Archives For Malaysia

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.

by student blogger Ng Jia Wen

Food in Malaysia can be found in abundance and I have to say that the food here is really unique. I suppose it’s a privilege as well that if you are hungry at 4 am, you can still find food outside of your house and more importantly it’s really, really delicious. However, most of the food that tastes nice in Malaysia, or in any part of the world for that matter, is the usually the food that does more harm than good for our bodies.

To avoid falling ill at exam time it’s vital for you to keep healthy with a balanced diet. With the additional pressure that you are consciously (or subconsciously) inflicting on yourself, your body will be impacted by the stress too.

During exam time, your eating habits can slide. This temporary ‘disorder’ will appear without you realising it, as you will be busy revising. It then magically disappears once the last exam is over.

Students tend to fall within one of two groups. One group is the ‘under eaters’, who will not eat much all day, and the other is the ‘over eaters’, who will do the opposite. The former lock themselves away in their favourite rabbit hole and constantly study, rarely eating. The latter constantly crave snacks and drinks while they study. Half of the time that they spend on study, they will be eating.

Both lifestyles will damage the body. Under eaters will drastically lose weight and lack the energy the brain needs for revision, becoming exhausted easily. Over eaters on the other hand, will gain weight gradually and tend to be sleepy, with less energy for revision. If you are neither of the two, you must be practicing a healthy lifestyle and diet. Good job! Give yourself a pat on your back.

But for those of you who do fit into one of those groups, how do you overcome the problem? Well, an under eater should ensure that they make time to eat at least 3 meals a day, by putting these breaks in their study schedule. An overeater on the other hand, should put a limit to their number of meals per day, again by scheduling these breaks in.

As for me, I used to be an under eater when I was in high school but now I am more inclined to be an overeater. Right now I am making a conscious effort to control my cravings. So if I crave ice cream now, I’ll only reward myself the next day, after I have studied hard on the day I craved the ice cream.

Of course, alongside your healthy diet, regular exercise and 9 hours of sleep per night will also help you feel your best during exam time.

Till the next time – study hard and eat your vegetables!

By ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

5am
*bzzzz bzzzz bzzzz* For the love of all delicious food in the world, why am I up this early? *presses the snooze button*

6am
*bzzzz bzzzz bzzzz* Okay, okay, time to get up. Note to self – no more studying until 1am! Sleep is important. Wait, what time is it? *gasps* Oh no, I’m late! Okay, quick, breakfast, shower and drive.

7am
Phew – I wasn’t late after all! Managed to avoid the morning rush hour. Traffic congestions in Malaysia can be pretty nasty. I’m rather early for my 8am class, but at least I have time to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on the latest football news with my friends.

8am
It’s my first class for the day. Got to make sure I don’t fall asleep. Today’s class is highly important. Hmm, as a matter of fact, all my classes are highly important, since the exam paper will test us on anything in the syllabus.

11am
Lunchtime! I suppose it is rather abnormal for my institution to schedule lunchtime at 11am, but we’ve pretty much gotten used to it. Today, I decide to have fried rice. With extra cili padi mixed with light soy sauce. (cili padi is a Malay term for Bird’s eye chili. When it’s mixed with light soy sauce, it is a common condiment in restaurants in Malaysia.)

12pm
Usually, my second class would begin now, ending at 5.30pm. But today there are no other classes scheduled. So I make my way to my favourite study area in college (which is not the library). It’s the most brightly lit area in college and one of the most cooling.

12.30pm
Right, now it’s time for some serious studying. I start by reviewing what my lecturer taught that day and consolidate my understanding to make sure that what I remember is right. Then I make short notes for each chapter of all the papers I am attempting. These are the best ways for me to remember my material, even though they’re very time-consuming processes.

3pm
After some productive study, I give myself a break. I grab a packet of sandwiches and a light drink to keep hunger at bay and to perk up my brain. I also go over to see my friends at their favourite study spots, ask them about a couple of questions that I didn’t understand during class, and have a chat.

4pm
Now it’s time to resume studying. The study area is now a little more crowded, as most of the classes have ended. Noise usually distracts me, so I plug my headphones into my mobile phone to listen to music.

6pm
Oh, it’s already dark outside! I usually only go home after the sun sets, as the evening traffic congestion would have cleared up by then.

8pm
I usually have dinner with my family (yes, I still live with my family) but by now they have finished eating, so I have dinner by myself.

9pm
Now I reply to my emails, and write articles for my blogs (if I have any inspiration).

11pm
A little more revision won’t hurt… right?

1am
Uh-oh. It’s 1am already? Oh well. I guess tomorrow will be yet another beautiful day. It’s time to sleep.

By ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

Ever had that sudden moment of realisation which makes you exclaim, “Ohmygrapefruitandguava, it’s 1 week before the exam! Where has all the time gone? How am I supposed to catch up with my studies in time for the exam?” No more procrastination, not this time!

I am sure most of us are aware that ACCA has launched a student planner app (which is pretty nifty, if I may say so), and the app contains a countdown for ACCA students of important dates such as exam entry, results, but more importantly, exam days. They are the key to thorough preparation for the ACCA examinations. So what if you do not have a smartphone or it’s not ACCA exams you’re taking? You can always be old school, use a calendar!

Below are some guidelines on how ready we should be approaching the exams. Of course, I am only an average student, so if you have an alternative method to ensuring we are more prepared, I’m all ears!

1 month before

You should have finished studying by now. If you haven’t, best wrap it up quickly; otherwise you’d be depriving yourself of practicing exam techniques.

Start doing questions (if you have not attempted before, i.e. if you have only been digging through books as part of your study preparation), at least 3 a day for each paper you are attempting.

Try to keep healthy, drink lots of water (especially important if wherever you are staying is hot and/or humid), and exercise to keep the brain energised.

1 week before

After attempting questions, you will soon discover in which areas of the syllabus you are weak, and would have revised adequately.

Practice questions under exam conditions – it would be a good idea to attempt a past exam sitting within the time frame of the exam (3 hours and 15 minutes for ACCA exams). Sit one past year exam per day (irrespective of the number of papers you are attempting for the sitting, only attempt one sitting per day. 3 hours of speed writing is more than enough).

Again, health is very important, keep a balanced lifestyle and start establishing a good sleep routine.

The day before

It is perfectly normal if it you cannot remember anything all of a sudden. This is probably due to exam anxiety (which I get all the time, and honestly, a lot worse than most people). Practice relaxation techniques, tell yourself that you will be fine, do anything that will keep you calm.

Make sure you have the proper documents, adequate stationery and other relevant items ready on the table, before you retire for the night.

Get to bed early, last minute cramming will not help – the brain will get tired faster and you’ll panic faster. If you have a hard time sleeping the night before, well, try counting sheep?

The big day!

A calm mind is crucial today. Everything that you have learnt is stored well in that noggin; all your brain needs is a little jump start to get the cogs moving for the exam. Again, do not be alarmed if at first you are unable to recall anything relating to the paper at free will. As you have been practising exam questions under exam conditions prior to the big day, everything should come naturally once the exam begins.

Until then, study smart and stay healthy!

Hi! I’m Ng Jia Wen. Just to be clear, Ng is not my first name, it’s my surname – Jia Wen is my given name. And I’m a (Chinese) Malaysian. I’m an ACCA student who has just finished exam papers F7 and F8 of the ACCA Qualification in the December 2012 sitting. I will be attempting F9 and P2 for the June 2013 sitting. Something special about me would be that I was one of the students in the batch which underwent the transition from CAT to Foundations in Accountancy.

What you can expect from me in the next few posts would be:
• study tips
• a day in a life of an ACCA student
• study/life balance
• exam tips

I may be young (not maybe – I AM young) but I refuse to let that deter me from pursuing my ambition and my dreams. I hope through my blog posts I can inspire my fellow students and those are not yet ACCA students and encourage everyone to work hard towards their goal. The road ahead is very long and maybe a little bit winding, but I believe we’ll reach our destination, with hard work and determination.

Aside from studying ACCA, I enjoy writing about my perspective and experience. This can be book reviews, movie reviews or food reviews. Food reviews would be my specialty – after all, I’m Malaysian – so food would top the list of anything and everything, wouldn’t it? ;)

I am also very passionate about football even though I am a girl (but who says girls cannot watch and understand football?) I try to keep myself updated with most of the big leagues and football nations, which can prove a difficult, if not impossible task to juggle with my studies. But I am more inclined to follow the English league and FIFA World Cup.

Until next time!