Preparing for your exams is not an easy task, especially for students who work full-time. We caught up with Richard Opoku Mensah, a management consultant at KPMG, and top performer in not one but five subjects, P1, F1, P2, E2 and the Operational Case Study exam.
So how did he do it?
Richard shares his top tips for making the best of available study resources, managing your time and staying motivated.
- Make time if you want to succeed – no excuses!
It is so important to make the most of your time when you prepare for your exams. This is a given but sometimes we all need a reminder. “I start preparing at least three months before the exam dates,” said Richard. “I signed up for the Astranti online resources, which I used at the early stages, and was going to work quite early so that I could study for at least an hour before work started.” He also stressed the importance of taking study leave if you work full-time. “I took study leave for the particular month in which I intended sit the three exams. I also tried my best to go through all of the study texts at least twice in order to understand the theories and content.”
- Different resources to the rescue
He recommends using a variety of study resources including study texts, past papers and videos. “I purchased exam kits from Kaplan a month before sitting each exam, which allowed me to practise the concepts I studied,” he said. “I also watched a lot of YouTube videos “The exam kits helped me the most. They gave a good idea of what I should expect and lets you practice your answers. I also purchased mock exam questions from BPP and Astranti.”
- Complete your Objective Tests together for exam success
CIMA® allows for flexible exam planning, enabling you to sit you Objective Tests at any time during the year. But Richard recommends, if possible, to take your Objective Tests consecutively. “Usually, I plan to sit the three Objective Tests for a particular level together because some of the content is covered across the three pillars. So studying for them together helps complement the knowledge you need for each Objective Test.”
- You are your biggest motivator
It goes without saying that you have to be focused to complete a level. Nobody experienced this more than Richard. He had to find creative ways to motivate himself when he hit a roadblock. “I did not have a study partner, so I spoke, laughed and cried to myself, and prayed.”
Extra tips to pass the P1 and P2 exams
P1 and P2 are notoriously challenging. Richard knew this when he started preparing for the exams.
“I expected to fail those exams because I did not study management accounting in high school,” he said. “That pushed me to put in more time studying those subjects to ensure that I would not fail.”
So how do you pass a paper that instils a sense of fear in you? Richard suggests taking the paper head on!
“I told myself that the best way to pass a paper I did not like was to spend more time with it. So I devoted a lot of time studying for P1 and P2. I would finish the study texts, go through the exam kit questions and answers, and read the study texts again to ensure that the concepts stuck.”
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