Exam Top Tips with Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

Exam Top Tips with Ryan Anderson

This time of the year can be difficult when juggling work, your social life and studying. Ahead of the Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA) tax exams, Accounts and Tax manager Ryan Anderson offers his top five tips for preparing. Ryan’s currently studying toward becoming a CTA, and with just one exam left, he’s approaching the final hurdle.

Tip 1: Start revising early 

“There’s no time like the present. Start studying as early as possible to give yourself the time you need to prepare for the exam. There’s nothing worse than leaving everything to the week before an exam and wishing you could go back in time and learn more!

“I like to start as soon as I’m given the materials to study so that I can give myself the best chance at succeeding. It’s important to go through all the materials you’re provided with to ensure that you’re able to understand not only the questions but also the structure.

“Studying’s like preparing for a marathon, you know that the finish line is in sight, but you must put in the hard work beforehand to achieve that gold medal.”

Tip 2: Practice and trust the process 

“I know that theory can be draining, and after a while, the words start to fall off the page. Flip charts, mind maps or post-it notes, there’s a host of different revision techniques you can use to ‘spice your learning journey.

“Once the theory is nailed, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. Practice questions are an essential part of studying as they provide you with an opportunity to test your knowledge on specific subjects.

“It’s rewarding to see my studies transfer into skills that I can use in the workplace. I’ve found that the more I learn, the more I can contribute to helping clients.”

Tip 3: Take regular breaks 

“It’s easy to get lost when studying and burying yourself in books for hours, but it’s important to remember to look after yourself and take plenty of breaks. The Pomerado technique is an effective way to help you focus and enhance productivity. Taking a short break and stepping away from your studies will give you the chance to clear your mind and readjust your focus.

“I’ve been studying for the past seven years it’s become second nature to me. To recharge, I book short breaks off work where I put my studies aside and relax. Your mindset is often the barrier between being able to study or staring at your laptop for hours. Being in a ‘slump’ is your brain’s way of telling you to take a break. Going for a walk or doing an activity can clear your mind and focus your mindset.”

Tip 4: Manage your time efficiently

“If you’re like me and are working whilst studying, it’s important to manage your time so that you can wind down. Putting your social life aside until the exams are over is too easy, remember that it’s okay to make time for yourself!

“By setting goals, you can break up tasks and achieve small wins along the way. Setting goals act as an incentive to keep going, and it’ll also allow you to track your progress. By doing this, you’ll be able to take note of everything you’ve learned so far and what you have left.”

Tip 5: Ask for help when you need it

“There’s nothing worse than being stuck, sitting with your head in your hands. Whether it’s tutors or classmates, it’s important to remember that they’re there to help. My studies were based online, and I found comfort in knowing that my tutors were always an email away and never too busy to help.

“I’m lucky enough to have colleagues who’ve recently sat the CTA exams, and they’re more than happy to share their knowledge with me. If you have friends or colleagues who’ve been through similar studies in the past, you should test your knowledge by having them quiz you and ask for advice if there are any grey areas.

“Finally, good luck to everyone who will be sitting the exams. Remember that hard work pays off. Studying may seem like a chore now, but it’s the key to success. At work, I’m looking forward to putting my knowledge to the test and helping clients achieve their accounting goals. Upon leaving my studies behind, I’ll be able to focus on the ever-changing laws and get ahead of the fast-approaching tax year-end. As a reward for crossing the finish line and preparing for what lies ahead, I’ll be booking a holiday next year!”