Monday, 24 April 2017

Revision Tips: Which style of learner are you?

When I first started secondary school, one of my teachers really enjoyed creating mind maps when we were learning. If you are not sure what these are, think of lots of colour, information and thin, wiggly lines connecting everything together. Mind maps often start with one word in the middle and link in all of the topics that are related to this. Let's take CIMA, for example. Topics that link to this could be the case study material, key theories and Ethics.

Many of the students enjoyed using the mind maps, but they didn't do much for me. Why is this? Well, it could be because we all have different learning styles. One method of learning may do wonders for one student, while it could be a disaster for another person.
We all have different learning styles. Research has shown that there are up to eight different types – here, we will look at the main four. Which one are you? Read on to find out.

Friday, 7 April 2017

A revision guide just for you!

I was speaking to a student recently who narrowly failed the exam. Why was this? He had good intentions and studied the material, but unfortunately his planning let him down. With so much information needed for the Case Study exam, it can sometimes be overwhelming. It's tempting to give more attention to certain theories or texts, but you do need to have a balance!
Fear not, however, if you struggle with this – Astranti have a general study plan right here. Don't worry about sticking to the exact dates, as I know that you are all very busy, but this can be used as a helpful guide for your CIMA journey.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Humming to the tune of success...how music can help us with revision!

Flashcards, pens every colour of the rainbow, chunky neon yellow highlighters….there are many tools that we use when revising for the CIMA exams. Some of you may prefer to write in plain black and on snow white paper, whilst others will pin notes all over the house to remind themselves of the key areas of the syllabus.


Friday, 17 March 2017

A trio of materials to combat the CIMA exam!




 It's not long until the CIMA pre-seen is released! How is your revision going? Do you feel like your mind is blossoming with knowledge or do you currently feel like a stick in the mud who is feeling a little overwhelmed? Have no fear, we are here to help!

Our very first piece of advice would be to start your revision now. Yes, right now, before you start reading that 900-page book, begin studying origami or planning a walk that will take you as far away from the CIMA exam as possible. But without a pre-seen available from CIMA yet, how can you start revising? Well, we may have the materials just for you! The answer is in our Ethics pack, Course Videos and Study Texts. With these three, we have a trio to combat CIMA!

Monday, 27 February 2017

What is an Algorithm and how can this help your revision?

It was in the news today that many people are now learning to code. What is coding? Simply telling a computer exactly what it has to do. Coding is like the magic wand of computers and it is an extremely useful life skill in this technology obsessed world.


Before we jump into coding, there are a few steps that must be considered. First of all, we need an algorithm. An algorithm is a set of rules that solve a problem. These need to be done in the right order, otherwise they will not work.
This structure can also apply to life and revision. Would you take an exam and then revise afterwards? Hopefully not! When you write an algorithm, the order of the instructions is very important.


Friday, 27 January 2017

Exam Success: Luck vs Hard Work

It's a fact of life that some people seem to have been born lucky. If they are running late, for example, their train or bus is magically running late too. They are never without an umbrella on the day it rains out of the blue or they always have just the right pair of sunglasses in their bag when the sun is shining bright.
Another example of luckiness is when people pass their exams with flying colours...or is it?
A lot of students will come out of the exam and say that the final result is down to luck. If they pass with flying colours, it is because they had a lucky charm on their exam desk. If they don't do so well, their reason for failing is attributed to a simple lack of luck.


Thursday, 5 January 2017

How eating well can help you prepare!

So the Case Study exam is not far away..how are you finding it?

We know that revising is important for learning the theory. But what about looking after ourselves? If you want to do the very best you can, here is an extra tip for you: what you eat can have a huge impact on your preparation! Countless studies have shown that eating healthily can improve concentration, memory and overall well being.

Interested in the food fiends and brain favourites? Read on…

When faced with revision, it can be tempting to eat foods that are not the best for us. Most of us have done it. You've had a long day of revising for the CIMA exam and feel tired. Your brain aches with all the knowledge you have learnt. Or, perhaps, you feel as if nothing is going into your mind! You go out with your family for a meal and have a look at the menu. Which is the most tempting? The salad, complete with extra carrots or the pizza that is surrounded by chips? If you're stressed, it is much more likely to be the foods loaded with fat, salt and sugar. But don't get too angry at yourself. Science is behind this.

If we start to feel very stressed, our body has a flight or fight response. This means that hormones are released that help us to replenish energy stores. How do they do this? By increasing sugar cravings and fat storage, these hormones tell us to look out for any form of sugar in sight. Back in evolutionary times, our problems often centered around running away from predators. For anyone taking an exam, it's going to be less about running from a Saber tooth tiger and more about what lays in store for the exam! Unfortunately, our brains cannot tell the difference and so the hormones that tell us to look out for high energy foods are released even if there is no running involved.

What can we do to combat this and set you on the road for success? Like many things in life, starting as you mean to go on is key. Before you start revising in the morning, it is important to eat a good breakfast. This includes slow release carbohydrates, which includes whole grain bread, porridge or muesli. Bring in some protein, such as eggs or yogurt. It's also important to keep drinking fluids. You should aim to drink 8 to 10 200ml glasses a day. Most fluids count, such as water, milk or tea. Fizzy drinks or those high in sugar are still counted, but they should be kept to a minimum.

Vegetables, fruits, protein and whole grains should make up a substantial amount of your diet. There is such a wide range of these foods that the lists of recipes are endless and it's good to be colourful! It's also important to eat Omega 3 fats, such as olive oil, instead of butters. Avocados are a particular good source, as are most types of fish, including salmon and mackerel. It is also thought that blueberries are particularly useful for improving memory.

Finally, the night before your exam, try to have your last meal at least three hours before you go to sleep, as eating too late can effect your sleep cycle. If you do feel peckish before bedtime, it's best to have a bowl of high fibre cereal, such as porridge. Avoid caffeine, drink plenty of water and try to relax, knowing that you have done as much as you can.


If you take on these food tips, you will be doing the best for yourself. It will ensure that you are preparing in every way for the CIMA exam and could have a real impact on the big day!  

Friday, 23 December 2016

When it comes to the exam, it's mind over matter.

If you have just had a look at the pre-seen text on the official CIMA website, you may have mixed feelings. Part of you may be feeling excited and, in a strange way, looking forward to the exam. It will be a chance to show off all of the knowledge that you have been working so hard to learn. You may really enjoy learning and almost feel sad that it may be over soon!

However…
Another part of you may be feeling less keen. You have read the pre-seen analysis and have learnt more about bee hive structures than you would have ever thought. You have a vague plan in your head and a little spark of determination. Broadly speaking, you have several paths to take. Let's consider these three people and their approach to the sitting.

Person A reads the pre-seen analysis whilst eating his breakfast. He keeps his study materials by his bedside table at night and reads them as a story to himself before going to sleep. If he could study it in the shower, he would! Instead of going out with his friends, person A stays in and studies all day long. By heart, he can recite most of the main paragraphs. His wall is covered in all of the different study techniques, but his family complain that they never see him.

Person B isn't really interested in the pre-seen analysis. He reads it and then gets a call from one of his friends, who asks him if he wants to go out and see a film. Person B looks at the case study but doesn't think twice. I'll do it later, he tells himself, but that time never comes.

Person C is a little like person A and person B. They read the case study and carefully make notes. They still go out with friends and spend time with their family, but revision is one of their main priorities. They have a set plan and, when they are working, they stick to that. By the time the exam comes around, they are prepared.

Which person are you? Are you just like studious A, or a social butterfly like B? Person C is between the two and has the best approach to studying. Of course, some people who are an A or a B may still be successful, but their revision approach could be more balanced and varied.
If you find yourself staying up until Twilight every night with your materials or letting them get dusty, remember that those who have a sensible plan and stick to it are far more likely to do well and also enjoy themselves.

Being with Astranti is a bit like having a study companion, here to help you every step of the way. We currently have the operational pre-seen materials, including a complete pre-seen package for £89.99. This is available on our website here: http://www.astranti.com/cima/operational/ocscourse/preseen.html

Monday, 12 December 2016

Turn that pre-seen into a pass

The LAST thing you want to do when are you sat down in your OCS exam is to be reaching for the pre-seen because you did not completely cover it in your revision, time will not be on your side as you have three hours to get through tough questions. 

In my experience, the best way to save time in the exam is to make up for it now and get to know the pre-seen inside out so that you don't ever have to look at it in the exam itself. Who else agrees?


The examiners definitely agree. Every examiner's report will refer to how well students managed to engage with the pre-seen or not. If you don't believe me, let's see what the examiners had to say in the OCS examiner's report: "Preparation on the pre-seen material is vital. Ensure that you are very familiar with the business, especially the financial information, before the exam as this will help you with applying your knowledge and will save you time".

So what can you do to help you remember all the key points from such a sizeable document as the pre-seen?

1. Make your own revision notes or scratch-cards as you go. You should then keep coming back to them, even re-writing them over and over again to cement these into your memory. Perhaps even use different colours and highlighters for the extra important information.


2. Once you have done this, you can scribble down notes and ideas that you think are linked with this information, doing this as early as possible will definitely make you feel a lot more comfortable with the pre-seen when you are finally going into the exam! Particularly useful when it comes to knowing the industry!


3. Make your own voice recordings of important information about the document. Research has shown that you are more likely to remember information when you are listening to your own voice; alternatively just talking through the document can help with information retention. When you have your recording listen to it from day to day, before you know it you'll have the pre-seen covered!


To help you sail through the pre-seen we have our own industry analysis in both video and document format - check out all our Operational pre-seen materials here.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Make the most of your study texts!

Want a better chance of passing? Mix up your revision. 

Often students assume they should be revising for their Operational exam in a library or sat at a computer desk only, as this is a formal place to work. However, if you wanted to start reading an exciting book or watch your favourite TV show, you wouldn't be doing all this in the library or at a computer desk. Do not be afraid to get out and about when tackling a tough document, there is a lot of evidence that shows mixing up the location of your studying can help you process information, making you learn faster (and pass quicker!)