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Exam technique

Man using laptop, hand on chin, looking away

by ACCA student blogger Sarosh Fatima

As the next exam session approaches, the panic starts to strike! For some of us, panic attacks have become almost synonymous with exams, but I can now say that I have found a way to tackle them.

I have been able to plan my studies with the help of ACCA’s self-study guides. I don’t believe in exhausting myself; instead, I have spread out my studies and focused on different syllabus areas each week. It doesn’t take me long to grasp all the concepts this way and it has helped my confidence and reduced stress.

Patience and perseverance pave the way to success. An ACCA student will always need to possess these two attributes to avoid making any mistakes in haste and under stress. Every student needs to have self-belief, and a single exam result can never define one’s ability.

Failing an exam never means that you cannot do it. It just means you can do better. Every student needs to look ahead and think positively, which will enhance their confidence in their own abilities. We should be more believing – and have confidence – in ourselves.

Our exam success is solely based on the hours we spend in the exam hall. Tackling this time and taking control of our nerves will help impress the examiner with our knowledge and exam technique skills.

So, as we prepare for the March exam session, let’s believe in ourselves!

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by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

As we approach the December exams our ‘inner chatter’ and doubts may be starting to creep in and take over. Perhaps you may be telling yourself ‘I won’t be ready’, ‘Perhaps I’ll hold off taking my exam until the March session’, ‘Missing one exam sitting won’t make a difference’… and so on. But if we spoke to our friends in the same way that we speak to ourselves at times, we would have no friends.

There is a quick three-step formulae outlined by one of the best personal development coaches in my country that states the following:

  • Do less. Think about the famous 80/20 rule, where 20% of our efforts in any particular endeavour is responsible for 80% of our deliverables. For us, as ACCA students, what does this mean practically? It means that our exams are now our priority. Delegate what you can to family members and friends in order to lighten the burden on yourself, enabling you to focus on your studies.
  • Be present. When Warren Buffett and Bill Gates were asked about their number one strategy for achieving all that they have, their answer was the same: Focus, focus! Be present in the moment!
  • Disconnect. We live in an age of continuous distraction where it’s virtually impossible to remain focused on our revision without being tempted by Facebook and Twitter. Therefore, to avoid all temptation, switch off your phones, tablets and PCs and focus on the task at hand.

Here are some practical tips:

  • Schedule your revision time and stick to it – consider that ‘the things that get scheduled are the things that get done’.
  • Wake up an hour earlier. Get in that extra one hour of study while the world still sleeps.
  • If you can, cram in 30 minutes of reading time during your lunch break.
  • Focus on the task at hand.

Let us all pull together for the final push of the year, let’s cram in our study sessions, let’s sweat a little more over the next few days… it will all be worth it come exam time next week.

You are never alone – remember that we have our exceptional ACCA Learning Community that is both a wealth of knowledge and support.

Anyone wishing to get in touch with me is welcome to connect with me via LinkedIn – though please include in the personal message that you are an ACCA student.

Best of luck to you all!

Don’t give up!

theaccablog —  14 May 2015 — 1 Comment

by ACCA blogger Mili Rawal

ACCA exams… they may be challenging, but they are not impossible.

The key for me was to practise past exam papers under timed conditions. Also as equally important was understanding how to allocate sufficient time in each part of the exam question according to the marks available (and making sure to adhere to the 1.8 minutes per mark rule).

If you are planning to take a three-hour exam, make good use of the 15 minutes’ reading and planning time at the start. Practising your technique in this way will not only improve your time management in the exam; it will also give you a greater awareness of the many question verbs, helping you to prepare your answers accordingly. Practice makes perfect!

The structure of your answers is also very crucial. Write in short paragraphs with headings and sub-headings as required.

Don’t forget to access the technical articles on ACCA’s website, which are very useful as they provide more hindsight about various topics in the syllabus, which in turn will help you to better prepare for your exams. I always made sure to read these.

I believe that healthy eating is also beneficial as it stimulates your brain. A few of my favourite foods include almonds, tomatoes, oranges and dark chocolate. The article on brain food is very tasty!

Exercise is also important. I took seven deep breaths before writing down my answers. It helped me to overcome exam anxiety, maintain a calm mind and focus. It’s simple, yet very effective.

To all the students who are resitting papers in June, don’t give up. Don’t let failure get to you. ‘Think ahead’ as ACCA says. I experienced my own share of fails, but I never gave up.

Even though my ACCA journey is not yet completed, I am now proud to call myself an ACCA affiliate. So try to enjoy your studies and never give up.

Good luck to all students around the world who are studying hard for their upcoming exams.

Think ahead and be proud to be different!

ACCA support

theaccablog —  21 April 2015 — Leave a comment

support

by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

‘In September 2015 ACCA will be offering an additional exam session in some of our larger markets, which will be followed in 2016 by the introduction of four exam sessions a year across all of our markets, allowing you to take your exams in March, June, September and December.’

Whenever such news is announced we always tend to think about how it will affect us and then, after it has been digested, we consider how it can benefit the wider group.

Personally this decision is huge for me. My 10-year limit expires in June 2017 and, while I only have two papers left and I should by all means be qualified by then, ACCA has just thrown me and thousands of other students a lifeline.

ACCA is doing all in its power to get behind students and, in doing so, sends them a tangible message. That message is: ‘While we acknowledge the level of difficulty of these exams, we are behind you in every aspect.’ This is the message I am getting anyway.

ACCA has done this with the introduction of bloggers, live Q&As on Facebook, and the ACCA Learning Community (which hosts regular learning event Q&As with experts), and I am sure that this is only the beginning of ACCA’s way to separate itself from the rest.

This is ACCA’s way of adding that extra value to us as students, and to give us the necessary tools to succeed.

The next exam session is about six weeks away, and it is all about revision now, so here are a few pointers of what not to do while studying:

  • Having your mobile phone on
  • Cramming in too much data
  • Getting overwhelmed
  • Looking at the answer before even attempting to answer the question
  • Procrastinating
  • Reconstructing notes
  • Having a heavy meal beforehand
  • Pulling all-nighters
  • Not believing in yourself

Prepare for results day

by ACCA student blogger Shahroze Naeem

I’m confident many of us are eagerly waiting for 8 February so we can find out how well we did. Meticulous exam preparation will pay off for some, while others would have to try their luck the next time around.

I did not sit any examinations this session, so I don’t have to worry about anything :)

As for those waiting for the result day, here’s what you should be doing right about now:

1. Expect the best, prepare for the worst

This is easier said than done. No one will actually consider the worst case scenario. My question is, why? Why can’t we consider that we have a 50% chance of failing as well? Being optimistic about something is a different thing – considering the realities of a situation is something else.

No matter how hard we try, the rate of passing is always going to be 50%. Therefore, let’s prepare ourselves if things don’t go according to plan. Make a backup study schedule for yourself and keep your notes with you until the result day. Ensure that you make a thorough plan to appear for the next examination session so you can succeed the next time.

2. Work on preparation loopholes

Preparing for exams, there are always some areas that we fail to cover effectively no matter what. You should keep a keen eye on those areas because they need the most amount of practice if you have to reappear.

Have everything ready before the result day takes you over with a surprise and you then find out you have to begin with scratch. These loopholes can be eliminated if someone is reappearing and you will therefore stand a brighter chance of not only passing, but passing with an impressive score.

3. Doctor says, take your daily dose of positivity 

Reading at least 5 motivational quotes or 2 pages off an inspiring book daily will help you change your point of view regarding failure. With a positive approach at reality, you will be so much better off. Failing with a score of 49 is not a bad thing – you just have to work hard enough to deserve that 1 extra mark.

Do let me know in the comments section how your waiting time is coming along and if you have any of the above in your check-list. All the best for the result day!