But how should you actually study for the best results? Which ACCA study techniques are most effective? How can you ensure you’re actually absorbing and retaining the information you’re studying?
Everyone learns in different ways, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to studying for the ACCA. However, if your go-to study tactic is to sit at your desk, feverishly highlighting every other line and hoping for the best … it could be time for a change.
There are tens of different ways to study, and your current method might not be the best. Read on to discover some of the most effective ACCA study techniques, and get inspiration for your next revision session.
6 Hyper Effective ACCA Study Techniques
We’ve probably all heard the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’, normally from some smug teacher looking over your shoulder as you redo whatever it is for the three-billionth time. There is an actual science behind this though, and it’s called overlearning.
Overlearning is the theory that practising your new skills or knowledge beyond initial proficiency will help ingrain the new material fully. Multiple reputable studies have shown this technique to be effective, so it’s definitely one to consider.
The idea is that the material becomes automatic, so you expend less energy ‘remembering’ and more energy thinking critically and problem solving during the exam. Experts suggest that you put in at least an extra 25% of your total study time after you’re confident you know the material.
Overlearning is one of the most effective ACCA study techniques – but beware, it’s not a last minute strategy!
Self-testing is an area that many ACCA students neglect, perhaps because testing is more difficult than simply reading and rereading notes…
However, self-testing is one of the most important ACCA study techniques you should use. It’s based on the principle of retrieval practice, which states that repeated self-testing can significantly improve memory retention.
Any technique that requires you to test yourself is a highly effective way of learning. This includes ACCA practice papers, flashcards and quizzes. That’s why each of our ACCA revision videos is followed by a bespoke quiz – if science says it works, who are we to argue?!
We’ve said this before and no doubt we’ll say it again – don’t leave your revision until the last minute. Whatever ACCA study techniques you are using, you should allow around 6 weeks per ACCA paper, so you have time to study in the most effective way.
This means distributed study – the opposite of cramming.
In layman’s terms, this literally means that you should spread out your study over longer periods of time. An influential report by top university researchers found that this study technique has a big impact on long-term retention.
Visual learning is one of the basic learning styles in the widely accepted Fleming VAK/VARK model of learning. (The others are Auditory, Kinaesthetic and Read/Write learning).
People who learn better visually are known as graphic organisers. If you’re a visual learner, you’ll benefit from creating diagrams or mind-maps to link concepts, ideas and knowledge together. Representing information spatially will allow you to easily recall, understand and draw connections between information.
If you’re an auditory learner, you retain and process information best when you hear it or speak it out loud.
The types of ACCA study techniques that suit auditory learners include:
- Reading notes out loud
- Listening to white noise or music during study
- Discussing the syllabus with a study partner
- Recording notes and playing them back
- Reading flashcards out loud
- Creating songs, poems or skits to remember information
Not sure whether you’re an auditory learner or not? Auditory learners tend to have incredible memory recall for conversations, anecdotes and jokes; can follow spoken directions easily; readily speak out in class or group settings and tend to be uncomfortable with silence.
Kinaesthetic learners are tactile learners, which means you learn best when you’re actively doing something. If you’re a kinaesthetic learner, you’re likely the sort of person who doodles all over your notes and finds it difficult to ‘sit down and study’.
The best ACCA study techniques for kinaesthetic learners make revision engaging.
You’ll likely learn particularly well through role-playing, so a study group could be a good option. Also, online games and interactive quizzes will be more productive for you than simply reading and highlighting your notes. Breaking up your study with physical activity can help you retain the information you’re learning.
You’ll notice that highlighting and rewriting your notes endlessly doesn’t make the list… That’s not to say that those are bad ACCA study techniques… but studies have shown that they’re almost certainly not the most effective.
Everyone learns in different ways, so the most important thing is to work out what your learning style is and use the relevant study techniques for you. There are some constants, though. Self-testing, overlearning and distributed learning are three techniques everyone should be using to revise for the ACCA.
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