Why I decided to delay taking my final two ACCA exams

by ACCA student blogger Adhitya Fadriansyah

Hello everyone, how did the recent December exams go? Hope they went well for all of you. As for myself, it was the first time since I started my ACCA journey in 2011 that I decided not to take my remaining two papers in December. It was a tough decision to make, but the right one for me at this time. In this article I would like to share my experience on how I came to decide to delay taking my final exams.

Typically I have always registered during the early entry phase; (registering early will not only cost less, but will also help you in your study plan). However, after receiving and analyzing my June 2014 exam results, I took a more prudent approach to the December exam session and planning it in more detail. When combining my work schedule and my study schedule, I foresaw a big clash: I was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity for an overseas training in the US for seven weeks that I did not want to miss. Since the training was held from the end of September until mid November, I decided to wait until the late exam entry deadline before I made my decision.

The seven weeks overseas training program proved to be very useful and interesting. It consisted of very good material about the industry, combined with a company overview and soft skills. The training itself required n assessment test as well as group presentation and individual presentation. My experience of studying ACCA, particularly in Financial Management and Performance Management helped me a lot during the training program. So at the deadline day of the late exam entry, I decided not to take the exam in December since I had fully concentrated my time on the training program.

Delaying to take an exam can be a sensible option for you depending on your circumstances. After all, careful approach and good planning is one of the key success factors in pursuing ACCA.

See you soon in the next exam in June – I hope I can pass two of my remaining ACCA papers then!

Blog Editors comment: That’s the advantage of doing the ACCA Qualification – the flexibility. You can work and study for our accountancy qualifications around full-time or part-time work; progressing at your own pace.

TimACCAstudentBlogger

by ACCA student blogger Tim Chippindall

My name is Tim, and I am 29 years old and currently studying ACCA. I enjoy working in accountancy and find my work enjoyable and fulfilling. My current role involves providing management accountancy services within a large organization, which is interesting and challenging. Outside of work I enjoy all things aviation, photography and the great outdoors.

I chose this career path because accountancy is the backbone of any business. The skills you can learn and develop are integral in any industry. Plus, a career as an accountant can take you anywhere, provides daily challenges and pushes you to deliver the best possible service you can.

The ACCA Qualification appealed to me because it’s globally recognised. The idea of being able to work and network with people across the world, with similar remits, makes the career opportunities great. I chose ACCA after looking through the syllabus; the broad areas you study, combined with the experience you have to achieve really promotes what a good qualification it is to have.

I am working through the Fundamentals level of the qualification the moment. My degree was not accountancy based, so I had to start from the beginning. I’m currently studying for Paper F4, Corporate and Business Law, which I plan to take it in January 2015, and then I am looking at take F5 and F6 in the summer… a busy few months ahead!

My ambitions for the future are to continue to broaden my experience. An Advisory role with links to strategy and development of a business would be fantastic, as would experience working in an audit based role.

seven-tips

This post was originally published in Student Accountant 

INSTRUCTIONS

Always allow plenty of time to get to the exam hall so that you will be fully ready to approach the exams in a calm state of mind. Ensure that you have brought your stationery, calculators, your examination dockets and your student identification.

MANAGE TIME

Make sure that you answer the correct number of questions, and that you spend the right length of time on each question. The amount of time you spend on each question is determined by the number of marks available. The ‘magic’ number is 1.8 minutes per mark. So for instance, a 20-mark question should be selected, completed and checked in 36 minutes. Always attempt all parts of the questions and stick to the time allocation. All three-hour papers have an additional 15 minutes of reading and planning time (RAPT). During this time, you may only write or make notes on the question paper.

PRESENTATION

Planning your answer properly and presenting it clearly is another critical component to ACCA exam success. While you’re planning how your answer should be structured, consider what format it should be in and how long each part should be. Always show which question you are attempting clearly and remember to use black ink. It is also essential to include all your workings in your answer. Do not scatter question parts from the same question throughout your answer booklet. If you are stuck with a question, leave a space in your answer booklet and return to it later.

RELEVANCE

To score well, you must follow the requirements of the question, understanding what aspects of the subject area are being tested and ensure that you tailor your answer to the question asked. Don’t forget professional marks where available. Professional marks are awarded for the overall quality of answers, and for effective professional communication skills. These will be determined by the strength of arguments, the use of logic, sensitivity to the intended target audience, and for structure and presentation.

EASY MARKS

Get the easy marks first – do the things you find easiest, it guarantees you some marks right away, and gets you into the ‘flow’ of the exam. You should also select the optional question you feel you can answer best, basing your selection on the topics covered, the requirements of the question, how easy it will be to apply the requirements and the availability of easy marks.

EXAM SURVIVAL

If you find yourself stuck on a question and unable to answer it, then move on to another question and return to this question later. If you don’t understand what a question is asking for, state your assumptions. Even if you do not answer the question in a manner precisely the way the examiner requires, you should still be given some credit, if your assumptions are reasonable.

EXAM SUCCESS

Success is what you can expect to achieve if you apply all of the above tips and techniques during your exams. To achieve success, you must also sufficiently revise for your exams. Being prepared will help you enter the exam hall in a confident frame of mind, which will help you as you start your exams. Make sure that your revision covers the breadth of the syllabus, as all topics could be examined in a compulsory question.

Another crucial factor in achieving success is practice. Going through question practice and mock exams will prepare you for the real exam. The more exam-standard questions you practise, the more likely you will be to pass the exams.

Remember, the key to your success lies in your own commitment and resolution towards doing well in the exams. So, get prepared, write your own success stories and be prepared to IMPRESS.

RevisionbyHarry

by ACCA student blogger Shahroze Naeem

In my last post, I gave three effective tips to manage your study time. Now that your study time has been well-utilized, all you are left with is less than a month at most to revise everything. If you are sitting three or four exams you know what it’s like to revise such a lengthy course. It simply isn’t possible. And who doesn’t find revisions boring?

Here are three tips to make your revision time fun and fruitful.

1. Stick notes around the house and initiate a hunt each day

This exercise is quite fun, and of course an excellent way to help you remember things during the exam when you’re under such pressure. Use sticky notes to make very brief bullet points for the parts of the syllabus you find relatively harder to get by. Stick them around your house. One on the fridge, another one in the dressing room, one can be in the dining. Have one in the kitchen too! Oh, don’t forget the laundry.

Write the place for note 2 on the first sticky note so that you can go to the second note once you’re done with note 1. Write the place for note 3 on the second note, and so on. Each day, complete the hunt. Make sure that you complete it.

Not only will this make revision more fun – in the exam hall, you’ll know which part of the syllabus you had placed in the kitchen, which chapter was resting in the dining room and which one was placed in the lounge.

2. Make poems if you get bored

Who doesn’t find it tedious and boring to revise the already-studied syllabus? If you’re facing the same problem, befriend music and poetry. You will make your student life a lot easier. Studying for Paper P2, I would make poems for different parts of the syllabus that had long sequences, lengthy answers or areas which had multiple laws/standards governing the issue.

This doesn’t just make it fun, but also easier to get by and remember for a long time after. I still remember my poems, to be honest.

3. Revision time does NOT equal to study time

I have seen students spending the whole day sitting in the same place just revising everything. Relax! You already have studied everything. The key to effective revision is to take it lightly. During study time, I usually sit in a continuous 3-4 hour stretch followed by a short break.

During revision time, however, things are a lot different. I already know what I am to study. Therefore, I only revise for 15-20 minutes followed by a break of the equal amount of time. The key is not to worry. You only have a few days left. Take it easy.

Good luck to all of those sitting exam in the December sitting. Let me know if these simple and fun revision tips helped you in any way to ensure exam success.

Photo credit: Harry via Flickr

PanFouliFacebookQ&A

On the 5th November the ACCA marketing team set me the challenge of taking over the global ACCA Facebook page for one day by conducting a live Q&A to assist my fellow students.

It was a great privilege and even if we helped one person out of the 101 ACCA Facebook fan who asked a question then it was a job well done.

Here are some key highlights from the Q&A session and I’ve also combined the answers to common questions here too.

1. It’s a month till the exams and I haven’t started studying yet, what do I do?

  • Skim over notes
  • Start practising questions under examination exam conditions

2. What’s the best way to study?

  • Study 25 min / Break 5 min (do this in cycles)
  • During your 5 minutes break do something you really enjoy (speak to a friend/family member)
  • Find or build a dedicated study area
  • Use the SQ3R method to study = Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review
  • Use Mnemonics (Acronyms, Coin Sayings, Interactive Images)
  • Study in Groups
  • Make sure you get your sleep

3. How do you balance full time employment, being a father, husband, attending college and studying?

  • I wake up each day at 5:00 am
  • Between 5:00 – 5:30 I work out (I don’t need to go into the benefits of a brief intense workout)
  • 5:30 – 6:00 I invest in my personal development (reviewing my goals, reading uplifting books)
  • 6:00 – 8:00: Study
  • 8.00: Get ready for work

4. How do you prepare for P1?

Obviously you need to know your material, but from then on, place yourself in the scenario and think PRACTICALLY as a future qualified accountant, what you would have done, how would YOU have responded.Try to link the scenarios to practical examples, real life examples. It may seem daunting, that the scenario is long, but start off by reading the requirement, then go straight to the first paragraphs where it will give you a good grasp of the overview. Then tackle it bit by bit. How you will use your reading time (15 min) will greatly benefit you for you 50 mark question.

5. Do you have any advice for P3 revision?

As a future qualified accountant you need to think broadly and deeply on all aspects on the business fundamentals. Start off your P3 revision by learning the various models that exist and understand how you would apply them PRACTICALLY in the real world. Go home after class, make sure you invest 5-10 mins to re-read your notes, that’s when everything is nice and fresh, maybe elaborate on a few points and also jot down any questions you may have for next lecture and come study time i like “active recitation”, i.e. read a chunk of material and then attempt to recite it, or talk out loud on that topic to see if you can recollect the area. Hope this helps. Best of luck with your studies.

6. How do you earn Professional Marks in the most efficient way?

Clear handwriting, bullet points where needed. Answering the question and to the point. Think of it this way, you are the marker and you have a limited amount of time to mark the script. What would YOU like to have in front of you to mark? Hope this helps. Best of luck with your studies.

Blog editors comment: We would like to say a big thank you to Pan for conducting such a successful Q&A and for all his wise words to fellow students. We hope to have him back to do another Facebook Q&A session or something similar.