With the coronavirus dominating the news headlines, we know it’s a challenging time for students trying to study for their professional accounting exams such as a ACCA and CIMA.
Many of you may be trying to juggle work and study at home, others may still be working and finding it tough to stay on track with studying.
In such challenging times, we wanted to share some advice on how you can stay focused despite everything going on in the world and pass your ACCA and CIMA exams so you can continue to advance your career.
Let’s look at 7 effective ways you can keep your study on track.
1) Take time away from news headlines and social media
We know it’s hard, but try to stop reading about the coronavirus every 20 seconds! We’re all guilty of it, but it’s unhealthy to put all your focus on the current climate.
Take a break and give yourself other things to concentrate on - in this case the ACCA or CIMA syllabus!
The aim of studying right now would be to try and come out the other end stronger than you went in.
Plus, if you can keep up your study and move closer towards your getting your qualification, even better.
2) Separate study from work and home life
Some of you may have experience of working from home and studying, but for many this is a new experience.
With all the parts of your life coming together under one roof, it’s crucial to separate these different tasks that you're doing. So, while you once went to work and then studied in the library to return home and relax, you're now trying to do all those things in one place.
The key is to try and differentiate between tasks. Maybe work and then take a break before moving into your study.
If you're using the same work area, it's important to clear the desk, walk away and come back to change the surroundings slightly.
It’s about trying to convince your brain each task is different despite being in the same place.
3) Set up a routine and stick to it
If you had a routine, it’s probably all over the place now.
However, there's no reason you can't still build a good routine and now and you might have to adapt things, but you can still build that in so that you have an approach to your work and study.
Integrate simple things such as taking walks, exercising and eating healthy so it’s part of your study plan.
It’s essential right now not just getting you through your studies, but also stay on top of your work and keep up your wellbeing up to ensure your head is in the right place.
Remember, there’s an element of comfort to having a routine. It may be time to adjust yours to fit the changes in your life and see what works best for you and your circumstances.
4) Follow a study plan
This point follows on from having a routine and gives you a clear plan to follow so you can stay on top of things.
We’ve developed simple 12-week and 6-week study plans that include study and practice on a weekly basis. Use these as your guide and make them part of your routine.
If you like checklists, then tick things off as you go through them. There’s always a great sense of satisfaction in that!
ACCA Study Plans
- P1 Management Accounting
- F1 Financial Reporting
- E1 Managing Finance in a Digital World
- Operational Case Study
CIMA Study Plans
- P2 Advanced Management Accounting
- F2 Advanced Financial Reporting
- E2 Managing Performance
- Management Case Study
- Strategic Business Leader (SBL)
- Strategic Business Reporting (SBR)
- Advanced Financial Management (AFM)
- Advanced Performance Management (APM)
- Advanced Taxation (ATX)
- Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA)
5) Focus on resilience
We talk about resilience a lot, but now more than ever adopting a resilient attitude is key to studying for and passing your exams.
In the face of challenges it’s crucial to change your plans and bounce back. I’m sure there’s been a time where this is important not just within your studies, but in everything else that's going on your life. So it really it's an ultimate test of this.
But, this is a time where you can really show your commitment to your studies, and can make a positive out of it and stay on top of it.
6) Use online resources
As your environment has changed to working from home, online resources are key to helping you prepare for your upcoming exam.
- Blogs - Study advice, pass rates and tips
- Live webinars - Ask questions of a tutor or get the chance to talk to other students. We run a weekly ACCA one here if you’re interested.
- Podcasts - There are a number of helpful accounting podcasts out there. Have a look at our recent blog ‘6 of the Best Podcasts for Accountants’ to find one that suits you.
- Online tutor support - If you have a tutor online, then make sure to use them when you’re stuck or need some guidance. We have 24/7 support that can help no matter where you are.
- CBE practice - Being able to practice online not only helps boost your knowledge but it also helps you practice the exam in the same conditions as the exam.
- Mock exams - Don’t forget to build practice into your study through correction packs and mocks. We provide personalised feedback in just 3 days for ACCA and CIMA.
7) Have a Positive Mindset
We talk about mindset a lot because it is so important to passing your exams.
We always tie it back to athletes as I think that's such a good analogy. There’s uncertainty for everyone at the moment, but what I always think about is that athletes have to train to succeed even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Having a positive mindset is going to be what helps get through this difficult time and circumstance. It's a positive mindset that makes you successful in your exam.
So as hard as it might be, try to turn every negative into a positive. The quicker you do that, the more beneficial it will be.
If everyone can have a little bit of a positive mindset than we’ll all get through this a lot quicker and you'll get through your exams quicker.
The next few months will be challenging, but that’s no reason to lose sight of your study and career goals.
Use these 7 simple tips to focus on your ACCA or CIMA exams for the foreseeable future to stay on top of your study and pass your exams to become qualified.