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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.

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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.

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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!