Archives For study

Man using laptop, hand on chin, looking away

by ACCA student blogger Sarosh Fatima

As the next exam session approaches, the panic starts to strike! For some of us, panic attacks have become almost synonymous with exams, but I can now say that I have found a way to tackle them.

I have been able to plan my studies with the help of ACCA’s self-study guides. I don’t believe in exhausting myself; instead, I have spread out my studies and focused on different syllabus areas each week. It doesn’t take me long to grasp all the concepts this way and it has helped my confidence and reduced stress.

Patience and perseverance pave the way to success. An ACCA student will always need to possess these two attributes to avoid making any mistakes in haste and under stress. Every student needs to have self-belief, and a single exam result can never define one’s ability.

Failing an exam never means that you cannot do it. It just means you can do better. Every student needs to look ahead and think positively, which will enhance their confidence in their own abilities. We should be more believing – and have confidence – in ourselves.

Our exam success is solely based on the hours we spend in the exam hall. Tackling this time and taking control of our nerves will help impress the examiner with our knowledge and exam technique skills.

So, as we prepare for the March exam session, let’s believe in ourselves!



by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

Sometimes life throws not just lemons, but curveballs at you. How do you deal with it?

As I am attempting my final two ACCA papers and since I am a full time student, there are so many things that I will need to take charge of to prepare myself for the next chapter of my life.

A few years ago, when I started my journey with ACCA, I knew that I would have to sacrifice some things in order to keep my studies on track. The question that I always had (and I am sure many students have) was this; what would I have to sacrifice, and how much? Would I achieve that elusive study-life balance that everybody was talking about?

As I am nearing the end of my student life, I’ve come to a conclusion that study-life balance can be achieved. It’s just a matter of prioritizing, but how to prioritize, you ask? Everything seems important, phone calls to make, exams to study for, appointments to attend, work needs to be done.

The 80/20 rule

Pareto’s 80/20 rule of thumb is ‘80% of consequences stem from 20% of causes‘, quoted by Joseph M. Juran, the person who discovered the theory (later named the principle after Pareto). This goes to say 20% of the activities we do will affect 80% of the outcome.

I apply the 80/20 rule in every action I take every day. This way, I constantly remind myself that I should perform the activities necessary that will give a positive outcome, which is, of course, studying.

Of course, life goes on, unexpected events happen, but how do I make up for it?

Learn to say ‘No’

Sometimes I have emergencies that were unplanned and I would triple-book myself in a day. I’ll admit, it’s difficult, if not impossible to juggle so many things in one day.

The most important thing that I still struggle with is learning to say ‘no’. Growing up in an Asian parenting style, we were told that saying no is a bad thing, especially when saying it to your boss or your elders. I still struggle with saying no; holding the fear that people will view me negatively and I would disappoint them.

However, saying no to certain things that is too much for you is essential. I had a personal experience when I took on too many things at one time, I got too stressed and didn’t perform as well as I should have in everything that I had undertaken. Now, I only take on special tasks if I must and only if I am certain I can take on the role and perform it to my best.

Do stop to smell the roses

Often at times when I study and work too hard, I sometimes I forget that there are more things to life. After all, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’.

On some days, I take time off to allow myself to have a break, time with family and friends, and time to pick up a hobby.

I’d like to think that it’s good to have a balance of book smarts and street smarts. After all, the theory we learn in school may or may not be applicable in real life, but they give us a strong foundation for us to learn better in the future.

Hopefully by now you would have picked out some tips that I’ve delivered through this article. Until the next time, study hard and take care of your health!


by ACCA student blogger Elyse Burns-Hill

This may be my last blog post as an ACCA student; I have just taken my last two exams (P5 & P7). I feel relatively confident that I will get the results I want in August (i.e two pass marks!)

I thought for this article I would look back over my time as an ACCA student and share my thoughts with you in four points:

1. Don’t give up
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve questioned why I was doing this. It had nothing to do with the subject or job; I really don’t like revision and I especially don’t like exams. In the times you feel like giving up – don’t. The hard work now will be worth it, so stick it out.

2. Early nights
The night before the exam is the most crucial to get to bed early and have a good nights sleep. I have done it before every single exam I’ve taken. Staying up all night revising (however tempting) will not help you in the exam.

A lack of sleep and a brain full of caffeine and sugar is as good as Gandalf standing in front of you shouting “You shall not pass!”. I promise you, I have done exactly as I preach on all 14 papers – it works.

3. Believe in yourself
You want to know the secret to passing these exams? Believe that you can.
Honestly, believe in yourself and you are over half way to passing your exams (the other half is revision and question practice!)

4. Be an accountant
I always think of the line in Miss Congeniality when Victor Melling says to Gracie Hart “You wear the crown, be the crown, you are the crown!” This should be the exact mentality to when you go into your exam. Be an accountant. Think like one. Write your answers like one. Don’t be a student; be an accountant.


A message from the blog editors: A big thank you to Elyse for contributing to the Student Blog; we’ve enjoyed her positive articles and her great advice to fellow students.

by ACCA student blogger Elyse Burns-Hill

I touched briefly on mindset in my last post, and I would like to expand on it now.

Creating the right mindset for yourself is what can make the difference between success and failure. This applies to everything in life from your ACCA exams to getting your dream job. 

1. Believe in yourself

Some of us go through times when we just do not believe that we are going to make it through the next set of exams without at least one failure. I know I’ve felt like that on multiple occasions.  Whenever those thoughts come into your head, you need to push them out again. Don’t let them take hold and bring you down. This is what I tell myself when I feel like that: “I am capable of anything I want to do, and at the moment that is passing my exams”.

2. Positive energy

Create positive energy around what you are doing. If you’re studying, sit quietly for two minutes and imagine yourself opening your exam results. “Pass”- let the feelings of happiness (or relief!) sit there and radiate out through your mind and body. Then get to work.

3. Release yourself from restraining thoughts

Many of us believe that the intelligence, abilities or talents that we are born with are what we have for life. While each of us maybe born with a capacity or limit to our intelligence, very few people will reach that capacity without hard work and perseverance. If you think about it on a biological level (keeping things simple!), the brain is just a mass of connections. The more you learn and work towards building those connections, the smarter you get.

So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to believe in yourself every step of the way, create a bubble of positive energy around you whenever you do something you want to succeed in, and keep learning and pushing yourself in the knowledge that doing so will make you smarter.



by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

ACCA computer-based exams (CBEs) have been around over 10 years for exams F1-F3. The latest news is that paper F4 – Corporate and Business Law, will be converted into a CBE by December 2014.

Sitting for CBEs is different. I have taken paper exams for most of my life, and sitting for CBEs for the first time was quite daunting. There are some key differences between taking CBEs and paper-based exams.

Exam results

Firstly, there is no delay in finding out your result, which saves the 2 month wait from the end of your exam to results day.  So you will know instantly if you will need to prepare better to pass the paper (if you fail), or move on to other papers faster (if you pass).

Saving time

You can also use your time more effectively when revising – because you can practice more multiple choice questions in the same time as you would spend writing out much fewer essay answers in preparation for exams. As a result I honestly felt that I was better prepared for my CBEs than my paper-based exams, because I was able to practice many more questions through this method.

Not an ‘easy option’

Multiple choice questions are difficult in their own way. A candidate must understand the exam syllabus fully in order to select the correct answer to gain the marks, rather than getting confused by one of the similar incorrect answers. That means you are required to know the syllabus THOROUGHLY before you are ready to take an exam.  There’s no chance of bluffing your way through the exam by guessing the answers – you won’t score enough marks to pass.

Other advantages

There are certainly advantages to CBEs in comparison with paper-based exams. For instance, you will eliminate the risks of messy or even illegible handwriting, as well as the awful moment when your last trusty black ink pen runs out of ink halfway through the exam. Bad hand or wrist cramps from writing too fast or too hard are eliminated too.

Once the pros and cons are taken into account, I believe CBEs are a change for the better.

Until the next time, study smart and take care of your health.