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Exam tips by Chelsea Andersen

Chelsea Andersen
Neil Da Costs
By Neil Da Costa, Senior Tax Lecturer Link to Neil Da Costa's LinkedIn profile

One of our Kaplan Tutors, Neil Da Costa, recently interviewed Chelsea Andersen after she received the news that she had passed her final ACCA exams.

Chelsea did not have an easy time studying as she suffers from a long-term illness, but her persistence enabled her to achieve success.

Let’s take a look at Chelsea’s exam hacks.

Six hacks shared by Chelsea to help you pass your exams

1. Surround yourself with positive people

It is difficult to sit professional exams, so it is easy to accept that failure is inevitable especially when you have failed your exams before. Many students stop believing in themselves and give up. You must be positive and expect to pass.

Exam tip: Associate yourself with people who have succeeded, as their positive energy is infectious and will help you believe that you will be successful as well.

2. Make physical exercise part of your routine.

Chelsea’s illness meant that she appreciated the importance of keeping her body moving, so she built physical exercise into her daily routine. Her interest in being physically fit led to her becoming a professional trainer, which helped her with her studies.

Exam tip: Exercise helps to pump up your endorphins which improves your mood and mental well-being. Physical activity can significantly help you overcome your worries when preparing for your exams.

3. Get expert advice and assistance

Chelsea struggled with the Advanced Tax paper, and it seemed like it was impossible to pass this technical exam. She decided to attend a Kaplan course with Neil Da Costa, who thoroughly explained the technical concepts and gave her the confidence to attempt exam questions. In just three months, she passed Advanced Tax.

Exam tip: Many of the professional exams are very challenging, so by attending a Kaplan course you can cover the syllabus in manageable chunks. Kaplan tutors are experts in their field. You will receive their support and have a clear strategy to follow.

4. Attempt exam questions under timed conditions

The professional accountancy exams are incredibly time pressured. Even well-prepared students find they have inadequate time to understand the question and write up a comprehensive answer. It’s important to remember that you only need to pass the exam, not get everything right.

Exam tip: In the final month before the exam, spend 70% of all your preparation time attempting previous exams and simulating the actual exam conditions. This battle training is invaluable so you won’t be surprised by the timings in the exam, and you can answer all parts of each question to the best of your ability.

5. Have a routine: set time aside to study

One of the reasons students fail their exams is they do not have enough time to study. Chelsea found that getting up at 6am gave her more time for studying. Her routine included her waking up early, having a cup of coffee, and then spending one hour studying. This meant that she did not have to worry about studying after returning home from work when she was tired.

Exam tip: If you set your alarm for one hour earlier than when you normally wake up, this will give you an extra hour each day to study. You might find that you get tired slightly earlier in the evening, but going to sleep earlier will compensate for this. This will help you get into a healthy lifestyle with good habits and a study mindset.

6. Reward yourself for your hard work

Chelsea loves travelling so she planned trips after her exams to motivate her. In the run-up to the exams, where she spent every free minute studying, she did not feel like she was missing out as she knew she could relax after the exam. This enabled her to give 100% of her effort into passing the exams.

Exam Tip: What are some of the places you would like to visit in the world? It might be a city break or a relaxing beach holiday. Spend some time planning a trip to reward yourself for passing your exams and you will find it easier to get motivated to study.

Watch the full interview with Chelsea Andersen and Senior Tax Lecturer, Neil Da Costa.


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Neil Da Costa is a Senior Tax Lecturer with Kaplan. He believes in keeping things simple and inspiring his students. He is the author of two tax books, Advanced Tax Condensed, and Tax Condensed. These innovative books feature memory joggers enabling students to learn the vast tax syllabus using accelerated learning techniques.

https://neildacosta.co.uk/advanced-tax-condensed/
https://neildacosta.co.uk/tax-condensed/