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10 ways to Study - From ACCA Website

Learning Centre

With the exams approaching, adopting an effective study technique becomes one of the most important ways to achieve success. We asked you for your top study tips and here are some of the best.

1 Make study a habit

Even at the best of times, studying and working can be tough. But, in the run up to exams, the need to study as much as possible can add to the pressure. Savin Mao, a Part 2 Professional Scheme student from Cambodia, advises students to make the best use of their time. ‘At the beginning of your studies, discipline yourself and produce a clear schedule of the extra study you need to do for your exams. After a couple of weeks, the extra hours of work will become a habit. Once it becomes a habit, it will feel normal to read or practise for your exams, and if you fail to study for even one day you will feel you are missing something.’

2 Use the resources at hand

Mohammad Shoaib, a Part 2 Professional Scheme student from Pakistan, recommends using the resources available on the ACCA website and in student accountant. ‘Analyse the exam papers from the past five years or so. Study the examiners’ feedback published in student accountant too. This is important because it enables students to find out what is expected in future exams.’ Examiners’ feedback is published twice a year in the April and October issues of student accountant. It is also available on the ACCA website, together with past exam papers and answers, and technical articles. ‘The more you analyse the more you benefit,’ concludes Mohammad.

3 Working together

Group learning or studying with a friend can be a good way to reinforce what you know, and find out what you don’t know. Donamie Providence, a CAT passed finalist and Part 2 Professional Scheme student from St Vincent recommends studying with others so that you can look at topics from different angles. ‘Working in a small group of three or four allows you to discuss topics and get ideas from one another,’ she says. ‘In addition, talking about your daily work enables you to share your skills and knowledge, and this could help you apply your experience to the exam questions.’

4 Ask if you don’t understand

If you attend lectures, it is important to know that you understand all you have been taught. Choong Woon Wei, a Part 2 Professional Scheme student from Malaysia, advises students to make sure they have understood everything and not to be afraid to ask tutors and lecturers questions. ‘It is vital to have complete comprehension of the subject, so that your mistakes or misunderstandings are not compounded as the course continues,’ says Choong Woon Wei. ‘The best way to check your understanding is to see if you can teach the subject to a friend, and explain every aspect of it effectively and accurately. If you can, then you should be able to convey your knowledge to the examiner too.’

5 Practice, practice, practice

Jane Kamoche, a Part 2 Professional Scheme student from Kenya, believes in the old adage ‘practice makes perfect’. ‘Although we have heard this said many times, it really works,’ says Jane. Her advice is to try to do three or four practice questions after every topic studied. ‘By doing as many revision papers and questions as you can, what you have learned will stay in your head.’


CAT student Rohail Amjad from Pakistan uses the PQRST method for his study – P = preview, Q = question, R = revise, S = summary, T = test. ‘I first preview the topic to find out what I need to know, then I note down any queries or questions. Nearer to the exams, I revise the topic and make short notes in summary form. Testing myself on these helps me to see where I am with the subject and what knowledge gaps I have.’

7 Look after yourself

It is well documented that your brain works best when you eat healthily and sleep well – and if you don’t get enough sleep, you may lose a lot of cognitive power. Caroline Tromans, a Part 3 Professional Scheme student from the UK, believes that getting your body into the best possible shape can give you the edge when it comes to your studies. ‘Don’t forget to eat, exercise, rest and sleep properly. If you are tired, hungry and sluggish you will not perform at your best.’

8 Plan ahead

Dorothy Wong Sio Kuan, a Part 2 Professional Scheme student from Macau, promotes planning as the way to achieve success. ‘Plan a weekly target, then break this into daily targets. Try to meet your daily targets, and if you can’t, make up for it within the week,’ advises Dorothy. ‘Planning can help you decide how many subjects you can take in a particular session. Detailed scheduling may take you some time but, according to the cost–benefit principle, this is time worth spending if you can monitor your progress step-by-step on the way to becoming a successful finalist.’

9 Read the syllabus

Stephen Coates, a Part 2 Professional Scheme student from the UK, recommends reading the Syllabus. ‘You may think this is a waste of time when you should be reading textbooks but it could save you a lot of effort in the long run. When revising, tick off the subjects in the Syllabus as you go along, to make sure that you have covered everything.’

10 Start early

Start your studies early advises Rhosheda Benjamin, a CAT student from Antigua and Barbuda. Rhosheda doesn’t wait for her results before she starts to study for her next exams. ‘Give yourself at least two weeks to relax after your exams are over, then start studying for the next session. Read every chapter in your textbook, and at the end of each chapter do past questions to familiarise yourself with the exam requirements as they relate to the chapter. By doing this a few nights a week, you will be able to revise as you go through the textbook. Then, about a month or so before the exam, concentrate on practising past questions, referring to the textbook only when you are stuck.’


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