23 October 2016
The game is on. Are you ready for the accountant exams? Photo: Xinhua
The game is on. Are you ready for the accountant exams? Photo: Xinhua

Taking accounting exams is just like a marathon

Time flies. I’ve been in the accounting industry for 20 years, starting from a small firm. Looking back, I have been working and studying at the same time before obtaining my professional certifications.

Young people who wish to pursue a career in the accounting world will take a similar process as mine. You will spend most of the time taking classes, doing exam papers and clearing various hurdles, and eventually passing all the exams. If you fail, try again.

It is interesting to read online discussions about accounting exams and reviews after each exam. Some would share their hopes and regrets on social network platforms. Everyone would get nervous when the results are coming.

Some would leave messages expressing their regret that they should have started studying hard much earlier. And when the next exam comes, they would still regret wasting too much time and having little time left for studying. But it’s already too late. And the cycle repeats itself.

In fact, we have to devise a strategy on how to prepare for the exams.

Recently, I’ve been practicing for a marathon, and the process is quite similar to the preparation for accountant exams.

There is saying that “running is the result of accumulation, not a miracle”. In a marathon, you have to set a target in advance.

For example, you have to decide how much time you wish to complete the game. Then you start with a proper training program, and keep practicing to get your body adjusted to long-distance running. Naturally, you will be able to hit your target.

Another saying: “Ten minutes of brilliant performance on stage comes from ten years of hard work off stage.” In short, nobody can complete the marathon if he or she only practices for one or two weeks.

It’s the same rule for accountant exams. You have to spend enough time on practice, and strictly implement your study plan.

We are now approaching the last week of September — there are less than 14 weeks to go before the next exam. Have you started practicing according to your plan or are you still waiting for a miracle?

If you have made a target and you have the persistence, you still need good plans. Practicing for a marathon should be well-balanced both in quality and quantity.

Quality means working on speed, while quantity means training for endurance.

By concentrating on your training, you will be able to achieve both in a marathon.

It’s the same for exams. You have to strike a good balance between quantity and quality.

That means you have to finish the exam within the alloted time and scale up the quantity in terms of reading and understanding.

In the end, you should take a break before the exam starts.

Several weeks before the actual marathon, most would reduce training and let the body take a good rest and prepare for the upcoming game.

“Rest is part of the practice”. 

If you are preparing for the accountant exam, start now. Then you are already ahead of the others.

Do you want to make progress and achieve your goals? Are you ready for the game of your life?

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 25 under the pen name Webster.

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version中文版]

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