Monday, 24 July 2017

How I Passed P6 (MYS)

I know people assume P6 is the easiest of all the Optional papers in ACCA but ..... come on.

For June 2017 exam, the passing rate is 43% worldwide which means out of 10,000 candidates, 5700 failed. 

The passing rate is even lower than P1 (51%), P2 (47%) and P3 (54%). 

What I'm trying to say is; yes. It may be easier than P4, P5 and P7 but don't underestimate the paper.

More than half has failed. 

**Update - my lecturer told me for the previous sitting the passing rate for P6 (MYS) is only 30%! (The passing rate on ACCA's website is averaged globally across all variant)

Alhamdulillah, I passed. I got the exact same marks as my P1 paper.

So here's how I passed the exam.

Learning Material [BPP]
Admittedly, I did not use the text book. Never had (even for other papers). However, I found the exam kit to be helpful.

120 questions in the exam kit, and I did 70% of them. [I did cherry-picked the topics that I'm not too familiar with].

I studied for the paper at KDU and I do find the materials provided by the lecturer (her own notes) was sufficient - generally I did not have to read outside the notes given which was not surprising, since the paper is highly technical, unlike P1 and P3. 


Own Notes 
P6 is a technical paper, with tonnes of things to remember.

I always prefer to do my own notes as it helps my understanding and memory as well. 


The challenge of a married part-time students are different from those studying full time. I had limited time to do my revision, so I try to do the notes as soon as possible so I don't rush through it all towards the end. 

For progress test, mock test and the actual exam itself I only brought these to the hall. 
[I usually arrive at least an hour earlier to have a last glance-through of the notes].


Exam questions, exam questions, exam questions
Past exam question helps a lot! 

Although once in a while, an unexpected question variation will come out; generally the question style is pretty stagnant. I make sure I do all of the past year questions.

Some of the questions are discussed in class. The others; I do on my own. Everything is available on ACCA's website.


Online Resources
To be frank, I think not all students utilized the resources available online.
This is apparent when some of my classmates were not aware that they can find the past year papers on ACCA's website 👀

These are the materials I found helpful;
  • ACCA Website - technical article, past exam papers, examiner report, study guide etc
  • Opentuition - free ACCA classes, forums
  • Acowtancy - partially free study platform

Actually these four tips would be applicable to all ACCA papers. 
That's how I passed all my four ACCA papers on first attempt. 

But this one last tips is only applicable to P6 paper.


Attended Dr Siva Nair's IRC Class
I've heard a lot about this particular lecturer however, his only class is at YES Academy, KLCC.

So I forked my own money (well, my husband's) for the IRC [intensive revision class].
This 3-day class REALLY helps!

I don't know how but the questions in his IRC came out in the actual exam. Not 100% but a lot of it.

And the knowledge I got from his class, are new!! *mind blown*
ie the lecturer at KDU did not even mention about some of the things.

And guess what. Those questions came out in the exam.
What a relief.

In my case, Dr Siva Nair's class really help me.

However, if you think you understood the whole syllabus by heart, you had read the text book inside out, maybe there is no need to attend his class.

But I'm studying part time and any boost I can get, I'll take it.


So to recap, these are the things I do to pass my ACCA final examination;

1. Do questions in the Exam Kit published by BPP.

2. Do my own notes

3. Practice doing past exam questions

4. Online Resources

5. Attended Dr Siva Nair's IRC


Attempting my final ACCA exam this December. Gambatte!!!
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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Story Time : Elevator Malfunction .. Or Is It ?

Everyone loves a good ghost story.... Until it actually happens to you. 


I swear what I'm gonna tell ya is a true story, happen to myself.

As you would know, my office is at Wisma Sime Darby, smacked in the middle of KL. It's a pretty old building, completed in the 80s.

A little backstory; when I first joined Sime there was a program that I co-hosted. So we (the organizer) need to put up posters, at every level of the building.

Wisma Sime has 21 floors altogether. So we went to each and every one of the floors to do our thing, right?

Level 7, stick our poster, use the elevator to level 8, stick our poster, take the elevator again, yo know the drill.

Until.... We got to level 11. 

IT. WAS. PITCH. BLACK. 

I kid you not, we don't even dare to stick our head to look around, just quickly close the elevator door. 

So by now, we know that level 11 is empty (I presumed), pitch black and haunted (in my head).

Fast forward a couple of years later, I was going to the office. There was about 6-7 of us in the elevator that fateful morning. 

And I swear, the elevator suddenly stopped at level 11. 

NO ONE PUSHED THE BUTTON FOR LEVEL 11 !!

Yet, it stopped there. 

My eyes felt like they were jumping out of its socket. Then the only man in the lift asked if anyone actually pushed the button, well. Obviously no one did. 

He pushed the 'Close' button over and over again. 

And you know what happened?

The elevator door creaked slowly and it stopped. It was stuck! Then it opened widely again, creaked slowly and stuck yet again. That happened for a few times. 

Here, ladies and gentleman was how my worst nightmare came to life!

We knew there's an emergency stairs at the back of the elevator. But to get there, you'll need to go out to the damned haunted floor and walked a bit around the elevator. [The same layout for all other levels].

So this brave guy lead the way, with us girls scurrying behind him. We could still heard the creak of the elevator door as we left the floor. 

Up one floor, level 12. Everyone looked relieved. 

So we pushed the elevator button since no one was gonna take the stairs up to level 17 or 19 or whatever their floor was, you see?

And the most unimaginable thing happen. 

The same exact elevator opened its door!!!!

There were 6 elevators on this side of the building and the same first elevator on the right [which we were in earlier] miraculously opened its door.

Now after all this, do you think it's a simple case of technical malfunction or is it something more?

I don't want to know the answer, thank you very much.

*Now, my heart skipped a bit every time I passed through level 11

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Friday, 14 July 2017

My Solo Backpacking Stories : Part 3 [Lessons + Advice]



To plan is important, but improvising is critical
Me of all people, is the ultimate planner.
I have to confess, I usually plan the itinerary and budget for travel at least 6 months in advance 🙈
[and happily so - there are so much excitement in planning (at least for me)]

What I learnt throughout my travel is the ability to work around the set plans. One can't be too rigid and it's important to be flexible in case things doesn't go your way.

Always be prepared with plan B or just go with the flow.

Sometimes the whole plan is cancelled because you missed your bus or you got pick pocketed etc
There are so many possibilities.
Make the best with whatever circumstances you have in hand. 




Don't be cheap, be frugal
I know budget is a big thing for traveler.
We always opt for the cheaper options but be smart about it.
It doesn't make sense for you to go on a 14-hour bus ride just to save RM100 [unless you wanted the experience].

I usually don't mind spending money on tours (when there's no free walking tours available) for the comfort, ease and knowledge.

Understandably, those location specific attractions may cost a bit more.
Do your calculation and see if it's worth it.

Eventually the trip will end and it's the special things you'll remember as the whole experience fade into your rear view.




To travel smart is to travel light
The problem is we always think we need more than we actually do [Life lesson there]
 I have to admit, the skill to pack light comes after a few failures. 

For me, a traditional luggage is always out of the picture. I can't imagine transiting between cities with the hassle of carrying heavy luggage around. It's just not practical. The bag itself is heavy! [unless you had those lightweight bags but still, nak kena tarik and all]

I always prefer to use backpack and my trusted CabinZero has been a loyal companion! 

There's nothing wrong with recycling your clothes on a trip. You can't expect me to have 14 outfits for my 2-week trip, right? I also learn to style my outfit differently so that it doesn't seem too obvious. Mix and match is the keyword here!

Other than that,I adopt the usual packing tips you can find all over internet;
make a packing list, with outfit plan
use packing cubes!
roll, not fold (the clothes)
comfort over style (at least for me)

The picture above shows my luggage for my 2-week getaway to Thailand. 




People are inherently kind
This is quite hard for me to understand at first because my mom had instilled in me that bad guys are everywhere, don't trust anyone. You'll get killed etc. [Always the dramatic one, my mom]

But as I travel more often, I soon realized that kindness is everywhere.
Just treat people like how you want to be treated.
Be nice.

The locals are always happy to give directions and offer help.

But do keep in mind that the risk for solo traveller are always higher. Just keep an eye on your surrounding.

Sama macam Malaysia.
Ada orang baik, ada orang jahat.
Biasanya, orang baik lagi ramai dari yang sebaliknya  😁




To travel alone is not that difficult
Pack your bags, and go. 😎
The difficult part is the beginning, I would say.

To obtain permission from your family, to actually plan the trip and to overcome your fear.
Once you've done all that, just go with an open mind.

Believe me, you'll learn a lot!
About the countries, the cultures and even things about yourself you never realize before.





Always, always try the local cuisine / street food
I can not stress this enough! 
To travel is to experience the culture.
And a big bulk of the culture is in the local cuisine.
I personally think, it is such a waste for one to travel and just stick to comfort food (unless you are on a tight budget). 

Always opt for street food to save money and have a taste of the most authentic local cuisine.
[Be caution though! Be on the lookout for clean and hygienic stalls]
The last thing you'll want is to fall sick on foreign land. 




Step out of your comfort zone
Try crazy things during your travel!
I decided to go bungee jumping at the spur of the moment. No regret there.

Fried grasshopper. Intrigued? Try them!

Stinky tofu? How bad is it? Try!!

Crazy rides in amusement park? Get on it!



You are never alone
One of the biggest misconception surrounding solo travelling is being alone / lonely. 
Believe me when I say, it's not true! You are starting the journey alone, yes.

But along the way, you'll get to know strangers that shares similar experience or even experienced backpackers who are eager to share their stories. 
You'll meet them at the hostel, cooking class, walking tour, restaurant etc

Most of the time, the locals are also more than willing to help / answer your questions! 




With experience, comes confidence
For the first few trips you took alone, you'll understandably have a lot of doubt. 
But those will slowly be replaced with confidence. 

Don't let the lack of confidence deter you from solo backpacking. 
That can be developed.

But still, be careful at all times. 
Be confident, don't be stupid 🙊




Life's short, do what makes you happy
In the early days, tonnes of thoughts went through my mind. 

Will my mom let me go alone? 
Will it be safe? 
What if I'm abducted or even worst, killed? 
Will the society be okay with a lady travelling alone? 

So much questions. 
Tapi sampai bila nak fikir apa orang kata?

You do it, you got the experience. Those who talks, got nada. 
Do what makes you happy.
At the end of the day, you'll cherish all those memories of travelling and you'll be glad for the decision you took to follow your heart. 
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Friday, 7 July 2017

My Solo Backpacking Stories : Part 2 [The Countries]



In no particular order (otherwise I would love to document this in partisanship-order but that would be bloody difficult ), the places I've visited on my #solobackpacking journey.

Of course, many of the trips are not documented here before, [during my temporary hiatus] so I could not remember all the specific details.

PS : All the photos are my own. Taken with iPhone. 

The Netherlands (Amsterdam)


I've blogged about this trip (thank God) back in 2013. You can see it here.

I was pick-pocketed. Left with NO money whatsoever. 
Alhamdulillah, there was a kind soul; a Malaysian I just met who lent me some money so I could get back to Mainz safely. 

I would say Amsterdam is different from other places I've visited whereby it was so calming and soul soothing. Ya get what I mean?

May be the effect of the canals flowing in and out of the city? Who knows. It's my personal opinion anyway. 

Whenever I think of Amsterdam, I think of the cold breeze, freshly made stroopwafel and fresh air. 


Indonesia (Bali and Yogyakarta)

Bali
So yep, I went to the 'honeymoon hot spot' alone. It was quite difficult to navigate around Indonesia on foot / public transport. 


So I opted for the service of  'supir'. Not as challenging though as I had a guy to chauffeur me around. But still, the thrill of travelling alone is there. It was a pretty short trip however. 


Shall return with Nazli, insyaAllah to properly soak in its beauty. Next time, I'll opt to stay in Ubud and just chill.

Yogyakarta
I went here just before the AADC2 hype. I scored a return flight ticket of RM60+ for this trip. Win!
Also, hired a 'supir'.


Love Indonesia for the cheap spa treatments!


Kalibiru

Candi Borubudur

Martabak Markobar. Please try it!

Cambodia (Seam Reap)

As soon as I saw the promotion on AirAsiaGo, I immediately bought the package. Haha

The package for return flights and hostel only cost me RM250. Say whatttt.

I've gotten in touch with a 'tour guide', a Muslim and he chauffeured me around with his tuk-tuk. 

Here's the contact information if you are interested;

Contact no (+855) 98 571 840  (Salim)
Email : angkorlim@gmail.com atau threebrothers41@gmail.com


Of course, I went to a cooking school. Surprisingly, the food tasted great!!

Angkor Wat


Had this at a vegetarian shop. Really-really good!



Italy (Rome) & Vatican City


I've recorded my experience here.


South Korea (Busan and Seoul)

I remembered this clearly. I went during Ramadhan (crazy, I know but the flight ticket was reasonably cheap).

I spent money on food the most. Because it was quite difficult to find ala carte menu here. Instead, the set came for 2 two (at least). So I had to pay a fair bit for food that I can't even finish. 

In Korea, I did walk.. a LOT!

At the time I was obsesses with 2 Days 1 Night (still am), so I visited a lot of the places featured in the program. For the first couple of days I stayed in Seoul, then I took the KTX to Busan. 


Nami Island 💗

I am obsessed with this!! Strawberry Daifuku.
Kept coming back to Myeongdong for this heaven sent!!
Would fly there again just for this. 

At Busan Gamcheon Culture Village. Selfie stick is a solo traveler's best friend

How can this be a portion for one? And how does the Koreans keep their slim figures? I can't comprehend this. 
By the way, shaved ice in Korea is nothing like I've tasted before. It's almost creamy. Can you imagine ice being creamy? 

Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Bangkok, Krabi)

The longest backpacking trip I've had; 2 weeks. So this was right after my graduation ceremony (in 2014) and just before I joined Sime. So I took a flight to Chiang Mai, stayed for nearly a week. Then took an overnight bus to Bangkok where I met my aunt (the solo backpacking ends there for a while). She brought me to Damnoen Saduak (the Floating Market) and Ayutthaya. 

Then I proceed to Krabi by plane (alone again). Went to Suratthani to hop on the train back to Bangkok before finally coming back to KL.


White Temple, Chiang Rai
Pictures taken using iPhone. And a little bit of editing, I must confess. But I swear to God, it's majestic!!

I went to Thai Orchid Cooking School and it was awesome!! I would highly recommend this particular establishment. They would pick you up at your hotel and we had a trip to the market too. So much fun, this one. 

I could cry looking at this. Not because of the elephant in the picture. But the elephant I am now. Hahahaha. I've gained berbelas kilo after this photo. 😂

In the name of experience. Sanggup berpeluh-peluh panas matahari terpacak, pakai baju tebal, headpiece berat just for this shot. Hahaha




The picture that brought me and Nazli closer together 💖

New found friend. We stayed at the same hostel 😁

The worst thing was when you felt the muscle of the python moving. Urgghhhh



My trusted partner, Nancy Chandler's map. I bought this and it has been very very useful!

Thailand's version of mini lemang.  This is sweet glutinous rice. 

Other than halal restaurant, (which could be a little bit pricey), I also opted for vegetarian food in Thailand. They had one of the best vegetarian cafes and restaurants!

I had my first ever bungee jump experience on this trip. You could read all about it here.

This is not an illusion! The whole temple is made of silver. Found this through Nancy's map, a hidden gem, not many tourists here. *cry again seeing how thin I was*

Favorite Thai dessert - Rotee Saimai. 5 stars for this suckers 💕


Is there any possibilities for me to add more country to this list?
Would have to ask Nazli for that.
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Thursday, 6 July 2017

My Solo Backpacking Stories : Part 1 [How it All Started]


Don’t tell me you don’t like to travel. Most people do.
These past few years (since 2013) I have grown inclined to the concept of solo backpacking.

Yes, I still travel with a few close friends every now and then but travelling alone has really been my passion.

Side note, I am so thankful for my mom and back-then-boyfriend who understood this passion I had and allowed me (no matter begrudgingly) to travel alone abroad.

It all started when I was sent to Germany for a student exchange program.

Well, ‘sent’ has a negative connotation to it. Like I was forced, unwillingly.

When the true story was I worked hard for the opportunity.

A bit of background… my university decided to send students for an exchange program with a German institution. For this pioneer project, they chose some sponsored students (from Khazanah and TNB) to be candidates for the said program.  The reason being they wanted good students with financial backing from their sponsors.

A-whole-lot-of-paperwork-and-approvals later, I made it through.
The Dean approved my application and Khazanah agreed to sponsor me.

Plot twist, the other sponsors backed out. And I was left alone.
The Deputy Dean asked whether I’m certain I still want to go there.

Heck yes!!

So that's the backstory.


When I was in Mainz, I had 3 close friends. Ania, Michaela (both are Polish) and Mariana (Portuguese).

They all had visited the famous places in Europe MANY times, so that lead me to the new world of solo backpacking.

Plus the tickets were very cheap once you start your journey from inside Europe.
Heck, my return tickets to Rome cost only 75 Euros.

When I was there, I had the opportunity to visit Rome, Amsterdam, and other parts of Germany. I also visited Paris (that was part-solo as Ashee met me halfway through).

And this was the start of my solo backpacking story 
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