (CBEs) have been around over 10 years for exams F1-F3. The latest news is that paper F4 – Corporate and Business Law, will be converted into a CBE by December 2014.

Sitting for CBEs is different. I have taken paper exams for most of my life, and sitting for CBEs for the first time was quite daunting. There are some key differences between taking CBEs and paper-based exams.

Exam results

Firstly, there is no delay in finding out your result, which saves the 2 month wait from the end of your exam to results day.  So you will know instantly if you will need to prepare better to pass the paper (if you fail), or move on to other papers faster (if you pass).

Saving time

You can also use your time more effectively when revising – because you can practice more multiple choice questions in the same time as you would spend writing out much fewer essay answers in preparation for exams. As a result I honestly felt that I was better prepared for my CBEs than my paper-based exams, because I was able to practice many more questions through this method.

Not an ‘easy option’

Multiple choice questions are difficult in their own way. A candidate must understand the exam syllabus fully in order to select the correct answer to gain the marks, rather than getting confused by one of the similar incorrect answers. That means you are required to know the syllabus THOROUGHLY before you are ready to take an exam.  There’s no chance of bluffing your way through the exam by guessing the answers – you won’t score enough marks to pass.

Other advantages

There are certainly advantages to CBEs in comparison with paper-based exams. For instance, you will eliminate the risks of messy or even illegible handwriting, as well as the awful moment when your last trusty black ink pen runs out of ink halfway through the exam. Bad hand or wrist cramps from writing too fast or too hard are eliminated too.

Once the pros and cons are taken into account, I believe CBEs are a change for the better.

Until the next time, study smart and take care of your health.