It’s not until you qualify that you appreciate it.

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ACCA P3 and CIMA E3 are great papers. Students often say to me that they love them but strangely enough they only realise this once they have qualified!

This may sound a bit confusing but the thing with these papers is that they are genuinely interesting. With the pressures of passing the exams as well as work and family life however it’s often the case that students cannot appreciate the interesting areas within the subject until they’ve got the exams out of the way.

Over the years one major area that has distinguished the good students from the not so good students is the ability to be aware of what is happening in the economy and the business world and to link this in to the exam subject matter.

This doesn’t have to be hard work. It’s not an ongoing test but rather the ability to look at everyday news and link it to the concept of strategy. For example, it was recently reported in that despite there being a recession in the UK  the cinemas were having the highest admissions for over 7 years. Year on year, the attendance at cinemas had increased by over 5%. It’s argued that the reasoning behind this is that it’s one of the cheaper forms of entertainment. People are therefore cutting back on certain more expensive forms of entertainment in favour of the less expensive versions.

Having read this in the news the good students would then ask themselves what other businesses could be doing well in the recession and what ones will suffer.  Linking this to the exam, is there an easy mark or two to make a note of the industry the case study company is involved in and how the recession will affect it? Will it be in a strong position when the recession comes to an end?

Showing an awareness of what is happening in the real world and linking it to the exam will go down well with the examiner.

Professional exams and romance. A perfect match?

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. The day first started becoming popular in the 19th century in Great Britain and it’s a day when couples celebrate their love for each other.

The shops have been full of Valentine cards and gifts for people to send to their partners. I have a nice story about Valentine’s Day and professional exams as a few years ago two of my students first met on one of my courses and then ended up getting married on Valentine’s Day a few years later.

They worked for different Big 4 companies and love started to blossom when they sat next to each other on my course and the guy Andy asked Liz (his future wife) at lunchtime on the first day of the course if she understood what was being taught in the morning as he was finding it quite difficult. Fast forward 3 years and they got married on Valentine’s Day.

He later claimed that he did understand what was being taught but simply wanted to start up a conversation!

The moral of the story though is that if you’re on a course or studying with some friends and you find one of your colleagues attractive then don’t be afraid to get talking and who knows you may end up getting married in a few years!