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Never give up!

theaccablog —  2 September 2014 — 4 Comments


by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli 

‘The discomfort of change is better than the heartbreak of complacency.’

It’s only when you feel that the pain of giving up is greater than the pain of putting in the time and effort to chase your dreams, will you be able to move on, never give up and reach new heights.

This became very clear to me about a year and a half ago, after procrastinating I had virtually given up with my ACCA studies (I had 9 papers passed up until 2001 and then quit), that I realised something had to change. I knew I would have to sit down and ask myself what I wanted out of life, re-write my goals and consider the sacrifices myself and my family will make in order for me to achieve what I wanted. The pain of having given up was too high and I knew that once I had come up with a game plan I could do this.

Since December 2012 I have successfully sat another 2 papers and passed them first time, which leaves me with 3 papers left to get one step closer to ACCA membership.

From this experience I have learnt that I would need to attend all my lectures and being 40 years old I would need extra time to absorb the material. So after each lecture I would make sure I sit down for 30 minutes and review what I had learnt. I would then put time aside on weekends (in small chunks of 30-45mins) to revise again and attempt exam questions (without using the answers as an aide).

Here are some tips for you that I find very useful:

  • make your study area just that, an area where you can study with no or minimal distractions
  • make sure you get sufficient rest
  • learn material by recalling and reciting. Simply reading text over and over again will not magically enable you to learn it.

I am sure you have read and re-read all of the above a dozen times, so I go back to my original point – ‘The discomfort of change is better than the heartbreak of complacency’.

Never give up on your goals, whatever they maybe.

Good luck!


Photo credit: Nikola Ostrun via Flickr



by ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

Anxiety is inevitable. No matter how prepared we may be, we will get nervous. After all, if you study to the point where your life or death depends on the final grade, you’re bound to get nervous before and after the exam (technically true, but no rational person would go to that extent, except maybe me).

So, the next time you feel that wave of anxiety rushing within you and the level of stress, rising try the following:

Step 1: Stop whatever you are doing at that moment.

It’s very tempting to rationalize with yourself and say, ’but I’m about to finish this last page!’ or ‘I’m going to finish the last sub-question!’ DON’T let that get to you. You’ll feel unsettled and frazzled and nothing productive would be accomplished.

Step 2: Take a break.

A power nap would be best. If you had too much coffee to the extent that sleeping is difficult (shame on you), close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. It helps to ease the escalating dizziness and that feeling of bile going up to your throat. (There are certain breathing techniques that I may not be aware of. If you do and those methods work for you, use them!)

After a 20-30 minute power nap and or an allocated time for breathing techniques…

Step 3: Draft your ‘game plan’.

It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to get it done. Construct a ‘game plan’, your to-do list for the day, or maybe for the next 3 days of what you plan to accomplish in those 1-3 days for your studies. Remember to consider time to rest and relax. (Don’t forget about sleep, and food. All humans need those. And you’re a human, right?)

If you had a game plan from the start, review and revise it. Cross off tasks that you had completed and fill in new ones. Also, schedule in for sleep and food and unavoidable commitments.

Once you’ve set up the game plan…

Step 4: Quote Nike’s tagline: ‘Just do it’.

Dive into that mountain of books, get busy and start crossing those items off your to-do list. JUST do it. It is crucial, failing which, you might decide to skip the work for the day and continue ‘rewarding yourself’ for the ‘long hours’ that you had put in.

Oh, and the feeling of crossing an item off a to-do list will really motivate you to press on.

But if you start feeling bored, or pent-up frustration starts rising…

Step 5: Switch up your study method.

It would maintain the momentum of studying whilst giving your brain a different challenge. Bored of reading your notes? Try making flash cards. Tired of making flash cards? Try out some questions. Stuck on questions? Switch back to reading your notes. A change would avoid stress from escalating.

Once you accomplished what you were supposed to finish…

Step 6: Reward yourself.

Small rewards go a long way. They keep you motivated and energised to reach your final goal. Treat yourself to, say, an hour of TV or an ice cream for revising 2 chapters or completing a past year paper.

Well done! Give yourself a small pat on the back, and its back to the books again!


That’s it from me. I’d like to end here with a song title that keeps me going, ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’, and I hope it may inspire you to keep going. Until then, keep up the good fight, study smart and take care of your health!


by ACCA student blogger Pantelis Fouli

With ACCA, like anything in life, succeeding starts in the mind. You need to remove all self-doubt. If you truly feel that you cannot achieve your goal of becoming a qualified accountant, you won’t be able to. On the other hand, if you embrace it and believe the sky is the limit – you will be able to.

As I mentioned in my first blog entry, I did not study or successfully take an ACCA exam for 11 years, because my personal life and business life took over. I got married, we had 2 children, we built a new house, my wife underwent a serious operation and I changed employers three times in this period. Also, because I part-qualified, I felt the need to pile on the extra hours at work to prove myself. So I found myself battling with the balance of home and work obligations – and an inferiority complex.

Changing all this started by surrounding myself with positive, like-minded people. I had passed exams in the past, so I knew I could do it again. I had the desire, I just had to have faith in myself too. I sat down and mapped out goals to achieve in the next 6 months . I had to start asking the right questions:

  • What do I want? (ACCA)
  • What will this bring me? (More confidence, better employment, more money)
  • How will I know if I have succeeded?
  • What is the definite date when I will pass each exam and when I will ultimately qualify?

By asking the right questions and keeping your goals in sight, you begin to put conscious effort into breaking old habits and establishing new ones. Once I had won the battle with my inferiority complex, I realised that I had the required experience and so from this point forward would project the appropriate assertiveness and confidence.

Work and family life taking over was the easiest part for me to overcome because I have a wife that knows that me qualifying as an ACCA will open many different avenues that will bring a better future for us all. So she sacrificed some of her personal time (if mothers actually do have any of this) to enable me to study and attend college.  I used to think to myself, ‘how could I tell my children to study hard to obtain a qualification when I didn’t myself’. This thought was also very instrumental in getting me back on the right path.

If only one message is to be taken from this article, it’s…”BELIEVE”.

Till next time.