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If you are sitting exams in December, you are probably now entering revision mode. So how do you plan to revise? Do you have a successful revision strategy? Here are some useful tips.

1. Perfect Exam Preparation

Having an effective revision strategy can go a long way to making the whole revision phase less stressful. Read our article on Perfect Exam Preparation to find some ideas on how you can achieve this.

2. Looking into the past

Past papers are an essential tool for exam preparation. It’s possible to increase your marks substantially simply by improving your understanding of what the examiner is looking for. Many examiners and markers say that failing to understand the requirements of the question is a major contributor to missing out on easy marks – and ultimately to failing a paper. Including past papers as part of your revision will help you gain a general sense of how the exam will be structured, allowing you to allocate time effectively on the day, after reading through the paper.

3. Study buddies

Whether you study in a classroom or by yourself, study groups can bring lots of benefits. So even if there are times when you prefer to work alone, you should explore the possibilities. Study groups can provide a forum for discussion where you can share concerns, ideas, difficulties and multiple perspectives. You can learn from each others’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as finding out what you don’t know by reinforcing what you do know. You can join the ACCA Learning Community and or form your own group with your fellow ACCA students.

Good luck with your revision.



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.


by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

The interesting thing about life lessons is that you don’t learn them until after the event.So if you’ve been knocked down after a not so great result, it’s time to dust yourself down and move on.

Here are 10 of the worst study habits to avoid to help you prepare for your next exams:

  1. Having your mobile phone on
    Study time is meant for just that. Make it clear to your loved ones that for these few hours, unless the house is on fire, you should not be bothered. A mobile phone is a terrible distraction. Switch it off!
  1.  Environment
    I once had a lady in my class who could put on her headphones, crank up the music and study. She passed all her exams. BUT I have a feeling that she is in the minority. Make sure your study environment is without distractions, quiet, and that the climate is just right.
  1. Cramming in too much data
    Not to sound political, because I am not, but a lecturer once said to me, ‘Why do you think that X party is so successful?’ His answer was ‘Because the day after the elections, they start again.’ So don’t cram months of lectures into a week of learning. Work through it methodically.
  1.  Don’t get overwhelmed
    A lecturer once asked us, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ we all looked at him, looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. He answered, ‘Bit by bit.’ Don’t get overwhelmed by all the information you have, thinking that you HAVE to learn it all immediately.
  1. Looking at the practice answer before attempting to answer the practice question
    Best practice is: read over your notes, the requirement, and the passage, attempt to write as much as possible, then use your notes as a supplement, then look at the answer. I guarantee that the second time you attempt the questions you will not need your notes or the answer.
  1. Procrastination: I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll do it later. Guys – make a timetable and stick to it. The “pain of sitting revising for a few hours and sticking to your timetable is a lot less pain than you will feel later down the line when you have months of lectures to learn in a week.
  1. Reconstructing all your notes
    Flash Cards are great for remembering key points on a subject. Don’t copy out entire sections of your notes – it’s wasting valuable time. Learn the basics and your studying will be complete after you answer practice questions, questions and more questions.
  1. Having a heavy meal
    Having a heavy meal before study is not recommended. You will feel uncomfortable and agitated. Your body as well as your mind both need to be in the right frame. So have a light meal, wait a little time to digest it – and then hit the books.
  1. Pulling all-nighters
    We are human; we need to rest, enjoy the company of our loved ones, go to work, and fulfil our obligations. Planning a study session that will require you to study all night, or most of the night is a plan for failure. The secret is to plan ahead, a sound plan goes a long way.
    This is not a study tip, or something to be avoided, but I would like to leave you with this message; there are no failures, only outcomes. Maybe that outcome was not what you expected, but that makes it even more important than ever to believe in yourself. You can achieve anything you put your mind to.

Remember, the sky is NOT the limit, but the stars are.

Till next time.

Six effective study tips

soramsey —  22 January 2014 — 13 Comments


by ACCA student blogger Elyse Burns-Hill

1. Shake things up

Changing the places that you work can actually help you recall. Your brain works by spatial connections; so you will naturally remember things based on where you were at the time that you learnt something.

2.  Make flash cards

Reducing information that you need to know into something short and sweet will make it easier to remember. If you can, draw funny pictures to complement the information you need to know – again using pictures to remember uses your spatial memory.

3. Keep testing yourself

When you do practice questions, don’t use the books every time. Try doing it yourself with bullet points, then go back and see what you missed. You’ll learn a lot quicker this way.

4.  Sleep

Staying awake all night consuming caffeine will not help you learn. In fact, it will do just the opposite. Make sure you get enough sleep as it ensures your brain resets itself and has enough energy to keep up with all that you are learning.

5. Get rid of distractions

Mobile phones are the worst, especially if you have a smart phone with Facebook or Twitter – turn it off! At the very least put it on silent (turn vibrate off as well) and put it upside down on your desk.  If you let things distract you constantly, it prevents you from entering that “study zone” as I like to call it. Try to prevent, remove and block out any kind of distraction that might affect you while you study.

6. Mindset

This is probably the most important thing that you can do for yourself when studying.  Put yourself in the right place in your head. You aren’t studying because you have to; you are studying because you want to. Figure out why you are doing these exams and why you want to pass. Get yourself fired up to want to pass.

Please share your tips on how you study effectively in the comments below.

by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

This is always a challenge, especially if you work a full-time job that is demanding. The way I see it, each situation has its positive attributes. This positive pressure at work can actually assist you with your studies.

Each evening before I leave work, I take a piece of A4 paper and divide it into 3 sections: morning, lunchtime and afternoon. I plan my tasks for the day, so that my plan is ready in the morning when I arrive at work. I also try to start my tasks ahead of my scheduled deadline date, so I need to plan for that as well. I also assume that I may need more time on some tasks, so I would need to allocate a bit of extra time for the more demanding tasks.

You should notice a similar pattern here with your studies. I treat both parts the same. It’s the same discipline. It’s the same methodology of planning for your studies and sticking to your study and revision time table. At work, the same way you would pencil in your lunch break, you would also pencil in your study programme, your rest period, or even your day of rest.

Lots of people throw out there terms like ‘just do it’, or ‘get the job done’, be it about our studies, work or personal life; but few offer practical solutions. This A4 sheet of paper can be extended to a weekly plan as well. Apart from having my daily plan at work, I have my five-day plan also, and the same method applies to my studies; it’s the same principle.

Personally, I thrive on the positive pressure work puts me under. It forces me to come up with practical solutions that enable me to get better results, with as few errors as possible, in the least amount of time.

Planning study reminds me of the story of the dog and three cats. One day a dog spotted a cat and started to run after it and after some time, it spotted a second cat. So it left cat number 1 and started chasing cat number 2. Not long after that, it spotted a third cat. So it left cat number 2 and started chasing cat number 3. At the end of the day the dog was asked, ‘How was your day?’ He replied, ‘Ever so tiring, I never stopped.’ Then he was asked ‘How productive was it?’ The dog then answered, ‘Not at all!’

Let us plan – and chase after only one cat, one cat (goal) at a time.

Till next time!