Like many students, you may be considering the option to take a distance learning course. This is an important decision and choosing the right provider can mean the difference between a pass and a fail.
The benefits of distance learning include a structure to your studying, a support group/tutor for questions, additional training materials, and flexibility. I studied for one of my qualifications by myself at home and it can get very tough, especially when you are stuck and don’t know what to do.
The benefits have to be compared to the costs of course but apart from price there are other factors to think about that students often overlook:
There are a 7 main factors to consider when choosing a distance learning course. They may vary in priority for you but are:
Choosing the cheapest provider is not necessarily the best thing to do. You need to look at the additional factors below before making a decision.
Distance learning can be offered in a variety of formats using any combination of the following formats: paper-based, online study material, online lectures, tutor support, and an offline option to attend lectures/do practice exams. Choose the one that fits your needs best.
Different providers have different styles of teaching, and it’s up to you to pick the right one. Make sure you look at example materials and demos e.g. of the online lectures, to get an idea.
The large providers all have some sort of stamp of certification from the qualification they are providing training for, check to see what this is for. Smaller providers may not have achieved this level of recognition yet, but it doesn’t mean the training is any worse. Check to see the background of the tutors - often they are former employees of a larger training provider.
As some companies are only recently setting up full distance learning and online courses make sure they cover or will cover all your qualification. If you find a style of teaching you like and that works you want to stick with it!
These can vary but include additional options such as extra practice exams, the options to come to classroom lectures for revision courses etc. and a pass guarantee (see below). Again review these to see what you need versus what they offer.
Some training providers provide guarantees on you passing your exams. This doesn’t mean they guarantee that you will pass! Rather that if you fail you will be able to take the course again for free. Check that the guarantee applies to the course you are taking, and check the terms and conditions - for example additional learning materials may cost extra.
There are a number of providers now available for distance learning varying from international companies to smaller “start-ups”. Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. For example a smaller provider is often cheaper and more modern in it’s delivery - but can lack coverage in terms of products provided - e.g. only ebooks and no video lectures etc. The larger providers can provide an excellent range of products but can be too expensive for some.
There’s not enough space here to go into all the providers - I am setting up a review site to do just that - but please use the above factors in making your decision.
For me the best provider currently is BPP with their Class of the Future service (for ACCA and CIMA students). Apart from the fact BPP is a world-class provider of training, for me it stands out with one feature - you're assigned your own named tutor, who you can access throughout your course.
This means that the same person gets to understand you and your challenges - so you get better, more focussed support and training. For more on what other students are saying click here
Make sure you pick the course that suits you and your needs best. However you choose to learn I wish you the best of luck for your exams!
Choosing a Distance Learning Course is a post from: Pass 1st Time]]>
Following on from my FREE Pass1sttime.com Essential Exam Report for Accountancy Exams I am going to open up the blog here to answer questions. I am doing this for a few reasons.
The first reason, I am going to publicly answer questions is because I would like to answer the questions once and let others benefit from the answers at the same time.
Secondly, there is too much confusion out there about principles for taking exams. Bad advice or crappy products are causing a lot of people to fail when the process is really quite simple. You just need to organize your efforts into solving existing problems. I will try and cut though the myths and share with you what helped me pass all my exams in half the time.
Third, I know by serving others here I will draw more interest to my free report due to the traffic and keywords. That is part of the deal, just being totally upfront about it and I recommend you do a similar thing in if you ever set up a website. I hope people will ask good questions and we can all win.
One request please download and read my report before posting questions. I want to expand on what is in the report not repeat it ok?
Note: I will be moderating posts to protect against blatant spam and all genuine posts will be published.
I will pick the three best questions and award one of my products to the winners over the next month or so.
I will also pick some of the questions to make free videos and publish them on this blog so if you want me to use your site as an example then tell me in your question. Please note that the questions should not be technical (e.g. how do I do a bad debt adjustment) but around principles and techniques for accountancy exam preparation.
If anyone has a good answer to a question please feel free to comment - I value your ideas.
So, until I close this thread What are your burning Exam Questions?
Your Accountancy Exam Questions Answered is a post from: Pass 1st Time]]>
Most people, including psychology "experts", will tell you to maintain a "positive attitude". But what does that actually mean? When you have spent hours studying, are tired, and have hours more to go, someone saying "try positive thinking" is just not going to help.
When you are feeling any of the following:
2) Bored of studying
3) Scared of how much you have to learn
4) Can't understand the material
5) Just generally feeling low?
It's very difficult to "have a positive attitude". And willpower alone won't get you through. The phrase "positive thinking" is so meaningless as to be completely useless to you.
Rather than using willpower alone you can use specific strategies that have been proven to affect and improve motivation, and, more importantly, results.
These strategies are based on psychology of success and motivation and include:
1) Changing how you think - or talk to yourself in your head
2) Getting rid of false beliefs you have about yourself or your exams
3) Setting a clear end point
4) Focussing on reasons why you are doing this
5) Creating accountability with other people
6) Using what you associate pain and pleasure to motivate you
7) Realising what you control and letting go of what you do not control
Focusing on strategies means that you are doing practical things that will actually have an impact on your accountancy exam preparation - rather than wishful thinking!
For more on this please check out the Attitude Videos
Why a Positive Attitude Doesn’t Work is a post from: Pass 1st Time]]>
There are two secrets to passing your exams ("only two?!" I hear you say!): ATFQ and AAQ.
Excuse my language, but this is a major complaint from examiners, that students didn't answer the question asked, instead they answered the question that they hoped to get. Instead of understanding what the examiner wanted, the student dumped all of the information they knew on the topic and hoped to get a good mark.
This approach is not only likely to get you a bad mark for that question, it will also lower the examiner's impression of you. Remember - ATFQ!!
The easiest marks to achieve are the first few marks in a question. E.g. it's easier to get the first 5 marks of a 20-mark question than the last 5 marks. This means that when you're in the exam you must be very strict with your time management.
It's better to leave a question when your time for that question is up and move on, than try to get the last few difficult marks. Leaving any question unanswered is a big factor in making you fail.
Remember these two tips in your exams and in your preparation for your exams. These are both HUGE reasons why students who have the knowledge and ability to pass end up failing their accountancy exams.
The 2 Secrets to Passing Accountancy Exams is a post from: Pass 1st Time]]>
This is one of the best tips that I can give you for your exams - STOP looking for tips on what might come up in the exam!
Many students seek advice and tips from other students, tutors, and examiners about specific questions that are likely to come up in the exams. Not the general topic, the kind of tip that says, "this specific question hasn't come up in the last three exams so it's very likely to appear in the next exam."
The danger in seeking that kind of tip is that you risk not preparing for other questions as well as you should. You'll also have the psychological fear "What if this doesn't appear in the exam?!"
A better way is to approach exams is thinking that you have to know as much as possible - or even ALL of it! That way, it doesn't matter what questions come up, you'll be able to deal with all of them.
Never Second Guess The Examiner! is a post from: Pass 1st Time]]>
Have you ever gone on a long journey by car, or bus or by foot? Did you ever set off without knowing where you had to get to, or by what time?
I bet not! But that's exactly what some accoutancy students do when they start learning for their exams. They dive into the study materials without first knowing their outcome - where they want to end up. The problem with this is that they set off, but don't know where they are going, and therefore can't tell if they are on track or not! Worse still, they don't even know if they have reached their destination! Let me explain...
Most students should be able to tell this immediately. For example "I need 50% to pass this particular exam". But how many focus on Pass Rates?
Pass rate is the percentage of students who passed the exam out of all the students. So if this is 70%, then 70 out of a 100 students passed the exam.
Now the question is, do you know the pass rate for each of your upcoming exams?
Pass rates matter because they tell you two things:
1) How effectively students work for the exam and/or
2) How hard the exam is
For example if the pass rate is only 40% that tells you one of two things:
1) Either students are not preparing effectively for this exam and/or
2) This is exam is very difficult
So if you understand this you can react by looking at the way other students are preparing for this exam and knowing you have to either be more effective than them, or work harder! And you will know to work even harder for this exam because it could be that the exam is particularly difficult.
For one of my qualifications the average pass rate was around 45% FOR ALL EXAMS. Guess what? I knew to work my butt off for those exams!
So please do pay attention to pass rates, they can be the key piece of information you need to get you through your exams.
Know Your Outcome – Pass Rates for Accountancy Exams is a post from: Pass 1st Time]]>
There are three proven steps to effective learning.
Human beings learn best when immersed, or fully involved. It's better to learn one new skill with full focus instead of learning five different things at once. Use this when studying - only focus on one topic or area for an extended period of time.
When you learned something new and then didn't look at it again for a week, what happened? Yes, you forgot most of it. The human brain works on the principle of spaced repetition, which means that you have to review what you learned at regular intervals to fully remember it. If you make sure that you keep the intervals short at the beginning, you'll be able to space them further apart as time goes on.
The final step to effective learning is to have a peer group, or group of friends, around you for support. Successful teams work on this principle, team members support each other during difficult times and challenge each other to be their best when necessary. Find a group of people who have the same aims that you do so you can help each other achieve what all of you want to achieve.
For a powerful peer group of people who understand the principles in this report see the Pass1sttime.com Mastermind Group and join the community.
The Three Steps to Effective Learning for Accountancy Exams is a post from: Pass 1st Time]]>
This is a principle that has a very powerful positive effect on me, not just for exams but for life in general.
Imagine Tiger Woods about to take a golf shot. He's focused on his breathing, his posture, how he holds the club, how he swings the club, how he's thinking - the "process". After he hits the ball, he no longer has control of where it will land - a gust of wind might blow it off course. This is the "result"
The same is true for exams. The result, the actual final pass or fail, isn't within your control. But everything up to that point is. For example, for your next exam it might be that your most-feared topics come up. If you feel nervous, focus on what you can control: the process to prepare for them.
When you feel stressed or nervous about passing your exams write down the following question: "What can I control to help me better prepare for my exams?" Then brainstorm the answers.
That alone will make you feel more in control; taking the actions you've written down will make you feel even better.
Control of Result versus Process is a post from: Pass 1st Time]]>
We keep most of the challenges that we take on as individuals to ourselves - we don't tell anyone about them. Why? Usually we're worried that we might not succeed and we'll look like failures.
The truth is that telling people about what we're aiming to achieve can help us massively. They can hold us accountable for the things that we say we will do; just like holding up a mirror to us as if to say "Are you really doing what you said you would?"
Sometimes having the truth reflected back at you isn't easy, but it's very effective.
Choose supportive people you know, especially loved ones, and share with them a written statement of your study aims, such as "I will study three hours every Saturday".
Ask them to hold you accountable by checking back with you every few weeks. If you haven't achieved all your aims don't worry, talk through the challenges you have faced and together figure out how to deal with them.
Creating Accountability is a post from: Pass 1st Time]]>
Welcome to Pass 1st Time! The source of Psychology, Strategies and Techniques for Passing Accountancy & Finance Exams 1st Time and Surviving!
Pass1stTime.com was set up with the specific purpose of educating accountancy and finance students about powerful strategies you could use to ensure you pass your exams 1st time round with the least stress possible.
The site is in beta testing and I am adding content as we go. In the meantime please sign up to the free report and future updates. As more information and reports become available I will let you know.
Feedback on the information has included:
Extremely valuable, learned strategies and techniques for not just exams but life
Very valuable; many hints and tips that seemed obvious but that I have never used!
Yes, definitely! I have now understood the Conscious Incompetence stage is unavoidable, this will make me more relaxed at the stage
Covered things I didn't know before like iterative learning techniques
It definitely made me feel better about my exams
Very good speaker! inspirational!!! Interesting presentation!!!
Welcome to Pass1stTime.com! is a post from: Pass 1st Time]]>