Top five study tips for trainee accountants

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If you've recently completed an ACCA-X course, you can be eligible to receive a certificate once you've sat the relevant computer-based exams. If you're thinking about taking them on, you’ll first need to register for ACCA – once you’ve done that, it's time to get revising! We’ve assembled five top tips for optimising your study time below.

1. Find the reward

Everyone knows that exams and revision can be stressful. The key to overcoming this anxiety is to concentrate on the advantages that the exams will bring. In the case of ACCA exams in Financial and Management Accounting, the rewards may include the opening up of a new career path or greater confidence in your current role.  

2. Learning by doing

Everyone has different learning styles and their own way of revising for exams. But especially in terms of accountancy, learning by doing is a technique that should have at least some value for most students. Practising the skills the exam is designed to test – especially by using past papers – can be a great technique for finding the weak points in your knowledge. It's useful for building confidence for the eventual exam, too.

3. Give yourself time to reflect

Counter-intuitive and easy to forget, rest is an important part of any revision timetable. For one thing, it can help you retain more information, since short, sharp bursts with regular reviews are best for committing to memory. For another, it can help to provide a better sense of the big picture, since you'll have time to better understand how the different pieces of information fit together.

4. Making the most of online learning materials

This active approach towards revision can lead to a deeper understanding. This is why the ACCA-X courses include exercises and interactive tasks to help you engage with the different topics and learn more effectively. If you're revising for the FA1 and MA1 exams, for example, you can make use the exercises, videos and notes for the Introduction to Financial and Management Accounting course to improve your performance.  

5. Make a question bank

Students can fall into the trap of simply looking at their notes in the hope that the information will eventually sink in. This approach, however, has been shown to have little effect for most people. Instead, the key is to reorganise the material, actively making new notes and drawing links between the topics. This will give you a better sense of the big picture and help the information stick.

One way to give yourself a clearer sense of what the exam is designed to test – and reorganise the material gathered in your notes – is to create a revision question bank. This should comprise past exam questions, model answers and any alternative solutions or tutor notes. This will help you to perform better in the exam and help progress towards a respected and prosperous career in accounting.