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Brandon Gatt - Zampa Debattista - Certified Public Accountants

For all those out there who are fond of romance and love stories – beware: my experience with my partner ACCA was difficult and at times painful. She can be nasty, slap (and punch) you in the face, is a narcissist and very jealous. She wanted my full attention for most of my time – and if I did not give her that attention, she made sure that I spend more and more time with her enduring even more pain. But finally all of this was fulfilling and rewarding. Thankfully, my relationship lasted (only) 3 and a half years until I embarked into a better relationship, this time with a new partner called Life.

Plan, Plan and Plan…

It is very important to plan your studies and stick to the plan as much as possible. If you do not plan, the risk of failure is very high. This is how it works with for example a healthy diet or fitness training – if you plan your week and prepare your food in advance the chance of success is high.

Early riser, intensive weekends but don’t burn out!

My typical week was as follows:

Mondays to Fridays –  8 to 9 hours at the office. After work I used to be too tired to study, so I used to wake up early, at around 5am, twice or perhaps 3 times a week for a good 2 hours of studies.

On Saturdays I used to spend another good 6/7 hours of studying – 3 hours from 9am to 12pm and another 4 hours from 2pm to 6pm. My Saturday evenings were awesome – my free time – some exercise and/or meeting up with some friends.

On Sunday mornings I would spend another 5 hours studying – (3 hours from 9am to 12pm and another good 2 hours in the afternoon. On Sunday evenings/late afternoon, I used to go out for a drink or two.

Do not overdo it – I don’t believe in staying indoors for one or two months without meeting anyone or not doing anything except for staring at books and notes.

Some tips on how to prepare for your ACCA exams:

Revision of lectures

Go through the lecture during the weekend. Please do not tell me that it’s early, because sitting for ACCA exams is not easy and it’s never early to start studying. To avoid the pressure during the last month of the exam, I used to start revising the content of each lecture after each lecture.

Complete your file (ACCA students will understand what I mean) a month before the exam

Maybe some of you will ask, but how is it possible to complete the file a month before? It is. This is the reason why I used to revise after each lecture. By going through the whole syllabus during the course you will have more time to work out past papers.

Work out Past Papers early (not in the last weeks prior to the exam)

This is the most crucial part. But how can I work the past papers when I do not know all the details in the syllabus? Simple, I used to use the Past Papers as part of my studying. I used to understand well what is required from the examiner and then I used to write/read the whole answer from the past papers. Reading the answer at this early stage is acceptable but look at point 6 too.

Refer to the ‘File’ in the last 2 weeks before the exam

As I told you above, I used the time working on the past papers as part of my studying. So, at a point in time I used to come across some details which I would never heard of or I would have forgotten about. I found it really helpful in the last 2 weeks of my study days, to revise again the file and strengthen my knowledge in certain sectors.

Manage Stress 

Stress is an inevitable part of life, so one must ensure that while studying he or she will try to manage it smarter by including some of the below activities:

  • Healthy Lifestyle – When you’re studying for ACCA exams, good nutrition often slides way down on our priorities. But, actually, good nutrition should be part of your study plan because the better the fuel your brains gets, the better you’ll study.
  • Take breaks during the day – it helps you think better and it helps you focus on what you are trying to achieve. The brain isn’t a machine, so it also needs some time off.

Practise under exam conditions at home

You cannot go for the exam and work out questions under exam conditions for the first time. One of the reasons students fail is lack of exam time management. Practising at home under exam conditions will help you address this weakness.

We understand that this journey is very hard so we at Zampa Debattista are currently planning to start coaching our staff who are sitting for ACCA exams by helping them in devising a plan, give them our support, mark their papers and assist them in anything they may need. We’ll update you about this in the coming weeks!