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by ACCA student blogger Adhitya Fadriansyah

Part 1 – Exam Result

It is never easy to hear the bad news if you’ve failed an exam. It is normal to feel sad, disappointed and angry, always remember: ‘Edison failed 10,000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.

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After receiving the result, if I fail a paper, I write down what I think caused me to fail and which area of the syllabus I need to concentrate more on. If I pass, I will download the syllabus for the future papers and try to look for a combination that works for me best.

Part 2 – Planning

I start with downloading all the materials related to the paper I’m going to take from the ACCA website (syllabus, examiner reports, past exam papers, technical articles, etc). Downloading it is only the first step; the next step is to set your goals and plan your monthly or weekly activities.

Part 3 – Study Text

I only use learning materials from an ACCA Approved Learning Provider; it gives me the confidence of knowing what I will face in the exam.

To finish reading a 500 page-long study text in a month, I set a target of reading around 17 pages a day. It seems a lot -but do not wait to start; the longer you delay it the more pages you will have to read beforehand. If there is an area you do not understand quite well – ask your mentor, ask your tutor and ask your colleagues.

Part 4 – Revision

Having read the study text, it is now time to test yourself. It is very important to get used to the question type and the exam requirements. I will usually try at least one mock exam – 3 hours of writing and 15 minutes of reading and planning time.

Part 5 – Exam

Here comes the big day. Take good care of your health and ensure you have enough rest the night before the exam; plan your travel to avoid traffic. It is better to arrive earlier rather than having to rush to the exam hall and start the exam in a bad mood. Bring your ID and your exam docket and make sure you have a complete set of stationery – you don’t want to run out of pen in the middle of an exam, do you?

Part 6 – the most important part – HOLIDAY

After all that long hours spent studying, I choose to take a month away from all the books and spend my time with my family while waiting for the results.

That is how I plan my approach to an exam. The most important thing is to plan your work and stick to your plan. Wish us all the best of luck for the upcoming exams.

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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!

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!