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Your ACCA Exams Survival Guide (Part 1): Revision

Posted on February 28, 2015 2:30 pm;

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So you’ve gone through all your study texts, and now your exams are looming. It’s time to revise, but also time to take in some tips from Morgan on how to survive the stress with a confident smile.

Think ahead

Make sure you leave plenty of time left for revision. We recommend you actually make study notes as you are going through your study texts and then pull these out once it’s time to revise.

Don’t cherry pick

There’s no strategic way to second guess what might be in the exam, so when it comes to revision, don’t think you can cherry pick the areas worth revising. You could get a question on any of the topics, so it’s time to put your head down and make sure your revision covers the entire syllabus.

Practice makes perfect

Yes, it’s a cliché, but for good reason. It’s a tried and tested formula that the more you practice, the more likely you are to succeed. So make sure you pack in plenty of revision that revolves around question practice and mock exams.

Believe in yourself

Never forget that the special ingredient in your success is your own commitment and hard work. You have the power to make it happen.

Lean on ACCA

There’s so many resources available to you on ACCA’s website, don’t neglect them! You’ll find study guides, past papers, and even exam technique videos among many other items. Check them out under the Students tab in the Qualification Resources section.

Check Facebook

No, don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you waste precious minutes checking out friends’ selfies and status updates. We do, however, recommend you like and join ACCA’s own Facebook page as a great resource for information and networking.

Make a plan

Don’t just think about what you are going to do, write it down and commit to it. A study plan is the best way for you to gauge just what needs to be done exactly and how you are going to fit it into your schedule.

Cover all bases

Studying the ACCA syllabus inside out will give you the breadth of the examinable topics, but you also should look into getting to know how the exam is structured early on in your revision.

Get inside the examiner’s head

Yes, really! You can do this thanks to ACCA’s Examiner Approach Interviews on the ACCA website. We highly recommend that you check them out.

Set targets

It’s fine to plan to reach a certain number of hours per day of study, but to be sure you are on track, you really need to set targets that relate to actions and accomplishments. For example, make your target something like one chapter of the syllabus, rather than three hours of study. Only then will you know how effective your planning really is.

Go deeper

Getting to grips with the concepts behind any topic is an absolute must: think of it as the concepts being the building blocks on which you will construct your success as you move on to more advanced papers.

Ask for help

Remember that asking questions is a true indication of a thirst for knowledge. And the more you ask, the more you will learn. So don’t hesitate to reach out to a teacher or other candidates in your quest for answers.

Look to the past

Delving into past papers gives you more than you think. Sure, it can give you an idea of types of questions you might encounter, but importantly it can also give you an excellent opportunity to practice your time management skills. On top of that ACCA has model answers to past paper questions which are a must-have resource for insight into how answers should be structured. Be careful, though. Remember the industry is evolving, and any model answers you come across may have been applicable at that time, but not necessarily now. Study them more for their style and structure, rather than content.

Learn from mistakes

Want to know where others went wrong, or what are the common pitfalls other students encountered? Then you’ll be glad to know that ACCA publishes Examiner Reports and Examiner Analysis Interviews that highlight these areas in a bid to give candidates such as yourself some extremely valuable insight.

Be on your marks

Introduce some strategic thinking ahead of the exams by getting to know how marking schemes work. Your first step is to check out past paper questions and note how many marks are given for each type of question. Compare the number of marks given to requirements such as list, identify, define, and then compare these to the marks for requirements such as ‘explain’, ‘analyze’, ‘distinguish’. You will begin to build up a picture of keywords and what is expected from you and just how many points each response can earn you.

Read up

Student Accountant magazine is one resource that could bring some benefits your way. It contains features on topics in which students often underperform, as well as technical articles and insight from examiners. You might want to take note of the technical articles that appear before the month of the exam: they may just hint at topics that might come up in the exam.

Read on for more tips. Your ACCA Exams Survival Guide (Part 2): Before the Exam.

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