CHSW and AAT Studies


CHSW Rainbow Run – last year, seven of us from Accountancy Learning entered the CHSW (Children’s Hospice South West) Rainbow Run at West Point, near Exeter, in June.

Having kept up our running over the past 12 months, this year Prue entered the two of us again for the CHSW Rainbow Run. Please note that I said “Prue” entered us. Here is a picture of us at the start and finish of the race.

What? Oh no! Cripes! That can’t be Prue and Simon. It looks more like Antonio and Simon.


Dear reader, shocking as it is to hear, I have to let you know that having entered us in the CHSW (Children’s Hospice South West) Rainbow Run, Prue realised that she had double booked and had to attend Ascot on the previous day – and so would not be able to get back in time for the CHSW run in Exeter. She explained that, as her invitation was for the Royal Enclosure, it would be tantamount to treason not to attend……

Earlier in the week, Antonio, poor soul, admitted that he had “forgotten” to enter this year. You can imagine his relief and joy when I was able to tell him that he could take Prue’s place!?! Prue, in turn, was overjoyed to know that her place would not be forfeit and that I would not have to run through the sweltering heat of a midsummer’s day unaccompanied. Here then is evidence that Antonio started and completed our ordeal in one piece. Well, two pieces I suppose.

There were over 1,000 other runners/walkers there on the day, in aid of CHSW. It was actually quite fun. Next year, why don’t you join us?

As you may possibly tell, Antonio has more of the physique required for running than me…. 🙂

However, you don’t have to be super-athletic to run 5K. When we did this a year ago, I hadn’t run for ages and needed to lose “a certain amount” in weight. I downloaded an app called “From couch to 5K”. This was a brilliant aide as it started very slow – walk for 90 seconds, run for 90 seconds and it built this up until one was running for the whole of the 5K. They key thing was routine. I went out 3 times a week. Sometimes on my own. Sometimes with Prue. It was much easier with Prue as I had a pace-maker. Someone to stop me dawdling. We continued our training over the summer and did another 5K in the Autumn – the Michelmores run, in Exeter city centre. This time I was able to run the whole way round.

This is not unlike AAT studying:

  1. You need to make a decision to start
  2. This normally requires an incentive
    For me, it was that a) I wanted to lose **** of weight and b) I didn’t want to die!?!
  3. I had a deadline – the date of the CHSW Rainbow Run
  4. I had a training schedule (like a learning plan), which specified what I needed to do every session in order to be ready for the CHSW Run
  5. I needed to get into a routine. The runs had to become a habit. I had set times in the week when I did them.
    There’s a really good book called Atomic Habits. It explains the power of habits. If your habit is to go to the gym three times a week, if one day you don’t have time to do your normal routine, you should still go to the gym, even for 5 minutes – as this keeps up the habit. So, even if I couldn’t do my normal run, any length of the run would be better than no run.
  6. It is much easier if you are accountable to someone
  7.  You need regular success to motivate you to continue. Success can be a reward in itself. Sticking to the targets set by the App made we feel good.
  8. Have a longer-term goal. Something to go for when your intermediate goal is there. After the June CHSW Rainbow Run, we had the September Michelmores 5k to train for. At that point, I still had half of my weight loss target to achieve. Plenty to keep my going until the same runs this year.

Translating this to your AAT studies:

  1. You have decided you want an AAT qualification
  2. You want a career in accountancy / you want to be a self-employed bookkeeper
  3. When do you want this by?
  4. We will give you a learning plan, with target dates, not just for your final exam but for each exam and each progress test along the way
  5. Convert this into a weekly study plan – what times each week/weekend will you study. A minimum of 8 hours per week. Pop it in your diary, put it on the back of the loo door. Stick to it. The schedule, not the door….
    Another great book is “Why we sleep” by Mathew Walker. More than exercise, diet and wealth, this book explains how science has shown that sleep is the most important factor in our physical and mental wellbeing.
    As well as ensuring you get 8 hours sleep a night, what you learn just before you go to sleep is retained much more than what you learn in the morning – so before you go to bed, recap on what you have learnt during the day.
    (A topic for a future blog, methinks)
  6. Be accountable to someone for your study progress and the time you put in. Use our personal tutor. Use a family member. If you miss a study session, you will have to admit it to them and agree when you are going to make it up.
  7. When you complete each progress test and/or achieve the required mark (> 80%?), give yourself a reward. Write down what this will be, in advance, so it can act as a motivator. Clearly achieving your qualification is your main goal. However, you can’t do this immediately. Your learning plan breaks down your goal into manageable chunks.
  8. What are your plans after your current AAT level? The next level? ACCA/CIMA/ACA etc? That job you wanted? Registering with the AAT as a Licensed Bookkeeper and setting up your own business?

I shall keep exercising three times a week. Prue and I will drive down to the towpath near Double Locks this evening and go for our run down the canal and back. I want to be able to do the Michelmores 5K quicker than I did it last year and run all the way around.

This evening, will you be referring to your study schedule and be putting in a 2+hour study session and submitting a progress test?

I’ll be thinking of you!


Written by Simon Deane