Juggling work, revision and home life is the single biggest challenge for many CIMA students.
I was recently counseling a CIMA student who was struggling with getting this balance right. He was a committed rugby player as well as a father of two small children. Combined with a busy job in the finance team of a large multi-national corporation, his CIMA revision seemed like a step too far in his busy schedule. He found that not only was his revision going badly, he was not managing any of the key parts of his life successfully. He was heading for problems!
This reminded me of many conversations I have had with Accountancy students over the 15 years I've been teaching.
Of course there is no simple answer, but there are some steps that can be followed to help students to get the balance right and be successful in their CIMA exams.
Here are my six key tips:
1. Master your Time
In order to effectively plan how much time to put into your revision, you need to have some idea of how much time your spending on all aspects of your life.
Spend a week making a note of what you have to do on a day-to-day basis and how much time it is taking you.
This could help you highlight any 'grey time' in which you could replace with revision. For example, if you see that you spent two hours watching television in an evening, maybe you could replace one of those hours with revision.
The key is to make sure your everyday life carries on as normal, because the last thing you want is to start resenting revision. It's just about finding where in your life revision could fit comfortably.
Now you've highlighted where in your life revision could fit, it's vital that in the time you spend revising, you are completely focused.
If in the hour you dedicate to reading a chapter of text, you are also thinking about work tomorrow and what you're going to cook for dinner, you're likely not going to take anything in.
This focus can be achieved by good planning. You should have planned your time so that for that hour or two you spend revising, you don't need to be thinking about anything else.
3. Involve Others
If you've got a partner, children, or you live with your parents, you need to make sure they appreciate the importance of your CIMA revision.
You should have been able to plan some free time in which you can focus completely on your revision. Therefore it's important no one else provides any distractions.
Involving others and explaining your need to revise may also help with motivation - they might be there to give you that kick if your feeling reluctant to go and complete a mock exam, for example.
4. Start Early
There may have been a time in your life where you could get away with leaving homework or revision until the last minute.
However you need to recognise that in your busy life, you don't have that luxury anymore.
That's why it's vital that you start your CIMA revision early and take that pressure off of yourself. This could allow you to relax, knowing that although you can only spend an hour in the evening on your revision, you've got plenty of time until your CIMA exam.
If you do find that you've left things too late, you may need to be prepared to make some sacrifices to ensure you get to catch up on lost time!
Many students make the mistake of taking their CIMA revision too seriously.
You've probably got enough stresses in your life as it is, so you should try and make your revision enjoyable.
You can achieve this through treating yourself when you've worked hard, or taking your revision into a pleasant, comfortable environment.
The more positively your approach your revision and your exam, the more likely you are to get a positive result!
6. Seek help
You don't have to go through your revision on your own. Whether this means getting your partner involved to quiz you on what you know, or making use of resources such as online forums.
And of course we are always here to help at Astranti. Check out our range of CIMA revision materials - http://astranti.com/index.html