I had studied by myself (self-study) for all the 14 ACCA examinations. My mentor (also an ACCA) had given me a few tips on how to go about with it. I have mentioned the process below, and we apply the same process with all our students at.
- Please understand that ACCA syllabus is training us for the professional world. Application of the concepts is the goal. Do not try to memorise everything without inculcating the ability to apply what you have memorised.
- Make sure you have a small background understanding of the core concept of the subject you are attempting to study.For example, if you are appearing for the F2 Management Accounting paper, know what management accounting is in brief before you go ahead. Yes, the book does contain an introduction, but having some perspective about the subject before diving into it is a great way to start to provide direction for your thoughts.
- Start with the Study Text. Focus on understanding concepts. I recommend speeding through the Study Text to grasp concepts, as the majority of your studying time should be spent on the Exam Kit.
- Make notes. Simplify complex paragraphs by drawing flowcharts or making points beside the paragraph in the Study Text.For example, when you are studying ratios in F9 Financial Management, make a note of what the ratio indicates if it increases or decreases. Accordingly, if you need to re-read the same, you can just rely on your shorter notes.
- WRITE down all the answers to questions, small or big, in the Study Text. DO NOT READ THEM. Writing is key.
- Do not skip any chapter (or worse, section).
- After each chapter/ section, go straight to the Exam Kit. This is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of studying ACCA. You CANNOT enter the examination hall without having completed the Exam Kit. Practising the Exam Kit is the BEST way to prepare yourself for the exam.
- At the beginning of each section, you would be a little lost as to how to BEGIN an answer. Do not panic as most of us would. Go to the answer and COPY it down. It is absolutely alright to do that as long as you are logically comprehending and understanding how the answer began.By the end of the Exam Kit, you would have a fair idea of how to begin almost any type of question, and move ahead from thereon.
- WRITE every single answer. Write it using short forms, illegible handwriting, however you want feel will speed up the process. Point is to WRITE the entire Exam Kit once.
- Focus more on the Exam Kit than the Study Text. For each and every paper.
- Mark questions you thought covered a range of topics or were particularly tricky. You can come back to them during revision time.
- No questions are repeated. It is important to understand how to APPLY the concepts learned rather than learn formulae and attempt to replicate answers. As said earlier in this thread, number crunching alone will not earn you the 50% pass mark.
- Attempt mocks examinations. Under exam conditions. Very important. Lock yourself in a room with a digital watch (preferably). Give yourself 3.15 hours for F5-P7 (2 hours for F1-F4) and stick to it.
- On the day before the exam, go through the Exam Kit in the following manner:Start with the 1st question of EACH section. Then the 2nd question of each section. Then 3rd and so on. The reason behind this is that you touch upon all sections of the syllabus instead of focusing on all questions of the 1st section, and then forgetting the same by the time you reach the 3rd section.
- Tips for the exam:For the written papers (F5-P7), get into the habit of reading the ‘Requirement’ of the question before reading the case scenario.For the Professional level examinations, always attempt the biggest question first.Practice time management. Understand the current scenario where you have 1.8 minutes per mark (F5-P7). If you are solving a 10 mark question and you see 18 minutes pass by, ABANDON the answer and move ahead to the next question. It is more important to attempt all questions rather than attempt some of them perfectly and run out of time for the others. Students who unfortunately score between 45–49 always admit they could have cleared the exam if they had attempted the entire paper.
If guided training is available to you, that would the best option for you.
Best of luck to all those attempting ACCA exams!