Wednesday, 31 August 2016

A basic area ACCA F6 students are neglecting!

Planning your answers may seem like an obvious piece of advice from the ACCA examiner, but it is surprising just how many student launch straight into answering a question without taking time to think about how they are going to approach it. This has resulted in poorly structured answers, making it difficult for the examiner to identify the key points that have been provided and whether therefore the requirements of the question have been met. 

Here are some of the ACCA examiners’ remarks on this issue:

Monday, 22 August 2016

The No.1 reason that can lead to failure in the ACCA F5 exam

A large number of comments in the ACCA F5 examiners’ reports refer to the tendency of some candidates to misinterpret, misread or misunderstand what a question asks. This is the case in both written questions and multiple choice.

Many ACCA F5 students dive into an answer before they have read the question carefully. If you attempt to answer a question which is just slightly different from the one on which the marking guide is based, you can end up scoring no marks at all. Doing that just once in your exam could easily be the difference between passing and failing!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A key issue examiners want ACCA F4 students to focus on...

ACCA F4 Students must take care to read the question carefully in the exam. Not doing this is the easiest way to lose marks!

Examiners have identified this as an ongoing issue across a number of ACCA F4 sittings. 

This is what the examiners had to say and some important advice on how to overcome it:

Friday, 5 August 2016

Don't let stress be the reason for failing your ACCA exams!

Stress can be your biggest enemy when it comes to your ACCA exams! In my fifteen years of teaching, I've seen excellent students fail their exams due to an inability to manage their stress levels! This is such a shame as they often work long and had to achieve success. 

Remember, everyone gets nervous in the build up to important events. Whether it's starting a new job, attending an interview or making a wedding speech, it's perfectly natural to feel butterflies in your stomach before the big day.

Sportsmen often say that a little stress is a good thing as it actually improves their performance. Similarly many famous actors suffer from stage fright just before giving outstanding performances on the stage.

Like these successful people, the secret is it to control the stress not let the stress control you!

So, let's think about stress in terms of your ACCA exams. Take a look at these 5 great tips that could be key the to passing:

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Must read advice from June 2016 students!

It's worth remembering that you are not the first person to take your ACCA exams! The good news is that thousands of ACCA students have gone before you, so there is a wealth of experience that you can benefit from. 

Although before my time(!), this reminds me of a guy by the name of Dick Fosbury who revolutionised the high jump at the 1968 Olympics. By using a never seen before backward flop technique he won the gold medal against his rivals. From that day it became the standard way of jumping and 50 years later is still used by virtually all high jumpers. They have used the knowledge and technique they have gained from Dick Fosbury to achieve their own success. 

Similarly, you can also get the benefit of people that have gone before you in your ACCA exams. We asked students who have recently completed their June 2016 ACCA exams, what advice they would give to future students. Their answers are extremely valuable as there is no better source of information than the people that have actually taken the exams. 

We had some interesting answers - why not learn from their experience to take your revision to a higher level?! Here are the key points from the survey:

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Tick Tock Tick Tock - 10 ways to manage your time!

Time can pass by very quickly in an ACCA exam and before you know it your time is up and you’re out of the exam room. There isn’t anything worse than leaving an ACCA exam wishing you had just 10 more minutes! Sound familiar? Well don’t worry, you’re not alone. Time Management is an issue that many students face across all exams.

Recently I tutored a Masterclass that involved students doing timed practise questions. Despite a clear reminder for people to manage their time within the questions, students still fell into the trap of spending too long on the first part and doing very poor, and short, second parts of questions. This emphasised to me once again that effective time management is not just about answering all the questions within the total exam time but also dividing your time within the questions.

So I'm not surprised that around a third of students that took part in our June 2016 ACCA Exam Experience Survey said they wished they’d spent more time developing their time management skills prior to their ACCA exam.

Year on year ACCA Examiners' Reports have also frequently highlighted it as a problem that has resulted in rushed answers and even some incomplete scripts. Take the advice from me, fellow students and examiners to ensure the clock doesn’t beat you!

Whether it is an ACCA multiple choice or written based exam, perfecting this skill isn’t easy so here are some simple tips that can help you to significantly improve:

Monday, 20 June 2016

Don't make this big mistake!

I was recently approached by a worried student who was struggling to remember his theory. He was spending hours reading the ACCA Study Text but simply couldn't remember what he'd just read - nothing was going in! He talked me through his revision technique and basically we soon released that he didn't have a strategy. He simply spent hours reading through the ACCA Study Text over and over again. 

His biggest mistake was that he was not taking notes. I suggested that he should spend one hour on a specific subject annotating the text and capturing the key points as he went along. I am pleased to say that he was quickly able to take me through the ACCA subject in great detail much to his own surprise!

Sometimes it isn't enough to simply read through a piece of text - in my experience you have to take things a step further like this student did. Take notes as you go along. The process of reading a portion of text and then translating this into a written note helps your brain to consume and understand the information. It also helps you to remember it at a later date.

To help you do this really well, here are 8 simple but effective note-taking tips:

Monday, 13 June 2016

6 ways to significantly improve your work life balance

Juggling work, revision and home life is the single biggest challenge for many ACCA students.

I was recently counseling an ACCA student who was struggling with getting this balance right. He was a committed rugby player as well as a father of two small children. Combined with a busy job in the finance team of a large multi-national corporation, his ACCA revision seemed like a step too far in his busy schedule. He found that not only was his revision going badly, he was not managing any of the key parts of his life successfully. He was heading for problems!

This reminded me of many conversations I have had with Accountancy students over the 15 years I've been teaching.

Of course there is no simple answer, but there are some steps that can be followed to help students to get the balance right and be successful in their ACCA exams.

Here are my six key tips:

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A simple tip to help make your revision sink in...

Sometimes it's easy to spend hours revising, revising and revising for your ACCA exams, to find that at the end of it all it feels like you can't remember a single thing.

This is obviously not ideal!

In my 15 years of teaching accountancy exams, I have found a number of ways to overcome this such as effective note-taking and having a structured revision plan.

However, there is an even more obvious way to make your ACCA revision more effective with minimal effort. It may seem simple but is often ignored by many students!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

3 tips to make your revision fun and effective (yes I said fun!)

ACCA revision is of course very important - but are we guilty of making our approach a bit too serious?

It goes without saying that all students really want to pass their ACCA exams - so it's important to make sure your revision is as effective as possible. After all, it's a serious matter!

However, there is often a misconception that revision can't also be enjoyable. 

With that in mind, here are three tips that could not only make your revision more fun, they could also make your revision more effective!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Model, Average or Disaster Student... Which one are you?

People regularly use the term “The Model Student” within the education industry when describing successful candidates who pass their exams with top marks. However, the idea of the model student can seem a bit out of reach for many ACCA students, as they may think achieving that level of performance is unattainable for them.

I wanted to explore the idea of the ACCA model student therefore, in order to try and work out what really makes the perfect student within the accountancy world. This will hopefully inspire some of my ACCA students to reach that little bit further within their own studies to achieve the best result they possibly can.

To start off with we need to give the model student term a little bit more context. So let's first look at what makes an average student...

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Return of the 'must know tips from the examiners'!

Why do ACCA students ignore Examiners' Reports?

Your guess is as good as mine - as there is no better information to help them pass their exams!

Don't fall into the same trap by making time in your revision plan to work your way through the last five Examiners' Reports. This will give you an advantage by understanding exactly what the examiners are looking for.

Of course you could just continue to read this blog as we've done the hard work for you by summarising the main points in recent reports. 

To conclude our series of tips, here are the key points you need to know for the ACCA F8 and F9 exams:

Friday, 6 May 2016

Must know tips from the examiners - the sequel!

It amazes me that so many ACCA students don't pay attention to the Examiners' Reports. After all, they are the people you need to impress on the big day!

These reports highlight the same old issues that come up time and time again. They summarise the mistakes students are making in the exams and give important and helpful advice on areas they should improve.

Make sure you don't ignore these! To help you out we've captured the key points here:

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Must know tips from the examiners

What better advice can you receive than from the examiners themselves? After all not only do they write the ACCA exam, they also mark it!

I recently attended a conference in London where examiners fed back on the performance of accountancy students. It's a great shame that you were not all in the audience with me as they gave some great advice on how students can perform better in the exams. Despite the fact you weren't there, the good news is that the ACCA Examiners' Reports are issued after every sitting. They contain nuggets of information that are essential reading for students.

It was interesting in the conference that the examiners were disappointed that many students did not take the time to read their ACCA reports - as the same problems were coming up time and time again!

Here are the key points from ACCA F4 and F5 exams. ACCA F6, F7, F8 and F9 will follow over the next few days. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Are you fit for the exam? Find out!

Fast food, fizzy drinks and burning the midnight oil are sadly not the recipe for ACCA exam success! As well as being mentally prepared for their ACCA exams, students also need to make sure that they are in good physical shape.

In my experience this is easy to neglect when spending hours and hours revising late into the night, often skipping meals and sitting behind a screen without a break.

Poor physical condition will affect your performance and can be the difference between a pass and a fail. Of course you're not preparing for an Olympic marathon but it's still worth making sure you give yourself the best chance to pass the ACCA exam! 

Here are some tips to make sure you are physically as well as mentally prepared for the ACCA exam.