How to overcome obstacles on your journey

soramsey —  1 November 2013 — 22 Comments

By ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

From the moment we are born, we are destined to travel a winding, bumpy road. Many a time, you will encounter a speed bump, a roadblock or even a detour.

As a regular person, I encounter setbacks once in a while. My most recent one was this semester; I failed exam P2 – Corporate Reporting. This was the first academic paper that I have failed in my life. (I’m not kidding – the 2 other exams that I failed were practical exams that do not relate to my education.)

Failing for the first time was devastating. I anticipated it from the moment I finished the exam, so I was mentally prepared. But failing P2 would mean that I can no longer call myself a ‘straight passer’.

Though this label might seem snobbish or egoistic, I grew up in an Asian culture where we thrive on success – especially academic success and especially when you’re young. So how did I manage to climb back up from here? I did a few things, which I will explain.

Step 1: Cry with all your heart

Being a toughie on the outside, very few people had the chance to see me bawl my eyes out. Fortunately (or unfortunately), on the day of my results, I was away for a holiday with my family.

In Asia we are told that it is shameful to cry as it exudes weakness. And I was taught from a young age not to show to ‘outsiders’ (outside of our family), that I am weak.

Crying, no matter how vulnerable you think it may make you look, is good for the soul. The moment I came back from my holiday, I locked myself in my room and cried my eyes out. But after a good cry, strangely enough, you will stop wallowing in self pity and feel a great sense of relief.

Step 2: If you aren’t brave enough to face your fears yet, don’t

I am rather blessed. The sequencing of the ACCA exam papers means that I will not need to re-sit P2 in the next exam session. Moreover, I have the option to take P2 alone, as my friends are re-siting it now.

Step 3: Move on

Life goes on, after all. It is pointless to continue brooding over a small aspect of your life when there is a whole journey ahead of you still.

After brooding and seething for a month, I then diverted my attention to joys in life like writing for the ACCA student blog, learning how to draw, playing music again. All of this helped me not feel so bitter, hurt and defeated any more. I learned to love studying again, not for the sake of passing exams, but for the sake of learning.

Sometimes, a break from your studies will help if you have considered all other options. Sometimes a gap year or semester can do wonders for your emotional well-being.

I hope my real-life story will inspire you to climb back up and continue striving for the upcoming exam sitting.


22 responses to How to overcome obstacles on your journey


    Hi Jia

    This is an exceptional piece. Good for you for expressing this down to earth and yet positive outlook on the circumstances. I too still face the challenge of completing my ACCA exams but i consider ourselves ever so fortunate to be able to be students of this great body and also for ACCA to have given us this outlet to communicate with fellow students. Have a great weekend. Pan


    Hi Jia,

    I too found myself in the same situation. I passed all my previous papers then encountered P2 in which I have failed twice. I have decided to take a step back from the paper such as yourself, and tackle another paper this december. Maybe it’s best to take that one step back, and view it with a difference frame of mind next sitting.


    I had never failed anything academic in my life till I wrote F4, F5 and F6. I failed F5 and I knew exactly why – I didn’t take my studies very seriously. I carried it forward and sat for F5, F7, F8 and F9. Lo and behold I failed F7. I was disappointed to say the least. I examined myself very seriously, took stock of my weaknesses and kept moving. I finished the remaining 6 papers including F7 in two sittings. No re-sits. You just have to believe in yourself like crazy. Know what works for you and go with it. I set myself a goal to complete ACCA in 4 sittings no matter what came my way. Failures were lessons for me not setbacks and they did not change what I thought about myself. Happy to be an ACCA member now :) To those who are discouraged, it’s temporary, get back there and fight for what you want – I wish you all the best!


      This is quite motivating… Thanks for sharing..
      I just failed F9 and P2 and think I need a break and at the same time I was to finish it at the earliest… But as you said believe in yourself so maybe this is the thing..!

      Obinna Nicholas 10 February 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks so much. Same thing happened to me, wrote F5,6,7&8. The paper I never thought I’d fail was the one I failed F8. My goal is to finish ACCA in two sittings, June and December which means I’d write 4 again. I’m preparing for F8,9 and P1&2. What are your thoughts. I believe I can do it.


    I myself was not successful in P2 but this is like my 4th attempt….sigh…It is frustrating but I am not quitter so pressing ahead. Great article.


    Reblogged this on Shashy14 and commented:
    The persuit of Happiness


    Such a motivating blog n comment.. Really hope that I can complete my acca soon.


    I did give up exam continuously 2years because i failed my papers constantly.i was very near to my dream of become affiliate so i set back again,start studying and passed my p3 exam this december.its hard to start again after failure but not impossible.keep it up.


    I am inspired by your feelings , you were not only one …I i failed in F9 second time and F8 fifth time ..and believe me I was extremely devastated and almost i feel i had to kill myself to death until God send me his blessings that why i would do that , there are many ppl who faced it they moved on and they are now biggest successors ,
    Steve Jobs , Bill Gates faced more than we feel in ACCA ..!! they did more than a common man ..why can’t we ….they are humans like us ..
    well this time i had to take a break this session and i had to work …


    Am also having the same problems with p1 that i failed twice now, I had never failed any paper before. But my problem is that I spent my whole time at work, little or no time to study. I want to take 3 years break from ACCA.


    What a very encouraging article. I have written P7 3 consecutive times and had 30, 45 and 48% in that order. In spite of my sadness and disappointment, I somehow always looked forward to the studying and learning experiences so it wasn’t too difficult for me to start over each time. Besides I was encouraged that my scores kept increasing at each sitting no matter how small (Progress – my Silver Lining). I sat P7 for the 4th time in December 2013 and had 50%. Thank God I passed because with all I have going on at the moment, resitting P7 would have been too much for me to bear. If you are struggling with passing any paper hang in there. It will be over soon.


    I understand completely. I was on the verge of completing my ACCA when i wrote P7 (Advanced Audit) in June 2013. I got 49% ( total heartbreak)!!! It took me 2 months to get over it. I decided to give it another go in December 2013 and i got 56% (Affiliate!)

    So sometimes getting up and trying again immediately before the seed of doubt grows too big is helpful.


    congrats to the members and affiliates and to all who passed their exams. I agree with Francis, its better to try again immediately else you could be overtaken by other events but if you feel that taking a break will put you in a better place emotionally then go for it.
    I’m married with kids, I work but I keep pushing myself. My strategy is never to take a break, I must write every diet even if I fail. I have one paper to go and hope to qualify in June 2014.
    So lets motivate ourselves, we’ll be happy we did in the end.


      thats encouragin!!! i like that spirit of not goving up irrespective of the responsibilities you have. am on with you too,,, june 2014


    I was registered in acca in 2009 and studying CAT and passed only 5 papers and transfer to acca as a MSER STUDENT in 2011(DEC) and till now I only have three paper passed F1 F2 & F3. I am very worried about my Acca because till now so much financially investment are involved in it. I could not clear F4,F5,F6 in three attempts. I have failed in F4 F5 F6, 32 36 38 marks approximately, in every attempt. I have only intermediate passed. I am getting torture now from environment, family and Acca exams, & from my friends success because almost all my friends are cleared ACCA now.Please guide me what can I do now. I also have a average student. Please guide me as a good adviser I will really thankful to all.


    Adeel , some times ACCA can be that daunting. its all bout strategising. If you do 3 paers and fail, reduce the number to 2 or 1. its better to get the satisfaction from passing that one paper than doing 3 and fail them,,,,,,,,would you try it out?


    My 10 years registration will finish in June 2017, kindly tell me if someone knows that what will happen after that if I have not cleared all ACCA papers till June 2017? I am nowadays feeling really depressed as someone has told me That I have to restart ACCA all over again after my registration is finished.


    OMG,this is devastating for me to honest.I had never failed any acca papers until June last year when i failed f5 and f9 but i really did not take school that seriously so i figured if i put in the hours,i might actually pull them off.Imagine my disappointment today when i failed F5.Am too disappointed to cry,to be honest i feel the paper failed me.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. How to approach P2: Corporate Reporting « ACCA Student Blog - October 30, 2014

    […] are a hurdle of its own, but in any case). In fact, I wrote in one of my older posts previously of how it felt when I failed P2, the first failure in my entire ACCA journey and how I overcome the mental block it […]

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