Many ACE exam candidates begin their studies while balancing work, home and the books. For some it is the first return to the academic world of studying, reading and note taking since high school or college. Except this time around it seems more challenging because instead of just your studies, there is family to take care of, work to go to, dinner to cook, kids to pick up, etc. For many people the ACE exam prep course is even harder because as a home study course there is no instructor standing over you making you accountable for your time and accomplishments.
ACE generally recommends 3 – 6 months of preparation for your certification exam. This can vary depending on your background knowledge, related field experience and time available for studying. So how do you balance life and your studies? Below are a few suggestions:
Of course, that’s true of anyone wanting to focus on their studies. It includes making a schedule of your study time and a schedule of due dates such as exam registration deadlines or CPR courses. Don’t forget to schedule in your work hours and life commitments also – someone has to make sure the cat gets feed and the kids get walked. Remember that a good schedule is flexible also. Make sure there is enough study time set aside in your week that you can recover if an unexpected event takes over your study time slot. We all know how things just randomly come up when we least expect it.
Communicate with your people!
And by your people, I mean your family, friends, and work colleagues. Let them know why you’re studying, what your schedule is, and why it’s important that you get quiet time/dedicated time to do your studies. As a parent this may mean communicating to your kids what does and does not require your attention during study time (Teddy bear in the toilet, yes. Sudden desire for ice cream, no). For friends, this may involve explaining you can’t go out on Wednesday nights because it’s a study night, but that Fridays may work better.
If your kids are currently bringing home homework, maybe set aside a family study time where you all sit down at the table and work together. Not only does it give you time to work, but you can be providing an example of how to succeed in your studies.
In addition, I talk a lot about using your own body to figure out anatomy or programming…but why not use your family and friends as well? Have your kids go through a series of motions while you explain what muscles they are using. Or help a friend review their workout plan – always an easy choice with those New Year’s resolutions!
Stress is an inevitable part of being a student, especially an adult learner trying to balance life and your studies. Since we all handle stress differently it is up to you to find the best solution. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep…plenty of activity…plenty of the right foods etc. Don’t forget to take breaks from your studies. Maybe you need to make a play date with your family, or a night out with friends or significant others. Remember that you do have a life outside your studies!
And finally, know that it can be done!
It may seem overwhelming at times – especially the beginning of your studies – but other people have gone through the same thing you are and have succeeded. Check in on the ACE Facebook page or discussion board to hear other candidate’s suggestions and encouragement. Keep a realistic view of your priorities, timeline, and reason for taking on this goal of becoming ACE certified.
Don’t forget that you can always call us at 1-888-825-3636 x782 if you have any questions!