Scaling the ACCA mountain

Looking at the ACCA journey ahead can appear a little daunting. It’s like staring at the peak of Mount Everest and whether you’re at base camp or you’ve already made it halfway up, you know that you’re still going to have to commit a lot of hours and effort to reach the summit.

We’re often asked by our students for our advice on how they should plan their ACCA studies. We’ve pulled together our top tips and have also answered some of the burning questions, we know students have.

Scaling the ACCA mountain

Looking at the ACCA journey ahead can appear a little daunting. It’s like staring at the peak of Mount Everest and whether you’re at base camp or you’ve already made it halfway up, you know that you’re still going to have to commit a lot of hours and effort to reach the summit.

We’re often asked by our students for our advice on how they should plan their ACCA studies. We’ve pulled together our top tips and have also answered some of the burning questions, we know students have.

Break the mountain into smaller stages

  • The first thing you need to do is make a plan that breaks the journey down into stages.
  • We’d advise you to try and take one exam per sitting, we know that some people will want to try and finish a little quicker and others will need to take a break every now and then.
  • The important thing is to be realistic about what you can achieve and how you’ll fit it in around the rest of your life.
  • When you start studying ACCA, you know that it’s going to be a big commitment. With 13 papers to complete, even if you sit a paper every quarter, it’s going to take over three year to qualify.

Choose the route that’s right for you (choosing your papers)

  • When you map out your study plan, our advice would always be to start with the papers that you’re most familiar with.
  • If there are subjects that correlate to your role at work, this is a good place to start.
  • By choosing papers that you feel more comfortable with, you’re more likely to see success which builds confidence for what is yet to come.

Get your tactics right

  • For each paper, make a clear plan on how you’re going to tackle it.
  • As well as studying the subject, make sure you plan time to practice using your knowledge in the run up to the exam. Practice questions are a key part of planning for success, as this is a great way to make sure the information you’ve learned really sinks in.
  • Revision courses and question days are an excellent way to ensure you’re well prepared for your exam.

Questions we’re often asked

#1 What should I do if I can’t study or take an exam as planned?

Sometimes delaying your studies or not being able to take an exam is unavoidable. When this happens, you need to review your plan and decide on one of two options. You could choose to take two exams in one sitting but if this feels like too much of a challenge, it may be better to spread your study plan out over a longer period. Once you’ve qualified and are reaping the rewards of your studies, a few extra months will not seem that significant.

#2 I’ve just sat an exam, should I wait for my result before starting to study for my next paper?

The simple answer here is no. There’s a six-week gap between finishing an exam and getting your result. So, whilst we would advise you to take a short break from studying in the week after you’ve finished your exam, this is valuable time you could be using to get well underway with your next paper.

#3 What should I do if I fail?

First of all, don’t panic. It’s just one stumble in your overall journey. If you’ve already started studying for your next paper, what you do next will depend on the result you achieved. If you only missed out by a few percent, we’d advise you to carry on with the new paper and plan in some extra time to revisit the paper you’ve failed. You may also wish to book onto a revision course or question day to refine your knowledge. You can then plan to resit at the next available sitting. If you were more than 10% adrift on the paper you failed, put it to one side for now and focus on the new paper you’re studying for. You can always come back to it in the future and success in another paper will build your confidence.

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