There are still 4 weeks until the exam.
There are only 4 weeks until the exam.
Which one sounds right to you?
How you define the time you have left to study may depend on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, whether past performance has always shown you do well in exams but also whether you are up to date and understanding your studies.
There are 4 weeks until the exam.
Therefore, this week I want to look at how you spend that time to the greatest effect, so you can give yourself the best chance of success in the exam room.
One of my favourite phrase is “I can achieve a lot in X time”. For example, if I have mock exams to mark and then need to be completed by the end of the day I will tell myself “I can achieve a lot in 7 hours”. It is my own personal prompt that there is plenty of time and a reminder that when I work steadily and logically then at the end of the day the list of marked mocks will be reduced.
You can achieve a lot in 4 weeks.
Update your study plan
In the first week of the blog I wrote about how to plan your time. Revisit the plan to check:
- what you have left to do, and
- what time you have to do it in.
Previously, I specifically talked about looking for opportunities to study, and as we near the exam you may need to consider trying to increase those opportunities. I often tell my students they may need to miss an episode of their favourite programme (record it and catch up after the exam) or skip a night out - remember time invested now means you’ll qualify more quickly.
Be realistic about what you can achieve
From your list of tasks left to complete, allocate them to the time slots on your updated study plan. Ideally you will have completed all of the tuition phase i.e. you have been through the complete syllabus, so your time can be spent on recap and question practice (see below).
However, I am aware that not everything goes according to plan and you may be a bit behind and still working through the course material. The ACCA examiners will always seek to examine the breadth of the syllabus. In the computer-based exams they will use the objective test questions to test detailed aspects of the various topics. In the Strategic Professional level, they will use the sub-requirements to the same effect.
Therefore, ensure that you cover everything but don’t worry if you don’t master everything. Remember these exams have a 50% pass mark so it is OK to make the odd mistake here or there. By having covered the whole syllabus you will be able to pick up the basic marks and make an educated guess at the trickier areas.
Recap and question practice
This is what revision looks like.
Question practice is the key to success in the real exam. It helps you assess your understanding and shows you how the examiner will test a particular topic.
Make sure you set aside some time to complete at least one mock exam / past paper as part of your exam preparation. Do the exam and debrief it fully.
Finally, I just want to remind you to look after your health. I am sure you already know to eat well, drink lots of water, get some fresh air, do some exercise and ensure you get plenty of sleep. Consider a sportsperson preparing for an event - all of those things help to give peak performance when it matters. It is the same for exams, you need to be at your physical and mental best to do these exams.
Be kind to yourself. Stay positive. Make the most of these 4 weeks.