Revising for the ACCA can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re juggling work too. It can seem like you’ve got a mountain to climb, and it’s easy to think you’re never going to reach the summit.
Your revision needn’t feel like such a mission, though. By creating an ACCA revision timetable, you can break your trek down into manageable, achievable targets to reach your goals.
Think of the ACCA qualification as baking a cake. Your initial studies are the ingredients and the exam the cake – your revision is what helps you transform one into the other.
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by neglecting to write a solid ACCA revision timetable.
1. Start Early
As we’ve written before, the majority of ACCA exam marks are for applying the concepts you’ve learnt, so regurgitating knowledge isn’t effective. Leave yourself plenty of time to revise because this will give you time to process and truly understand the information you’ve learned.
The exact amount of time you’ll need will vary depending on how quickly you absorb information, how much relevant practical experience you have on the course topic and how much knowledge you already have. Saying that 6 weeks is a good guideline, we’d recommend allowing at least that long for each paper you’re sitting.
2. Be Strict But Flexible
Another benefit of allowing yourself plenty of time to revise is that your revision time can be less ‘dense’.
Instead of revising flat-out for three weeks, you should aim to schedule time on evenings and weekends while still allowing yourself time off for social activities or anything else you want to do.
You’ll be less likely to burn out and feel much less stressed if you allow yourself a work/revision/life balance. It’s not easy, admittedly, but it can be done – there’s no need to put your life entirely on hold when it comes to ACCA revision.
3. Schedule Breaks
When you get into ACCA revision mode, it’s tempting to try and cram as many hours in as possible. This seems logical – the more time you spend revising, the more you’ll know – but it isn’t.
Your brain needs time to process information to retain it effectively. That’s the reason all of our ACCA revision videos are broken into small, bite-sized chunks – because it’s been proven, time and again, that it’s easier to retain information in digestible amounts.
However you’re planning to revise, you should take a lesson from us and break your learning up when writing your ACCA revision timetable. Instead of scheduling hours and hours of revision time, make sure you take a break every 20 minutes or so. This might seem counterintuitive if you’re feeling pushed for time, but you’ll absorb information more easily, so it will serve you well in the long run.
4. Set Clear Objectives
It’s easily done when faced with the bulk of information you need to learn for the ACCA exams. You sit down to start revising, and the only thing running through your mind is ‘Learn the ACCA. Must. Pass. The. ACCA’. This is a mistake because it means your revision will be unstructured, and you’ll be inefficiently using your time.
When writing your ACCA revision timetable, set clear objectives for each revision ‘chunk’ rather than concentrating on how long you plan to revise.
This will ensure your revision is focused, and you’re maximising the time you do spend revising to ensure you’re more likely to remember the crucial information on exam day.
5. Make Time For ACCA Practice Papers
Retrieval practice, first discovered by memory researcher Endel Tulving, is the principle that repeated testing of the same information can enhance your memory retention considerably.
Interestingly, this is also an area many students neglect, but it’s essential to make time for self-testing. You can find practice papers on the ACCA website, and it’s important to schedule plenty of time to take these so you can actively test what you’re learning.
6. Prioritise The Most Difficult Areas
Maybe the thought of Governance and Ethics has you waking in a cold sweat, or you just can’t seem to get your head around Controlling Risk. Naturally, you’ll find certain papers or elements within each paper more difficult than others.
However, you mustn’t put them off until last. This is a theory explored in depth by Brian Tracy in his legendary book Eat That Frog!, based on the well-known Mark Twain quote: “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, that will probably be the worst thing you do all day”.
As Tracy notes, whatever you’re putting off will loom over you until you face it, so you won’t be in the best frame of mind to learn whatever you’re focussing on. It also means you have less time to absorb concepts you naturally find more challenging, undoubtedly impacting your ACCA exam.
So, first, assess your strengths and weaknesses before writing your ACCA revision timetable and schedule in the thing you struggle with most.
7. Schedule An ACCA Mock Exam
In other words, make time to take at least one practice paper under strict exam conditions. Don’t review the paper first, don’t allow yourself any longer than the time allocated, and definitely, don’t allow yourself reference materials.
Schedule time afterwards to review your answer against the published answer in the Examiner’s Report and any applicable marking schemes so you can learn from any mistakes you made. Schedule in time afterwards to re-review any areas you need to.
How’s your revision going? Anything you’d like to add that could help our community out? Let us know in the comments.
Writing an ACCA revision timetable is a critical step if you want to perform to your best in the exams: the recipe for your success on the day.