Did you ever find yourself reading a chapter in a textbook and not being able to remember what you read? There is a sure way to remedy this. It's called label in the margin.
You should begin by surveying what you are about to read. Look at the major heading, the charts and pictures, read the summary, study the review questions. In addition, search your memory for anything you already know about what your assigned reading. The more you know about what you're reading, the easier it will be to process it into your long-term memory.
Read only one paragraph at a time, and before you begin to read that paragraph look for a reason to read the paragraph. Use clues such as the heading or topic sentence.Do not mark as your read.
When you finish the paragraph, put yourself in the position of your professor. What test question will you ask from that paragraph? Actually write that question in the margin of your textbook.
Now mark the answer to the question by underlining, numbering, boxing, circling, etc.
Put this information in your long-term memory now by covering the text and asking yourself the question written in the margin.
Recite the answer in your own words.
You are now ready to read the next paragraph.
It may take you longer to read a chapter this way, but there are definite advantages:
You can read it a bit at a time--a page here and a page there--taking advantage of short periods of time you usually waste or didn't have time for a whole chapter.
You never have to re-read the chapter.
You know the test questions in advance.
You have a systematic way to study you textbook.
How to plan a study schedule
One way that works for many students is to work backwards from the exam dates for the papers they've chosen. That way, you can start to roughly segment the weeks between now and then to have an idea of how much time you can realistically devote to each topic.
Don't be alarmed if this throws up startling results - by being structured and methodical in your approach, you'll still stand a much better chance of preparing for the exams. However, be flexible - until you start each paper, it's tricky to know what proportion of your schedule you should allocate to them; you may discover an aptitude for one more than another, and have to tweak your timetable accordingly.
As classes for the next exam sessions begin, now is the time to experiment with different approaches - for instance, spending an evening on one paper or dividing your evening into an hour per paper.
Really search yourself to identify times when you could feasibly fit in study - even for, say, 15 or 30 minutes. It's easy to fall into the trap of only regarding a study session as worthwhile if you have at least an hour to play with - but we're all capable of focusing our attention for condensed periods of time. It just takes getting used to. Many successful students take study aids with them on the route to and from work - and teach themselves to get into the habit of short, intense sessions. Try taking photocopies of relevant pages from your textbooks with you and spend your journey highlighting key points to assimilate. Or use the time to quickly recap on what you learned last night.
Remind yourself of your motivation
It will help you to stick to your schedule if you keep visible reminders of your reasons for studying ACCA around your desk or home - or wherever you study. Make a list of how you hope to benefit by qualifying as an accountant, and re-visit that list regularly, especially if you're unreasonably tempted to stray from your plan.
Find an inspirational quote on the internet - print it out in a large, bold font and pin it to a noticeboard or use it as a bookmark for your textbooks.
Finally, remember to take a break. No-one can study 24/7 - the chances are you'll also have a job to fit in, as well as family and other personal commitments. But of course, you have to relax too - if you over-commit yourself and put all your non-working, non-eating time aside for poring over your textbooks, you'll simply set yourself up to fail.
So, while your study schedule should be demanding - qualifying with ACCA is, after all, meant to be a challenge - be gentle with yourself too. Ensure there's sufficient 'me time' built into your plan.
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