Does this sound like you?

You’ve attended your lectures for the day (face-to-face or online!), and you have your notes from the session, your textbooks, tutorials question bank, not to mention your massive stash of stationery. (If you’re anything like me!). 

Now, answer these questions:

  • Do you still need to do revision and summaries before you attempt a question?
  • Do you struggle to stay focussed through the whole study session?
  • Do you procrastinate on your exam prep because you don’t feel ready yet?
  • Do you feel anxious when you struggle to grasp a concept quickly?
  • Do you have the ‘noise’ of everyone’s opinions, advice and expectations screaming in your head constantly?
  • Do you struggle to ask for help when you need it?
  • Do you struggle to feel ‘ready’ for the exam, and panic that not feeling ready means that you’ll fail?
  • Do you spend a lot of time on theory? Revising, highlighting, summaries, making acronyms to remember work?

Did you answer yes to some or most of the questions?

I want you to notice ONE thing that all those challenges have in common:

ALL of those challenges are faced when you’re on your own. It’s you and your desk and your books and your own head.

While lectures, notes and textbooks are obviously really important components of our studies, the most critical factor in our study success is what we DO with all this information!

Those lecturers KNOW the work, the textbooks are there for anyone to read. The challenge is how YOU absorb, learn, apply and USE the information you obtain.

The hours you spend on your own, at your desk, are the most critical for your exam success.

Those are the moments where you make the information ‘yours’. Where you really learn how to USE the knowledge that’s been laid in front of you. 

It’s YOUR study process that takes passive information and creates active learning. 

What's the REAL challenge?

We know that we should reduce the amount of sugar we consume. This is KNOWLEDGE.

Even though we KNOW this, we still struggle to APPLY this to our lives. Just ‘knowing’ the information, isn’t enough to make you healthy. The challenge is what we DO with that knowledge.

Part of the challenge of NOT eating sugar, is that it’s already such a habit! It’s EVERYWHERE! It’s part of our lives in so many ways. (It may be comfort food for you, then it’s really closely linked to your emotions as well. You don’t ‘just change’ that overnight! It’s really tough!)

While studying isn’t like sugar, the same concept applies. Your actions at your desk are dictated by your habits, your emotions, and ultimately, your mindset.

What stops us from studying the way we ‘should’? 


We’ve studied the same way, we’ve learnt using the same processes for years. It’s incredibly tough to change this. 

This is especially challenging for students who are used to doing well in exams, and are finding that they’re no longer achieving the same results. They’ll work HARDER, but they struggle to work DIFFERENTLY.


We make decisions and act on the basis of what we know, what’s always worked, and our beliefs in how the world works. 

It is SO crucial that we understand our beliefs about learning and how the world works, so that we can SELECT the right process, the right tools for the job, instead of having only ONE process, that we expect will result in success no matter what we’re working towards!


My students tend to ignore the impact of their emotions on their studies. As accountants, and aspiring accountants, we generally believe we’re very logical, rational, objective and not prone to being overly-emotional. We’re not drama-queens, we don’t need to ‘express’ ourselves, and emotions don’t feature in our studies and work. 

Except that they do! We are HIGHLY emotional. We care deeply about our studies and careers, and we have a lot of emotions that we largely ignore, and don’t talk about.

The most dangerous part of this, is that if you don’t acknowledge the impact of your emotions on your actions and in your daily life, you’re not aware of how your emotions are unconsciously shaping your decisions. 

Improve your accounting subjects... without accounting lectures!

Many of my students have AMAZING lecturers, or access to great study material and resources… it’s what they DO with them that decides their success.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • If you were able to attempt questions earlier in the semester, would your exam results improve? 
  • If you could finish your syllabus in time to practice tutorials and questions, would your results improve? 
  • There are GOING to be areas you struggle with. If you were able to get help for these areas, after only one hour of struggling with it on your own, would you save study time?
  • If you were able to focus on what you needed to do, without all the noise, the fears, the distractions, would your study sessions improve?
  • If you were less stressed out by uncertainty, if you didn’t panic and go blank when you see questions you don’t know the answer to, would your studies improve?
  • If you had less anxiety about disappointing people, fear of failure, feeling stupid, worried that you may have chosen the wrong field of studies etc, would your life and study sessions be more effective and less stressful? 

If you answered yes to some or most of those questions, pay attention to this…

NONE of those issues are related to how many accounting lectures you’ve had!

It’s ALL about how YOU study when it’s just you and your head making the decisions.

More accounting classes will not change the way that YOU study! We need a new approach

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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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