ACCA Exam Revision: Solo or Group?

ACCA exam revision can feel overwhelming. When should you study? Where should you study? Which ACCA exam revision techniques should you use? There are so many variables that it’s difficult to know how you can maximise your chances of success.

One of the questions ACCA students ask most frequently is this: is it better to study alone or in a group?

The short answer is that there’s no short answer, I’m afraid. A different ACCA exam revision environment will be best for different people. It’s impossible to say that one is definitively better than the other.

What we can do, though, is break down the pros and cons of each, so you can make an informed decision.

ACCA Exam Revision: Going It Alone 

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Hunched over your desk, headphones on. Sprawled across your bed, music blaring. The hustle and bustle of the local coffee shop versus the comforting silence of the library… Wherever you do it, here are the ins and outs of solo ACCA exam revision.

Self-Pacing

One of the biggest advantages of doing your ACCA exam revision alone is that you’re in charge of the pace. All of us learn at different speeds and studying alone caters to that. You can decide where to focus, where to spend more time, when to take breaks and so on.

If you study in a group you could find you get bored and lose focus because you’re covering material too slowly or end up skimming topics you needed longer to get to grips with.

Control your own schedule

If you study alone, you can decide when and where works for you. You can fit your ACCA exam revision around your life, which means you’re likely to do more of it. Forcing yourself to sit down and study can be a challenge enough, without trying to coordinate the schedules of multiple people to get a group together.

Easier to concentrate

Many students find it is easier to concentrate when doing ACCA exam revision alone. It can be hard enough to concentrate and being in the company of friends can be a temptation too far. If you’re alone, you’ll likely find it easier to switch into ‘revision mode’ and force yourself to concentrate on what you’re doing.

Forces independent thinking

Have you ever been guilty of asking questions you probably already know the answers to? Most of us have. It’s very normal to defer to the authority of someone else, if someone else is there to ask – but this belies a lack of confidence in our own ideas.

If you’re studying independently, you’re much more likely to think independently, working out answers yourself. Even when you can’t, the process of critical thinking has forced you to engage and you’ll be more likely to learn from the process.

ACCA Exam Revision: Study Buddies

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A close friend, your partner, a parent, a work colleague, or a whole group of you – the possibilities for working in a study group are endless. Here’s what you need to know about group ACCA exam revision.

More Social

Do you really dread revision? Do you find constant excuses to do something else? Do you always find yourself hanging out with friends instead of sitting down to study? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, it might be time to make your ACCA exam revision more fun.

Group study done well can be both productive and social – and you’ll definitely study more if you look forward to it.

Shared Skills and Experience

A great study group can be better than the sum of its parts. Each member is likely to bring different skills and abilities to the table that everyone can learn from.

Say you aced Taxation and you’re studying for the corresponding professional paper, Advanced Taxation. You might have fantastic technical knowledge to share, but your study buddy might be really strong at structuring long-form answers. Learn from each other, and you’ll both likely do better in the exams.

Discursive Learning

Different study techniques suit different people, depending which type of learner you are. Aural learners and kinaesthetic learners might do especially well in a group revision environment as it allows you to discuss problems and present ideas back to the group. Interactive and discursive learning can be a very productive style of ACCA exam revision for many people.

Increased Motivation

Studying as part of a group can act as the extra dose of motivation you need to tackle your ACCA exam revision head on. While some people are massively self-motivated, others need the extra accountability a group can bring. Working in a group can also foster a sense of competitiveness, which can spur you on to work harder.

Support System

Revising as part of a group gives you people to bounce ideas off; it gives you a support network. Group discussion can be a useful way of sharing ideas, addressing problems and overcoming hurdles that you might not have overcome alone.

What’s The Upshot?

The above all seems terribly inconclusive, I know. There are huge advantages and disadvantages to both solo and group ACCA exam revision. Some people might be able to make time to do both – studying alone and then weekly group sessions for example – but this won’t work for everyone.

In fact, if you’re the type of person that works best alone you tend not to be able to work well in a group, and vice versa.

There’s no wrong or right answer as to which option is better. The most important thing is not to try and wedge yourself into a revision environment that doesn’t work for you. You might want to work in a group, but you have to self-reflect: does that come at the cost of your concentration? Are you really absorbing information, or are you just enjoying the company?

The take-home message is this. Feel free to try out as many different ACCA exam revision methods, styles or environments as possible, but be completely honest with yourself when assessing them. Don’t just settle for what’s ‘convenient’ or ‘more fun’ if that’s not productive for you.
Which ACCA revision habits do you find most beneficial? Share your thoughts, comments or questions below.

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