Four tips for study plans

Photo of a group making a study plan
By CA Student Blog

10 September 2018

One of the most common questions students ask the ICAS tutor team is: "Can you help me create a study plan?" Here are four tips to help you create an effective plan of action.

1. Get started early

It's important to create your study plan as early as possible once your course starts. You don’t want to spend a few hours closer to exam time trying to get your study plan set up.  You study plan will not be set in stone as you will amend and refine it as as you go through the course material. Aim to get a broad study plan established as soon as you know your timetable.

2. Be realistic

Students can often have unrealistic expectations of themselves when it comes to studying. They say they are going to study for four hours every night, then all day at the weekend and are going to close off the rest of their life for the duration of the course.

Now, we all know that studying for the CA is hard work, and that you will need to put the hours in to succeed. However, no-one expects you not to play football for an hour on a Wednesday night or go out with friends at the weekend. You need to have breaks every now and then to keep yourself thinking clearly, so schedule in your ‘fun’ and enjoy that time off without feeling guilty.

3. Be focused on question practice

The tutor team make no bones about the importance of question practice to your CA studies. Regular question practice is key at all levels of the qualification. We want your study plans to be light when it comes to recapping the module material and making study notes. The real focus of your time should be on question practice.

Don't worry if you feel uncomfortable trying questions before you are sure of the whole module. It is important to expect that you will get questions wrong and there will be questions you just can’t do at the moment. Remember that this is OK and it is likely that everyone is in the same boat.

The questions are part and parcel of the learning material – they are a safe place where you can make mistakes. It is far better to make a mistake early on and learn from it, than make a mistake in the exam itself.

4. Be weighted towards your weakest subjects

You need to be able to answer questions from right across the syllabus. This means you can't leave out the hard bits of the course and hope that they won't come up in the exam - they will! Students will often repeatedly study and answer questions on the part of the syllabus they are best at - this is natural as it makes us feel more confident.

However, you need to turn this around and ask yourself which areas you would feel least confident about if they come up in the exam. Your priority should be to focus on ironing out any issues in those areas.

Example study plan

Here's an example study plan you can use to get started. This would be appropriate for a block student studying FR/tax and gives guidance for pre-block 2 study. The study plan shows an outline of the FR element only. As a general guide your tutor team suggest 2 to 3 hours per night plus one day of study at the weekend.

Week15 February22 February29 February7 March14 March
FRRecap Block 1 material
Mon: M3 past paper question.
Tues: M8 recap, try some questions re: impairment to tutor.
Wed: N/A (hockey).
Thurs: M12 recap and finish WSE.
Sun: Practice consolidation questions from M17 / M18.
TaxStart FR Pre-B2 modsTaxFR Pre-B2 M21, M23
Mon / Tues: M21. Guide 5 hours so split over 2 nights.
Wed: N/A (hockey).
Thurs: M23. Guide 1 hour & do another WSE from M21.
Sun: Practice consolidation questions from M19, M20 and M21
Week21 March28 March4 April11 April18 April
 On holiday (no study)HEX for FR and Tax needs done this week - REVISE!TaxFR Pre-B2, M22, 25, 26
Mon: M22: Guide 2 hours.
Tues: N/A (mum's birthday)
Wed: N/A (hockey).
Thurs: M25 - Guide 3 hours.
Sun: M26. Guide 1 hour. M25 past paper. Longer questions from M22.


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