Please help: what to do?(29 Posts)
I am struggling. I have to take professional exams as part of my work, and passed the first set that I did.
I am taking a set of exams in two weeks, having begun tutoring for them eight weeks ago - however I am really struggling. I have found them a huge step up from the first ones that I studied for, and have found myself using study time to panic and flit between topics and questions rather than properly focus on a topic in order to get it done.
The company I work for have a policy that if I "hard fail" any of the exams, I will potentially be fired - however, soft failing is permitted. The way it is looking, I feel I will certainly hard fail all three exams. I am struggling to manage my time, focus on topic and precious hours are ticking away. I have enough time to focus on one and try and pass that but the other two will certainly be failed - and very badly at that.
I don't know what to do. I am not sure whether to diclose this to the student support team at my work? Or whether it would be unprofessional and not reflect well on me. I did badly in mocks I took at my study centre (this is somewhat expected at the beginning) however I am concerned that it will look like I have not tried - and it is hardly a badge of honour that I am not dealing well with the exam side of things - integral to the first couple of years of my job.
I just don't know what to do - it feels too late to rescue the situation and I am not sleeping as I am so stressed. Entirely self-inflicted I know.
Am also considering quitting my job... Which is madness, but I don't know what else to do. Please help, am at wit's end.
From my experience of two Big 4 accountancy firms - definitely speak to your training supervisor/student support person. They should be able to help and (if I'm right in assuming that you're at an accountancy firm) might be able to arrange for you to defer the two you don't feel able to sit now until the next exam session. They will almost certainly have seen your mock results so will know you need support.
I wouldn't worry about it seeming unprofessional - in my experience a student's exam performance often has no bearing on how well they do their job. At both the firms I've worked for we've had to let good people go for exam fails and have been stuck with people who have passed everything first time but been hopeless at their job! Definitely take whatever help is available to you.
Thanks. I know that this is an option but I don't have any exceptional circumstances - they got in touch with me a couple of weeks back asking how I was getting on (as I didn't do well in a mock, and hadn't completed the appropriate e-learnings etc. for it - this was because I was throwing resources at preparation for another exam) - in reply, I said I was coping and doing fine. I'm just concerned because it looks like/is the easy way out... I am booked in for the exam and it is paid for...
The truth is, if they like your client work, they will support you. If not, they will let you go.
Could you also speak to your appraisal manager if they know you better than the training manager? They should also be doing the best they can to support you. I wouldn't worry about not having exceptional circumstances - the exams are hard, it's a lot of content to get through, people have different learning styles and lots of people come into professional exams with little or no previous experience of the subject matter, there's a whole host of circumstances that aren't exceptional that still need to be worked through! Your team will want to see you pass the exams, whenever you sit them, rather than fail and leave. What exams are you sitting?
I wish I remembered the name of the accounting books that I had. I have learning difficulties and I could actually understand what was being taught. I will try really hard to think of the name of the books for you.
Please tell somebody if you don't understand. There is nothing wrong with not understanding something, forget the people who you think will judge you or Huu tell you to get a brain cell or who are rude. Focus on what you need to do and if you need help, ask for it.
If anybody else can think of these books, there were two, quite thick volumes. I think they were recommended for students studying for a level. I run my own very small organization and I needed some accounting skills but just didn't understand anything except for those two books.
I think it was the set of accounting books by Frank would.
I just found this and there are a few other videos in the series. I haven't watched it, so don't know how easy it is or if this is what you are studying. But can you gain access to the workbook?
YouTube can actually be a very good resource I have found. A lot of universities put their lectures on YouTube.
What is the difference between hard failing and sift failing an exam? I've never heard that before.
I'm an accountant and had a similar arrangement; first 3 years of my job were tied to passing exams. I don't want to sound dramatic or anything g but if you're not up to the exams are you sure you're up to the job? The stuff I learned in mine is integral to what I do every day.
Do you like the subject you are studying, are you interested in it?
I think the pressure you are feeling now is making it hard to think straight. Have you anyone to talk to?
If you have a support team there it's not unprofessional to use them.
What is unprofessional is lying to people who are trying to help you and telling them everything is fine when it clearly isn't.
Go and see them as soon as possible and tell them the truth. It is their job to help you sort this mess out, you won't be the first or the last.
Eight weeks is not nearly long enough for most professional exams, especially if you know you're struggling.
Honestly think your best bet now is to go and be completely honest - explain that you're trying but really struggling and ask for help.
It's difficult if you've always cruised exams to imagine a situation where they'll be difficult, it's a hard learning point and you have my sympathy OP, but the consequences may be rather hard I'm afraid.
Good luck. Be honest and ask for help.
You should ask for help/let them know you're struggling but honestly unless they like your client work they're unlikely to have much sympathy given that just a couple of weeks ago you said you were fine. They will probably put it down to a last minute wobble.
Are you taking your first three written exams for Aca? They are a big step up from the multiple choice computer based assessments. Two weeks is time to pull yourself up to passing standard if you stop panicking and study properly though.
Ultimately it's on you. You're not at school anymore and it's in no-ones interest but your own to help you. You need to look out for yourself. You also need to seriously think whether this career is the route for you. It is stressful and tbh it only gets more stressful as you add increasing responsibility for client work into the mix.
Thanks. I do think I am up to the job, yes. As I say I passed my first ones, i am struggling to adapt to the new technique required for this stage however. There is very much a focus on question practice whereas I have been attempting to learn the theory for all three, then practice questions and now am in the position where it's proving impossible to balance the demands of all three.
If I'm right that it's aca just remember that the pass mark is only 55%...don't worry about the fiddly little bits and just focus on the basics and do nothing but past papers between now and the exams. That should give you enough material to pass.
I definitely can't though, not for all three unfortunately. I neglected one in preparing for two of them and am in a black hole really. I had stupidly thought that things would work out and now it's becoming increasingly apparent I haven't used my time in the most efficient way and there are large gaps in my knowledge.
Ok. You have two weeks left - that honestly is loads of time. It doesn't feel like it to you because you sound kinda paralysed with exam panic which is normal. They're hard exams!
Now just take a breath. You have two weekend (including one long weekend) that's five full days. Plus you can probably manage an hour or two each evening - and are you taking any additional study leave?
Just go through past papers. At this stage don't bother writing out answers in full (particularly wordy papers). But look for patterns and things that come up time and time again.
You can speak to your learning and development team at work to explain your struggling but at the same time you need to get your head down and just study really methodically. Cause maybe they'll let you defer the one exam but until you know that then you need to assume you're taking it. All you can do is your best.
I do speak from experience here and I'm currently waiting for results of an exam which I'm sure I've failed. My boss has repeatedly said he doesn't work with failures etc etc. I get how you feel cause I was where you are a few weeks ago. You just have to start working as best you can on question practice, go to the exams, give it your best shot and afterwards evaluate whether the stress is worth it.
You have options imo
1 bury your head in the sand and probably fail, not because you can't pass but because right now you don't have the relevant mindset and/or knowledge.
2 speak to your training supervisor and try to get some exams deferred.
3 believe in yourself, perhaps pay for some additional online help, attend a weekend crammer course if you can find one in time etc.
I think option 1 is the most likely to get you the least amount of sympathy and understanding from your work place. This is the burying your head in the sand approach and panicking instead of studying. You've done that so far so perhaps it's time to do things differently.
I don't really agree with those, who say you're not capable because you got this far in your job. I've been where you are right now but it was self funded and a different professional qualification. In my case the tutoring was appalling for my diploma with 3 different tutors in one year and no continuity. I took the exams on the offchance I'd pass because I was moving abroad the afternoon of my last exam and my husband was already there (no stress and all that). It felt pretty shit. Needless to say, I easily passed the advanced certificate when I had excellent tuition in one college. I only managed to get a pass in one of the 4 papers for the diploma when I changed colleges. I felt it was all my fault. But in hindsight, it wasn't. Circumstances were against me. Don't be too hard on yourself.
I would like to speak to my firm but concerned that seeing about a deferral would be seen as weak and showing lack of preparation/organisation etc given this is at a fairly late stage. I don't know how they would respond to this? They have historically been supportive but I don't know how this would be received.
I understand it will be hard. Won't you be seen as far weaker if you actually fail? Admitting you are concerned and struggling is honest. Pretending everything is fine is weak. Surely they will have far more respect for you if you put your hand up.
2 weeks is still a fair amount of time. A hard fail is around 40?. Speak to your tutors etc and work out a time table
Could you sit the two you have studied for and defer taking the third? Are you still having revision courses , could you request extra tutorials?
OP you will get through this in due course - but it's worth pointing out that not everyone's path into accountancy consists of a glide through planned training at a large firm.
What I'm saying is - if you happen to fail, and happen to leave, you may well end up working for a smaller firm, doing training in your own time, but over a longer period - which may, ultimately, suit you more.
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