Meet Callen Brown

APC Three letters that can bring stress to any trainee. It’s a year of riding an emotional roller coaster. At the beginning of the year I felt enthused – ready to start the process to writing my final CA(SA) exam. There were two things most worrying then:

  1. What group do I want to be in?
  2. What course did I want to do?

These two decisions were the most challenging, but ultimately the most rewarding decisions I had to make. My early advice is to decide on a group that will not only challenge you, motivate you and support you; but a group that would make you laugh and smile. Don’t take the group decision lightly. Another piece of advice is to use the UCT Boardcourse as your foundation. Take each study material, each exam and each lesson given by them as material to use in your final exam. By focusing my energy on each and every topic and exam the UCT Boardcourse gave me, I was able to build a strong foundation going into the final. By the end of the course I felt more researched and focused.

You need to have a strategy going into each exam as you progress through the year. Each person has their own strategy, but I hope to provide you with some advice as I tell you mine:

  1. Your group is important, but they won’t be sitting with you in the final. You need to sit alone and read through the scenario yourself. Understand each and every word and sentence and focus on getting through each trigger. Google something that you might not fully understand. Read a company online that matches the scenario. Do it alone and do it as soon as that scenario comes out.
  2. Understand that you may have not gotten all the triggers. That’s fine. Rely on your group to provide guidance and to challenge you. You are not alone and you must not feel that way. Challenge them as well and you’ll both learn so much more.
  3. Rest, eat healthy and take time off. You have probably heard this many a time, and the reason why is that it is so true. You are not a machine and you need to rest your mind to allow it to process all the pages and pages of information you will read
  4. Talking about information, make sure you do not overload on information. Summarise key research material and ensure that you know every page in your file. It won’t help to have something that you know nothing about, “just in case”. Knowing what’s in your file, organizing it according to each trigger and keeping it slim (yet sufficient) will keep you calm and composed in your exam.
  5. Understand that there may be a question that you do not fully understand or haven’t fully prepared for. You have 4/5 years of university experience and 2 years article experience at a minimum. I believe each and every APC writer can document a great answer based just on what they know themselves. Remain calm and take it sentence by sentence.

There is so much advice I would love to share with whoever you are reading this. APC is a challenging and difficult exam. But remember what they say: “If it wasn’t difficult, everyone would be doing it”. You are amongst the elite. Honours or not, I am so satisfied that I was able to challenge myself to completing my CA(SA) exams. It is within all of you – the ability to succeed this year. Find that motivation inside of you to take the scenario and run with it.

So this year, through the hard times and stressful situations, remember how much you have achieved and what you are capable of. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. You have both. So work hard and believe in your talent. Next year, you might also have the opportunity to write an essay to the next elite group.

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