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revision_resources

Our last blog post What will your revision look like?’, talked about how you are planning to prepare for your exam, but what revision resources will you to be using to ensure exam success?

Preparation is the key, so here are some useful resources that you will need when revising for your exams.

1. Video and podcasts – listen to experienced lecturers as they take you through how to answer questions in the exam you are sitting.

2. Specimen exams and past papers – use to familiarise yourself with the exam format and practice answering exam questions, so you’re as prepared as you can be for the real exam.

3. Examiners’ Interviews – helps you to understand what the Examiners’ are looking for in terms of exam performance – an essential resource to help you towards exam success.

4. Practice Tests – sit under exam conditions and get personalised feedback highlighting your strengths and weaknesses so you can refine your revision.

5. Learning Community – join for paper-specific study groups and discuss and share revision tips with fellow students.

Good luck with your revision.

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Managing-time-effectiveSN

by ACCA student blogger Shahroze Naeem

Lots of students today face a shortage of time to study and prepare for exams. When I was preparing to take four exams last December, I had the same issue. Knowing I would have to come up with a plan, I decided to use the following three tips to draft an effective study schedule:

1. Prioritizing the subjects

There is always that one subject which is harder than the rest. If you too feel you need to devote more time to a particular subject, prioritize it for the first three months of your preparation time. Study more of it and try to go through the complete subject syllabus within those three months.

This will help restore your confidence and provide you ample time to revise the tougher bits of that subject in the last three months. Now that the tougher subject is prepared, you can focus on the other subject(s) in the second half (the last three months) of your preparation time.

2. Prioritizing the hobbies

I had a lot of activities going on with friends, family and relatives. When I decided to sit four exams, I knew I wouldn’t have time to enjoy all those activities. I decided to prioritize what mattered most. I came up with a well-defined schedule that clearly stated what I could do during the week without harming my study schedule.

A lot of ACCA students make study schedules, but our hobbies are just as much related to our exam success as our preparation for the exams. It is time you define what matters most for you and get to enjoy those hobbies.

3. Having a study buddy

I prepared for my exams along with my sister and therefore we both were on the same page. We decided to be study buddies and help each other by sharing useful notes, tips and little tidbits of information that were important with each other. There is loads of information in our study texts, and missing even the slightest bit can contribute to failure. With a study buddy, chances of missing anything are reduced.

This helped me and my sister a lot and we were very confident regarding our exam success when the time came.

Good luck with your studies.

 

If you don’t have a study buddy, why not join the ACCA Learning Community and link up with other students studying for exams and share your tips and ideas for successful revision.

study-life-balance

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!

exam_stress

by ACCA student blogger Shahroze Naeem

Countering exam stress is not as easy as it seems. You need to work on both your studies as well as your mental skills to keep calm throughout the examination. I remember how at first I almost convinced myself that I would fail Paper P2 after finding out that I had to draft a Statement of Changes in Equity.

I completely stopped writing for a while and thought of a possible way out of the situation. Discovering that there was no way out but to give it a try, I finally tried to recall everything that I had studied during preparation time. I fortunately cleared Paper P2 in that very attempt, at the December 2013 session.

What I realized later was that three study habits helped me return successful that day.

Reading inspirational quotes of the day

Surrounding yourself with positive energy is very important, especially when exams are nearing. Being short-tempered, tired or exhausted when studying will not help you at all. Keep yourself calm, take some time to read inspirational quotes, and then prepare for exams. You will yourself note the difference. Two inspirational people that I liked to read about were The Dalai Lama and Muhammad Ali.

Practising timed questions each day

Another activity that helped me was practising at least one timed exam question each day. No matter what, I would keep my clock with me and practice the longest question. At first, it would seem almost impossible. However, over time, I did improve my writing speed and time my comprehension skills quite a lot.

Writing down essay-length answers, no matter how easy the question might seem

For non-native students such as me, going through the question and jotting down main points is not going to help. You need proper expression and sentence structure, something that can only be learned if you write down complete essay-length answers. If you are still reluctant to do this every day, I suggest you attempt these questions at least twice a week over the holidays.

I hope that you find these three study habits useful during your preparation for the next examinations. Let me know how these tips are working out for you. Let’s be stress-free for the next examinations.

 

 

Photo credit: Pablo via Flickr

 

Never give up!

theaccablog —  2 September 2014 — 4 Comments

Pansblogt

by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli 

‘The discomfort of change is better than the heartbreak of complacency.’

It’s only when you feel that the pain of giving up is greater than the pain of putting in the time and effort to chase your dreams, will you be able to move on, never give up and reach new heights.

This became very clear to me about a year and a half ago, after procrastinating I had virtually given up with my ACCA studies (I had 9 papers passed up until 2001 and then quit), that I realised something had to change. I knew I would have to sit down and ask myself what I wanted out of life, re-write my goals and consider the sacrifices myself and my family will make in order for me to achieve what I wanted. The pain of having given up was too high and I knew that once I had come up with a game plan I could do this.

Since December 2012 I have successfully sat another 2 papers and passed them first time, which leaves me with 3 papers left to get one step closer to ACCA membership.

From this experience I have learnt that I would need to attend all my lectures and being 40 years old I would need extra time to absorb the material. So after each lecture I would make sure I sit down for 30 minutes and review what I had learnt. I would then put time aside on weekends (in small chunks of 30-45mins) to revise again and attempt exam questions (without using the answers as an aide).

Here are some tips for you that I find very useful:

  • make your study area just that, an area where you can study with no or minimal distractions
  • make sure you get sufficient rest
  • learn material by recalling and reciting. Simply reading text over and over again will not magically enable you to learn it.

I am sure you have read and re-read all of the above a dozen times, so I go back to my original point – ‘The discomfort of change is better than the heartbreak of complacency’.

Never give up on your goals, whatever they maybe.

Good luck!

 

Photo credit: Nikola Ostrun via Flickr