How to stay motivated when studying for your advanced qualification

Staying motivated while studying can be challenging at the best of times, but many people have found it immensely difficult in the pandemic. Whether you were used to working in the classroom or already studied online, every student has had to adapt in all manner of ways.

We spoke to three students who have recently completed or are soon to complete their advanced qualification about staying motivated.

Two heads are better than one

Studying with someone else is a fantastic way to motivate yourself while also helping someone else, using alternative ways to learn and having fun while revising.

Lee Joinson finished his advanced diploma last year and is now studying for his professional diploma.

Lee has a study partner who he meets online most weeknights to study for about two hours. He highly recommends having a study buddy because you don’t want to let each other down by not turning up, so you both push each other to keep revising.

“It’s good to go through the questions together then discuss your answers before checking the actual answers. This way, you can learn a lot from one another, especially if one of you has worked it out incorrectly. Once you feel quite confident with the upcoming exam questions, you can search on the internet for plenty of online quizzes for the modules. We compete to make studying more fun.”

Remember why you’re doing it in the first place

Keep the main incentive and the reason you’re studying AAT forefront of your mind; stick it to your wall or the fridge. Take some time to remember how far you’ve come and what you’ve already achieved. Consider setting yourself rewards for each little extra milestone that you hit.

Katherine Packer is resitting advanced synoptics and has started her professional diploma.

“I love to learn, and I always have done. It took me to be very unhappy in several jobs, to decide to go into an entry-level finance role and completely retrain from scratch. I haven’t looked back. AAT got mentioned at the interview, and I’d heard of it before, but as part of my three-month probation review, I was encouraged to look into its detail, and I started college three months later (September 2019). College lessons were suspended from March 2020, and we were not allowed to sit exams until July 2020. I had no lessons pre-synoptics, but I motivated myself to get through two exams because I pride myself in always giving 100% to whatever work I do. I think that this qualification has not only benefited my employer, but it has also definitely benefited me in my current role, and I know it will be an asset to whatever I may end up doing in the future.”

It will only get easier

Take some reassurance in the fact that you are alone and that there are many people out there juggling work, family and life with their studies. It’s fine to take some time off if you need to and know that it will only get easier over time.

Natasha Payce finished her advanced diploma in December, passing with distinction.

“When the schools first closed last year, I took a break from my studies, suddenly having two children at home whilst also working full-time was a juggling act, and I needed time to adjust to that. I picked up where I had left off in September, balancing studying with working. Being a parent is always hard work, but it was far more manageable without having home learning thrown in the mix.

I sat my advanced synoptic in December and planned to start the professional diploma in the new year; the announcement came that schools remained closed again in January. I didn’t want to put off beginning the professional qualification any longer, so even with the children at home, I knuckled down and got on with it, there were certainly lots of days where energy and motivation were low, but I would just keep telling myself that if I can carry on through such a difficult period then studying at any other time will seem easier in comparison. This is how I approach learning a new unit, the first time you do a question or learn how to do a calculation is always the hardest, but it’s important to be mindful that it will only get easier each time.”

It’s always worth trying something new, particularly if you are beginning to feel a bit stagnant with your studies. Check out AAT Forums to find a study partner, for more tips for motivating yourself and chatting with others on their AAT journey.

Further reading  

Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.

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