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?
    Freakonomics
    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.

waiting

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?

diary
by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

‘There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it.’ Napoleon Hill

It is a well-known fact that only 3% of adults have clear, written goals. We come together every so often because we have a common goal, and that goal is to qualify as an ACCA, so let’s practically see how we will approach our common goal.

  • Step 1: Decide exactly what you want.
  • Step 2: Write it down.
  • Step 3: Set a deadline on your goal. Set sub-deadlines if necessary.
  • Step 4: Make a list of everything that you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal.
  • Step 5: Organise the list into a plan.
  • Step 6: Take action on your plan immediately.
  • Step 7: Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal.

Let’s use myself as a practical example:

  • Step 1: Qualify as an ACCA, successfully pass my remaining two papers P2 and P6, and commence college on 6 July for my P2 studies.
  • Step 2: Done.
  • Step 3: Deadline, sit and pass P2 in December 2015. Sit and pass P6 in June 2016.
  • Step 4: Sign up for college (evenings); study first thing on Saturday and Sunday mornings; attend all lectures; attend all progress tests; attend all mocks; work through at least six past papers; and solve the revision kit twice.
  • Steps 5 and 6 are self-explanatory.
  • Step 7: Wake up each morning an hour earlier to make sure I can read at least 10 pages of a good book; workout first thing to get the endorphins released (happy hormones!); and review my weekly and monthly goals.

Don’t forget to connect to ACCA’s Learning Community

I intend to keep in touch more regularly. An ACCA student recently left me some great feedback on my LinkedIn profile regarding my blogs. What she and most of you may not realise is the strength and motivation this gives me to carry on with this exceptional professional qualification – so thank you!

Feel free to connect with me for any further questions you may have. Until next time!

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!