Can your personality impact your exam performance?

You want to improve the effectiveness of your studying, and improve your exam performance. 

Naturally, your first thought would be lectures / subject-matter material and textbooks. If those are awesome, then that’s the most important thing, right?

Take a step back and ask yourself this…

Assume you had an AWESOME lecture on a topic. And PERFECT textbook material. Will this make you pass? No. Why not? 

Your exam performance will be decided based on the studying you do ON YOUR OWN! At your desk. With just you and your brain. THAT’S when we turn that awesome lecture and textbook material into OUR knowledge and skills

Why do I focus on personalities when giving accounting study advice?

I'm really passionate about this...

For a few reasons, I think this is MASSIVELY underrated as an element of our success in our studies. It NEVER occurred to me that this could affect MY studies, but when I think about it now... it was very much an element of the stuff I struggled with and excelled at.

I have worked with HUNDREDS of students who are desperate, in tears, utterly frustrated, and they ALWAYS believe that they’re struggling with the topic because they don’t know their topic well enough. 

EVERY TIME, we end up talking about their feelings, their thinking and their behaviour. It’s NEVER about the topic, it’s ALWAYS about how they’re THINKING, how they’re used to approaching their learning and struggles (ie: BEHAVIOUR), and their fears impacting their studying and focus (ie: FEELINGS)

Think, Feel, Behave = Study Success

Our personality is simply defined as our ‘thoughts, feelings and behaviours’.

The way you think impacts how you study, what you focus on, what you prioritise, and how you absorb material.

Your feelings often impact whether you study (procrastination, avoidance, distraction), the topics we avoid, fear of failure impacts the way we study and what we ‘hide’ from.

Your behaviours also impact the way you study, stuff you’ve ‘always’ done this way, your habit of procrastination, the way you set up your environment, and whether you turn thoughts into action.


Awareness, Evalaution, Choices

The more we’re aware of how our personality impacts our studying, the more we’ll be able to evaluate HOW and HOW MUCH it’s affecting us. If we realise that it has a pretty significant impact on our study sessions, we can choose how to respond to it. 

"Seriously Yvonne... these are ACCOUNTING exams..."

Yeah, you may remember that I’m a qualified accountant, and have lectured Auditing and Assurance up to postgrad and Board level for 15 years. Do I know what you need to be able to DO in exams? ABSOLUTELY!

And yet, I’m excited about your personality stuff? ABSOLUTELY!

Think of these:

  • Olympic athletes are playing certain games, with certain rules, and need to be INCREDIBLE at their sport
  • Musicians and performances artists are performing in front of massive groups of people and need to be able to perform at their peak ON DEMAND!

Yet… these people will understand that part of what impacts their performance, their ability to actually DO their best, is NOT just about their ‘craft’. It’s not just how good they are at the sport or art form. It’s about what’s going on in their heads. How they think, how they feel, how they behave… THIS is what wins or loses Olympic medals. 

Somehow, we think that us Accounting types are TOTALLY different. That the ONLY thing that affects our performance is NOTHING but the knowledge of the debits and credits and calculations.

What do I want for you?

Let’s say you know 50% of your work. Are you able to USE this 50%? Consistently? Are you able to perform on-demand? Regardless of how you feel?

If you ARE… how awesome is that? If you’re not… then yes, your exam will be a total lottery. 

IF you’re aware, and in control of your feelings, thoughts and behaviour… you’re able to USE whatever knowledge you have more effectively. 

Comment below...

Give this some thought... I'll be sharing more on this, and more specific stuff about our personalities... but let me know your thoughts!

If you can relate, or have a query...

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Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

I coach accounting students who are struggling with their study habits and mindset, and want their studies to be as effective as they used to be. See more on my about page

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