Coping with exams and managing time!
We all know that in order to achieve Chartered Accountant status, exams need to be passed; so how do you allow sufficient time for this, whilst keeping up your day job? In short, it’s all about balance and leaning on your support network when you need it. It’s all too often that your workload seems like a tonne of bricks whilst you’d rather be spending your time revising, but as part of becoming a qualified professional, learning to balance demands effectively is essential.
How do I do that, you may ask? Well, from my personal experiences, it’s about learning to prioritise tasks and manage your time so that you don’t get bogged down with things that aren’t urgent at a time that your studies require your commitment. I think common sense suggests that it’s not reasonable to spend hours the night before your exam on audit work, and instead try to polish up on some text book knowledge. Conversations with both your People Manager and job lead are vital in order to keep your colleagues well informed of your professional commitments – this way you won’t feel completely swamped in work when it’s nearing your exam times- it’s in both yours and your manager’s best interests for you to pass your exams!
Your support network is a crucial part of your development at Grant Thornton and this can really extend as far as you’d like it to, but mainly your People Manager and your buddy are great people to talk to about coping with exams, or asking any general questions if you don’t understand something. You may also be assigned to a mentor at your college, who will visit you at Grant Thornton periodically to check that you’re happy with how things are going, as well as being a great opportunity to give feedback – this person will be there for general support and a point of contact if you encounter any problems. You’ll be taught by your tutor at college, who will essentially run your lectures and guide you towards passing your exams. Generally, lessons are a great time to ask questions or highlight areas you’re struggling on and your tutor will help you out- chances are someone else is struggling on exactly the same thing!
College can either run in blocks (dedicated periods for studying only) or perhaps once a week for a series of weeks, in which you’ll attend college one day and work as normal for the remainder of the week. This depends on what your qualification is and what your college offers.
As you near your dreaded exam date, it’s important to stay organised and make sure you have the balance right between work, study and time to yourself! Often it’s easy to forget how important it is to have time out to switch off and relax after a busy day at work- in fact; this will probably help you to revise better when you start your work again. Putting together a calendar of what topics you’re going to revise on a particular day is a great way of tracking your progress and means there’s no last minute cramming. Alternatively, most colleges will run revision classes, which are a great opportunity to be around like minded people and focus on the subjects you find tricky.
If you ever start to feel overwhelmed or panicky about exams and want a confidential, friendly chat with someone for support and reassurance, the CLEARR representatives are always on hand to listen. The CLEARR reps are a great point of call if you just want a quiet conversation about anything that’s potentially worrying you or getting you down.
In short, manage your time to the best of your ability via a timetable or particular focuses and communicate your needs, demands and feelings with your support network. Grant Thornton encourages a culture of encouraging others and being a shoulder to lean on in times of need- you will always be supported.
Any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: