Have self-belief!

theaccablog —  25 September 2015 — 1 Comment


by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

Self-belief even spans further into your life, into your professional and personal endeavours.

For things to change for you, you have to change. For things to get better for you, you have to get better. Do not wish for it to be easier… wish you were better! Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills – and that is precisely what I want to talk about in this blog.

Reconnect to that self-belief to increase your skills within our craft – that craft being that we all share ACCA.

Many people ask the great teachers of our time, what is success? And they sit and wait for a huge, complex answer. The great Jim Rohn said, ‘success is the steady progress in reaching your personal goals, designing your life like you want it and making that steady progress in getting there’.

We all have the core beliefs of what it takes to master our studies and to be successful in our ACCA exams. They are simple and clear. They are easy to follow, easy to do, but what’s easy to do is also easy not to do and that’s the habit we need to get out of.

Our personal circumstances do not get better by chance, they get better by change. Without a sense of urgency, desire loses value.

Another eternal question: what’s the secret to happiness? The answer I have heard many of the greats articulate is progress! Yesterday’s learning won’t keep me where I am today… I need to go and do today’s learning.

It isn’t about what that ACCA course costs… it’s what it will cost if you don’t invest in it. The books you don’t read won’t help.

If you think education is expensive – try ignorance!

Please stay tuned for when I will elaborate on the 10 foundations of success in my next blog.

For anyone wishing to get in touch with me, connect with me via LinkedIn but please mention in the personal message that you are an ACCA student.

Till next time!

by ACCA affiliate blogger Durre Adan

The aim of P7, Advanced Audit and Assurance, is to apply relevant knowledge, skills, and exercise professional judgment in analysing, evaluating, concluding and reporting on the assurance engagement and other audit and assurance issues in the context of best practice and current developments.

At this advanced level in the qualification, ACCA is aiming to test students’ skills on evaluating situations and applying proficient intellect to resolve problems or recommend ‘precise’ actions to these problems.

Allow me to suggest a systematic approach to P7 that worked for me.

Most of the marks for P7 are not just for knowledge. You also score marks for your aptitude on applied scenario-based questions. Initially, there are only around five or six types of applied audit questions. Therefore, phase one is to study the techniques for all the types of applied audit questions and grasp an understanding of theories like audit risk, internal controls, substantive testing, and so on.

Many students do well when they are tested on the techniques. However, many students also fail to practise these techniques during the actual exam, which ultimately leads to a fail.

So first, I would recommend recognising the key points to learn. Then keep practising exam questions (always make sure to use revision kits from ACCA’s Approved Learning Partners). Repeat this as much as you possibly can in the weeks leading up to the exam. Repetition can be irritating and time consuming, but it is effective.

On exam day, when writing your answers, keep re-reading the techniques and reiterate them inside your head and make sure you adhere to them when applying your answers to the question scenarios.

While preparing for P7, take time to practise writing a minimum of five bullet points for each accounting standard to help drive home in your mind the key topics. Understanding the more complex ISAs such as succeeding events and initial audit concepts is important. Core standards on areas like audit risk and response, evidence, and audit reports must not be overlooked either.

If that all seems straightforward enough, why isn’t the pass rate for P7 as high as it could be? It is discouraging, but you need to read, comprehend, grit your teeth and try to follow the above.

Rigorous exam practice can always save you from making any blunders in the exam – and I hope you find my detailed tips useful for your exam practice.

Good luck to those preparing for P7!

by ACCA affiliate blogger Rizwan Khanani

Looking for a job? Have some time to spare? Well, use it well! But how?

After wasting hundreds of precious hours, I have come to understand just how important time is and just how scarce a resource it really is.

Well, better late than never, I have realised some things every young finance professional should do whenever he/she can find the time.

  • Learn Microsoft Excel
    Make sure to gain a good understanding of MS Excel as it is your primary weapon in the field of finance and accountancy. Please don’t procrastinate like I did… I thought it was pretty simple and that I would grasp it once I secured a job or internship.Trust me, Excel is an amazing tool that will make your work life much more efficient. If you are not yet proficient, attend an Excel course, and supplement what you learn with some great tutorials that are available online.
  • Watch financial scandal documentaries
    During our academic lives, we come across names like ‘Enron’, ‘Bernie Madoff’ and ‘Lehman Brothers’. We only get to hear about the frauds that have been committed, but do we ever know the full story? If you can spare a few hours, try and watch documentaries like ‘Smartest guys in the room’ (Enron), ‘Too big to fail’ (Lehman), ‘The next financial crisis’ (US economy crisis), which all explain in great detail the events that led to these huge corporate failures.
  • Read
    This can be for any business graduate or even a science graduate who is willing to invest time in their personal growth and expand their views on things, events and people. Some books I would personally recommend for this purpose are:
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
    Who Moved my Cheese?
    One Minute Manager
    Communicate to Win
  • Look for an internship or a part-time job
    Real life experience beats everything. There is no substitute for it. Even if the job is not relevant, if you are a new graduate, you have much to learn and the corporate world has much to teach you.
  • Pursue your interests
    It’s a dream come true if you have a job that you enjoy doing. But what about your free time? If you are an affiliate or have just completed your exams, why not take some classes for that hobby or interest that you have always wanted to pursue, but maybe have had to put off while studying? It can be anything – rock climbing, music, sketching, public speaking, painting, martial arts, literature, writing… whatever.
  • Learn a second language
    This may not be for everyone but, for most of us, learning a second language can be a huge advantage if you plan to work at a multi-national corporation or want to move overseas.

Have fun utilising your free time in the most efficient manner!

by ACCA student blogger Kevin Bradfield

How does one get the drive to continue studying after having failed the same exams consecutively?

One needs to reconsider the strategy being employed. From my personal experience, I have studied the text and syllabus for an exam only to end up failing.

I decided on the resit to scan through the study text and the syllabus and felt I was more than ready for the exam, especially as it was a resit.

However, I failed again. What was I doing wrong?

A suggestion a passed finalist gave to me was to discard all the prior knowledge I had on the subject and to start over, as if I was taking the exam for the first time. She implied that I was going into the exam with ‘preconditions’.

I think this piece of advice is a good one, but after having extensive knowledge of a subject, it’s difficult to do.

I will, however, try this advice, and see how it turns out. I would encourage anyone who is in the same position to try and do the same too.


by ACCA affiliate blogger Farisa Najam

My feelings a week before the exam results are not only full of fears, but also full of anxiety. We all work very hard for six months to pass. Passing or failing these exams makes us feel positive or negative about ourselves. It affects our confidence and makes us worry about how others might react to our results.

ACCA students taking exams have to go through this phase twice a year (soon four times a year thanks to the new exam sessions!). No, I will not tell you to relax and not to worry because I have been in the same boat and you definitely cannot control your natural emotions. Hopes should always be high.

I always had a really panicky feeling before checking my exam results. Well, that’s pretty natural. I always used to think why did ACCA release results so early before I could get to pray properly! It was always difficult to make a decision whether I should go ahead and enter for my next exams or wait until the results.

While waiting for results and taking classes, I always had nightmares about my upcoming results… Would I pass all papers?

A week before the results, I also had nightmares that I marginally failed by scoring 49% or that, at times, I had just passed with 50%. Trust me, the fear of flunking at 49% used to stay with me until that moment on results day when I checked my emails, scrolling down with my eyes closed and heart beating heavily.

The moment of relaxation after seeing myself PASS is unexplainable. Every ACCA student must have gone through this and new ACCA students will definitely experience it. My only advice is to surround yourself with family or friends, go out for the day, do what you love to do, and don’t spend your time worrying about something you cannot predict.

Remember, even if you fail, never give up because FAIL means First Attempt In Learning.

Good luck!

Don’t forget to share your experiences with us. How do you tackle the anxiety or fear of exam results?