29th October 2018 is the exam entry deadline for the December sitting of the ACCA exams. That said, please don’t leave it until the last minute to book as the system gets very busy, and you might miss your chance.
It is also the deadline for amending any exam entry. If you have already booked but now feel you want to defer or take a resit (see my blog from last week) then you can make changes to your booking through your MyACCA account.
Therefore, this week I want to take you through my ASPIRE checklist to help you decide whether you should be booking your exam next Monday.
Assess your progress
It’s important to honestly assess your progress AND your understanding. It’s all very well to complete the course, but if you have failed all the assessments then you are not understanding. Or do you find you run out of time in the assessments?
The exam will test your ability to complete tasks within a time limit, and that only comes with understanding. Of course, during revision you will have time to practise and so you should speed up, but be realistic with your ability at this stage.
Seek help where needed
This may be asking for help on a tricky area that is confusing you or asking your tutor for advice on whether you should enter for the exam.
Sometimes students get stuck on one area and it stops them from progressing onto what might be easier areas of the syllabus. Contact your tutor as soon as possible as usually they find another way to “teach” something and in a way that you can understand.
Sometimes students just need reassurance that they are doing OK and do have the ability to pass. Ask your tutor to review your progress and for an honest view of what they consider you are capable of achieving.
Sometimes students won’t be ready and should opt to defer. This may involve a difficult conversation with your employer, but it is better to manage expectations early rather than just “having a go” and hoping that it’ll be OK, only to have to announce a fail when results come out. Be professional when speaking to your manager and explore all options. Could they give you some study leave? Could you use annual leave or take unpaid leave?
Plan your next 6 weeks
Yes, there really are only 6 weeks left until exam week! A few weeks ago, I asked you to prepare a study plan. Look back at it now and check if you are still on track. All too often in life there are events and activities that “steal” time.
Be honest with yourself - are you at the stage of the course that you should be? Just to help you, my students have two more weeks of the tuition phase to complete and then they will have studied the whole syllabus. That’s important because the examiner will test the whole syllabus. That means there are four weeks where we work through a revision phase that will include practice tests and mock exams to ensure they have sufficient exam question practise.
Identify any potential obstacles
Now you know when you PLAN to study, check if there are any potential problems ahead. Is Gran’s birthday coming up? Do you have year-end to complete? Is your best friend moving house? If there is something that is going to get in the way, revise your plan. Are there other activities you CAN avoid? Are there other people who can help instead? The aim of your plan is to ensure you have enough time to prepare to pass the exam in December.
Remind yourself why you are doing this
Studying for exams is tiring. It often means working full time and studying at evenings and weekends. It usually means having to decline invitations for more fun activities to understand a particular topic or complete an assessment. Think about why you decided you wanted to be an ACCA accountant and what the benefits are from qualifying – more interesting job, better pay, etc. That should hopefully motivate you to keep on studying.
Enter for the exam
If you are confident that you will be ready to PASS (not just sit!) the exam in December, then make sure you meet the 29th October exam entry deadline. And if you have already booked – double check your MyACCA account to make sure you have the correct subject, variant (if appropriate) and exam centre.