You’ve enrolled onto your new training course, printed off your training manual, and are undoubtedly eager to start studying and begin your first workshop to learn from the masters of regulatory compliance: the International Compliance Training Faculty.
You’re excited, and you want to start learning immediately. And who can blame you? The decision to undertake a qualification, alongside work and family life, is a significant commitment with a rewarding outcome.
Given this commitment, there are likely hundreds of thoughts running through your mind, most prominent among them, ‘how can I realise my potential?’, and, ‘how can I maximise my learning, and ensure that I pass?’
First, it is crucial to understand (and reassuring to know) that the stepping stones to success are so much more than cramming revision into every waking hour. Whilst it might be tempting to read every available thing on the planet, it’s counterproductive to spend so much time on your studies. Back away from the work, lest a klaxon sound!
The phrase ‘work smarter, not harder’ may be a little bit of a cliché (OK more than a little), but it’s accurate. Poring over books isn’t going to help. Nor is the tried and tested (yet unhelpful) highlighter technique. To learn efficiently, throw away your previously held notions of studying and ignore your high school teachers’ less-than-sage advice. Studying is all about how you make smart choices, and how you learn and retain information, rather than simply memorising your notes.
What’s your learning strategy? Have you thought about what you would like to achieve from your newly-acquired International Compliance Training course? You may want to pass the multiple choice questions if you’re undertaking an ICA Certificate, or to attain high marks in the assessment piece if you’re completing an Advanced Certificate or Diploma.
Whatever you’re studying the core principles of study remain the same: you want to pass, and ideally achieve a merit or distinction. Set distinct goals from the outset to ensure that you get the grades that you both want and deserve.
Make sure that you take a task and ‘chunk it’ into manageable goals. Use flashcards, write on post-its, highlight critical pieces of information from the manual, look at new blogs and insight on the subject matter. Read the notes aloud to family members; teach your colleagues the material. The more that you can absorb and engage with the material, the better.
Create a daily, weekly and monthly to-do list that helps you obtain your big ol’ goal of ‘passing’. By doing this, you will be able to prioritise and clarify what is truly important for your studies.
Is there anything more satisfying than ticking off tasks on a to-do list and learning something exciting at the same time?
In the previous study tip, we talked about flashcards and post-it notes. For our younger students, these analogue methods may seem borderline archaic. Imagine handwriting notes, in pen.
Joking aside (or are we?) utilising technology as a study aid and improving how you learn can be a fantastic tool in your learning arsenal.
Think about the different apps that you can use (my personal favourite is Self Control; which as the name suggests allows blocking certain websites for periods of time), but tons of apps can aid your newly-embraced love of learning.
Evernote can help you streamline your notes, checklists and reading materials, whereas Quizlet is akin to the old flashcard method of learning of yore. Dragon Anywhere is excellent for those that want to amend documents and assignments on the go, using voice activations (which for me is perfection). All of those brilliant thoughts can be articulated, and stored in the cloud.
You may not have to physically sit an exam for your ICA qualification (unless you’re doing the ICA Diploma exam only route, of course) but testing yourself is an excellent way to ensure that you retain all of that important information that you have learnt. OK, so you don’t want to be a walking textbook in the office; you don’t want to quote phrases by rote, without using the keen analytical skills that are the requirement of a brilliant compliance officer. But, what you do want to do is fill in the gaps. You want to be a lean, mean compliance machine and testing yourself is fundamental to filling in those knowledge gaps.
Find a study partner
‘While we teach, we learn’. Seneca was right. The best way to learn, and engage with your material, is to teach it to someone else. Your partner, kids or dog may not be interested in understanding the regulatory environment (although Fido might, we don't know) but your colleagues or fellow students will be. Find a study partner, tutor them and understand the material in more depth. It’s called the ‘protege effect’ and is a wonderful vehicle for learning.
Routine is key
A professional footballer wouldn’t stuff all of their training into a one-hour block per week, so why would you study in this way? Cramming may help you pass, but you don’t want to tick a box – you want to learn and retain information so that it adds value to your professional life. Having a fixed routine or schedule for studying is more effective than cramming. Try studying for one-hour bursts per day, or longer if you have the time, drive and determination. Cramming may superficially feel good, as it’s a more intense way to study, but routinely studying means that you retain information and genuinely learn it, which is what this is all about.
How are you finding your studies? Do you have any tried and tested tips that you would like to share with your fellow students? Share them with us using the hashtag #ICTViews. Join the conversation for more tips and hints.
ICA qualifications are a globally recognised benchmark of competence and excellence in the fields of anti money laundering (AML), compliance and financial crime prevention. There are courses to suit all levels of knowledge and experience.
A range of ICA qualifications are approved for delivery within the Compliance/Risk Specialist and Senior Compliance/Risk Specialist Apprenticeship Standards for Financial Services in England. To find out more get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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