Tag Archives: Revision

Nick’s Diary – February 2013

If there is one thing that comes from working through a professional qualification like CTA, it’s that there is a greater appreciation of the time I’m allowed to spend without the stress of exams reigning over me. I hide nothing about exams from people reading these blogs and considering a role at Grant Thornton. The exams are the hardest part.

With this in mind, and after the manic rush of January, I have aimed to make the most of my social life in February, enjoying a few weekends away to spend time with friends before my life becomes swallowed by CTA once again. Most prominent in February, as this is the month for which I would complete my last six days of tuition.

Getting back to Bradenham with my CTA class was great, and being able to share the success stories from November 2012 with people face-to-face was rewarding. It was a pleasure to see and thank our in-house Kaplan tutor, who is well known by trainees at Bradenham, for sticking with me during the difficult times in October 2012.

February also held the strategy kick-off meeting for the Spilling the Beans team. With some members leaving and three new members joining. This was an opportunity to head over to London, meet the new faces in the flesh, and brainstorm how we can continue to improve this website.

I’m really excited about the developments we are going to be working on. Expect to see even more twitters (we’re now at 30 trainee twitters, are you following us all?), a more active Facebook account and the introduction of YouTube video blogs (as well as a number of other themed written blogs). Keep your eyes peeled.

With me sitting exams in May for the first time since joining Grant Thornton (they’ve usually been in November) I imagine I’m tying up my revision with that of many school, college and university students. With 10 years of annual exam sittings behind me, for those of you who are wading through this boat let this be your encouragement; the time you put in now opens doors tomorrow. I’ve got three months left and I can’t wait to see where I can go next.

Onto March and I’ve got four mocks spread across three weeks, it’s going to be a tough month. Good job I had fun and spent all my money in February…

Wills Diary October 2012

As Nick is currently preparing for his CTA exams I’ve decided to write a diary entry in the absence of his regular update.

Like many trainees the last month for me has been dominated by the build up to exam season. I sat four mock exams this Monday and Tuesday which, in addition to being a major test of my accountancy and other CIPFA based knowledge, was also a major test of my stamina. With four back to back three hour papers taking its toll, today I’m having a day off and I’m off to Bristol Zoo to unwind. My real exams are in a few weeks so I need to stay focussed at least another month before I can relax ready for the Christmas break.

Other things I’ve been up to this month include a week at college where in addition to study I went to my first top flight football match. This was Olympiakos vs Arsenal at the Emirates, so not a bad introduction to live football. It was courtesy of a colleague in our Euston office which shows that its good to make connections across the firm even for non-career based rewards.

Work wise it’s now grants season in Public Sector Assurance. I’ve been working on certifying various councils Housing benefit, Business rates and Housing data returns. Grants work is a nice change from accounts as often you will be responsible for the entire piece of work from planning, detailed testing and reporting.

Finally, just before I left on study leave we had an update in our office on the transition arrangements for the imminent arrival of 60+ audit commission colleagues in the South West. Which is pretty exciting when you consider this will increase our team by some 300 percent.

This growth is really encouraging but also means we’ll will be looking for more trainees in various offices in our public sector teams. We are looking to take on more graduate trainees in the southwest in January 2013 so it’s definitely worth applying now.

I’m now off on study leave for a few weeks until my exams. Roll on the 10th of December when they’ll be out of the way and I can get back to normality.

As always if you have any questions please ask them in the forums, especially about our public sector training opportunities.

Nick’s Diary – September 2012

Whilst at University at Loughborough, I studied for the Accounting and Financial Management course. Having studied for one of those courses which was 12 hours a week, my chemistry and engineering housemates would often give me a hard time for doing a “easy subject”. Naturally, anyone doing 25-30 hours a week is going to get annoyed by someone like me getting by with 12 hours, but I always supported the idea that my course was difficult, just in a different way.

Whilst this may be hard for some to understand, but I found that the difficulty in a 12 hour a week degree course is keeping the pressure on and maintaining motivation. As a student, I found it all too easy to procrastinate and be lumped with a mammoth task towards the end of the semester. Something I’ve had to snap out of whilst working at Grant Thornton and studying for the CTA.

I started training for CTA only a few months ago but since then it’s been relentless and I can honestly say I’ve never worked so hard in my life. Like I do with all diary entries, I read the previous month’s blog again to refresh my memory, I recalled that August was a tough month – well September has been tougher.

Having had a tough month, I have naturally begun questioning my ability up against this prestigious and tough qualification. For the first time in my academic life, I have finally felt like I have met my match, something I have been searching for since I left school at 16. The challenge is great, and that feeling of failure is impossible to live with. As a result, I took a couple of weeks away from the books to allow the dust to settle and I now feel totally refreshed and 100% focused for my five week revision and exam session in October and November. The support network I have had from my line manager and fellow trainees has really helped to pull me through this and I’m grateful to have such a supportive culture surrounding me during this difficult time.

But enough about exams.

September was a good month for social occasions, with the office summer do being held at a fancy hotel in the New Forest on one Friday followed by the office away day the next. The away day was great, an afternoon of buggy racing, quad biking and other teambuilding events which set the tone of a night out on the town in Southampton with some fellow trainees.

Having joined the social committee within the office, it would be fair to say I’m looking forward to planning the next events, with go-karting, bowling and curry nights all in the pipeline – but first up on the schedule is the Christmas party which never fails to disappoint.

On that note, I’ll get back to the books and give one big heave-ho for the November exams. In readiness, I apologise if I don’t have much to say during October but that’ll largely be down to the fact that I’m either at home studying or at Bradenham revising.

Roll on 7 November.