Every week in the run-up to the ACCA exams in December, Caron Betts will be guiding us through exam preparation from a tutor's point of view.
Week 1 of a course is always busy in making sure the students have all the tools they need to start studying.
Although the Virtual Learning Campus (VLC) has lots of signposts, I am never surprised to receive questions on where to find things. And that’s OK with me. I’d rather give the student that little bit of extra help so they don’t worry about “how” to study”, but actually focus on their learning. It also gives me a chance to start building a relationship with that student.
I sent out the study planners this week which show the students what we will be covering and when, and also give them an indication of the amount of regular study required. The ACCA sets high standards, so the students need to put in the effort to give themselves the best chance of success in the exam. It can also be mildly panic inducing! That’s where my job becomes less of a tutor and more of a coach.
Let’s think about “Cathy”. Cathy sent me an email wanting help with understanding limiting factors (it’s an ACCA Paper F5 topic, for those not in the know). She said she’d done the reading and watched the video tutorial, but still felt lost. We arranged a catch up and, during the course of our conversation, it turns out she has just returned to full time work, has children doing their own exams and was worried about falling behind in the class. I reviewed the activities and tests she had already done, and could prove to her that was capable. In fact, she was doing well. This gave her the confidence boost she needed. She joined the live class on Thursday and made some positive contributions to the session. Having the time to spend with students in this way is great for them – and makes my job so rewarding.
I always like it when I get to use real life stories to demonstrate a subject and the F5 live class on Thursday had such an opportunity. We were discussing target costing and I used the bigger gaps in toblerone to illustrate the point. This then developed into the subject of our favourite chocolate bars (Twix for me), and what snacks are the students eating (Nutella is the best answer so far). Learning should be fun, and at least they’ll remember target costing!