Archives For stress

Staying motivated at exam time

soramsey —  28 November 2013 — 1 Comment

by ACCA student blogger Mike Tye

Often around exam time when friends are carrying on their daily lives, getting home from work and doing whatever they please, whilst I’m getting home from work and hitting the books I ask myself, ‘why bother? They’re getting on in life just fine without extra qualifications…’ so this post is going to be about why I put myself through the perils of extra study, especially with the extra pressure at exam time.

Firstly, and I imagine for most people – it’s money!  When the ACCA did a salary survey they found that 61% of their members received a pay increase in the previous year. You may even be in the fortunate position where your employer offers a direct pay increase for every exam you pass!  You can apply this monetary benefit to your individual circumstances as motivation. So if you have a family you provide for, that extra money could go towards them. Alternatively if you feel like spending the extra money on going out, then use that as your motivation. Everyone’s different, but think of the actual gain you will get from a good salary.

Secondly, it sets me ahead of the competition. At the end of the day, if you’re going for a new job then you’re effectively just a piece of paper (your CV) until you get into the actual job interview. You and your friends may know that you’re a hard worker but the potential employer will be looking at cold hard facts, ie your qualifications and experience. It will also be of benefit to your job security, if staff costs are getting too high then employees may start to get laid off.  By having the ACCA Qualification, you can offer your employer not just accounting skills, but you’ll have a background in corporate law, tax, audit etc.

That also leads me onto my final point, the fact that it is such a broad qualification. The skills you learn along the way mean that you don’t have to be just an accountant for your company, you might also lend a hand to friends with tax advice, you might help your company in producing budgets or you might get involved in internal audits.

Further study also influences my personal life, in how I approach problems or situations. The difference is quite amazing between now and when I was younger, especially since taking on the Oxford Brookes BSc degree and the Research and Analysis Project needed to achieve this.

This leads me nicely back to the beginning of this post. When I come across a problem, I can draw on the experience I’ve gained from either my studies or completing the RAP. So when for instance, I start to ask myself about why I’m putting myself through the anguish of all of this extra work, I look at the above positives and it gives me the drive to carry on.

 

 

 

 

 

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Stress

by ACCA student blogger Elyse Burns-Hill

Exams can be a stressful time; the pressure we put on ourselves, as well as pressure (real or imagined) we feel from our employers, parents or other fee payers.

We need to make sure we keep this stress in check though, if we are to perform our best.

There have been numerous studies looking at the effect stress can have on our memories, and most come to the conclusion that too much stress has a negative impact.

There are three stages of memory formation and retrieval:

1.         Encoding; receiving and processing information

2.         Storage; creating the record

3.         Retrieval; calling back information on command.

When the body is under stress, cortisol (a stress hormone) is released into the blood stream which can impair one’s ability to both create new memories and retrieve existing ones. In other words, don’t be stressed while studying or taking the exams!

While a little bit of pressure or nervousness often helps us to perform better, when the stress gets too intense, there will be downturn in our performance. So don’t let panic take over, or let pressure rest on your shoulders for too long.

Make sure you have some good stress-releasing activities to do. Exercise is very good because it releases the physical tension out of your muscles, releases endorphins (the ‘happy hormone’) into your blood and gives you some mental space to think about something else (or do like I do and clear my mind completely, like meditating).

Something else you can do for a really quick fix is to smile – a proper smile that lights up your whole face. You can do that wherever you are now – go on try it! Making your brain think you are happy by smiling will cause you to actually be happier. If you’re happy, you can’t be stressed as well.